Entries in Homes (16)


Tiger Woods Takes a Hit and Other Celebrities Who Sold Homes at a Loss

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tiger Woods' strong start in the 2012 PGA Championships may be making up for the fact that he recently sold his condo in Corona del Mar, Calif., at a loss.

The PGA champion sold his home, which he bought for $3 million in 2004, for just $2.2 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Here are seven celebrities who took a loss on the sale of their homes or mansions. Fortunately for them, most have second or multiple homes to give them shelter from adoring fans and paparazzi, and all but one of these homes sold in the multi-million dollar range.

1.Tiger Woods -- Corona del Mar, Calif.

Tiger Woods' condo with beach views, reportedly one of the locations for Woods's infamous affairs, was first listed in April 2012. The property, near Laguna Beach and south of Los Angeles, has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and spans 2,000 square feet.

The listing showed a price cut in June before it ultimately sold for $2.2 million. Woods' main residence is an estate with a golf course in Jupiter, Fla., Zillow reports.

2. Britney Spears -- Beverly Hills, Calif.

Pop princess Britney Spears reportedly took a hit on her Beverly Hills home that she bought in January 2007 for $6.8 million and first listed in September 2008 for $7.9 million.

Zillow reports the listing sold for $4.5 million in April 2012 after six price cuts. Spears bought the five-bed, six-bath home for $6.75 million after her divorce to Kevin Federline in 2006.

"Built in 2001, the Mediterranean-style villa is located in the high-security, prestigious Summit neighborhood," Zillow reports. The 5-bedroom, 6-bath home has a master suite with his-and-her bathrooms and a fireplace.

3. Jennifer Aniston -- New York, N.Y.

Actress Jennifer Aniston bought two New York City apartments in 2011 for $7 million with the intent to combine them.

A year before that, Aniston told ABC's Good Morning America she was looking to return to New York City.

"I grew up here. I miss it," Aniston said in February 2010. "There's nothing like being in the city … [it's] the city of every man. It's all walks and I love that."

Fast forward to April 2012. Aniston has said she felt overwhelmed by paparazzi in New York City. She sold the units with a loss of $500,000, the New York Daily News reported.

4. Rihanna -- Beverly Hills, Calif.

Singer Rihanna sold her Beverly Hills eight-bedroom home in December 2011 for $5.03 million. She listed it in November 2010 for $4.5 million after paying $6.9 million in September 2009. The home reportedly has water damage from the roof and windows and was described as a "major fixer," which previously led to legal wrangling against her landlord.

The gated, three-story home spans 8,520-square feet and has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and three fireplaces.

5. Penelope Cruz -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Actress Penelope Cruz sold her 3,334-square foot home in Los Angeles for $2.88 million in December 2011, after buying it for $3.14 million in May 2005.

On the market for over a year, the final sale price was $807,000 less than Cruz originally sought and $250,000 less than what she paid.

"The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom Balinese-modern style home was built in 1956, and as since been completely updated by the star and husband Javier Bardem," Zillow reported. "The unique piece of Hollywood Hills real estate is tucked in a cul-de-sac near Sunset Strip and features high ceilings, carved-wood doors, private courtyard, bamboo floors, and an in-ground heated pool with a luxurious tented cabana."

6. John Krasinski -- West Hollywood, Calif.

The Office's John Krasinski bought a two-bedroom, two bath home in West Hollywood in March 2006 for $1.05 million, just one year into his role as "Jim" in the popular mockumentary. Krasinski's career took off while the economy took a turn for the worse.

He listed it in March 2011 for $945,000 and it sold for $880,000 in June 2011.

7. Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott -- Encino, Calif.

Despite being featured on television, the home in which Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's reality television show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, was filmed for the Oxygen network sold at a loss.

The couple bought the home in Encino, Calif. for $2.95 million in October 2008 and listed it in April 2011 for $3.20 million. They sold it for $2.5 million in December 2011, according to public records.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Buys 650 Foreclosures: How Much Did He Pay?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MACOMB COUNTY, Mich.) -- Until a year ago, Bill McMachen, 71, had never bought or sold a foreclosed home. Then in 2011 he bought one for $12,000 and flipped it a week later for $18,000. “That went pretty good,” he says. “So I said to my wife, ‘I think I’ll buy them all.’”

He was referring to all 650 tax foreclosed properties in Macomb County, Michigan. McMachen bought them in one fell swoop for $4.8 million at a July 31st auction. Afterward, he says, he told his wife, “Phew, I might be in over my head.”

He’d seen the auction advertised, and had asked county officials if it was possible for him to buy the entire lot, which included 403 homes, 120 residential lots, 14 condos, 9 commercial buildings and some undeveloped land. They told him nobody had ever done that before, but that there wasn’t any reason he couldn’t. He snapped them up for no more than their combined back taxes.

