Napa County is known for its premium wines—and premium housing. Which makes it an unlikely candidate for one of real estate’s most ignominious titles.
We usually don’t see grand, French-inspired estates in Northern California falling into the hands of creditors, but Villa Vigne is the exception. The nearly 40-acre spread is on the market in Saint Helena for $5.5 million—making it the most expensive foreclosure in the country.
Even though the home’s been repossessed, the views remain.
“You have a 180-degree view in the center of Napa Valley,” says listing agent Julie Larsen. “All you see is the valley and vineyards below.”
And the location is without parallel: It’s on one of “the most expensive roads in Napa Valley,” according to Larsen. The land alone is worth about $5 million, but the house will require repairs.
“It’s in original condition and 20 years old,” Larsen says. “It’s in need of updating to today’s standards.” The agent updated the exterior paint and cleaned up the landscaping to boost its curb appeal.
The main level features five en suite bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, along with a host of luxe amenities, including a fitness center with steam room, an outdoor kitchen gazebo, an infinity pool and spa, two laundry rooms, and a gated entry.
And there’s those views. “Almost every room in the house has a phenomenal view,” Larsen notes.
But for all that beauty, there was trouble in paradise. How a beautiful home in an ideal location became tangled up in foreclosure isn’t entirely clear. We do know the broad strokes behind the home’s ownership.
About 20 years ago, a developer from the Lake Tahoe area named Nathan L. Topol paid $1 million for the parcel and built this home, which was completed in 2000. Larsen believes it was designed as a secondary property, and at one point the home was available as a vacation rental.
The owner died in a car accident in 2013, and it’s not clear if the money troubles came before or after his death. Either way, the home was foreclosed in September last year and is now for sale by the bank.
If you think bank ownership means you can make a lowball offer to score a deal, don’t get your hopes up. Larsen notes that both she and the bank carefully researched the right price for the property.
“They are not into the idea of giving properties away,” she says.
The home is being sold as is, and is probably in need of at least $500,000 in repairs, the agent estimates. The high-end kitchen appliances, such as a Viking range and wine fridge, were all removed as part of the foreclosure and would need to be replaced. It’s currently priced with a renovation in mind, according to the agent.
The right offer will likely appreciate the property’s potential and spectacular setting.
“Someone could come in and make it one of the most magnificent properties around,” Larsen says. “I think with the view you can’t go wrong.”
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