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    16-room mansion being sold at auction

    After unsuccessfully trying to sell his family’s Marblehead home for $4.95 million, Daniel Watkins has decided to solicit bids for the seven-bedroom oceanside property.
    After unsuccessfully trying to sell his family’s Marblehead home for $4.95 million, Daniel Watkins has decided to solicit bids for the seven-bedroom oceanside property.

    Seduced by the majestic beauty and lyrical rhythm of ocean waves gently lapping against the craggy shoreline of his historic Marblehead property, Daniel Watkins has decided to take his family on a nomadic adventure.

    The 44-year-old, together with his wife and two children, is hoping to spend the next few years sailing around the world. But before the family can pack their bags and bid adieu to the North Shore they must sell their home, which dates to the 1890s.

    Situated on a peninsula overlooking Doliber Cove, the three-story, seven-bedroom house features period details and classic craftsmanship. Every one of the 16 rooms has sweeping ocean views. There is also an outdoor pool and patio, and a private dock.


    After testing the market unsuccessfully with an asking price of $4.95 million, Watkins has decided to embrace an unconventional sales method. This time around, he is soliciting bids. The reserve, or minimum, price for the sprawling home is now $3.35 million.

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    “It’s been a wonderful place for our family to be,” said Watkins, who made his money in the software industry. “The kids have loved it, but it’s time to give another family an opportunity to love it.”

    The waterfront home, at 45 Beacon St., is being marketed by, a division of Accelerated Marketing Partners LLC, a real estate marketing firm headquartered in Boston.

    Prospective buyers must submit a fully executed purchase and sale agreement, along with a $50,000 deposit, to Susan Noble of William Raveis, the seller’s agent, or New England Accelerated Home Sales by 5 p.m. July 23. All bids will remain sealed until the deadline. Watkins will have until 5 p.m. July 30 to accept a bid.

    The billiards room at 45 Beacon St., Marblehead.

    “We’re hopeful this process will generate a lot of interest and motivate buyers,” said Watkins, who purchased the property for just over $4.7 million in June 2007. “We’re giving them an opportunity to set the price.”


    A recent report published by the Warren Group, which tracks housing data throughout the state, shows the Massachusetts housing market is making steady gains. A total of 4,820 single-family homes sold in May — the highest number of May sales since 2006 — despite price increases. Still, the luxury market — houses that command a closing price of $2 million or more — are often more difficult to sell because the pool of prospective buyers is much smaller. In that category, there were 41 sales in Massachusetts in May, up from 35 last year.

    A view of the living room.

    The low interest rates on home loans have “driven a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for buyers in every category, said Jon Gollinger, founder and chief executive officer of Accelerated Marketing Partners. And late June’s sharp interest rate jumps — including the biggest one-week leap in 26 years — are not expected to stymie sales, particularly of high-end homes, he said, because “the rates are still historically low. In the luxury market, I think it’s more of a yawn.”

    Gollinger thinks higher interest rates may even be good news for sellers like Watkins, driving people into the market amid fears they may go higher.

    Accelerated Sales has analyzed the market and assessed Watkins’s home to establish a realistic expectation of price. The reserve price, Gollinger noted, is meant to entice prospective buyers and create a competitive market for the property. The sales strategy, introduced by the company two years ago, has helped to move high-end properties throughout Greater Boston, most notably in the region’s affluent western suburbs such as Wellesley, Newton, and Weston.

    The rear of 45 Beacon St. features a pool.

    On the North Shore, Accelerated Sales last June successfully marketed a five-bedroom Gloucester home with sweeping ocean views and a private white, sandy beach. The home’s reserve price of $2.85 million attracted three bids. Ultimately, the half-acre property sold for $2.75 million because water had infiltrated the home.


    Watkins hopes the sales strategy will attract the right buyer. But if the deadline passes without an acceptable offer, his family will happily remain moored in Marblehead.

    “We’ll just stay,” Watkins said. “It’s a beautiful place and we’re happy there.”

    Brenda J. Buote may be reached at