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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    Bel Air   Aerial Image chartwell most expensive

    The home of late Univision chairman Jerrold Perenchio has hit the market for $350 million.

    The Sumner Spaulding-designed estate, which is known as "Chartwell," comprises more than 10 acres in Bel Air and dates back to 1933.

    Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, Hilton & Hyland and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services are marketing the property on behalf of Perenchio’s estate, according to a release from the brokerages.

    The Hollywood mogul, who reportedly represented the likes of Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor, died of lung cancer in May. He bought the initial site in 1986 and then expanded the site over 30 years by acquiring additional adjacent properties.

    The main house totals 25,000 square feet, with a detailed limestone facade, a ballroom, a wine cellar and a period- paneled dining room, according to a statement from the brokerages. The grounds include manicured gardens, a tennis court, covered parking for 40 cars and a 75-foot pool.

    The home was featured as Jed and Granny Clampett's house on "The Beverly Hillbillies" and Ronald and Nancy Reagan used to live next door.

    Hilton & Hyland co-founder Jeff Hyland did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The property appears to be the most expensive residential home currently on the market in the U.S., though a spec mansion being developed by L.A. developer Nile Niami is rumored to be quietly asking $500 million.

    SEE ALSO: Take a rare look at the enormous mansions hidden behind the Hamptons' famously high hedges

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: You can stay in one of Pablo Escobar's former mansions for $515 a night

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    small house front porch door yard

    • Historically, Americans have been told that buying a home is a good investment.

    • However, post-2008 housing crash, would-be buyers are smart to question this assumption.

    • New homebuyers can't assume a strong rate of return.

    • That doesn't mean no one should buy a house — just that their primary motivation shouldn't be investment.

    With the financial crisis nearly 10 years past, most investors are done with licking their wounds.

    The stock market has long since recovered and has set record after record. The economy is generally sound, unemployment is down and inflation modest.

    But what about homes? Americans were long told the home was a key investment, essential to building wealth and getting into the middle class, or staying there. But many were hit hard by the housing crash that left tens of millions owing more than their homes were worth. Is a home a good investment, or should we have learned a hard lesson?

    "Homeownership is not an investment," says Mark Avallone, president of Potomac Wealth Advisors in Rockville, Maryland. "It is a lifestyle choice for those wanting the freedom of owning your own home and land. People who assume a strong rate of return on their home purchase are living with a 1990s mentality. Sure, there will always be pockets of opportunities, but net increases in value are far from certain, especially when all the costs are included."

    [See: 10 Skills the Best Investors Have.]

    Over time, homeownership has worked well, but only for those who were sensible, says Aaron Hendon, a Realtor with Christine & Co. in Vashon, Washington.

    "Don't speculate with the house you live in," he says. "Buy within your means, buy where you want to live, buy slow, buy smart, and know that, over time, the housing market has been as stable of a vehicle for growth as any."

    On paper, the housing market has indeed recovered. The S&P Corelogic Shiller 20-city composite home price index, one of the most widely followed gauges, is back where it was in 2007 before the housing crash.

    But that masks a lot of misery in between. It means the average home, though worth much more than at the market's bottom, has not gained value in 10 years. People who lost homes to foreclosure are probably still suffering. Many who would have bought their first homes during that period were shut out by stiffer mortgage standards. Clearly, homes have not been good investments for everyone.

    Anything that's your biggest investment can also be your biggest money loser, and a home is not a guaranteed winner.

    "It is delusional to believe prices have only one direction and that is up," says Bruce Ailion, a Realtor with Re/Max in the Atlanta area.

    "Fundamentally, real estate prices are directly tied to wages," he says. "If wages are rising at 2 percent and housing at 6 percent, this is unsustainable, and there will be an adjustment."

    The family's largest investment is not necessarily the best investment – the most profitable over time. Over long periods, home prices have gained about 4 percent a year while stocks have gone up close to 10 percent. Stocks have crashes too, of course, but it's easier to get out of a stock or fund if things go wrong.

    Robert R. Johnson, president of the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, says homes appear to be stable investments only because you cannot get minute-to-minute price updates like with stocks, and that many homeowners focus on long-term price gains and ignore all the costs of ownership.

    "Stocks don't need a new furnace, a lawn mowed, or require annual property tax payments," he says.

    Here, then, are five key lessons experts say people should take from the past decade.

    Leverage can hurt 

    Among the cases for homeownership is the opportunity to buy a rising asset with borrowed money. Make a 10 percent down payment and you double your equity with a 10 percent gain in the home's price. But a 10 percent drop in value will wipe out your equity. Also, the 10 percent gain is whittled by mortgage interest, upkeep, taxes, insurance and other costs that you would not have, for example, with a mutual fund.

    [See: 10 Ways to Avoid the IRA Early Withdrawal Penalty.]