The real estate newbie says he made his fortune selling yachts for 40 years. After the recession hit, he says, the yacht business suffered, and he started getting interested in real estate.

What’s he going to do with all those houses? Resell them to investors, he says, most of whom he expects will rent them out to tenants.

How’s McMachen going to manage all these properties in the meantime? There won’t be a ‘meantime,’ he says: He’s selling them too fast: “Last week I sold 181. This week, it’ll be 150. In the third week I’ll sell the balance. More people want homes than I have homes to sell.”

He says he’ll happily sell to someone who wants to occupy a home himself. “If somebody tells me the house was his grandpa’s, or that there’s some sentimental connection, I’ll consider that.”

Anybody who buys from him, he says, is going to get a better deal than they would have from the county. Whereas the county, he says, doesn’t give potential buyers a chance to inspect foreclosure in advance, he’ll be happy to. “They can look around and see what’s there. Maybe there’s a furnace missing. Maybe it needs $15,000 worth of repairs. We’ll adjust the price.”

McMachen says his wife has asked him what he intends to do next. “I don’t know yet,” he says. “I enjoy wheeling and dealing.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


To Buy or to Rent? New Analysis Says Buy in Much of US

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Is it better to buy a home or rent?  An analysis released on Thursday by real estate information provider finds that in most of the U.S., buying becomes a better deal than renting after only three years of residence.

In many metro areas, the advantage comes much sooner. In Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, for example, owning beats renting after 1.6 years, the study finds. 

Zillow determined the breakeven horizon -- the point at which owning becomes more financially advantageous than renting the same home -- for more than 200 metro areas and 7,500 cities around the U.S.

Unlike a simple purchase price-to-rent ratio, the breakeven horizon takes into account such other data as taxes, tax deductions, down payments, utilities, appreciation, maintenance, opportunity costs and fluctuations in the rental market.

"People traditionally have looked at the price-to-rent ratio," Zillow senior economist Svenja Gudell told ABC News.  "But that's not comparing apples and apples.  Our calculation takes into account all costs, plus tax deductions and inflation.  It would be very hard for the average consumer to crunch these numbers."

The shortest breakeven horizons occur in markets such as Florida's, where home values fell farthest during the recession.  The ownership advantage there kicks in after less than two years. In other markets, however, where values have held, the advantage comes far later.  In San Jose, Calif., for example, the time is a little over eight years. San Jose had the longest breakeven horizon of any of the 30 largest metro areas Zillow studied.

Within metros, the study found big variations between one city and the next.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, a homeowner breaks even after 8.8 years; while in a similarly-priced home in Menlo Park, the time required is a bit over 14 years.

Metros with the longest horizons (besides San Jose) include Oak Harbor, Wash., and Santa Cruz, Calif.  Those with the shortest include Memphis, Tenn., and Fernley, Nev.

Gudell said it would be a mistake to conclude that buying always is the better option.  Everything depends, she said, on the metro area and the length of stay.  For lots of folks who occupy their home a year and a half, renting remains, she said, "a solid option."  In the right metro, it even can pay off for persons staying as long as five or six years.

Here are the 30 metro areas Zillow examined and their breakeven horizons (in years):

  • Miami-Fort-Lauderdale, Tampa -- 1.6
  • Detroit -- 1.7
  • Phoenix -- 1.7
  • Orlando, Fla. -- 1.7
  • Las Vegas -- 1.7
  • Riverside, Calif. -- 2.0
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth -- 2.1
  • Pittsburgh -- 2.1
  • Cincinnati -- 2.1
  • Cleveland -- 2.4
  • Columbus, Ohio -- 2.4
  • Atlanta -- 2.5
  • St. Louis -- 2.5
  • Denver -- 2.5
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul -- 2.7
  • Charlotte, N.C. -- 2.7
  • Chicago -- 2.8
  • Baltimore -- 2.8
  • Philadelphia -- 3.0
  • Sacramento, Calif. -- 3.1
  • Washington -- 3.5
  • Portland, Ore. -- 3.5
  • San Diego -- 3.6
  • Seattle -- 4.0
  • Los Angeles -- 4.3
  • Boston -- 4.3
  • New York -- 5.1
  • San Francisco -- 5.9
  • San Jose, Calif. -- 8.3

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dr. Seuss-Like Homes For Sale

Zillow(NEW YORK) -- Dr. Seuss, who would have celebrated his 108th birthday on Friday, is still a household name across the U.S. and perhaps is even an inspiration to home decoration.

Zillow compiled a list of homes for sale or rent that bring to mind the colorful shades and shapes in his children’s books. The homes range from $139,000 to $22.5 million with locations from Colorado to  Florida.  Zillow also included in the list a colorful, oddly shaped rental property in Long Island, N.Y., for $16,000 a month.

