That’s one short list.
A London-based brokerage has identified just 20 potential international buyers for the famed “Beverly House,” a mega-mansion once home to William Hearst and used as a filming location for “The Godfather” and several Beyonce music videos.
At $119 million, the pink terracotta stucco house is the most expensive in the U.S. and has been on and off the market between $95 million and $195 million since 2007.
And thanks to its high property taxes and maintenance costs, even if you could afford a down payment, you’ll need to set aside quite a bit more for ongoing expenses.
“Beauchamp [Estates] has a list that they’ve actually made up [of potential buyers]. [It’s so few] because they’re not just buying it — then they need the money to run and maintain it and to not to really bother about it,” a representative for Jeremy Gee, managing director of Beauchamp Estates, told The Post.
Beauchamp expects the buyer to probably only visit the house once or twice a year, though their children or friends may also occasionally use it too, he said.
On the list? Royalty and high-net businesspeople from Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Tel Aviv, Moscow, China, Hong Kong, Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand and London. The press release specifically mentioned “the Saudi Royal family, the Abu Dhabi Royal family, Chinese and Hong Kong billionaires, the Thai Royal family or a Nigerian, Russian or South African commodities billionaire.”
“There is a very long history of Middle Eastern ruling families having big mansions in Beverly Hills,” Gee’s representative told the New York Post, mentioning the Beverly Hills house once owned by the sister of the Shah of Iran in the 60’s and 70s, princess Shams Pahlavi.
It’s not just the price tag on the 18-bed, 25-bathroom Italian and Spanish-style megamansion: taxes are $5.3 million a year, according to Realtor.com. It seems like even the current owner can’t keep up: the Los Angeles County Assessor portal shows that the owner defaulted on their property taxes in 2019.
Plus the owner will need to maintain at least seven full-time staff members — a chef, two cleaners, a butler, a chauffeur and a security team, Beauchamp told The Post.
Maintenance and landscaping of the 3.5-acre lot, which can host 1,000 guests, will cost about 1% of the property price, according to Beauchamp, or about $1.25 million every year at the current listing price.
The gardens, designed by landscape architect Paul Thiene, have reflection pools with waterfalls that lead to an Olympic-size swimming pool with Roman pillars. There is also an eight-car garage, a guest house and several staff offices.
“The house needs to be beautifully maintained. And let’s be blunt, it’s not just the house. The gardens are just so lavish and need so much attention. You guys [Americans] do landscape gardens to such a high level, they really are something else,” said the representative.
Finding the right tier of buyers
The house, built in 1926 for banking executive Milton Getz, seems astronomically expensive for working-class Americans, but the right buyers at this level will actually find this house relatively cheap compared to holiday homes in London or Hong Kong, where homes could sell for up to $279 million or $167 million respectively, said the representative.
“Looking at an international scale, buying the Beverly House would be, for those families [in the highest luxury bracket], a relatively cheaper holiday home,” said the representative.
Still, Beuchamp doesn’t expect the house to sell “in two seconds flat,” citing the coronavirus pandemic as a slowing factor since buyers will want a property advisor or family member to see the homes in person before buying. But they have already started sharing the details of the listing with potential buyers on Whatsapp and Zoom, said the representative.
“We will really see some traction when all the flights resume. Beauchamp won’t be able until after the summer to go out to the Gulf and Hong Kong to meet clients and show them floorplans. That’s because of COVID, but it will happen,” he said. “It’s all about the personal meeting and connection at that level [of luxury].”
What makes this house so special?
You might recognize this house as the set of the Godfather, the Bodyguard and several Beyonce music videos.
Also known as the Hearst House, it was once the home of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and his partner, actress Marion Davies from 1946 to 1967.
Many say it provided the inspiration for Xanadu, the estate of Charles Foster Kane in the 1941 classic movie Citizen Kane, based on Hearst, but the timelines aren’t congruent — the movie more likely refers to Hearst Castle, built from 1919 to 1947 about halfway between San Jose and Santa Barbara.
John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy also spent their honeymoon there in 1953, and it served as Kennedy’s West Coast presidential election headquarters, the press release said.
It’s easy to see why the location is so popular. The 29,000-square-foot house (35,000 square feet including guest houses and other buildings on the property) has an Art Deco nightclub, a wine cellar, two luxury home theaters, a spa, a gym, a massage room, a billiards room and a lighted tennis court.
The 800-foot driveway leads to the pink house with an 80-foot entry hall, a 22-foot high hand-painted arched ceiling and a two-story library with hand-carved paneling. The house with wide balconies, paneled walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and carved ceilings and fireplaces has a formal dining room, a breakfast room, a family room with an outdoor terrace, a commercial kitchen, terraces with room for a 400-guest dinner, and a nine-foot Dennis Abbe mural.
Beauchamp is partnering with California’s The Agency on the listing.
“Beyond its fantastic Hollywood mystique, and finishes and details steeped in its own architectural history, The Beverly House is one of the most expansive estates located in the heart of Beverly Hills with access to the best amenities and conveniences in Los Angeles,” Mauricio Umansky, founder and CEO of The Agency said in a statement.