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High-End Hits the Auction Block

Calabasas, Calif.

Last Friday, about 60 people gathered at a 10,300-square-foot French Chateau-style home in a gated community of this wealthy suburb of Los Angeles. Nibbling on fruit salad and croissants, the visitors meandered through the home's large kitchen, checked out the view of the rolling hills or peeked into the movie theater with stadium seating while it played "Pretty in Pink."

They had all gathered to see this seven-bedroom, seven-bath mansion, which was rented by singer Britney Spears between roughly 2008 and 2010, sell to the highest bidder. The home had previously been on the market for as much as $10.8 million; bidding would start at $4.5 million.

"I'm starting to get butterflies," confessed Regina Leon, who owns the home with her husband Jose "Pancho" Leon, a builder and founder of a money-order company. After several of her girlfriends mentioned they were coming by, Ms. Leon had decided at the last minute to cancel her hair appointment to stay to watch the action unfold. Mr. Leon said he wasn't worried, though he admitted he'd gotten only about four hours of sleep the night before.

The Race to Build a $100 Million Spec House

The Race to Build a $100 Million Spec House

The Next Place in the Sun (The Wall Street Journal)