Flashback to First Class Friday

As nice as it is to drool over the multi-million dollar homes of the rich and famous and clutch your pearls in shock at the amazing prices that are being asked, it is also reassuring to realise that the people buying and selling these homes are still subjected to the challenges of trying to move real estate (there are just a few more zeros on the end of their checks than you or I would most likely write). A few posts that I put up in the past are worth going back to and seeing what the outcome was.

The Liongate Estateliongate that I wrote about last month was up for sale for a cool $65 million. Coming fully furnished throughout it’s 23,000 square feet and featuring 11 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms and even it’s own panic room it’s an absolute steal at that price. Amazingly though, someone thought that was too expensive and decided to bargain with the vendor. Lucky they did because they were obviously a motivated seller and subsequently dropped the price by a whopping $19 million (that’s almost a 30% discount!). So the lucky purchaser picked up the property for $46 million and although heavily discounted, the owner has still made a nice little profit considering their original purchase price of 12.2M.

HPEarlier this year I wrote about Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe putting his local Toorak penthouse up for sale. After owning it for 10 years and originally purchased when he was filming a movie in Australia as a teenager, he hoped to make a nice little $600k profit. After what would likely have been an expensive marketing campaign and also having moved his furniture out and getting the property professionally styled for sale he has recently pulled the property from the market. Rumor is he has another film project in the pipeline locally and might need to keep a place to unpack his carry-on luggage.

MJIf you’ve been saving your dollars for either of these previous gems, don’t be upset that they are now off the market. There are still two properties that you can pick up. Michael Jordan’s house that I wrote about in November 2013 is STILL on the market after failing to sell at auction last year (it may have been the $250k registration fee that put people off). Originally for sale at $29 million, you can now pick it up for $16 million!

2Or if you want to live beach side in Australia then you may recall the stunning Mandalay House that I wrote about in January 2014. $25 million is what the vendor originally wanted for this tropical paradise but now it’s being marketed as ‘price reduced’. Whilst no figure is being attached to this campaign I’m sure it will be enough of a saving to get that private helicopter that you can land in your front yard!


First Class Friday

Here’s a little bit of property porn to finish off the week. It may not be to everyone’s taste but I wouldn’t say no to sleeping in one of the spare bedrooms. If you’re a regular Bravo watcher you may recognise the property developer Mohammed Hadid who when not designing mega-mansions is usually seen hanging out with one of the housewives of Beverly Hills.

And looking at the footage below it appears that they didn’t use their phone to take the footage. I guess when it’s on the market for $195,000,000 you can afford to get a proper film crew in, it is LA!

A supernatural investment…

joliet02Always on the lookout for a good bargain, this listing has appeared in the media a lot over the last day or two. Called the Hiram B. Scutt Mansion and located in Joliet, Illinois (not all that far from Chicago), this impressive building was constructed in 1882. The three-storey, 4,960-square-foot red-brick mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been listed at an amazingly low US$159,000 after the property was foreclosed on.

There is always a catch with something that appears to be such a good bargain though. Just looking at the marketing pictures would be enough to raise an eyebrow about the potential for some ghostly history in this place, investigating the building’s history just confirms it! Listing two murders as well as two other mysterious deaths within it’s walls, some say the original owners are still there and ghost hunters (a respected trade and career) say the place is haunted. There have been séances and searches throughout the mansion and the videos below give a better overview of what it’s like inside now (it certainly requires some work) and also some idea of the supposedly supernatural elements that may still be hanging around!

And here is something much more reputable from the Paranormal Anomaly Search Team. Any place that is full of old dolls always indicates haunted to me. Be sure to put this on your list of assessment criteria for any future investment properties of your own!


It’s real estate reality!

I’m a sucker for some reality TV and when it’s combined with real estate I’m in heaven. I’ve been addicted for a good while to Million Dollar Listing which is an American reality series filmed in a similar way to the Real Housewives series (they may not admit it but I know several readers that are regular viewers), There are series set in both LA and New York and each feature a range of over the top and outrageous properties being sold by even more over the top and outrageous real estate agents. Below are a couple of clips from previous seasons. If you love big properties and big personalities then I’d recommend getting into what some would describe as real estate porn!

A slam dunk for around $29 million

It’s been a while since I’ve come across a stunner of a celebrity property but I’m thinking that if this one doesn’t fit the bill then I’ll never find one that will. Offered up for sale in February last year at a measly $29,000,000, Michael Jordan’s custom designed home of 20 years failed to find a buyer. Now it’s up for auction this time and if you can cough up the $250,000 just to register as a bidder then you could be in the running!

The home itself is a massive 56,000 square feet and is located on 7.39 acres of land about half an hour outside of Chicago. Whilst there is no shortage of space to sleep with 9 bedrooms available, you could go for almost 3 weeks without having to use the same bathroom twice (there are 19!) and 2 weeks without having to park your luxury car in the same spot (there are 15 heated car spaces!). Check out the agent’s video below to see more of this amazing home and not surprisingly it comes with it’s own basketball court.

Looking around LA

I think I’d find it almost impossible to come to LA and be surrounded by so much real estate without getting out for a bit of a look. So today in sunny West Hollywood I consulted Google Maps and off I went. Whilst I would have loved to have gone up into the hills to stroll through mansions my lack of car (and multiple millions of dollars) kept me local. I selected 2 properties to view, one on the ‘If I won lotto list’ and the other was on the ‘this could be doable one day’ list. Let’s start with the home that would use up my lotto winnings.

