10 Bargain Mansions Worth Bidding On

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- How's that "what the market will bear" approach to real estate treating you now, rich folks?

The high end of the housing market wasn't immune from the crisis that left properties lingering on the market and sent home values plummeting. The market's recovered in some areas and mansions are moving again, but some sellers are still stuck with big, expensive homes. The price tags on some of those leftover behemoths look more like an early 2000s Cristal-fueled dream than the pragmatic reality of a post-crisis hangover.
Mansion
Withering prices are forcing some sellers to part with their wine cellars and stables at a discount.

We combed the listings and found 10 sprawling estates that are selling for a fraction of their original asking price. Price tags above $10 million shrink the buyer base somewhat, but withering prices are forcing eager sellers to swallow some pride and part with their wine cellars and stables at a discount:

Santa Barbara, Calif.
Size: 13,875 square feet, five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms
Original price: $35 million
Current price: $15.9 million

This home built in 2010 and owned by architect Steve Hermann has a wine room that holds several thousand bottles and an art gallery with enough room for Hermann's car collection. The problem? The modern building is known as the Glass Pavillion and has floor-to-ceiling windows on nearly all sides. That includes the bathroom, where the showers face directly onto the lawn. It takes a lot of gym work and confidence to even consider this place.

Detroit, Mich.
Size: 9,638 square feet, 11 bedrooms, seven bathrooms
Original price: $1.5 million
Current price: $440,000

Sitting on a 1.4-acre lot in the Boston Edison neighborhood Henry Ford once called home, Stone Hedge has a room just for linens, a two-part kitchen, an elevator, a solarium and a cold closet for fur coats, servants quarters, a coach house and stained-glass windows throughout. What it doesn't have is a buyer who wants to spend even that much on property in a city with a median home price of $54,000.

Sands Point, N.Y.
Size: Nine bedrooms, six bathrooms
Original price: $37 million
Current price: $18.8 million

On the north shore of Eastern Long Island just a quick hop from New York City, this 1941-vintage Colonial manse has a three-car garage that looks more like a carriage house, a partial skyline view from the coast, a kitchen and library looking onto Long Island Sound. There are larger houses with smaller price tags, but few with this one's sprawling property and proximity to the city.

Snowmass, Colo.
Size: 12,000 square feet, nine bedrooms, six full and two half baths
Original price: $25 million
Current price: $20 million

You'd think a place with its own 7,000-square-foot equestrian facility and barn would have some appeal, but this 56-acre ranch hasn't found much traction since hitting the market last summer. Its guest houses and caretaker apartments, 1886 settler's cabin and auto showroom were enough to lure Michael Jackson here as a guest in 2004, but even the promise of $125,000 a month in vacation rental income hasn't swayed frugal investors.

Montecito, Calif
Size: Seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms on seven acres
Original price: $28 million
Current price: $19.5 million

J. Paul Getty had dreams that looked like this estate. Its three gated entrances lead into a hillside property with views of the valley and Pacific coast. Alcoves and terazzas along the main villa look out onto the palm- and garden-lined swimming pool as the property slopes down toward a guest house, tennis courts and Japanese garden.

Greenwich, Conn.
Size: 12,000 square feet, seven bedrooms, six bathrooms
Original price: $18 million
Current price: $12.8 million

If you're going to collect art, you may as well display it correctly instead of using it as expensive decor. This Georgian mansion was built for just that purpose and features multiple galleries and lots of great natural light. The lofty galleries are a modern flourish on the building's original 1942 design, but are an excellent complement to the compound's theater, pool, tennis courts, waterfall and private lake.

Lake Tahoe, Nev.
Size: 38,000 square feet, nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms
Original price: $100 million
Current price: $75 million

There's no "bargain" in a $75 million house, but 25% off is still a discount. Tommy Hilfiger co-founder Joel Horowitz and his wife Ann built the house in the late 1990s and originally put it on the market in 2006. Much of the financial folly that followed led them to cut the price, but buyers still get a cigar lounge based on the one at New York's St. Regis Hotel, a dining room with 300-year-old French plank floors, a private lake, a studio/conservatory, marble floors modeled after those at the New York public library, a 16-car garage, two par-three golf holes, a private lake and seven other buildings to do with as you wish. In society's higher echelons, that's considered a steal.

Nacasio, Calif.
Size: 7,200 square feet, five bedrooms, seven bathrooms
Original price: $4 million
Current price: $3.595 million

This is about the least-discounted mansion on our list, but it has one big draw the others don't: Jerry Garcia owned it last. The late Grateful Dead frontman left behind an immense family room complete with wood-burning fireplace, entertainment center with eight-by-10-foot movie screen and bar; a 73,000-gallon swimming pool; a master suite with a sauna; organic gardens; and views of Mount Tamalpais and the Pacific Ocean. For a guy who led a group of folks who had no problem sleeping in vans or under bridges just to hear him play, Garcia left behind a pretty cushy legacy for his home's next owner.

Weston, Mass.
Size: 13,552 square feet, seven bedrooms, eight and a half bathrooms
Original price: $13 million
Current price: $7.3 million

Built in 1994, this European-inspired manor is on a private cul-de-sac in one of New England's most exclusive towns. Tha hasn't helped move this palace, though, as the two-story rotunda entry hall with limestone steps, decorative pillars, a mahogany library, fireplaces, stone terrace, a pool, hot tub and tennis court on 3.75 acres have gone unclaimed after about two and a half years on the market.

Aspen, Colo.
Size: 7,930 square feet, five bedrooms, eight bathrooms
Original price: $17 million
Current price: $15 million

On a hilltop overlooking Aspen, this mountain palace built in 2006 had a great view of the housing crisis and financial downturn. It's been for sale since 2009 and despite its multiple fireplaces, billiard room with full bar and panoramic views of the Rockies from just about every room in the house, this house hasn't moved. Maybe buyers are looking for a little more than the acre of property surrounding it.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

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