Zillow summarizes the real estate woes of the Real Housewives of (fill in the blank). I'm a total fan of these zany women who live larger than life (and larger than what their husbands can afford), but even stardom can't insulate these entertaining catty women from the housing crisis.
What is more shocking to me is high number of real estate agents on the show who've been hit. There's Playboy Playmate Jeana Keough who had notices of defaults filed on 3 of her 4 properties! And then Tamra Barney who shortsaled her own house after slashing her house 30%. Lisa Wu Hartnell of Atlanta lost her $2.9M house to the bank for a mere $1.9M. All of them are agents!
One real estate agent housewife they didn't mention was Gretchen Rossi of Orange County. (Fun fact: Gretchen, Slade & I were classmates during a weekend workshop. They actually were really nice.)
Just goes to show that even if you are an agent (much less a reality TV starlet), it doesn't mean you're impervious to the real estate mess. The problem with "Keeping up with the Jones" mentality is that there will always be someone richer & prettier than you. It's a never ending self-inflicted psychological game. Be grateful for what you have & live within your means.
See how your favorite housewives dealt with what so many other Americans are going thru here. Good luck ladies! I feel ya.
Condominiums can be a terrific way to get into the real estate market. And let's face it; they also are a great way for people to downsize in these lean times! However, they are not without their pitfalls. Before you dive into the condo pool, what are the red flags to watch out for? Watch my video & find out, y'all!
Have any good tips about buying condos? Please share, we'd love to hear!
From Berkeley to Long Island, here is a slideshow of the oddest homes out there. We've got dome homes, subterranean mansions, Earthships & more! Great for visiting aliens, mole people and people preparing for the Rapture. See more here.
By the way, how do you appraise a property like this? There are NO comparable sales...unless you go to Mars.
News: Bats, Bethenny & Hot Bods
*Skinnygirl buys fat pad! After selling her Skinnygirl Cocktail brand for $120M this year, business savvy Bravo TV star Bethenny Frankel has put some of that dough to use. She just closed on a ginormous $5M Tribeca apt. No word on how this will affect the new talk show deal she just landed (Ellen is on board!) and her new season called Bethenny Goes to LA. The woman is unstoppable! [via HuffPost ]
*Sunshine & Hot Bods come at a premium. According to CNN Money, the Top 10 Priciest towns in the USA are all in California. California girls / We're unforgettable / Daisy Dukes / Bikinis on top! [ via AGBeat]
*Tenants bolt like a Bat out of hell! Two Manhattan women paid $36,000 upfront for a 1 year lease only to find the place was allegedly swarming with bats. First off, don't these scaredy-cats know in Chinese culture bats "are auspicious creatures? If one ever flies into your home, you won’t want to do any harm to it cause it brings you luck!" Second, who the heck pre-pays $36,000 right off the bat? [via NY Post]
QUESTION: Can you sue a termite inspector if you later find they missed some termite damage?
ANSWER: Not if the termite inspector put you on notice your house needed further inspection.
Judge Milian of the People's Court (guilty pleasure here!) breaks it down for this home buyer who is suing his termite inspector. Basically, the inspector warned the home buyer that the house needed more evaluation and that he could not give it a pest clearance. The buyer at least was smart enough to get the home inspected, but what is the good of doing an inspection if you don't follow their advice?!
It's like if you go see a doctor & he tells you to get further tests done because you might have diabetes. You do no tests, and soon after you get diagnosed with diabetes. You ain't gonna sue the doc?! Nuh-uhhhh!
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: I like the plaintiff's lavender tie. But, umm, his hair. I have no words.
Q: Should I do a pre-inspection before I sell my house? A: Yes! No one likes surprises!
Another fabulous LogoTV viewer pops Hermanity a question. I love hearing from you guys!
Question: I'm selling my house soon. Should I do a pre-inspection?
Answer: Yes! It's like getting tested at the clinic. No one likes surprises! Trust me, it'll save you a lot of heartache & pain down the line. A pre-inspection gives a seller a chance to correctify any outstanding repairs, gives the buyer a more clear picture of the house's condition and helps mitigates negotiations in escrow.
Has a pre-inspection ever saved your deal? I wanna hear!
*You'd think having $10M vacation home in New Hampshire, a fancy Boston townhouse, and a $12M La Jolla house, he'd be satisfied. But presidential contender Mitt Romney wants to quadruple his La Jolla house from 3009 sq ft to 11,062 sq ft....because it currently is "inadequate for his needs". [ via San Diego Union ]
*Brad & Angelia along with their 4 dozen kids have rented a country estate that includes a 16th century mansion. Jumping from mansions, to castles, to estates every other month, the tykes are living like gypsies, but I'll bet they can beat anyone when it comes to ancient history trivia! [ via People ]
*Would you marry an elderly man for his rent controlled NYC apt? That's what this landlord is accusing this 63 yr old of. She inherited her 83 yr old hubby's apt after only 1 month of marriage! If she gets to pay $500/mo for a $5000/mo pad, girlfriend has hit the jackpot! [via NY Post ]
*What do a sugar daddy, an adulterous handsome swindler & slain wife have in common? Apparently real estate! The New York Post exclusively reports, "Less than 2 years ago, handsome alleged killer Kashif Parvaiz, 26, had persuaded a frail, older gay man to sign over to him his share of a Queens apartment building that is now about to be sold for more than $9 million" Real Estate ain't just for investments; it's a motive for murder! Read more here
*Realtor confronts Obama! "The loan modification system has been a nightmare and the lenders are so tight and you have to be so perfect. And it’s not a perfect world.” Preach, girl, preach! [ via AG Beat ]
Before her smash hits in Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain, Catwoman, Oscar Host (hmmm, not so much of a hit), who knew this 14 yr old actress named Anne Hathaway would catapult to Hollywood A-List status with a 1997 spot for Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate? Good eye, BHG!