    Don't stretch to the limit

    The internet is full of calculators for figuring the maximum mortgage and most expensive house you can get, but the housing crash was hardest on owners who had piled up maximum debt. So, if you need two incomes to qualify for a mortgage, how will you make your payments if one of you loses a job?

    Prior to the crash, homeowners assumed they could sell if money got tight, and that was often possible as home prices had gone up steadily and there were plenty of buyers. But the crash showed that the escape hatch does not always work.

    "Asking 'What's the most I can afford?' is a good way to keep running in the rat race of middle-class overspending," says G. Brian Davis, director of education at Spark Rental, an advisor to real estate investors. "Instead, they should ask themselves 'What's the least I can spend on housing and still be happy?"


    If a home is seen as an investment as well as shelter, it's smart to follow standard advice about the value of spreading your money among various types of assets. Experts suggest keeping homeownership modest enough that you can still contribute to your 401(k) at work and have a few other holdings.

    "Housing is the highest personal expense for most of us, so spending less on housing frees up money for investing elsewhere [such as] retirement," Davis says.

    "I believe that individuals wishing to accumulate wealth would be better served to consider committing funds to their retirement plans, and allocating those plans to [stocks] and to not be so eager to purchase homes," Johnson says.

    Plan to stick it out

    Investors who stayed in the stock market through the crash recovered fairly quickly, and homeowners who bought before 2007 and were able to hold on have been made whole. On paper, it's easy to make a case for a three- or four-year time horizon – long enough for appreciation to offset the real estate agent's commission and other costs of buying and selling. But it's common for home prices to stagnate for a few years even in a normal market. Because selling a home is expensive and time-consuming, and price gains are uneven, it's best to see a home purchase as a commitment for 10 years or longer, many experts say.

    "The key for anyone buying a home to understand is this is a long-term investment," Ailion says. "You get rich slowly, not overnight."

    Think clearly

    It's easy to rationalize buying too much home because you believe it will produce bigger gains, or to buy a home in a weak market because it will be a home even if not a great investment. Instead, try not to muddle your thinking, and look at each issue distinctly.

    Many experts recommend buying the cheapest home that serves your housing needs and looking for a sound neighborhood that does not depend on a single employer. Good schools are key to home values.

    [See: 7 ETFs for a Solid Portfolio Defense.]

    "When purchasing a home, people should buy the home they need and not the home that mortgage lenders say they qualify to buy," Johnson says.

    SEE ALSO: A self-made millionaire who retired at 37 says buying a home was 'probably the worst financial decision' he ever made

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    hayes mansion san jose for sale 25

    A Silicon Valley city wants to unload a historic mansion that is costing millions of dollars a year in upkeep. But nobody with pockets deep enough seems to want it.

    Built in 1905, Hayes Mansion is a 214-room hotel and conference center located in San Jose, California. The city bought the private estate for $2.5 million in the early 1980s during the personal-computing boom. It wanted to make the mansion a hub for the tech industry.

    But tourists and professionals coming to town for conferences never followed in the way the city had hoped, in part because Hayes Mansion sits on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. An investigation by the San Jose Mercury News found that the city has sunk more than $60 million over the last three decades in subsidizing renovations and maintenance.

    San Jose put the mansion up for sale in July, after a deal to sell it for $47 million ($5 million over asking) fell through. It has since slashed the asking price to $36 million.

    Take a look inside Hayes Mansion.

    SEE ALSO: Take a look inside the former radioactive-waste site off the coast of San Francisco that's turning into a $5 billion housing development

    Hayes Mansion is an architectural gem.

    From above, it bears a striking resemblance to President Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

    Built in 1905, it belonged to the Hayes Family, who made their fortune mining iron in the Great Lakes area. The Hayes heirs went on to run newspapers in the Bay Area.

    Source: San Jose Mercury News

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Tina Lam and Michael Cheng are living their version of the American dream.

    The couple made headlines this week when a San Francisco Chronicle story outed their 2015 purchase of Presidio Terrace — a private cul-de-sac lined by $35 million mega-mansions.

    An unpaid tax bill caused the City of San Francisco to put it up for sale, without the knowledge of the street's wealthy residents. Lam, an engineer in Silicon Valley, and Cheng, a real-estate agent, scooped up the street, its sidewalks, and other "common ground" for $90,000.

    Now residents are up in arms, in part because the couple wants to charge them rent for using the street's 120 parking spaces. The homeowners association has sued the couple and the city.

    We used Google Earth to get a look at the exclusive private development.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    vancouver canada

    Vancouver real estate is seeing inventory hit a high for the year. Numbers from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) show that a decline in sales is causing listings to build at a rapid rate. Despite soaring inventory, prices still climbed more than the Vancouver median family income year-over-year.

