A Buckhead estate that’s been on and off the market for three years, Chestnut Hall, is still the most expensive house for sale in Georgia. Listed at $48 million, it’s among the elite properties that requires creative sales techniques.
The 17,776-square-foot mansion sits on an 18.6 acre lot, but it’s not the size of the land or the amount of bedrooms that drove the price up. With seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, the size of the house isn’t much different from many other houses listed in Buckhead for half the price.
Rather, it’s the meticulously decorated rooms and curated pieces of fine art. According to ChestnutHallEstate.com, a website marketing the property, he estate features a pair of 17th-century limestone lions from France, a 19th century French chandelier and an original painting by Pablo Picasso. There’s also custom seamless carpeting, Venetian plaster walls and imported Jerusalem stone floors. Almost every room features a chandelier, even the gym.
The property’s owner and real estate agent declined to comment about the sale.
The house has been on and off the market since 2014 and hasn’t sold, but that’s part of selling multimillion-dollar homes, real estate agents say.
Blaine Palmer, a real estate agent at Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, said although homes in the luxury market have been moving quickly for the past couple of years, homes with higher prices are going to take longer to sell. “The higher the price point, the longer it typically stays on the market, so you have to prepare the owner,” Palmer said.
To sell a house like this, you have to be creative. “You’ve got reach out beyond the metro area to find a buyer for a $48 million home,” Andy Payne, a real estate agent at Sotheby’s, said.
For houses with such a slim market as Chestnut Hall, real estate agents enlist creative strategies, such as getting a special on HGTV devoted to the home and pitching articles to magazines like Architectural Digest, Payne said.
Debbie Sonenshine, another real estate agent at Coldwell Banker said international marketing is often vitally important in selling a luxury estate. They also target certain international markets depending on the features of the home. Sonenshine is currently selling a house owned by a landscaper who did the landscaping for Hong Kong Disneyland, so she is advertising heavily in China.
Real estate agents also stage the house to appeal to target markets. When Sotheby’s real estate agent Chase Mizell sold filmmaker Tyler Perry’s house last year, he hired models to pose by the pool and in other parts of the home for photos and videos, Payne said.
“You’re not selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle,” he said. No one needs 10 bedrooms or a bowling alley in their house, but features like those are part of the lifestyle they’re looking for, he said.
Real estate agents are also taking advantage of technology such as 3-D walkthroughs, virtual reality headsets, drone videos and websites dedicated to individual estates, Payne said.
Those technologies not only promote the home, but also reduce intrusion into owners’ homes because people can decide if they are interested in the home without touring it.
People also can’t just call and come tour houses in this price range. The seller has to arrange the showing and verify the interested buyer could actually afford to buy the house. “This isn’t a museum,” Palmer said.
Occasionally, showing a home requires real estate agents and interested buyers to acquire clearances, such as when Palmer was showing a condominium in a building where superstar comedian Will Ferrell also lives.
Instances like that are becoming more common as the filming industry in Georgia continues to increase, as well as the probability that agents will show a home to a celebrity.
“With the movie industry in Atlanta and around Georgia right now, showing to celebrities is becoming more and more a reality,” Palmer said.