June 15, 2021

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Melinda Gates bought $1.2 million Craftsman in Portage Bay neighborhood before announcing divorce – The Seattle Times

2 min read

Even Melinda French Gates has to compete in Seattle’s hot real estate market.

Gates paid about $1.2 million for a beige four-bedroom craftsman in Portage Bay neighborhood last month, about three weeks before she and Bill Gates filed for divorce. 

The home drew competing offers and sold for over its list price.

Bill and Melinda Gates announced this week they plan to divorce, setting off questions about how they will split their estimated $146 billion and what will happen to their $131 million complex in Medina known as Xanadu 2.0. The couple also owns three homes in California, a horse farm of more than 200,000 acres and other properties.

Before the announcement, Melinda Gates was making moves to buy the new Seattle home. A deed of trust for the Portage Bay house was filed April 9, according to county property records. The house was listed in late March, according to online listing sites. Business Insider first reported that Melinda Gates bought the house. 

Multiple buyers were angling for the roughly 2,900-square-foot house, which boasts a stone fireplace, newly refinished hardwood floors and back deck.

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“There was some interest. You know how this market is,” said Jason Hansen, the RE/MAX broker who listed the home, declining to share further details. (Hansen said he didn’t know Gates was the buyer.)

“It was very competitive,” said buyer’s agent Windermere broker Aaron De Nunzio, who declined to confirm or deny Gates was his client.

With a flood of buyers and limited supply, the Seattle-area housing market has been red-hot over the last year, pushing buyers to offer more cash, engage in bidding wars and waive protections like their right to inspect a home before buying it. 

The buyer submitted an early offer, the brokers said, and paid $125,000 over the home’s $1.075 million list price, according to online listing sites.

The home last sold in 2008 for $650,000.

De Nunzio said the offer competed against others, though he and Hansen declined to say how many.

“Just like any other offer I’ve written, we structure the offer to make sure they stand out,” De Nunzio said. 

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Winning the house, he said, “had nothing to do with the name.”

“Every offer I’ve written for anybody has to be very competitive with as few contingencies as possible to stand out to the seller. It doesn’t matter who the person is on the other side,” De Nunzio said.

Gates’ finances probably didn’t hurt, though: If the couple opted to split their wealth equally, Forbes estimates Melinda Gates would be worth about $65.25 billion. (It’s not clear how they’ll divide the fortune.)

If Gates moved to Portage Bay, she would be represented on the Seattle City Council by socialist Kshama Sawant.

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