Pistorius sells house for trial

2014-03-21 00:00

MURDER accused Olympic athlete

Oscar Pistorius’ hefty legal bill has forced him to sell his luxury home in the Silver Woods security estate in Pretoria sooner than he intended. “It is as a result of the unexpected extension of the trial,” reads a statement by Pistorius’ attorney Brian Webber.

The trial, which initially had been set down for three weeks, has been postponed until Monday after two and a half weeks. It will still continue for at least a few weeks because the state has yet to close its case. “Mr Pistorius has been paying for his own defence right from the start,” says Webber’s statement. “As a result of the delays in the completion of the trial, it has been decided to urgently sell his biggest sole asset.”

Pistorius has not yet been back at the house since he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp dead in the early morning hours of February 14 2013 – Valentine’s Day. “Mr Pistorius does not consider living there again,” reads the statement.

The authorities have returned the house to Pistorius more than a year ago but “a decision has been taken to keep the house sealed until after the trial. He has now been forced to reconsider the decision.”

Estate agent Ansie Louw of Ansie Louw Estates and wife of Ampie Louw, who had been Pistorius’ coach for many years, has sole mandate to sell the house. According to her the house will be sold in terms of a “closed bid process”.

“We have decided in conjunction with Oscar and the attorneys that this would be the best way to sell the house.”

The traditional way would not have been possible, says Louw. “You can imagine how inquisitive people will flood the house and circulate photographs.”

According to Louw there is not a reserve price “but my recommendation to the attorneys is that the house not be sold for less than R5 million. It is a luxury house with four bedrooms, four en-suite bathrooms, four living areas and a small swimming pool.”

She believes Pistorius will get a market related price despite the stigma which could possibly be attached to the house.

“I expect that we may attract overseas buyers… people who want to buy [it] as an investment.”

She admits that the events on February 14 may put certain buyers off, “but there are also people who will not be concerned about it. I am very hopeful that we will receive a good offer.”

Herschel Jawitz, executive head of Jawitz Properties, however feels the house will be sold at less than the market-related price as a result of the negative connotation. The media, which have reported across the world about the court case, have shown the blood trail throughout the house.

“People have seen the pictures and they know what had happened there. Every time you go into the bathroom you will remember that.”

Jawitz says in normal circumstances the prominence of an owner would increase the price of a house, but in this case the house was infamous, rather than well known.

“In the end it has to be remembered someone has been killed in a violent manner in that house,” he says. “It elicits certain feelings.

Jawitz does not however dispute that Pistorius will get a buyer but probably not at the price he was hoping for.

“I think the buyer will demolish the whole bedroom and bathroom and newly renovate it to dispose of the connotation attached to it.”

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