RadarOnline reports on an all too familiar conversation us realtors have had with underwater sellers: "The house had been taken off the market last year after years of just languishing on the market. It became apparent that the house was going to be a total financial loss for Britney as she bought the mansion at the height of the real estate market and simply overpaid"
And the gut-wrenching solution we propose to sellers: "Britney and her dad realized that they were going to have to drastically slash the price and just unload the house at a loss."
Originally listed for under $7.5M, Britney bought it $6.75M, and just sold it for $4.25M. It has been sitting empty since 2007 when she went thru her infamous breakdown(s). It's a bloodbath for Britney, but she has learned to move on and move in with her fiancé. It's a hard pill to swallow for many sellers but take it from Brit, life does go on. Hang tight!
Murder by HOA! A federal investigation into a Las Vegas HOA corruption scheme has taken the lives of 3 people. Defense attorney was found dead by hanging on Sunday. A construction defect lawyer was found dead in her bathtub. And police officer shot himself to death when his name came up in the scandal. Charges include rigging elections, using "straw buyers" & steering contracts to preferred firms. How scandalous! I guess they don't call it Sin City for nothing... Somebody call Columbo stat!
2 hot men walking in SF. Surprise, surprise
Walkability is the hottest trend in real estate! Unlike prior generations, the new crop of buyers driving the business is Gen X, Y, Millenials who don't wanna drive 20 minutes to get a latte! Homes located close to things to do, shops, cafes (aka LIFE) sell faster and for more than those homes where you need to hop in a car. Who wants to commute to buy groceries!?
If you are shopping for a house, try to stick to properties that have a high walk score. It will be better for re-sale value, less harm for mother nature and most importantly, you'll burn more calories walking to cool stuff to do.
Is your city on the list of the nation's most walkable cities? If not, check out WalkScore which ranks how walkable your property is!
"grab collar" pose! classy!
My friend Scott Schang thinks Supernatural on the CW Network made a few jabs at real estate agents on their episode last week. Bottom left clip is a snippet example.
Jab or not, it is so true! It's practically a cliché to have a headshot that's 15 yrs old! As I have videoblogged before, from a consumer stand point, an "outdated headshot = outdated agent"!
BTW, if you seen any other media representations of realtors, please forward!
LA Times spotlights 4 people who are digging themselves out of debt! And of course the 1st couple they profile are 2 ex-successful realtors from the boom years. This is a common story I hear from agents. They were living the high life, wining & dining 24/7, dressed to the nines, over leveraging themselves..& wound up $680k in debt. Read how Southern California agents Dan & Cheree Griffith got out of this doozy. Great lesson! Less is more.
An older agent asked me for advice: should he get iPhone or stick to his flip phone? I cracked up hysterically, until I realized he was serious (D'oh!). Feeling guilty, I put on my teacher hat & for next hour showed him the wonders of internet, email and apps all in the palm of his 65 yr old hand. The next day he bought a simple flip phone.
I screamed, "Why oh why?! Haven't you heard of Nomophobia?"
He said, "What's your sexuality got to do with it?"
I retorted, "Not Homophobia. Nomophobia: the fear of being without a mobile phone"
Huffington Post reports consumers are addicted to their phones which spells opportunity. Double down on your mobile strategy, identify ways to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media.....You need a smart phone for all this! If you show up to a showing with brick cell phone, clients will crack up hysterically at you!
Read my feature article for Frontiers Magazine, where I round up the top trends in decor in their annual "Our Home Design Guide" issue.
-What colors are hot?
-Has Madonna brought gold back into vogue?
-Is indoor wicker furniture the next hot trend?
-Why locally made pieces are cooler!
I love writing for this publication cause they let me be me. ("Love Your Small Unit", "Turn Your House into A Green House")
Side note: I love that the cover is an Asian hottie! Who was the last Asian Cover Boy? Probably me.
It's never a dull moment in SF real estate news!
National Low Income Housing Coalition says San Francisco is the most expensive place in the country to rent housing. An average 2bd goes for $1905/mo. That seems really off to me. I know 1bd units easily renting for $3000/mo.
SF also has lowest % of kids of any major U.S. city. As I always tell clients, there are more dogs per capita than kids in SF! You see tons of people walking dogs and babies/toddlers. But you hardly see kids aged 6-18yrs old. Their parents have relocated outside the city for better schools in the suburbs.
