'At $5 million, it's quite a steal'

    One homeowner's foreclosure is another buyer's incredible opportunity.

    A Kirkland mansion on Holmes Point. Dr. NE has 24-foot ceilings dripping with chandeliers, a 10,000 square foot Mediterranean masterpiece with a master bedroom overlooking the lake and pool.

    And it's for sale. Asking price? $5 million.

    "At $5 million, it's quite a steal," said realtor Bill Vipond.

    Ouch, you say? Well, you should have seen the listing price before.

    "It was up on MLS (real estate listing service) for $16.1 million, $9 million, $6 million; all over the place," Vipond said.

    The first owner was a builder who county records show wound up owing Washington Mutual $5.75 million. The bank foreclosed the lakefront lot.

    Rodger May swooped in a bought it for $2.6 million -- a loss of more than $3 million to the bank, but a steal for new owner.

    "It was one of those deals that was hard to walk away from," May said.

    Vipond says the guilded age is over.

    "And there are opportunities and the buyer is an opportunist and bought it all cash," he said.

    From a pool table room to a secret stairwell down to the private theater where you can kick back by a big screen, if the owners flip the mansion for double their buying price, they can pop a cork in wine cellar to celebrate.

    "There are still wealthy people buying jets and buying houses," Vipond said. "Because of the recession there are houses that were once $10 million that you can now get at a reasonable price."

    When bank-seized properties don't sell they push down home prices and limit what lenders will loan new buyers.

    "I think it's resetting real estate market, and taking prices back down to more normal," Vipond said. "There was too much money chasing too few deals, the banks were making credit too easy, money was too cheap."

    Why doesn't May just want to live there? They just have two daughters and they feel it's too much home.

    But the home will be used while it's empty. Rapper BD, a friend of Snoop Dog's, plans to do a music video inside the home sometime in the next week once he finishes casting.

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