HouseHunt Network

A Blog for Real Estate Agents

Month: December 2011 (Page 1 of 2)

Celebrity Movers and Shakers

When movers and shakers move, it’s noteworthy because of who they are and the cost of the home they’re relocating to or have left behind. In Southern California, a person’s location, location, location is often linked to their vocation, vocation, vocation when it comes to living arrangements. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the areas of L.A. where many celebrities and entertainment industry people reside, at least occasionally.

The down housing market affects these people, too, but what’s a few million dollars among friends when it comes to the listing price and actual selling price? With that in mind, here are some homes, according to public or published records, that were listed, sold or purchased in 2011 involving high rollers in the country’s entertainment capital.

Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres listed her Beverly Hills estate, left, for $49 million. The four-structure compound was formed through three property purchases on the same street. The 15,000 square feet of interior space in the compound include a 9,200-square-foot main house.

Actress Jennifer Aniston sold her Beverly Hills estate for $38 million. It had been listed at $42 million, but even at the lower price the home sold for $3,500 a square foot, which is an area record. The house has two living rooms, two kitchens, a gym, five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock purchased a Beverly Hills-area estate for $22.95 million. The main house, built in 1940, has a screening room, a library, a basement, five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

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First-time Homebuyers Need of Special Attention

By Jim Droz

First-time homebuyers aren’t an endangered species. In fact, they’re buying houses at as close to the same pace as they were before the first-time homebuyers credit got things reinvigorated a couple years ago, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Today’s mortgage rates and home prices should have the market jumping when it comes to sales, particularly from first-timers who have been putting off making the big move. Toss in the fact that rents are rising in many metropolitan areas, and the timing seems perfect.

But timing, when it comes to the future, is a double-edged sword, and many homeowners are concerned with what they see or fear happening on the horizon. A balky economy, unsteady housing prices, a sketchy job market and an overall feeling of angst are some of the things causing them to hit the pause button.

This is a scary and confusing time for first-time buyers, and that’s where agents come in. Let them know that you’ve helped others in their situation and that you’ll be with them every step of the way. Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with someone about to go through the process for the first time:


Determine what their long-term goals are and how home ownership fits in with those plans. Are they moving because they want more independence or because they want to start a family? Those are just a couple of the questions to ask to get a handle on their thinking and situation.

If a buyer is set on certain features in a home, tell them that it’s important to remain flexible. The list should include basic desires, such as neighborhood and size, and include smaller details such as kitchen and closet space. But stress that not getting everything desired shouldn’t lead to instant rejection.

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With a Sound Strategy, Short Sales can Pay Off

By Jim Droz

If there was an oxymoron dictionary, short sales would be the real estate agent’s best offering for inclusion in recent years. Jumbo shrimp, same difference and passive aggression have nothing on “short” and “sale” when the words are combined in real estate lingo. If you’ve been involved in any recent short sales, chances are they took a long time to complete. Hence, the head-scratching phrase.

And if it’s confusing to you, imagine how the homeowner feels. They’re already in a tough situation if a short sale is on the agenda, because some type of hardship likely led them to consider the option. But whatever the circumstances, it’s likely a stressful situation, which is where a qualified and caring agent can help the homeowner, themselves and, in a small way, the overall economy because short sales tend to generate more cash and less costs than foreclosing on a home down the road.

Although few lenders will go along with a short sale that enables a homeowner to profit, some might agree to a deal in which the homeowner breaks even if it enables the lender to forego the expense and hassle of having to foreclose. Since most homeowners have no clue on where to start or how to negotiate with lenders, your status and reputation as a real estate professional gives you credibility in the homeowner’s eyes and more clout with lenders.

Negotiating short sales on behalf of your clients might be time-consuming, but it can benefit you and your business in direct and indirect ways. For instance:

The homeowners are more likely to contract with you to list their home after you’ve offered them advice and possible solutions to their problem.

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Foreclosure Crisis must Occupy the Minds of People Who can Help

By Jim Droz

Now that Occupy Wall Street protesters have been chased from there and other city halls and government buildings throughout the country, the roving band has decided to occupy foreclosed houses. Whether they simply needed a place to stay, or whether foreclosures are simply the next thing to target on a to-do list, the movement is shedding light – at least for the time being – on an exacerbating problem.

“Occupying homes is the perfect next step for the Occupy movement,” protester Max Berger told reporters in Los Angeles.

Just what the disjointed-appearing Occupy movement stands for has been criticized in some circles for lacking a clear message, but the plight of homeowners facing foreclosure and the lending practices of big banks does seem like a perfect target for the group’s message of economic inequality.

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Coming to Terms would be Easier with Simplified Language

By Jaime Westman

Being a real estate agent or homebuyer is tough these days. So do we really need all of the confusion surrounding the language of the industry? When short sales can take up to eight months to complete and easements are anything but easy to understand, something needs to be done for clarity. Here goes:

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