Pret-a-Reporter

Style: Sold! The $13 Million Foreclosure

Courtesy of Hilton & Hyland
CALIFORNIA RIVIERA: The estate is set on more than 8.5 acres and offers city and ocean views, a swimming pool and master suite with his-and-her bathrooms.

Heidi Klum and Seal scoop up an estate in Brentwood that had hit hard times.

Heidi Klum and Seal are purchasing a house in Brentwood with some serious pedigree. The eight-bedroom residence has a kitchen that includes a fireplace mantel imported from Scotland that dates to 1603. There’s the formal dining room — actually, the one-time dining room of Paris’ famed Pierre Hotel, which the former owner purchased whole at auction and had shipped stateside. And the library fireplace is said to be from Napoleon’s farmhouse in France.

But the property, which was listed Oct. 15, also carries a less-desirable provenance: It was foreclosed on this year. The house, formerly owned by an investment banker, hit the market only after failing to sell at a June auction. The 12,300-square-foot Mediterranean residence is situated in Brentwood Country Estates, a gated community of a dozen houses in Mandeville Canyon where the neighbors include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

When the nation’s mortgage meltdown hits the Los Angeles area’s ultra-luxury residential market, it gets noticed. Beset by financial problems, Nicolas Cage lost his Bel-Air estate this year; and former baseball star and financial guru Lenny Dykstra, now bankrupt, relinquished the keys to his Thousand Oaks compound. Both foreclosed residences were sold in November, with Cage’s former estate going for about $20 million less than its 2008 asking price.

Despite an apparent flurry of luxury-home foreclosures — a $6 million house in Bel-Air was foreclosed on in August — occurrences at prices above $10 million are rare for L.A. “Surprisingly, given the overall state of the economy, there have been few high-end foreclosures on Los Angeles’ Westside,” Coldwell Banker agent Todd Baker said. “But that hasn’t stopped the lore that they’re everywhere.”

At this level of the market, a foreclosed home rarely means a deal. Klum and Seal’s property is under contract for an undisclosed amount “significantly more than the asking price” of $13.4 million, according to Rebecca Ross, a Hilton & Hyland agent who had the listing. “There were multiple buyers interested, so there was a bidding war.” She declined to discuss the buyers’ identities. Publicists for Seal and Klum, who are expected to close the deal as soon as Dec. 1, didn’t return calls seeking comment.

The fierce competition for the house suggests that quality properties — even those that have been foreclosed on — can still fetch top dollar, especially in a hot neighborhood like Brentwood Country Estates. Sources says Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady are building a house in the enclave. Says Baker, “Black Friday prices on beautiful, desirable properties simply don’t exist.”

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