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K-9 Detectives founder's home fetches $8.5 million

One of Clearwater's most opulent mansions and at one point the priciest home listing in the Tampa Bay market has sold at a big discount.

Christine Barsema's home in Harbor Oaks — a 15,000-square-foot Mediterranean estate — sold for $8.5 million, or roughly two-thirds of its listing price of $12.9 million, according to My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.

Barsema, the founder of K-9 Detectives, which provides detection dogs capable of sniffing out termites, mold and drugs, built the Druid Road palace in 2003. Nestled on a 2-acre coastal spread, the marble-floored complex includes seven full bathrooms, five bedrooms, a Depression-era theater, fitness room, dog run and "gentleman's den" paneled with rare hardwoods.

The estate was first listed for sale in 2010 for $14.9 million. In March, after disgraced gold dealer Mark Yaffe slashed the price of his home listing in half, Barsema's home briefly became the most expensive listing on the market.

She cut her asking price to $12.9 million five days later, matching Yaffe's lowered price tag. Her listing agent said the timing was a coincidence as a price cut had already been in the works.

An earlier contract for the sale of the Barsema property to undisclosed international buyers included the request that the seller leave everything behind — not just the $250,000 dining-room table and Mercedes convertible and Bentley Arnage but even the spoons and dog crates.

The new buyer didn't make a similar request.

Sand Key Realty agent Rafal Wazio, who listed the home, would not discuss the identity of the new buyer or give any other details on the property closing. The sale is not yet part of the property appraiser's public records.

Information from Times files was used in this report.

K-9 Detectives founder's home fetches $8.5 million 11/12/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 8:26pm]
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