President Trump has inhabited massive penthouses, elaborate mansions, and resided at one of the world's most famous addresses, but his first home happens to have been built by his father, developer Fred Trump, around 1940.
President Trump lived in the home until he was four years old and the family moved into a much larger house. The Tudor-style four-bedroom home has only been sold four times in 33 years according to realtor.com, and its provenance was mostly under the radar until the Trump presidency. Once Trump ascended to the highest office in the country, it transacted twice and it could be headed for a third sale. A Go Fund Me campaign started several weeks ago is seeking $3 million to buy the property in President Trump's honor as a thank you for his time in office. So far it has raised less than $7,000.
The owner of the property currently is a bit of a mystery. In 2017 it was sold to an LLC known as Trump Birth House and is believed to be tied to Chinese owners. At that time, it sold for $2.14 million, a big jump from the $1.35 million it fetched in 2016. It was also listed on Airbnb for a whopping $725 a night back in 2017 as the new owners sought to capitalize on the president's fame.
The company behind that sale, Paramount Realty Auctions, is the company that created the Go Fund Me listing. It also has the home listed on its auction website with a deadline of January 20 for a sealed bid auction. The current owners hired Paramount to sell the house again. The home was listed for $2.9 million in February 2019. A recent estimate from realtor.com's automated valuation model puts it at just $1.125 million.
A popular strategy
Even before the pandemic, raising funds on Go Fund Me and other crowdfunding platforms was common. Last year, over $60,000 was gathered for the restoration of iconic singer Nina Simone's childhood home.
Due to the economic pressures of COVID-19, more individuals have created funds to help save family homes. There have also been multiple fundraisers to save small businesses and legendary favorite restaurants. A Go Fund Me listing raising money to save Atlanta's Colonnade restaurant has raised over $40,000 in just a couple of days.
Auctions are often used to sell high-profile properties that haven't been sold by traditional methods. Villa Firenze, a luxury megamansion in Beverly Hills, California that was once listed at $165 million is set to be auctioned off on February 2, 2021. Depending on the price it fetches, it could become the most expensive residential property ever sold at auction. However, a splashy global auction doesn't always work. The same company that is auctioning off Villa Firenze also tried to auction off Michael Jordan's Chicago area home in 2013 with a minimum bid of $13 million. It wasn't sold, and the 56,000-square-foot estate is still on the market for 14.9 million years later.
Making the most of a name
Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. The value of his brand as a real estate developer has always been part of his business. While other developers may go through an elaborate process to find the perfect evocative name for their properties, Trump used the power of his own name. That name has lost some of its cachet in recent years as owners in some of the condo buildings to which he licensed his name have asked to have his name removed.
It's unclear what Trump's path in commercial real estate will be post-election, but it's likely that he will continue to trade on the value of his fame. The Trump Organization is expected to pursue a variety of Trump-branded projects overseas, including in India.
Here in the U.S., another auction that carries the Trump name is also getting buzz. Atlantic City is offering up the chance to implode the former Trump Plaza for charity. The auction benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City and has raised over $53,000 so far.