By house standards, this was a low-key trip for a while in posh Westchester County, New York. Real estate agents were acting more like secret agents.
"We were under strict instructions not to reveal the name of the person who was coming in," said real estate agent Frances Eisner.
The Clintons looked at five houses, each more than a million dollars. One home hadn't even been for sale.
"I never did tell who the client was. They did not know the client until the client appeared at the house," said Eisner. "Everything was very secret...They were surprised. And very pleasantly."
Nancy Moboff was holding a surprise baby shower for her best friend Liz just across the street. Nancy ended up asking a female secret service agent to let the guest of honor through the blockade.
"I was very concerned that she would spill the beans. Then I realized she was a secret service agent and if she can't keep an secret, who can?" Moboff said.
Liz got past barriers and was surprised twice. First by seeing her friends, then by seeing her president.
"If he moved into the neighborhood, we'd be happy to have them over. Not for Liz's shower, certainly. But maybe for tea and cookies. Or maybe a Big Mac," Moboff said.
There are cynics who might ask if the Clintons can afford a million-plus house. After all, they're living at government expense now and have millions of dollars in legal bills.
But ex-presidents have done pretty well in the past. Financing probably won't be an issue. Mr. Clinton is fond of taking credit for the strong economy that has inflated real estate prices. Now he'll be able to put his money where his mouth is.
The locations, in order, were:
- Rye Brook. The 4.14-acre property, with a low stone wall and a tree-shaded drive, had a price of $2.295 million. The white house is described as having a heated pool and a picturesque bridge and brook.
- South Salem, a bit to the north but also near the Connecticut border.
- Mamaroneck, south and east, nearer Manhattan and Long Island Sound. The home was smaller than the first two.
- New Rochelle, even closer to New York City. The Clintons saw a salmon-pink home inside a gated yard on a corner lot. About 50 neighborhood residents, some with children and dogs in tow, applauded the Clintons. The first family responded by getting out and shaking hands.
- Edgemont, back north, to a seven-bedroom colonial house, priced at $1.7 million that Mrs. Clinton saw last week. This 12-room house, built in 1900, sits on three acres. For the golfing president, four courses are withn 1 1/2 miles.
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