Over $85 million worth of luxurious California real estate is up for auction, from the heart of Cow Hollow all the way out to the frontiers of Wine Country, with starting bids that knock several million dollars off of the original ask.
From now until April 24, anyone with the scratch can log onto the auction site and throw around bids. Starting on Sunday you can pop in for scheduled preview tours of each of the six properties on the block. (Serious buyers can also request a tour at other times.)
Often, when slabs of prime luxury real estate are auctioned off, it’s because of foreclosure, but Olivia Hsu Decker, the Sotheby’s franchise owner managing this event, says that these aren't troubled properties. Rather, the auction is just a way to grease the wheels and generate buyer interest.
"Homes over $10 million can take years to sell," says Decker. "Property owners don’t want their house lingering on the market and [have to be] showing their home month after month." Indeed, many of these places have gone on the market before without finding the deep pockets they were looking for (and 2820 Scott Street is on our list of the most expensive homes on the market).
The competitive nature of an auction lights a fire under prospective buyers and pushes fence sitters into making a decision. Of course, if bidding heats up, it can also be a handy way to drive the price up beyond what you might have gotten normally. Then again, a savvy buyer might be able to keep the price down and lasso a bargain for his or herself. Uncertainty adds a touch of spice to the whole affair.
Here’s a rundown of what’s on offer.
2820 Scott Street, San Francisco
An Italianate mansion in Cow Hollow, the bidding on 2820 Scott starts at $20 million, down from an original list price of over $28 million. Seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms plus three half baths, and 16,000 square feet in all, the Beaux-Arts house dates to 1905, but finished a renovation in 2008.
It features six cast-bronze balconies, a Tiffany fountain, stained-glass skylights, and marble, marble everywhere — there's a total of five marble terraces, plus a marble grand staircase, and white marble floors. From a private roof deck serviced by an elevator, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Marin headlands.
One Upper Ross Road, Ross
With 10 bedrooms, eight full baths, and more than 11,000 square feet on three plus acres in Ross, this Bernard Maybeck-designed estate was originally listed at $20 million, but bids now start at $14 million. With a view of Mt. Tamalpais, the grounds feature a private redwood grove, a cabana, tennis courts, and multiple guest houses.
The main house features a foyer, powder room, sun room, brick terrace with glass doors, and a "spacious dining room for 16 people." Hopefully 16 people you know, but possibly just people who wandered in and got lost over the years. The seller advertises proximity to a great many hiking and bike trails in the Mt. Tam area as well.
320 Belvedere Avenue, Belvedere
According to Decker, Belvedere Avenue is "Belvedere’s most exclusive street." This five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath house offers a drop-dead view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge beyond. Originally offered at $5.5 million, bids now start at $4.8 million.
9 Audrey Court, Tiburon
Here we have four bedrooms, five full bathrooms, and over 4,400 square feet on a half acre of "mostly" level land. Inside you’ll find stone fireplaces and floors, limestone countertops, radiant heat in the bathrooms, and dining room bay windows that show off the entirety of the San Francisco skyline. Outside it’s waterfalls, rose gardens, olive trees, and citrus groves. Bidding starts at $4.8 million, down $865,000 from the original list.
2900 Spring Mountain Road, St Helena
This one is advertised as a "Tuscan-style vineyard." The main house has six bedrooms, four full baths plus two half baths, and 12,000 square feet altogether. Bidding starts at $14 million, down $4.5 million from the old list price.
For your $14 million you get a private road, a stone terrace with an 80-foot pool, an outdoor kitchen, a limestone and marble entry hall, a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a wine cellar with a tasting room. The garden has seven acres of grape vines and olive trees, a lake, orchids in the greenhouse, and a helipad. Yes, a helipad.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, the vineyards and wine brand are up for sale as well, although you’ll have to negotiate that separately. Presumably, buying the house first is a good way to negotiate a bulk purchase.
201 Linden Lane, San Rafael
This two-acre estate has a seven-bed, nine-bath, gabled house overlooking Mount Tamalpais. You'll find floor-to-ceiling windows, a grand staircase, a rooftop terrace, a full gym, a library, a wine cellar, a sunroom, a rose garden, and not one but two cabanas by the pool. In other words, the works. Decker even advertises on-site generators, so that you can still use the elevators in a blackout. Previously offered for $8.99 million, bidding now starts at $5.6 million.