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Reagan Slept Here: President’s Dream Home Sells Fast and High

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan and their children at the their home, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
CBS Photo Archive | Getty Images
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan and their children at the their home, Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Source: Coldwell Banker
Source: Coldwell Banker

Just in time for Presidents' Day came word that the former home of Ronald Reagan is changing hands for the first time since the Gipper was in office. The house was just listed in December and after about two months on the market it sold for $5,211,000, more than $200,000 over the asking price.

The mid-century modern ranch home in Pacific Palisades became the home of pre-Presidential Ronald Reagan, then-host of General Electric Theater, in 1957. General Electric outfitted their actor spokesperson with a Showcase House, which included energy efficient technology to control the temperature and light both indoors and out. (GE is the former parent of NBC Universal and CNBC, but sold its stake in NBC this month.)

Reagan recalled the home in his autobiography, "An American Life": "My income from General Electric had enabled us to build a dream home overlooking the Pacific Ocean that GE stuffed with every imaginable electric gadget." Among those gadgets was a dishwasher, which Nancy Reagan told Architectural Digest was unusual for the time.

The Reagans lived in the house until they moved to the White House in 1981, and it sold in 1982. In fact, according to the Architectural Digest article it was in this house that the Reagans got the news that Ronald won the Presidential election, and got the phone call from Jimmy Carter to congratulate him and concede the election.

However, this house wasn't their primary residence the whole time. Once Reagan became governor in 1966, trips to the home were rare, according to an article in the Palisades Post.

The house has four bedrooms and four baths and is 4,764 square feet, and still looks much the same as it did during the Reagans' residence, including the plush carpet maintained by the current owners.

Whatever became of all that GE technology? The projection room (once in frequent use for showing home and studio movies) is now a storage closet, but the automatic light system still works, the seller Norman Switzer told the Palisades Post, although he's puzzled by the outdoor telephone box capable of handling 200 phone lines.

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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