This 1927 Montecito Estate Is Heading to Auction

After nearly a year of trying to sell 859 Picacho Lane in Montecito the old-fashioned way, the owner is putting it up for auction. While auctioning off real estate sounds like a last resort, plenty of higher-value property, such as art and jewelry, regularly goes under the hammer with no stigma.

Designed by Chester Carjola, the 7,678-square-foot house was built in 1927 on 2.36 acres on one of the most prestigious streets in town. There’s also a two-room guesthouse and a pool house with en-suite bathroom. While you can see how grand and gracious the first floor might have been at one time—the incredible parquet floor in the dining room is said to have come from a czar’s estate—modifications have not been kind; navigating the second floor involves dealing with many sets of stairs. Moreover, the inspection report—available to anyone who creates an online account with Concierge Auctions, which is handling the sale (December 10-12)—lists many substantial infrastructure concerns, including knob-and-tube wiring, asbestos abatement, possible mold, a likely roof replacement, and much more.

Consequently, the house is possibly a teardown—if the county allows the historical structure to be demolished. Here’s hoping that whoever ends up with the house will find a way to incorporate that parquet floor.

Concierge’s website lists the price as “previously $7.995 million,” but since last July, it has been $6.995 million. There’s no reserve, but my understanding is that the seller will be able to have a good sense of who’s interested and at what price—and the owner can call the auction off right up till the last moment. To participate, in person or online, you put down a refundable $100,000 deposit. Should you win, you’ll get 6% of your initial bid credited back—an effort to discourage lowballing—and pay Concierge a fee of 12% of the final price. The seller, meanwhile, is responsible for a 2.5% commission payable to any broker(s) representing the buyer.

P.S. The owner of 859 Picacho also owns 857 Picacho next door; it has been on the market (currently at $7 million) for 285 days. If this auction goes well, perhaps it will be next. Could Rob Lowe, whose mansion down the street is on the market again, be ready for a new project…?