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Clintons continue search for new Washington home

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Diane Shearin says her Washington home was at the top of Hillary Clinton's list of potential new homes in Washington.

House
This four-bedroom, five-bath house was under consideration by the Clintons  

For about a month, the new senator talked with Shearin's real estate agent about renting the four-bedroom, five-bath house. Then, last Friday, came a surprise offer from the Clintons: They would buy the gated property -- but for less than the $2.2 million asking price. When Shearin asked them to come closer to that mark, the Clintons withdrew.

"They loved the house. I knew that there was a short list, but my understanding was that we were top of the short list. I dont think it was a price issue," Shearin said.

The White House won't say what the issue was, but it may have been a security concern -- one of the contingencies on the offer was a Secret Service inspection.

"They'll look at what's around it, proximity to other homes, what's above it, whats below it, what has a view of it, how you get in and out. They'll take it and look at the whole house from soup to nuts and just determine, and they'll look for vulnerable points," said former Secret Service agent Charles Vance.

Another house passed up by the Clintons -- an 1870 mansion formerly owned by Jacqueline Kennedy's mother -- listed for $4.4 million. Sotheby's agent Bill Moody says the Clintons liked the 11,000-square-foot house, but decided against the urban Georgetown location.

House
The Clintons passed up this 1870 mansion listed for $4.4 million  

Washington has one of the tightest real estate markets in the country right now. Even in that upper bracket of homes priced above $1 million, brokers say there are many more buyers than there are homes for sale. The first lady has expressed her frustration at times, joking with the media about the endless searching.

"Do you have any suggestions? Does anyone have a place that you'd like to talk with me about privately? I'd be glad to hear it," she recently joked in a recent conversation with reporters.

It took several months for the Clintons to choose their house in Chappaqua, New York. Aides deny reports the Clintons plan to sell that $1.7 million home.

In Washington, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton started quietly looking only weeks ago. Last Saturday, they took the president to their top choices, slipping out of the White House without the usual news camera in tow.

They don't have much time to waste. The inauguration is less than a month away -- and there's no way to renew their lease.


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Wednesday, December 27, 2000

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