Minnesota’s Most Expensive Home Is a $15M Mansion on a Private Island

Listed for $15 million, this magnificent Minnesota mansion sits alone on a 1.37-acre spit of land that juts out into St. Alban’s Bay.

The post Minnesota’s Most Expensive Home Is a $15M Mansion on a Private Island appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

A magnificent Minnesota mansion surrounded by water is the state’s most expensive listing. Listed for $15 million, the enormous residence sits alone on a 1.37-acre spit of land that juts out into St. Alban’s Bay.

Known as Windermere, the estate in Greenwood, MN, offers water views from almost every vantage point and is on the market for the first time as a completed estate.

Access to the 13,949-square-foot home is over a private bridge. Once on the island, visitors wind up in a large motor court, while the owners can make their way through a tunnel and directly into an eight-car garage that features an automatic car wash.

Aerial view of mansion in Greenwood, MN

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Entry

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Bedroom

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Master bathroom

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Master bathroom

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Closet

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Bedroom

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A color palette heavy on black, white, and gold gives the interior the vibe of a high-end nightclub. But the space itself is far from dark and foreboding—thanks to an enormous glass-enclosed atrium, which floods the space with natural light.

In addition to the enormous atrium, the entryway features several dramatic staircases and balconies overhead.

A large glass elevator, designed to shuttle guests between the home’s four levels, is located next to a grand spiral staircase.

Elevator

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Elevator

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Atrium

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Atrium

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A huge kitchen, with two large islands, is a vision in white, with twinkling chandeliers hanging overhead. An adjacent dining area features bold geometric wallpaper and space to host a crowd.

The home’s five bedrooms are all uniformly huge and hew to the home’s black-and-white color palette. The master bathroom has intricately patterned tile flooring, and a large soaker tub sits in the middle of the space. A boutiquelike master closet space offers ample room to display an entire wardrobe and any opulent accessories on hand.

When it’s time to relax, you can try out the 12-person movie theater with a lounge in the back, a card room, and the wine room.

Dining area

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Kitchen

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Kitchen

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Kitchen and dining area

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Theater

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Theater

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An indoor grotto area is another perfect place to unwind. Next to the indoor soaking area is a spalike facility with a sauna and locker room.

Out back, there’s a huge, heated infinity-edge pool next to the domed poolhouse. A boat slip provides access to all types of water sports.

Gym

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Grotto

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Entry to grotto

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Completion of the grand mansion was almost two decades in the making.

The disgraced former water park and hotel developer Jeffrey Wirth owned the land and began construction in 2003.

Construction came to a halt in 2006, and the project sat partially finished for years, as weeds and neglect overtook the property.

Wirth pleaded guilty in a conspiracy to commit tax fraud in May 2012. He was sentenced to 53 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $6.45 million in restitution.

According to published reports, prosecutors called his case one of the largest tax fraud conspiracies in Minnesota history.

The restaurant owner Kam Talebi bought the property in 2013, for what public records say was just more than a million dollars, and set out to finish building what Wirth started.

Jessica Prudden with Prudden & Company is the listing agent. The listing simply calls the estate “magical.”

Exterior and pool

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Outdoor space

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Bedroom

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Living space

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Living space

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Living space

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Living space

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Den

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Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’

This week we chat about how to rent a pool this summer, Iggy Azalea’s feud with her neighbor, the HGTV show “The Laundry Guy,” and more.

The post Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

House Party” is the official Realtor.com® podcast about the overlapping worlds of real estate and pop culture, hosted by Natalie Way and Rachel Stults. Click the player above to hear our take on this week’s hot topics.

It’s summer and that means we’re all craving some pool time. With the current heat wave in the West, where temperatures are creeping up into the triple digits, jumping into a pool—any pool—sounds like heaven on earth. But what are those of us who don’t own a pool to do?

One solution is Swimply, the app that allows you to rent a pool in your area. We’ve been privy to Swimply for a few summers, but with so many lingering questions (Do the pool hosts have insurance? Are the pool hosts home while you’re taking a dip? Where do you go to the bathroom?), we were hesitant to take the plunge and rent a pool. This week, though, we welcomed Swimply co-founder and COO Asher Weinberger to “House Party” to answer all our questions and give us the scoop on how Swimply came to be, the impact it could have on homebuying, and some of the craziest uses for Swimply to date.

Other topics we discuss:

  • Iggy Azalea‘s hilarious (and petty) feud with her new suburban neighbors
  • “The Laundry Guy,” a new show on the Discovery+ streaming network, aims to answer all your burning laundry questions. We recap the first episode and offer our spin. (Sorry, we had to.)
  • And, as always, our celebrity real estate winner and loser of the week

Want more “House Party”? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please: Throw us a five-star rating if you like what you hear. The more good ratings and reviews we have, the easier it is for people to find us.

Want to chime in? Have your own crazy home-related story you’re dying to share? We’re all ears, eagerly waiting to discuss all of your burning real estate questions on “The Mailbox” segment. Email us at podcast@realtor.com, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, or tweet us @housepartypod on Twitter.

The post Would You Rent a Stranger’s Pool To Beat the Heat? Plus, Our Spin on HGTV’s ‘The Laundry Guy’ appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans

Relaxed student-debt calculation will likely qualify more Black and Hispanic buyers for federal government-backed loans.

