Another Seller Lists Home in Virtual Currency

December 18, 2013

Could the use of the online currency bitcoins become a growing trend in real estate transactions? Another home seller is making news this week for listing his home using the virtual currency of bitcoins.

A seller in the Hamptons is asking $799,000 for a four-bedroom, ranch-style home that was first listed in October. But the seller, Philipp Preuss, says he’s now willing to accept the equivalent value in bitcoins.

Bitcoins are a digital currency that was introduced in 2009. It is not backed by a central bank or government. 

“There’s room for more than one currency,” says Preuss about the selling of his home. He says he’s willing to also accept a combination of bitcoin and cash. 

Earlier this week, former casino owner Jack Sommer said he’d be willing to accept bitcoins for his $7.85 million Las Vegas property.

Bitcoin prices fluctuate daily, so the bitcoin price likely would be determined by the average exchange rate on the day of closing, The Wall Street Journal reports. The fluctuation in prices can be wide, too: In the past year, bitcoin currency has ranged from $13 in January to $1,200 in late November. 

“There might be international buyers, or a younger computer whiz who came into a little bit of coin overnight,” says Preuss. “I’m expanding my buyer base.” 

Since a bank isn’t involved in the transaction, bitcoin transactions can have fewer fees than traditional bank transactions. 

Preuss says he had to explain to his real estate broker what the currency was. “Aside from what I hear on the news about it here and there, I didn’t know that much about bitcoin,” says Amadeus Ehrhardt of Brown Harris Stevens in Sag Harbor, N.Y. “But people are always interested to see what’s new and people like options.”

Source: “Hamptons Seller Tries a New Pitch: Buy My House in Bitcoin,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 17, 2013)

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