Described as a Stunning 3 bed, 3.5 bath town home with superb finishes located near the famous and trendy Melrose Place, I’d certainly be thrilled to call this place home. At just under 1.5 million it’s not cheap, but for the location in West Hollywood and the amazing property I’d be thinking this is good value. Huge bedrooms, great bathrooms and a large outdoor area help finish off the 1 year old 2250sq foot 2 level condo.

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Although the agent was assuring me that the US property market is well on the rebound I had the luxury of looking through this amazing property by myself for almost 45 minutes. I get the feeling that the level of confidence in the local property market may not be quite as positive as he indicated, or maybe all of the movie stars were off filming today. So I then packed up my bags and headed west to the other end of West Hollywood, literally the other side of the street to Beverley Hills.

This cute bungalow below is situated in an area known as the Norma Triangle and was built in 1922. This was the more realistic property I wanted to inspect, with 2 beds and 1 bath it is quoted at $787,000. OK, maybe not amazingly cheap but half the price of the previous one…and it comes with your own recording studio (formerly known as a garage). It had a completely different feel to the other property being much more homely. A fantastic hedge rose 10 feet as your front fence which appears very common in LA and looks great. There was also a nice backyard to relax in after your exhausting recording sessions. I’ve asked both of the agents to get back to me with what their rental estimates would be, I’ll be interested to see what percentage return you get.

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I’d always recommend having a look at properties in other countries if you get a chance whilst travelling. I find it not only very useful to get an idea of what you can get for your money but also fascinating to see how others live!

More about Detroit

At the end of my post yesterday regarding the incredibly cheap properties in Detroit I finished off by asking ‘What’s the catch?”. The videos below provide a very good overview of the issues facing the city right now and particularly how it is reflected through property prices and urban decay. It really is a very sad situation that the city finds itself in and I’d encourage you to watch a few of the reports below, particularly the last one that examines the decline of Detroit through the eyes of the local city firefighters.

Spare some loose change???

If you’ve been watching the news over the last few weeks then you may have seen the unfortunate news about the city of Detroit in the US going into bankruptcy. It’s estimated that the city is in debt to the order of $18 – 20 billion. When looking into the history of Detroit and it’s decline over the years it’s fascinating to see the effect of the auto industry and the impact it had when things went offshore and downhill. In the 1950’s Detroit had a population of over 1.8 million. Between 2000 and 2010 it’s stated that the population dropped by over 25%. From the height of the 50’s it’s now estimated to be just over 700,000. The impact that this has had on real estate is on one hand amazing but on the other most likely disastrous. Below are a few currently listed properties that you could pick up for a steal. Click on the pictures to see more.

  • Det1Last sold in June of 2004 for $59,000, this 3 bedroom house that is close to 100 years old has dropped by an astonishing 93% and is now on the market for $4000, yes you read it correctly, $4000! With the agent’s website listing a potential rent of $742 a month I can’t say I’ve ever seen a property with the potential to pay itself off in 12 months. It does awaken the skeptic in me though…let’s explore some more.
  • Det2If you’ve got a few more dollars to spend then this following property may be of more interest at $12,000. It’s also got 3 beds and 1 bath but by the looks of it could do with a bit of work. Also, these houses could be in any type of area but this one does come with a virtual tour. I’m afraid that the music accompanying the pictures doesn’t add an awful lot.
  • The final one here I think is really pretty stunning considering what you can get when choosing to spend a Det3 more significant amount of money on a property. With 4 beds and 2.5 baths it’s amazes me that for $50,000 you can get what looks to be a completely livable home with spectacular grounds. The street-view on the website looks great…what’s the catch?

There are plenty of catches I’m sure with the purchase of any property in a once thriving city which has halved it’s population, is filing for bankruptcy and has an unemployment rate of around 16%. A simple investigation into property in Detroit will reveal that there are thousands of empty homes throughout the city and that the council has struggled to provide basic services due to over half of Detroit’s property owners failing to pay their tax bills. It’s a sorry state of affairs and one can only hope that a city such as this can recover.

Want to add some sparkle to your life?

So I realised that one of my previous posts about the $190 million property might be a bit outside of the budget for the average person so I’ve discovered something else that could be of interest to those that like a bit of glamour and history behind their bricks and mortar. What more could you ask for then than picking up Liberace’s former house for an absolute song? (Pardon the pun).

Currently under foreclosure and quoted at $529900 USD it’s not in the most desirable area of LasVegas from all reports but with a coat of paint and some new gold swan taps in the bath tub it would scrub up just like new. Seriously though, when you watch the video (below) and compare some of the original footage to the pictures on the realtor.com website (click on the picture above) it’s actually quite sad to see the state that the property is now in compared to what it used to be like…regardless of whether it’s your taste or not.

The Google street view image below gives you an idea of the surrounding neighborhood, possibly not what you would be expecting.

As an interesting side note, in the new movie about Liberace the house that was utilised as the exterior set for Liberace’s house was actually the former home of Zsa Zsa Gabor that was sold earlier this year. I have a feeling that they may have shared the same interior decorator over the years so I’m sure it made sense

What does $190 million get you?

Even one of the biggest lotto wins would still probably only get you a healthy deposit on this amazing property which is currently taking first place as the most expensive house for sale in the Unites States. Situated on 50 acres in Greenwich, Connecticut, I’m sure you’d have no issues figuring out what to do with the 12 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. Alternatively you could pop out to the pool house for a dip in the pool or spa. Considering it’s been in the same family since 1904 it’s sure to get a lot of interest so get to the bank quickly to have your finance approved…see you at the open house! Click the picture below to check out the listing