See slideshow of seven Dr. Seuss-like homes for sale or rent.

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. He passed away on Sept. 24, 1991, at age 87 but his estate continues to earn millions in royalties from his books and films. The latest film, based on his children’s book, The Lorax, will be released on Friday from Universal Pictures.

Forbes listed Geisel as one of the top-10 earning dead celebrities last year, earning $9 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Get Your Mortgage Paid for by Turning Your House into a Billboard

Brainiacs From Mars(BUENA PARK, Calif.) -- Need help paying your mortgage? If so, the marketing firm Brainiacs From Mars has a proposition for you.

“We’re looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we’ll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted,” the firm’s website reads.

The transformation from a more traditional color to broccoli green and sunrise orange definitely draws attention, and that’s exactly the point. Brainiacs From Mars is using the homes as a way to advertise its ingenuity.

“This is our business card and it works a lot better than that,” Brainiacs From Mars CEO Romeo Mendoza told ABC News. “It’s telling people we are an out-of-the-box, high-impact firm....The average person gets bombarded with 35,000 ads a week, so it’s hard to really stand out.”

The firm has only painted one house and says its goal is to paint 100 homes by the end of the year. It will have a lot of options to choose from after receiving more than 38,000 applications.

Click here to submit an application for your house.

“It’s definitely a two-way street,” Mendoza said. “We are able to help the homeowners and the homeowners are able to help us.”

According to Mendoza, the houses will be chosen based on “what feels right,” and while there are a lot of factors, he stresses the one thing that does not matter is location.

“It’s based on everything but location. The location makes absolutely no difference to us,” he said. “This home gets attention and does its job no matter where it is. And because it does that we are able to paint anywhere.”

The campaign has already surpassed the company’s wildest expectations. Because of the publicity from the one home already painted, in Buena Park, Calif., Brainiacs From Mars said it has landed new contracts and more than doubled its original staff of 12.

“It’s done tremendous things for us,” Mendoza said. “Ultimately, we’d like to do as many [homes] as possible. It’s effective for us to reach more clients and help homeowners at the same time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Home Construction Up Slightly in January

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In another encouraging sign for the economy, construction of new homes increased modestly last month, up 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 699,000, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

“This is a good report,” David Crowe, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, told ABC News. “We're approaching 700,000 housing units per year.  That's something we haven't seen for several years.”

Crowe said January’s numbers are in line with December’s revised figures. “There was a broad-based improvement if you take both of the months together. And I think that's basically due to continued improvement in consumer attitude towards the future economy and in employment,” Crowe said.

And the jobs market continues to show signs of improvement. A separate government report issued Thursday showed claims for unemployment benefits are at their lowest level in almost four years.

“This is indicative of what we're going to see in 2012,” Crowe said, “which is a slow recovery.  This isn't going to be a fast or quick or igniting housing recovery.”

Warmer weather during the month of January may have contributed to the slight rise in new home construction, Bloomberg News reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Foreclosure Sales Dip Slightly in 3rd Quarter of 2011; Still High

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(IRVINE, Calif.) -- The percentage of U.S. sales that involved residential homes in some stage of foreclosure dropped in the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest report by RealtyTrac.

The foreclosure tracking firm said Thursday that foreclosure sales fell by 2 percent from the second quarter, from 22 percent to 20 percent.  Compared to the third quarter of 2010, when they accounted for 30 percent of all sales, foreclosure sales were also down.

More than 221,000 homes nationwide were found to be in some stage of foreclosure during the third quarter of last year.  And while that number was down 11 percent from the second quarter and down five percent from the third quarter of 2010, foreclosure sales are still accounting for a large share of the market.

"That 221,000 represents 20 percent of all sales. And so, that's a high level.  In a normal, healthy market we would expect to see 5 percent of all sales be foreclosure-related," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Western states were among the worst hit.

"The top three states in terms of percent of market-share that were foreclosure sales were, number one: Nevada, with 57 percent of all sales there were foreclosure-related.  Number two is California, with 44 percent of all sales being foreclosure-related.  And number three was Arizona, with 43 percent," he said.

But in what may be a promising sign, the average sales price of homes in foreclosure or bank-owned in the third quarter -- $165,322 -- was up 1 percent from the previous quarter.

"That is an indication that we may be getting close to a bottom, in terms of home prices with these foreclosures, which are the properties that are kind of  dragging down the rest of the housing market," Blomquist said.

It is worth noting, however, that the average sales price was down 3 percent from the same time period in 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Lowe’s Closes 20 Stores, Cuts 1,950 Jobs

Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images (MOORESVILLE, N.C.) -- Home improvement giant Lowe’s said Monday it will close 20 underperforming stores in 15 states and cut 1,950 jobs.