SF Bay Guardian calls the new Transbay Terminal Site a "big penis in the sky"!! (don't worry, it's SFW). It's been accurately dubbed the Penis Tower! (One my readers said this building & the Chicago "vagina building" should breed & make some suburbs! lol)
Check you these SF Ghost Signs. You know, those faded side building ads from 1890 to 1960; a glimpse back into a by-gone area of advertising. Love stuff like this! Are these old ads protected by a historical preservation society? They should be!
Silicon Valley Exec Goes Bonkers! Offers his Estate for Facebook Pre-IPO Stock!
Bay Citizen/New York Times called me last week for my take on a rumor that San Francisco sellers were waiting to list their homes until after the Facebook IPO. They are allegedly counting on thousands of newly minted millionaires and all cash offers on their homes. Rumor or not, Facebook fever is hitting a feverish pitch. One Silicon Valley executive is willing to trade his 10,000 sq ft 11 acre home in Los Gatos for a stake in Facebook! Are you freaking kidding me? Has the Bay Area gone bonkers or is Facebook really that valuable?!
For over two thousand years, people have been living in caves in China. Characterized by sparse decorations, high ceilings, some reinforced brick masonry, & occasional electricity/water, caves are a way of life for many. Interestingly enough, some have been modernized & can sell for $45,000! Before you look down on this, keep in mind Americans live in caves too. Just ask Batman!!
Check out Dee Adam's live/work apartment in Oakland, CA. It's schlock full of lunch boxes! She uses them as storage bins as well as wall art. Just goes to show you that with a little imagination, anything can be design pieces!
Can anyone spot the Jem lunchbox?
After listing his $4.49M condo in March for 7 days, Andrew Madoff has decided to rent it out for $25k/mo. Is he cash strapped?
“They assume that my mother & I have billions of dollars that people lost sitting in our bank accounts. We don’t acuteally have it,” Andrew Madoff has said. Do you believe him? I do. Why? He & his mom may not have billions but I'd bet my life they still have MILLIONS!
Due to NYC rent control, Thomas Lombardi pays $55.01/month for a one-bedroom at 5 Spring Street in SoHo. This is unheard of! Simply amazing? Shocking? Unfair? Maybe it's sour grapes for me. Market rate would be $2500/mo.
Gee, I feel bad for that poor (literally) landlord...but then again, apparently this landlord never filed paperwork to increase rent either.
It seems everyone is on some "real estate team" now. Some are effective, meaning there is clear division of labor and works like well oiled machine. But more often than not, I find teams to be just disorganized. I have to communicate the same conversation 5 times to 5 different people. Many are inexperienced new agents who need to join a team to do any business. Too many hands in the pot leads to no accountability. But then again, if I were them and I had to split my earnings 5 ways, I probably wouldn't be very motivated either...I'm just sayin'!
As I've said many times, the San Francisco market is flooded with Asian Money and Tech Money! Wall Street Journal spotlights how crazy it is getting here. "Gagan and Jasmin Arneja in their 1,800-square-foot home, which attracted 22 bids and sold for $1.5 million, 40% over asking price." Elsewhere in the country, it's still flat, but in SF, it's like 2006 all over again! If you don't work in tech or don't have money wired from Asia, how can you possibly compete?!
Mitt Romney was disqualified as McCain's VP in 2008 because he owned 6 homes. You'll recall McCain disastrously told a reporter he couldn't remember how many houses he & his wife owned. (They own 8) Hmm, not the best thing to say when the nation dove into foreclosure crisis in 2008!
Well, it's interesting to know one's real estate holdings are part of the VP selection process! (I guess that means Sarah Palin didn't have many homes). Oddly, they disqualify a VP for having too much, but don't mind if he is boinking his "videographer" during the campaign (John Edwards).
This ain't your grandma's trailer park! Leave it to IKEA to bring mobile homes into the 21st century. Check out their new line of prefab homes (called Aktiv), which start at $80k. True, you ain't gonna raise the Brady Bunch there, but for singles or young/retired couples this is a great option! It's akin to living in a hotel suite. Like for me, it's perfect. I'm low maintenance, no frills, no partner, no kids, no pets, no plants. (violins). The only hurdle is finding a piece of land. A piece of earth in a metro area that allows this is rare, and if it exists, bet your life that lot is gonna be 2-4 times 80k!! More pix here.
As Seen On