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Clintons Purchase N.Y. Home

After years of living in public housing, President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton have found a home of their own.

The Clintons have signed a contract to purchase a $1.7 million house in this quiet Westchester County hamlet. The decision, announced Thursday, ended a months-long guessing game over where the Clintons finally would put down their post-White House roots.

But the real value of the house is to Mrs. Clinton's potential Senate run, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick reports. She needed to establish New York residency before eletion day, and now she has.

The agreement to buy the house came as the Clintons were winding down a vacation that paired golf and relaxation with fund-raising events for Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party. The president is scheduled to return to the White House Friday afternoon.

The Clintons will close on the house Nov. 1, and a White House spokesman said they planned to spend plenty of time there -- a prospect that was greeted with a mixture of dread and delight by some of their neighbors-to-be.

"The Clintons will continue to live in the White House,'' Joe Lockhart said. "As with other presidents, this house will be their private home and they will spend as much time there as they can.''

Lockhart said the Clintons will borrow $1.3 million from Bankers Trust Co. to make the purchase. The loan will be guaranteed in part by Terry McAuliffe, the president's friend and one of his chief fund-raisers.

"I'm just proud that as of today, Bill Clinton and I are the newest homeowners of the state of New York,'' Mrs. Clinton said at a fund-raiser Thursday night in Syracuse.

The three-story house was built in 1889 and features a swimming pool, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and two fireplaces. The top floor contains an exercise room. The lot, just over an acre, is screened by evergreens at the end of a cul-de-sac.

At $1.7 million, the Clintons agreed to pay slightly more than the list price of $1.695 million for the house.

This should prove to be a relatively novel experience for the Clintons, who have lived in public housing for 18 of the past 20 years -- for 12 years when Clinton was governor of Arkansas and the past six as president.

Under terms of the mortgage, McAuliffe, a close friend of the president and his chief campaign fund-raiser, will put up $1.35 million of his own money as collateral. The Clintons will make a down payment of $350,000, drawing on money from the blind trust established at the start of their presidency.

The Clintons, who earned $504,109 last year, will pay about $26,000 a year in property taxes on their new residence - just slightly less than Mr. Clinton's $35,000 salary when he was Arkansas governor.

Chappaqua residents were of mixed minds about the new celebrity status sure to attach to this small community when the Clintons move to the house on Old House Lane.

" think the Clintons will bring a little bit of excitement,'' John Priscantelli, who said he lives about half a mile from the Clintons' future home. "I think it's going to add some charm.''

"It's a disaster,'' said Carol Thorsen, whose home is separated from the one the Clintons have picked by a wooded area. "This town is too small. This is going to destroy the intimacy of the town.''

Chappaqua, part of the town of New Castle, was originally settled by Quakers in the mid-1700s, said town historian Richard Neale. To this day, the hamlet is mostly residential and there are few multiple-family dwellings.

Neale said he thought the Clintons will like living in Chappaqua.

"The only problem is, is the site they picked big enough to handle the operation?'' he asked. "It's next to a main road, a handsome house but by no means a mansion.''

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