As we reported earlier, the Evermay Estate, a 216-year old Georgetown home on more than three acres of land, is going on the market for $49 million, the highest residential listing ever in Washington D.C.
Diplomat Lammot Belin, the property’s fifth owner, purchased the Evermay in 1923. The estate was subsequently passed down to two more generations. Grandson Harry Belin now owns it, though no one has lived at the Evermay for three years.
“Everybody has a time when they don’t want to be the stewards of a large, very extensive property that needs constant maintenance. The gardens have to be kept up and manicured as they are, beautiful. That’s a lot of work!” says Long & Foster agent Jeanne Livingston. Ah yes, everybody faces that eternal question: to sell the multi million dollar estate, or not?
Obviously, Belin opted to go for it. What happened next is a rather involved process, as I learned. The following is an interview with Jeanne Livingston and Susie Maguire, listing agents for Long & Foster, working in conjunction with Christie’s Great Estates.
So how did you land this listing?
Jeanne: There were four other companies that were asked to price the property. We put what we thought was a realistic price on it. I think there were some that were above us.
Susie: In pricing something like this, we obviously worked very hard. We spent three days crunching numbers, and looking at all the different options. And it was very clear that you can take the price of the land. You can take this historic mansion.You can take the magnificent grounds. You can take that it’s quiet, set back, in a park-like setting in the middle of the city with views of Rock Creek Park on the Northeast, and views of the Washington Monument and the city to the south—you can gather all those elements, but the sum is truly greater than the value of this individual part, such as an antique or a painting.
Jeanne: You can’t duplicate it. It hasn’t been duplicated, and there are no comparables.
Well, if you have no comparables, why not price the property at $43 million? Why $49 million? How do you make these decisions?
Susie: It’s just an art that we’re very good at. We’ve been working with this since the middle of July, and it’s something that you do in conjunction with all the people in the process, including Christie’s New York office.
So, how do you start showing a property like this? Is there ever even a small, intimate open house-type event for top agents? Or do you just do one-on-one showings with people flying in from all over the world?
Jeanne: Well, obviously, the people who are flying in, we would do mostly one-on-ones. We’re not going to open it up for an open house.I seriously doubt that.
Susie: And people have to be pre-approved to come. That’s standard. The fine art of marketing a property like this is always evolving. And we’re going to do all kinds of things. It’s a work in progress. We’re doing it in conjunction with Christie’s Auction House, and Christie’s Great Estates, and their very high-end client list, and our high-end client list. And it’s not going to be something that we want written about. You have to be careful how you—something like this is done very discreetly.