Category Archives: Real Estate

Some More Things That Made 2016 Weird

Flight 2016 is beginning its final descent and as the flight attendants ready the cabin and do their “cross check” I figured it was a good time not inly to stow my bag under the seat in front of me, but to review this trip.

And truthfully, though I had every intention of writing how different segments of the market reacted throughout the year to the “in-flight entertainment” I found one article that made me laugh, smile, and shake my head in bewilderment — so I’ve decided to share that here. I hope you enjoy this article from Realtor.com:

Ho, Ho, Huh?! The 7 Most Bizarre Real Estate Stories of 2016

(Makes a holiday fruit cake not seem so bad, right?)

A Saferoom By Any Other Name

Kim Kardashian’s recent robbery in Paris at gunpoint (in which she was relieved of $9 million of jewelry) brought to mind an article in The Hollywood Reporter about safe rooms being the newest trend in luxury real estate. Knowing that no harm came to Ms. Kardashian, I found this a bit amusing as: a) I personally never travel with more than $5 million in jewelry ($9 million is just ostentatious), and b) the “Safe” or “Panic” room is the latest name for a feature that’s been around for at least one century (if not many more).

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And Yet Another $200 Million Listing…

As you’ve probably heard, Petra Stunt has put her mansion on the market for $195 million.
There are a few things that caught my attention about this listing, and not one of them was the price ― and this lack of surprise is the main thing that caught my attention.
First off, this is just one of the several mega-million dollar listings that have come on the market of late. And where a few years ago a price tag like this would have made heads spin like Linda Blair’s in the “The Exorcist,” among my clients and colleagues this listing is eliciting yawns. Sure, we’ve spoken about it, but usually just in passing:

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Rolling Along In My Own Lane

19611292_sWhat’s all this stuff I keep reading about bowling alleys?

I’m talking about all the bowling alleys I see included as amenities in a bunch of high-end listings of late. For example, Petra Stunt’s $195 million dollar estate has a bowling alley. (It also has a beauty salon, a gym, a wine tasting room, and massage and tanning rooms. My question is: are all of these rooms  within walking distance to each other, or does one  drive to them in the Formula One cars I like to imagine the racing heiress keeps on hand?)

Many other high-end listings, as well as historic buildings, list bowling alleys as amenities. This begs the question: Who the heck is doing all of this bowling? Continue reading

A Santa Monica Hotel And How LA Handles (Or Doesn’t Handle) Change

museum-of-historyAn article in the NY Times about the vociferous opposition to Disney’s rejiggering of a theme park ride got me thinking about mental health — mainly, my own.

Los Angeles is a town of contradictions: The same people who insist on eating only natural organic foods also happily inject non-organic silicone into their laughs lines (to the point that they look quite unnatural). This behavior largely goes without comment, which is really not surprising when you consider that as “the city of dreams,” people come to LA to become someone else: Cary Grant arrived in town as Archibald Leach; Michale Caine was Maurice Micklewhite; and Angelyne was… Well, let’s just move on. Continue reading

Death and Taxes (well, at least death)

Money-PostThough the original title of this piece was “Real Estate Trumps Taxes,” I want to make it very clear that this is an article about real estate investing.

True, it is inspired by reporting that Donald Trump may not have paid taxes for the past eighteen years due to close to a billion dollars of real estate losses. That said, this is about how even small investors can avoid or minimize taxes and is not meant in any way as a political piece to suggest that Trump may be slightly disingenuous when it comes to his comments on people who don’t pay any taxes…

No, this is an article specifically about the way real estate is treated by tax regulations which allow well advised investors to put money in the bank by offsetting gains with losses (some of which only exist on paper). And I want to share with you some real estate investment secrets that don’t require you to attend Krull University. Continue reading

It’s Only A Paper Moon, And It’s Only A Paper Loss

img_0083-1Take any basic accounting class, or go to Vegas for the weekend, and you’ll soon get the concept that financial losses are bad. Which is why you might scratch your head when I tell you that some of my most successful property investment clients ask me to find them properties that will show a loss.

I was recently discussing this concept with a colleague, when he smiled knowingly and said, “I get it, your client’s getting divorced and wants to hide some money.” After assuring him that this wasn’t some film noir-style fraud scheme, I explained that my client was talking about “paper losses.” The quizzical tilt of his head told me that I had some ‘splaining to do. Continue reading