It’s always about who you know in real estate.
Joyce Rey, luxury agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International, let it be known that she would be interested in marketing a property outside Santa Barbara — formerly called Neverland Ranch, now known as Sycamore Valley Ranch — and it became hers to sell.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” she said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am.”
“I have been responsible for selling some of the most expensive property in the U.S and had had a number of successful transactions with the people involved,” she added.
The 4-square-mile, 2,700-acre property — complete with French Normandy manor — is owned jointly between pop star Michael Jackson’s estate and Colony Capital.
The owners have been happy to take Rey’s advice on pricing, agreeing to slash the former asking price by close to a third to $67 million. It has sat on the market since 2015 with an asking price of $100 million.
Though doing “comps” on an unusual property like this, with its four-acre lake, is not easy, Rey pointed out that a nearby piece of vacant land — half the size of Sycamore Valley Ranch, with no structures on it — sold at the bottom of the market in 2010 for $40 million, so she is confident that $67 million will attract buyers.
The main residence, surrounded by 50 maintained acres, includes 18th-century French oak parquet flooring from two chateaus in France and was designed by architect Robert Altevers in 1982. It also includes a 50-seater cinema and dance studio as well as a large guesthouse and barn.
“It still has its original personality,” said Rey, who visited the property before Michael Jackson bought it in 1987. “As far as you can see, you own,” she added.
The agent said she realized that big properties like these can take time to sell, but she would like to change that.
What has she done as far as marketing? The fact that a number of news stories have been written about the new price tag and the new listing agent has helped already.
“Because of the fame of the property, the initial marketing has been done for me,” said the luxury agent.
Rey also said she would be reaching out to the Coldwell Banker network to help draw attention to the property. She is expecting strong international interest and is already fielding inquiries thanks to this week’s media coverage.