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Steve McQueen Home Finally Selling

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Steve McQueen's Home

SEE ALSO: Steve McQueen's House and Garage - Back on The Market? (originally Published 6/8/2011)

After 990 Days, Steve McQueen's Famous "Escape from Hollywood Home" that had a 4,200 sf Airport Hangar Garage is finally selling

Hollywood, CA May 22, 2012; Steve McQueen is beloved by Car and Motorcycle Collectors and Enthusiasts the world over. They buy up any collector motorcycle, car or movie memorabilia that they can get their hands on. His ex-wife Barbara McQueen has many unseen memories and pictures from their days together in this one-of-a-kind car collector's house. She even told the editor of how much she would like to buy the property back, but now it's being sold (finally).

Steve McQueen in a chase scene from the1968 movie Bullitt With the passing of Steve McQueen many years ago, after his highly public divorce, everything that Steve owned, or had his provenance attached to, has really taken on a high value in the collector world. That is true, except for this famous piece of real estate in Santa Paula, California. CarProperty.Com Listing

For some reason people did not take to bidding on this piece of celebrity real estate with the same enthusiasm as they do for other things he owned. According to Robert Cross, Broker and Owner of Rare Realty in Beverly Hills, California, his company had at least 10 very interested buyers over the last 2 years who were very interested. At least half of them even presented all of the required documentation showing their financial ability to buy at price close to $1 million dollars.

So what happened?

Why did it take 990 days to sell this property with so much Steve McQueen celebrity car and motorcycle racing and collecting history provenance? According to Cross, at Rare Realty, his buyers ran into several obstacles, most of which were brought on by the recession and overall real estate depression that was in full swing when this house first went on the market in September 2009. The other major obstacle was the fact that the house had 3 loans against it for a total of close to $2 million dollars, but the property was not worth anywhere close to that when it went on the market. It was originally listed at $1,950,000 and maybe at that time it could fetch about $999,000 at the most. So, this type of price strategy was geared towards getting the sellers out of debt one hundred percent, rather than pricing it so buyers could properly see the deal as a value that made sense, even with the entire celebrity and car collector provenance attached to it.

Steve McQueen's "Escape from Hollywood" House where he kept his car and motorcycle collection in a 4,200 s.f. airplane hangar garageIt is reported that during the first few months the house did not see any offers and after about one year on the market the sellers were in full default on the loan and repossession efforts by the 3 lenders had started. According to Cross, "that is when most of his first wave of buyers became interested because all of a sudden an effort was made to generate multiple offers by lowering the asking price to $799,000. This was late February 2011 and by the time most people realized it the sellers had many offers flying in because it looked like such a good price. The comparative valuation was about $999,000 at that time."

Sadly, even that effort, which generated a "short sale in-contract" situation, was not enough to get the place sold. Eventually after more than one year of being in Escrow, the note holder on the first trust deed (mortgage) foreclosed putting the mother and her small children who had been living there out on the street. This mother was also in the middle of a nasty divorce which she says was brought on by their high level of debt on this house and some other things. Sadly for them, it did not end well.

As in most situations like this, as soon as the bank that foreclosed was sure the house was vacated and somewhat presentable it got put back on the market at an even lower asking price of $724,900, but this is closer to what the market for this place is really at as it continued to lose value over the last 3 years. Another sad truth to this once high flying celebrity property is that the condition of the property has declined so much that the REO bank had to suggest that it might be a tear down. Steve McQueen would have been disgusted by that, and according to Barbara McQueen, "this whole situation really breaks my heart for both the mother who was evicted and because this place was once such a vibrant and beautiful home for our family."

Once again, it was played up in the marketing of this Celebrity REO that the buyers would not want to ignore the Steve McQueen provenance of previous ownership and that fact that he kept his beloved car and motorcycle collection in the 4,200 sf airplane hangar garage on this property. It did not take long for this very low priced place with such star power to get offers and now it is scheduled to close escrow on Friday, May 25, 2012. It would be awesome if it could be restored to its former glory.