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Getting closer to the goal?

Times Staff Writer

British soccer star David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, the former Spice Girl known as Posh, are taking a break back in the UK after a whirlwind home-hunting spree in L.A.

But gone or not, the famous couple’s efforts to find a place to live are the talk of the realty world. By some accounts, the Beckhams looked at more than 20 homes before returning to London.

What did they see? Just about every Westside estate listed in the $18-million-to-$30-million range. Beckham, who signed a five-year deal with the L.A. Galaxy that’s potentially worth $250 million, is hoping to spend under $20 million.

The Beckhams’ agent, Barry Peele of Sotheby’s International Realty, seemed doubtful when told that his clients had looked at more than 20 houses, but he declined to comment, saying he had signed a “lengthy confidentiality agreement.”

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Peele also demured when asked about the rumor that Beckham had approached Madonna, a longtime client of his, about selling them her Beverly Hills compound.

More forthcoming were several top Westside real estate agents, who were eager to offer the newcomers advice.

“They’ll be away three weeks,” said Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency. “Maybe there will be more homes for them to see when they get back.” There have been several new Multiple Listing Service entries since the pair left a couple of weeks ago.

One local real estate agent is stocking up on pocket listings in the $20-million vicinity, hoping to entice the couple into buying a house that is not yet on the market.

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Forget homes that will require a lot of upkeep. Another agent reported that the soccer icon doesn’t want a home where he’d be expected to fix things. What does he want for $20 million anyway?

If the Brits were willing to go as high as the $30-million range, they could have a Beverly Hills home with enough parking for their sizable entourage.

For example, there is a 2-acre-plus estate with a six-car garage and a huge motor court offered at $31 million, observed Cecelia Waeschle of Sotheby’s International Realty.

A nearby home, listed at $29 million, is on 6 acres and has two garages, one for three cars, the other for a limo, she added.

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At $27 million, a Bel-Air home on almost 2 acres comes with a screening room, tennis court, elevator, putting green and 200-foot-long driveway, which works with the Beckhams’ stipulation that their new home not be visible from the street.

Should they opt to live at the beach, there are seven homes officially on the market in Malibu in the $15-million-to-$20-million range.

And, Realtors say, there are another 10 to 15 more at those prices hiding in agents’ pockets.

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Exiting Encino, with ‘Big’ plans

Grammy winner Macy Gray has sold her Encino home for its last asking price of about $5.6 million. The singer-songwriter-actress, in her mid-30s, first listed it in September for close to $4.6 million and later raised the price.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot Colonial, on slightly more than an acre, was built in 1998.

Gray, who opened her own music school in North Hollywood last year, is expected to release “Big,” a new album, in March.

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Change of mind is a star’s prerogative

Britney Spears’ Beverly Hills-area home and its furnishings have come on the market for close to $7.5 million.

The pop princess bought the six-bedroom, Tuscan villa-style home at the beginning of this year for $7.2 million. She just listed it last week.

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As part of her divorce settlement, Spears, 25, put her seven-bedroom Malibu home on the market in January at $13.5 million.

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It was Baby Jane’s Westside abode

The last home of actress Bette Davis, an apartment-turned-condo, has come on the market at close to $2.3 million.

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Davis lived in the apartment in the 1920s Colonial House in West Hollywood at the time of her death at age 81 in 1989. Seller Tedi Sarafian, who co-wrote “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2003), bought the unit in 2004 and renovated it.

The three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit has an office and a large terrace with city views. The building has a doorman and a pool. Other tenants in the complex have included Jodie Foster, Tim Burton and Jennifer Lopez.

Adrian Grant of Prudential California, John Aaroe division, Beverly Hills, has the listing.

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ruth.ryon@latimes.com

To see previous columns, go to latimes.com/hotproperty.


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