Half of the locations closed Sunday, while the others will be shut in a month, the Mooresville, N.C. company said in a statement. Lowe’s, the No. 2 building supply chain after Home Depot, said the move will allow it to focus on more-profitable locations.

Before the closures Lowe’s operated 1,725 stores.

Lowe’s will only open 10 to 15 stores in North America annually beginning in 2012, rather than the 30 it had expected to open.

The stores affected are in: Los Banos, CA, Biddeford, ME, Old Bridge, NJ, Westminster, CA, Ellsworth, ME, Batavia, NY, Denver, CO, Ionia, MI, N. Kingstown, RI, Aurora, IL, Rogers, MN, Emporia, VA, Oswego, IL, Claremont, NH, S. Tacoma, WA, Chalmette, LA, Hooksett, NH, Brown Deer, WI, Haverhill, MA, and Manchester, NH.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How to Spot an Unlicensed Contractor

Steve Cole/DigitalVision(NEW YORK) -- The winds died down a week ago. And now Hurricane Irene's floodwaters are receding too. What's left is a big fat item on your "to do" list that you didn't cause. Make the wrong choice as you scramble to get repairs completed and you could make a bad situation worse.

Did you know you could be arrested for hiring an unlicensed contractor? It's a worst-case scenario, but it's true. In states that require licensing, hiring an unlicensed contractor is illegal.

Did you know an unlicensed contractor who gets hurt on your property could sue you -- and win? Unlicensed contractors are unlikely to carry proper insurance, so it has happened.

These are the extremes. But even the average experience with an unlicensed contractor can be devastating.

Licenses are generally required for any work that affects the structural or electrical integrity of the building. The contractor must be licensed in the state where the work is to be done.

If an unlicensed contractor nails you, you have next to no recourse. There's no license that the state can yank to threaten his livelihood. If you complain about him, he'll just change the name he does business under.

You can't tap into his insurance policy because he doesn't have one. Even suing an unlicensed contractor -- and winning -- is often futile, because unlicensed contractors don't have deep pockets.

Know the signs:

1. Unlicensed contractors often go door to door claiming they "just finished a job down the street."

2. They may rush you and say if you act now, you'll get a special price.

3. Unlicensed contractors either neglect to pull construction permits or they ask you to do it for them. If you do, you are assuming liability for the project, including their mistakes.

4. Some states require contractors to list their license number on their vehicles, their estimates, their websites and their advertising. If a contractor has not done that, it may be a bad sign.

5. If you see a license number in an ad, and it has a different number of letters, numerals and digits than all the other ads, it may be a fake license number.

6. Be wary if a contractor provides only a P.O. box or pager number. That may mean he doesn't have roots in the community and plans to move on as soon as people start to complain.

7. Unlicensed contractors often ask for a lot of money up front. Try not to pay any money in advance. If you must, keep the amount minimal.

Do your homework:

1. Find out what the licensing requirements are for contractors in your state. Also check with your county. If you live in an area where contractors do not have to be licensed, you're going to have to be extra vigilant about who you hire.

2. Try to find your contractor through word of mouth. A satisfied friend or neighbor is a much better source than a free newspaper.

3. Ask to see the contractor's actual paper license. Unlicensed contractors often put fake license numbers in their advertisements.

4. Get the contractor's full name, company name and license number and double check all three with the county and state departments that license contractors.

5. Also ask those departments if the contractor has a history of complaints.

6. Don't be fooled by "occupancy permits" or business licenses. These pieces of paper are worthless to you. Any business owner can get one. Hint: ask the contractor if he had to take a test to get his license. He should have.

7. If the contractor is licensed in another state, but not the one where the work is to be done, that's no protection. Some states do have reciprocal agreements, where a contractor with a license in one state can be "fast tracked" to get a license in another. Until he goes through that process, don't do business with him.

8. Also make sure the contractor is licensed to perform the type of work that you need. A licensed electrician cannot do plumbing work, for example.

9. If you hire a general contractor, make sure the specialists he hires -- like plumbers and electricians -- are licensed too.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rise in Short Sales Offers 'Glimmer of Hope' for Housing Market

ABC News(IRVINE, Calif.) -- Pre-foreclosure sales rose 19 percent in the second quarter of 2011, and close to a third -- 31 percent -- of all U.S. residential sales during that same time period were foreclosed homes, according to RealtyTrac's latest report released Thursday.

And, as Rick Sharga with the foreclosure tracking firm explains, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

"The fact that we're seeing a significant increase in the number of short sales actually is a glimmer of hope in this month's report," he says.

Sharga says its a clearing out of distressed inventory which is an overall good thing for the housing market.

"It looks like the banks are getting serious about trying to move these distressed properties more quickly, more efficiently and because they're doing this at a lower discount, it also helps to bring some stability to home prices and slow down the price depreciation that's been plaguing the housing market for the last few years," he explains.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio