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Why Did Mary J. Blige’s Sell Her Saddle River Mansion After Five Years on the Market for a Nearly 50 Percent Loss?

R&B icon Mary J. Blige purchased a lavish mansion in Saddle River, New Jersey, in 2008 for a staggering $12 million. However, despite listing it for sale, the property remained on the market for five years before finally being sold, according to Hello! Magazine.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – MAY 14: Mary J Blige as Special Guest Judge for Strength of a Woman’s “Purpose Ball: Bridging the Gap” in Partnership with Mary J. Blige, Pepsi, and Live Nation Urban at The Bank on May 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Derek White/Getty Images for Strength Of A Woman Festival & Summit)

Blige purchased the home in 2008. This was during the subprime mortgage crisis was a financial crisis that occurred from 2007 to 2009, triggered by a collapse in the housing market, driven by the widespread issuance of risky mortgages (subprime mortgages) to borrowers with poor credit histories, Investopedia reported. As home prices peaked and then declined, many borrowers defaulted on their mortgages, leading to a surge in foreclosures and significant losses for banks and financial institutions that held mortgage-backed securities. While it unclear if Blige was affected by this, it was the period in which she bought the mansion.

Trouble Selling

What seems clear — she had difficulty selling her property. The extended sale period can be attributed to pricing challenges, although some outlets have reported that it was due to the home’s unflattering style. Initially listed at $13 million in 2015, the asking price was later reduced to $6.8 million by 2019. Despite the price adjustment, the 4-acre estate did not find a buyer until 2020.

Blige ultimately incurred a loss of approximately 43 percent of the initial purchase price. The home boasted eight bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, and various amenities like a gym, sauna, and a stunning in-ground pool.

During her first attempt at selling in 2015, Blige was weathering financial challenges, including tax liens, which likely made selling her mansion even more critical. According to court records obtained by NJ Advance Media at the time, she had a $900,000 tax lien from the state of New Jersey, which has since been cleared up. However, it was reported during that year that she had an outstanding $3.4 million federal tax lien.

Blige, in addition to facing financial burdens, also encountered the unfortunate circumstance of bad timing. New Jersey, a state known for its tax burdens on homeowners, was navigating through a roller coaster of a housing market.

In the 2010s, New Jersey’s housing market entered a slow recovery phase, according to Refin. Home prices began to rise gradually, offering opportunities for buyers to find good deals, particularly on foreclosed properties and short sales. However, tight inventory levels and increased competition among buyers made it challenging to secure desirable homes. Presumably, this could explain why Blige initially wanted $13 million. But she failed to get her asking price. While the reason is unclear, the home remained unsold.

The period from 2017 to 2020 marked a seller’s market in New Jersey, characterized by continued increases in home prices driven by strong demand and limited supply. By 2020, many areas of the state had surpassed their pre-recession peak home values. Sellers enjoyed advantageous positions, often receiving multiple offers and engaging in bidding wars for their properties. Still, Blige had to let go of the home at a discounted price ($6.8 million), even in a seller’s market.

The fact that Blige sold her property for $6.8 million could suggest several possibilities for why she sold it for much less. One reason could be that she was in urgent need of money, especially considering her divorce proceedings with her ex-husband Kendu Isaacs.

Blige was reportedly ordered to pay Isaacs $30,000 per month in alimony, with the “first check to Isaacs rang in somewhere in the ball-park of $235,000,” according to The Thing.

Additionally, aside from the monthly alimony payments, in 2020, Blige also owed the IRS $6.5 million in back taxes from the property for more than eight years.

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