Real-estate houses with many mansions

It's like an estate out of an elaborate movie where the millionaire hero-tycoon hangs his hat. What more could one want? A 24-by-40-foot living room, huge fireplace, oak floors, exposed beams, leaded windows, and a door leading to a huge terrace outside. The dining room measures 19 by 30 feet. Then there are sundry other rooms, including an 18-by-22-foot kitchen with six-burner electric stove, double ovens, six-burner gas range, and pot closet.

There's even a guesthouse, which, the brochure reports, is "in need of repair."

Repairing the building, no matter what it takes, shouldn't be any problem for the well-heeled buyer of the 65-acre property on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. The price: $650,000. And if you're wondering about taxes, they're $32,963.20 for 1980, based on an assessment of $2,060,200.

Thus, it could be a bargain -- if you've got the cash and credit.

Known as Skylands, the estate was owned by the late Edsel B. Ford, son of Henry Ford and father of Henry Ford II, former chairman of the automobile company of the same name.

Then there's Foxhill in Camden, Maine, offered at $290.000; and an 11-room contemporary in the town of Spruce Head, also in Maine, with an asking price of while the Spruce Head contemporary is under $2,500.

All three properties are on the block by Sotheby Parke Bernet, the prestigious international real-estate company and auctioneer with offices and representatives all over the world.

While the rest of the real-estate market has been sagging badly because of the recession, homes at the top end of the ladder apparently aren't aware of the pinch. All it takes is a large wallet and the right house.

Of course, high-priced property -- that is, selling for $200,000 and up -- is only a drop in the bucket to the real-estate industry, which has been hurting badly for some time now because of sky-high interest rates and sagging employment.

Last year, according to the National Association of Realtors, most of whose members deal in property that is far less dear -- even though high-priced by some standards -- the $200,000-plus market was responsible for a mere 1.5 percent of the 3.7 million homes sold in the United States in 1979 and 6.5 percent of the total dollar volume of $237.6 billion.

Thus, it hardly shows up in the statistics because of its minuscule share.

Nonetheless, the people who deal in the plush-carpet market of $500,000 and $ 1 million estates -- the Edsel Ford property at Seal Harbor, Maine, was only a summer home to the auto magnate -- are decked out in smiles.

George Ballantyne, head of Sotheby Parke Bernet's New England region, says that during the last year the company has doubled the number of properties it has listed for sale and actual sales are up threefold.

Further, he adds: "Sotheby's has finalized the sale of every New England property during its respective listing terms."

Previews Inc., another company that deals in properties that seem out of this world, has come out with its Dream House Catalog, which lists almost any kind of property you might dream about. All it takes is money. The 192-page coated-paper catalog carries a price of $10.95. Another soft-cover book -- 256 pages, this time for $12 -- is called the Previews Guide to the World's Finest Real Estate.

The guide lists a centuries-old Japanese palace, originally built as part of Japan's Matsuyama Castle on the island of Shikoku, which was disassembled in 1978 by its American owner. The $1.5 million price tag includes reassembly by a team of Japanese shrine builders on a site of the buyer's choosing -- anywhere in the world.

Or there's a horse farm in Ocala, Fla., which includes 2,120 acres, 10 residences, and 12 barns -- all for $12.5 million. You also get a 144-seat theater with projectors.

Indeed, sales seem to be keeping pace with listings.

Sotheby's expects sales in 1980 to hit about $80 million, about double what they were last year.

Selling a mansion -- or whatever it is -- is good business for the prestigious brokers. The average commission is about 10 percent, split down the middle between the local broker who lists the property in the first place and the marketing entity, such as Sotheby's.

Of course, a top-of-the-pile broker may have to wait awhile for a sale. Some properties go fast, while others may take up to a year or longer to sell. After all, it does take a lot of money, or a lot of credit, to nail down a $1 million estate. But with the continuing rise in the number of millionaires in the world , the market potential is broadening all the time.

Sometimes the printer makes a mistake. In a listing for a 2,365-acre tract on the big island of Hawaii, the price is listed as $6.5 million. After all, work had already begun on an 18-hole golf course, so who could quibble over the price? "Large ranch-estates of 40 acres are feasible," says the guide.

But if anyone wanted the property for $6.5 million, it's already too late. A correction came through with the book which reported the correct price at $7 million. Half a million dollars -- poof.

On the other hand, a 3 1/2-acre estate on the Spanish island of Mallorca is listed at $1.1 million, "including all furnishings, equipment, small speedboat, and two automobiles." It doesn't say what make.

Anyway, instead of $1.1 million, the correct price, according to Previews, is

Now that's money in the bank.

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