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Town Square | Agent thinks hotel-like manse will draw international buyer

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(Stu Estler)
This $10 million house in Potomac has nine bedrooms, 16 bathrooms and 24,000 square feet of space.

One of the largest and most expensive houses on the market could almost be a hotel with its sheer size and number of bathrooms.

According to MRIS, the manse at 10501 Chapel Rd. in Potomac is among the most expensive residences on the listing service.

At $10 million, though, it’s a bargain — considering that it has nearly 24,000 square feet of space.

The estate was built on 3.77 acres in 2009 and has been waiting for buyers ever since. The home has nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, including 11 full and five half ones. Parking garages accommodate five cars.

The brick front courtyard features an elaborate marble fountain with several sculptures, while the back of the home features multiple terraces, an outdoor fireplace and a swimming pool with an adjacent tiled whirlpool tub. The foyer contains a curving split staircase, inlaid marble flooring, a chandelier and columns. The grand salon includes a marble fireplace and numerous Palladian windows along with crystal chandeliers. The main kitchen includes two more chandeliers above two granite islands, while the second chef’s kitchen includes additional professional grade appliances. The lower level has a bar and fireplace.

“This is a very private property, surrounded by trees, so the person who buys this won’t be anyone flashy,” says Associate Broker Hamid Samiy of W.C. & A.N. Miller, a Long & Foster company. “The buyers will be people who want to live very quietly and privately.”

Samiy isn’t marketing this property heavily in the D.C. area, but focusing instead on reaching the international luxury home market through Christie’s, luxury magazines distributed in Europe and Asia and in the airport lounges of Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France. For more information, visit

Name that price

Polling data is the secret weapon of many political candidates. Now it’s being introduced into the real estate market as a tool to help sellers.

Redfin this month introduced in the Washington area a service it calls Price Whisperer, which surveys buyers about whether they’d be willing to pay the test price of a home that is scheduled to be listed. Price Whisperer allows potential sellers to get an idea of their home’s value, and buyers can get a preview of homes that might go on the market.

Homeowners enter their address and desired price on the site, then a Redfin agent contacts them to get photos to upload and finalizes the test price. The agent then e-mails as many as 250 active buyers and asks if they would pay the test price based on the photos — the exact address isn’t revealed to buyers. After two days, the agent provides a report to the homeowners that includes the number of buyers polled, the percentage that said yes, no or maybe to the test price and which buyers said they want to tour the home.

Redfin came up with the concept because of the fast pace of changes in home prices in many markets. Homeowners can decide if they want to sell their home after the report comes out and are under no obligation to list it with a Redfin agent. If the homeowners list with a Redfin agent, the buyers who expressed an interest in the property will be alerted.

Make your attic access more attractive

Little things can often have a big impact on how you feel about your house. For some, the attic access may be a point of contention, finding the sight of the dangling cord in their hallway, bedroom or closet a bit tacky.

Now someone has figured out a way to upgrade the cord.

Attic Ease” replaces the rope to your attic door with a brass or pewter pull ring. A solid oak “reach-hook” comes with the pull ring along with a storage hook that can be installed in a nearby closet. Grab the hook when you need to access your attic stairs, but the rest of the time you’ll only see a small metal ring instead of hunk of rope. The Attic Ease set retails for $23.95 at Home Depot.

Waterfront and affordable — not mutually exclusive

There’s at least one place in the Washington region where waterfront property isn’t necessarily out of reach for the bottom 99 percent — Cobb Island in Charles County.

Cobb Island, nestled at the confluence of the Potomac and Wicomico rivers, is about 45 miles from Washington, but feels as if it’s a world away. Popular past times are fishing, crabbing and pulling up oysters.

Real estate agent Reid Voss of Avery-Hess says he recently listed a Cape Cod-style cottage at 15407 Potomac River Drive for $435,000.

The cottage, which is on the Potomac with a new pier, has four bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a large eat-in kitchen and dining area overlooking the river. The dock has space to add two boat lifts and the property includes a fenced-in rear yard, two storage sheds and a thermostat that can be controlled remotely with a smart phone or Internet access.

Voss says the average waterfront property sells for about $400,000, with homes throughout the community ranging in price from $290,000 to $765,000 during the past few years. Some of the homes are original World War II era cottages, while others are newly remodeled custom homes.

Cobb Island remains relatively untouched by the influx of new residents and remains a quiet place for contemplating the water and riding bikes. The island has three marinas, four restaurants, a coffee shop/art gallery and a market.

Lerner is a freelance writer. To pass on a tip or news item, contact us at and put “Town Square” in the subject line.