As far as beach houses go, it’s rather ordinary. It’s not directly on the beach, but perched above, with views of Admiralty Bay captured between evergreens. Measuring just 1,144 square feet, it’s charming but not something expected to be owned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose net worth spans nine digits. Ballmer announced Friday that he would retire from the tech giant in 12 months.
But if the house is just one of 10 view properties, it makes a little more sense. Ballmer and his wife, Connie Ballmer, began purchasing property on Whidbey Island, Wash. in 2005. Some of the parcels near Coupeville have houses on them, but the majority are empty — the biggest parcel measures around 10 acres.
All of the properties lie close together, creating a sizable compound on the bluff above the beach, except for the small, previously mentioned beach cabin, which is separated by another parcel from the Ballmer estate. Initially the Ballmers may have had plans for rehabbing or tearing down the small residence, but they have clearly gone in a different direction and decided instead to list the 1965-built home for $189,500. According to property records, the little house has already sold for $20,000 less than the asking price at $169,500. The home has 3 bedrooms, a rear, water-facing deck, a sizable front lawn and access to a community pool and tennis court.
Ballmer’s compound was in the news earlier this spring, when an enormous landslide decimated part of the island, near his estate. Although his property wasn’t affected, the slide destroyed one home and damaged four others, and reports estimate it will be two years before the area is “back to normal.”
Whidbey Island is an hour and a half from Seattle and requires a ferry ride. Ballmer’s primary residence is a large home in Hunt’s Point, across Lake Washington from Seattle. The house has a estimated value of $10 million.
Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here.