After nearly four years on the market, Edward and Obby Tapley have had enough with all the showings of their 21-acre estate in Stonington — and no buyer signing a sales contract.
So, the couple have turned the tables on the market: the property goes up for auction next week.
“The market, we feel, is soft in southeastern Connecticut,” Obby Tapley told me. “We were ready to take charge and move on.”
In the recent downturn, auctions have become common in Connecticut for homes in foreclosure. But for the luxury home market, where properties typically take a year and often longer to sell, auctions also are becoming an option for frustrated sellers.
So far, the luxury home auctions remain a relative rarity in Connecticut and haven’t been seen in Greater Hartford, despite slow sales of higher-end homes in the area.
But Concierge Auctions, which is handling the Tapley’s auction, sold “Cove House” — a 7,000-square-foot, French-Norman-style estate on two acres in Darien — for $8 million at auction. The original asking price was $12 million.
“Sellers are seeing it as an alternative to the traditional brokerage,” Laura Brady, president of Concierge Auctions, told me. “They can move on the time frame that they prefer.”
But they also might not get the price they originally asking, as was the case with Cove House.
Celebrities are starting to go the auction route as well: Michael Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls star, is auctioning “Legend Point, his 56,000-square foot home where he has lived for 20 years. Jordan originally listed the property, including a full-size, regulation basketball court, for $29 million in February, 2012, but lowered the asking price by $8 million last year, the Washington Post reported.
The Tapleys purchased “Crossover Estate” in 2007 for $2.5 million. In less than a year, the Tapleys, listed in state records as principals in Tapley Investment Co., made the unforeseen decision to move to Georgia, where they now live.
The couple originally listed the property at $4 million, but the most recent asking price was $2.25 million. The auction, to be held Oct. 29, does not set a minimum bid, a sign of just how much the Tapleys want to sell the property.
“It’s more property than we need for a summer place in Stonington,” Obby Tapley said.
The estate boasts two houses, including a 4,800-square-foot main residence with four bedrooms, three full baths and two, half baths. A second, 1,300-square-foot house features three bedrooms, one full bath and one half bath.
The grounds include a pool house with large kitchenette, dining area, exercise room, sauna and living room with cathedral ceilings.
Surrounded by 100-foot trees,the grounds are landscaped and border on a saltwater estuary that leads to nearby Stonington Harbor.
“One of the features that really struck us is the incredible privacy,” Obby Tapley said. “And it’s only one mile to Stonington borough. It’s unusual.”