Inman News: 'Real Estate Celebrity & Expert Hermans 9 Rules of Real Estate Video'
"Habitat for Hermanity's Herman Chan, a real estate celebrity and expert, did a dynamite session at Real Estate Connect San Francisco on how and why Realtors should be using video as an integral part of their business..." Read the rest of the article by Bernice Ross here.
If you missed me at Real Estate Connect, don't fret. Tune into my free 1 hour webinar August 30th "SOCIAL MEDIA: I ♥ VideoBlogging & So Should You! It's hosted by YPN & California Association of Realtors.
By the way, do my eyes deceive me?! "Real Estate Celebrity"? I'm flattered by such a glowing label by the venerable Inman News, but honestly, I'm just a country bumpkin trying to find my way in the big city. (wink)
Never seen me live? No problem!
Catch my free1 hour webinar Tuesday August 30, 2011 9am (PST). Hosted by Young Professionals Network & California Association of Realtors, my topic shall be:
"SOCIAL MEDIA: I ♥ VideoBlogging & So Should You!"Blogging is so 2000 and late. It's all about Videoblogging now. Herman Chan's claim to fame stems from his hit videoblog, Habitat For Hermanity, which in one year amassed over 12,000 combined followers on Twitter and Facebook. Learn why video and social media are the way to the modern consumer's heart. Produce fast and cost-effective clips to capture leads. Striking the right balance humor and help is the key to successful social media. A super informative and entertaining presentation!
Even if you are not a realtor, please tune in to Watch, Laugh, Learn! Register here! It's free!
Bob Watson catches with real estate video blogger Herman Chan for a quick word on agent video blogging from the Inman Real Estate Connect Conference in San Francisco. Herman shares a few quick tips for realtors thinking about interacting with their clients via this medium:
Thanks to TableTopicsRE for such a great write up!
LogoTV viewer asks Hermanity:
Question: We want to build an in-law unit, but money is tight. Should we just use a handyman and bypass permits?
Answer: Handyman for dinky jobs is fine, but doing a major project without permits will come back to bite you. You can get sued, fined or be forced to tear it down. Plus, it can affect your re-sale value too.
Did any viewers out there ever get in trouble for a big renovation without pulling permits? Would love to hear your story!
I've always loved Canadians. But now I love them more. Why? Because real estate mega-site Zoocasa spotlights Hermanity.
"What would your vision of a real estate super agent be? A market expert of course. A social media guru perhaps? Someone with a nose for style and trends who can determine the value of a house and give feedback on its aesthetic merit? How about some TV and modelling experience too? Well, throw in some trademark sassy wit and and you've got on-air personality Herman Chan." Read more here.
Who's your favorite Canadian du jour? Ryan Reynolds? Alanis?
Home Renovation Guide featured my Q&A rant about Granite Counters on their blog. When asked about granite, Hermanity Answers : (Yawn) Been there, done that. They are SO over did. Give concrete or recycled glass a try. Thx guys!
Homeless men squatting in Anne Currys unauthorized 18 ft high penthouse addition
Anne Curry doesn't strike me as the type to do this! She seems so polished & responsible. But apparently, while she & her hubby massively renovated their $2.9M Upper West Side fixer upper, they accrued a slew of Building Dept violations, including unauthorized 18-ft high penthouse!
Buried in violations and hit with lawsuits from neighbors, construction has been at a stand still for 5 yrs. Why let an empty mansion go to waste? Homeless men are now squatting on her property.
Lesson learned: Doing a huge renovation without the right permits will always come back and bite ya
You see, rich famous people. They're just like us! Hope it all gets sorted out Anne!
Gawker has almost 2 dozen examples of how some HOA's have run amok! Foreclosing on a soldier while he was en route in Iraq? Banning children from playing outside? Fining an owner for planting an unauthorized flower? Not all HOA's are backstabbing vindictive control freaks, but you would never guess reading these crazy scenarios.
If anyone has ever been in a Home Owner's Association meeting, the bickering and fighting can be epic! Clash of egos over something as minute as what kind of flag pole to use! Seriously, Bravo needs to film reality show about HOA's ASAP.
What's been the most asinine HOA story you've heard? If none, then read on here!