The post HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

WASHINGTON—The Federal Housing Administration is relaxing the way it assesses student-loan debt when weighing eligibility for homebuying assistance as the Biden administration pushes to help lower-income borrowers and narrow a racial gap in homeownership.

The changes, which were presented in a letter to lenders late Thursday, are intended to allow more borrowers to qualify for loans backed by the FHA, a unit of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that provides insurance on mortgages to first-time and lower-income home buyers.

Prospective home buyers who qualify for FHA help typically have lower credit scores than individuals with other government-backed loans—such as those guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—and they are disproportionately Black and Hispanic, according to data collected by federal regulators. The surge in student debt over the past two decades has coincided with historically low homeownership rates among younger households. Some researchers say the phenomena are linked.

Relaxing the way it factors in student debt will bring the FHA more in line with other government-backed mortgage programs, such as Fannie and Freddie, which also eased their criteria in recent years. The Biden administration is proposing more down-payment assistance for Black homeownership and taking a number of other measures to fulfill a pledge to address racial equity in housing.

“This new policy will make a big difference for individuals throughout our nation and is another step in our mandate to promote equity and opportunity for homeownership,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in a statement. Ms. Fudge is expected to discuss the changes at a Black homeownership event in Cleveland on Friday.

Before Thursday’s changes, the FHA program assumed that many borrowers were making monthly payments equal to 1% of their unpaid student-loan balances. Industry groups and consumer advocates say that method tended to inflate a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio and disqualify otherwise creditworthy borrowers from FHA loans.

Under the new policy, FHA will abandon the 1% assumption in favor of a calculation that better reflects what borrowers actually pay monthly. The changes are a victory for such groups as the Mortgage Bankers Association, which say the existing policy has imposed undue roadblocks on home buyers.

Alfreda Williams, a senior homeownership adviser at HomeFree-USA, a mortgage counselor in Riverdale, Md., said many people with solid incomes were disqualified from FHA loans because of the way their student loans are currently calculated.

“It is truly an issue now for a lot of people and especially people of color,” Ms. Williams said. Minorities, she said, disproportionately have past credit issues that can make it more difficult for them to qualify for conventional financing.

Deitric Selvage, who manages research grants and contracts for a consulting firm and who is looking for a home in suburban Maryland, is among those harmed by the way his student debt is calculated. With more than $200,000 in student debt, Mr. Selvage said he was disqualified for an FHA loan because the program assumed he pays about $2,000 a month in student-debt repayments, far more than the roughly $370 he actually pays.

Mr. Selvage, 39 years old, said he found a lender that would preapprove him for a conventional loan, but only through a process that would oblige him to forgo down-payment assistance for first-time home buyers. As a result, he would have to wipe out nearly all of his savings on a down payment.

“It would mean going into a house without any financial cushion,” he said.

How many FHA borrowers with high student-loan balances will ultimately have an easier time buying a home under the new changes isn’t clear; HUD didn’t have an estimate in its lender letter. The effects are also likely to be damped in the short run by the red-hot housing market. Many homes are getting multiple offers and selling above their list prices. FHA borrowers typically find it difficult to compete in such a frenzied market because often they are competing against cash buyers not requiring financing, whom sellers are more likely to pick.

Thursday’s changes will better factor in borrowers who have over the past decade taken advantage of expanded options for student-debt repayment that tie monthly payments to their incomes. These options, known as “income-driven” repayment, typically set monthly payments at 10% of “discretionary income”—which is based on a formula that includes adjusted gross income—and then spread payments over 20 or 25 years, depending on the size of the balance. After that time, the government cancels the remaining balance.

Enrollment in income-driven student loan repayment plans has soared as many borrowers—particularly those who attended graduate school—take on higher and higher balances.

For some borrowers, their monthly payments under the income-driven plan are too small to cover interest charges, let alone principal. HUD, an agency official said, expects its new formula to look more favorably on these lower monthly student-loan payments.

The changes should give recent graduates “burdened with significant debt loads” a better opportunity to buy a home, said David Stevens, who headed the FHA during the Obama administration.

The post HUD Aims to Boost Homeownership for Buyers With High Student Loans appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

DoorDash’s ‘Soul of the City’ Traces the Emotional Return of New York City’s Restaurants

The energy that consumes DoorDash’s Tribeca premiere at The Standard Biergarten in New York aligns with that of the short film the event honors: communal. Hopeful. Vibrant. As the crowd awaits the premiere of “Soul of the City,” the delivery service’s follow-up to its 2020’s “Southside Magnolia,” there’s an air of excitement for both the…
The energy that consumes DoorDash’s Tribeca premiere at The Standard Biergarten in New York aligns with that of the short film the event honors: communal. Hopeful. Vibrant. As the crowd awaits the premiere of “Soul of the City,” the delivery service’s follow-up to its 2020’s “Southside Magnolia,” there’s an air of excitement for both the…

Landmark retail rent ruling could have ‘dramatic’ implications

A judge has ruled that annual rent for a retail unit in Central London should be less than half of what it was in 2011, setting a commercial precedent that could have a significant impact on rents in the prime West End retail market.
A judge has ruled that annual rent for a retail unit in Central London should be less than half of what it was in 2011, setting a commercial precedent that could have a significant impact on rents in the prime West End retail market.