I've heard of twilight tours before, but this listing is taking it too far! Why would someone go to the trouble of snapping a pic of the exterior in broad daylight, and then go back to take pix in 3am in the morning!?
Some very credible hypotheses:
Weigh in below with your own nocturnal photophobic hypothesis!
*Hollywood Hills denizens tell off tourists who are increasingly swarming "their" neighborhood. What did they expect when they bought a house next to the world famous HOLLYWOOD sign?! Sounds like a case of NIMBY! [via HuffPost]
*Tiger Wood's #1 mistress Rachel Uchitel just flipped her NYC apartment & earned $330,000! She got it last year for $1.62M, gave it a facelift, and sold it for $1.95M. Girl, instead of turning tricks, you could have been turning property all along! [via TMZ]
*I'm going to say a prayer for all the shop owners and home owners whose property was looted and ransacked during the London riots. It's like Rodney King Riots all over again.... [via NYPost]
I'm really enjoying interacting with LogoTV viewers about their real estate/design probelms. Another LogoTV viewer pops Hermanity a question:
QUESTION: We offered $600k on our dream house, but it appraised for $590k. What to do?
ANSWER: You can
1) invoke your appraisal contingency & walkaway from the deal
2) convince seller to reduce price by $10k
3) bring in the $10k yourself to bridge the gap.
BOTTOM LINE: If this is truly your dream home, the place you will live in til the day you die, then what is $10k in the grand scheme of life? Besides, amortized over 30 yrs, you're paying a few dollars more per month. Just sayin'!
This is very cool! A 2800 sq ft replica of the house from the movie UP has been built in Utah. It's pretty accurate. Where is the little boy? Not sure if I would buy it for $400k, but if they threw in the little boy from the film, I might consider. He was so precious! This will be interesting to watch because it is such a novelty house. Novelty properties tend to not hold value as much because they are so taste specific. Well, I hope this UP house can sell in this DOWN market!
Now if someone would re-create Castle Greyskull I would totally pay top dollar for that...but only if He-Man & She-Ra were included in the sale.
What is your favorite cartoon house?
Congrats to Jennifer Adams Spivey who won a brand spanking new KODAK Play Touch Video Camera! You too can win a fabulous prize simply by playing my Facebook game just like Jennifer did.
Thank you for my over 21,000 Facebook fans! I appreciate each one of you! If you have not "LIKED" me yet, what are you waiting for!? Come join the fun! You just might win a snazzy M580 Kodak Camera
LogoTV viewer writes to Hermanity:
QUESTION: The house we're buying has chimney damage. My agent says we should focus on our loan instead? Is that right?
ANSWER: Yikes, your agent just wants to sweep the chimney under the rug & focus on his commission! Watch my video for the 3 steps you need to take ASAP!
Remember guys, you are the client. Your agent is supposed to always have your back & protect your best interests. A great realtors does what is right for you, not for their wallet!
Have you come across any agents who were looking out for themselves more than you? Vent here!
It is no secret I am no fan of McMansions (Seriously, who needs 8 bedrooms 8 bathrooms, unless you are running a brothel!?) As a big fan of small spaces, I've blogged several times about living small here at Habitat For Hermanity, as well as penning articles for Chic Tip & Frontiers Magazine. But when I came across this NYC architect who lives in a 78 sq ft apartment, I couldn't believe my eyes! I've seen coffins bigger than this place! It's like living in a dorm room the size of a walk-in closet.
Alas, he pays a mere $800/mo for rent. Can you blame the guy? Where else can you live in the Big Apple for that little? Kudos to you Luke Clark Tyler! I know I couldn't do it.
Claustrophobes need not apply, but would any of you ever live in 78 sq ft? If you have, please share pix!
An average kitchen remodel hovers around $20k-$30k. Who has the kinda dough in this recession?! The economy may be down and out, but that does not mean your kitchen has to be. Watch my clip for quick tips to make it pop. Jeff Lewis from Flipping Out also shares his experience with re-vamping a kitchen rental for under $6k.
Have you done any cool remodels on the cheap? Please share, I would love to post here.
ForSaleByOwner.com is a website that encourages sellers to bypass Realtors & try to sell their home by themselves. Ugh! Obviously I'm biased, but hey, live and let live. If people want to take a stab at For Sale By Owner (ie FSBO), go for it. But well over 80% of FSBO's eventually have to list with an real estate agent to get their house sold. It's harder than it looks!
Apparently, the founder & COO of ForSaleByOwner.com learned that the hard way. The Wall Street Journal reports he could not sell his own 2 bd Chelsea apartment after 6 long months. He finally relented & hired a Realtor who got it sold for $2.15M. Basically, this guy has no problem charging sellers to be his FSBO site without Realtor representation, but he himself hires a Realtor to sell his own place. What does that say about the value of a Realtor?
Below LogoTV viewer asks me if they should sell their house without an agent. Ummmmm, if the guru of ForSaleByOwner.com can't do it, what makes you think you can!?
UPDATE: Agent Genius quoted me about this story. Clearly, this struck a cord in people b/c the on-line reactions are off the charts!!
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