    Prices Increased 2.1%

    The benchmark price of composite homes, your typical Vancouver home, made a pretty big move higher. The composite price is now $1,019,400, a 2.1% increase from the month before. This represents a 9.57% increase from the same month last year, which works out to $89,000. The market may be cooling, but if you’re the median family – your house still likely made more than you. This is the first time the composite price has hit over a million.

    Screen Shot 2017 08 10 at 10.17.19 AM

    Sales Decreased 23.97%

    Sales are showing big declines, but the seasonal drop was smaller than the year before. July 2017 saw 2,960 sales, a 23.97% decline from the month before. This is 8.25% lower than the same month last year. The monthly drop seems huge, but there’s a seasonal drop this time of year in Vancouver. For a little context, the same period last year saw a 26.6% decrease.

    Screen Shot 2017 08 10 at 10.17.33 AM

    Listings Increased Over 7%

    Listings are the big story, and REBGV would likely agree. There were 9,194 homes listed for sale at the end of July 2017, a 7.97% increase from the month before. This is 10.9% higher than the same month last year. Higher inventory isn’t a problem by itself, but when combined with declining sales – it theoretically should provide downward pressure on prices.

    Jill Oudil, president of the REBGV, noted “Because home sale activity decreased to more historically normal levels in July, the selection of homes for sale in the region was able to edge above 9,000 for the first time this year.” Which is real estate executive for people aren’t buying homes as quick as people are selling them, so they’re piling up.

    It appears that Vancouver is the land that math forgot. Increased inventory, and declining sales typically results in reduced pricing pressure – but prices still climbed. This bucking of traditional housing economics isn’t too surprising, considering the recently revealed history of Vancouver of real estate.

    SEE ALSO: Here's a brief history of foreign buying of Vancouver real estate

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    matt lauer hamptons home

    The struggling Hamptons real estate market is rebounding — but young buyers are less flashy than previous generations. 

    "Those great big huge houses from the 1990s and early 2000s, they’re sitting," Paul Brennan, a broker at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, told Bloomberg's James Tarmy. "I think that conspicuous consumption isn’t in vogue these days, and that’s why bigger isn’t better." 


    The shift away from ultra-luxury is hurting the richest homeowners. 

    Rather than sprawling estates that are difficult to maintain, today's buyers prefer vacation homes that are relaxing. That means fewer lawns, gardens, tennis courts, and rooms to maintain. 

    At least one celebrity has fallen prey to the trend. Matt Lauer's 25-acre Hamptons estate recently got a $2 million price chop and has languished on the market for more than a year. 

    The end of 2016 was challenging for the Hamptons luxury real-estate market, according to several brokerages that released reports. Data from the luxury real-estate company Brown Harris Stevens showed that average home prices had fallen by 23.1% in the fourth quarter year-over-year.

    Hamptons party

    In the second quarter, 48 homes that cost $5 million or more sold a vast improvement compared with the past year and a half, according to Bloomberg. 

    Experts blamed the election for the previous downturn. 

    "This was really due to the election," Aspasia Comnas, executive managing director of Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons, told Business Insider's Madeline Stone. "We're a secondary-home market, and if our buyers or sellers feel at all uncertain about what their economic future will look like — and with a change in administration, there was no way but for there to be a change in the economy — buyers and sellers hold back."

    The Hamptons market has also been hurt by the growing popularity of the Hudson Valley, which has renowned hiking and food scenes. 

    Madeline Stone contributed to this story. 


    SEE ALSO: Take a rare look at the enormous mansions hidden behind the Hamptons' famously high hedges

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    Julia and Vianney_Joinery

    • Renters often pay a broker 10% to 20% of annual rent for an apartment in New York City.

    • Two former Google employees founded a peer-to-peer rental site to get rid of this fee.

    • Outgoing tenants are paid up to half a month's rent for finding a new tenant, either by their landlord or the incoming tenant.

    There's a seemingly endless supply of apartment buildings lining the streets of New York City. And yet, finding a livable rental is often an exhaustive and wickedly expensive process.

    Many apartment hunters turn to real estate brokers, who charge a fee of 10% to 20% of annual rent for their services. Slap a 15% broker fee — the industry standard — on top of the $3,500 median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, and you're handing over nearly $10,000 right out of the gate, not to mention the security deposit or moving costs.

    Joinery, an apartment listing marketplace founded by former Google employees Julia Ramsey and Vianney Brandicourt, aims to fix this.

    Ramsey, 31, and Brandicourt, 32, met while working on a project years ago in Google's Paris office. They stayed in touch when Brandicourt left the company to start the analytics teams at Spotify and then Foursquare.

    Meanwhile, for the first time in seven years of living in New York City, Ramsey found a great apartment "through a friend of a friend" instead of a broker, she told Business Insider. To her surprise, the process was enjoyable.

    "First of all, there was that element of trust, but also I didn't have to pay any crazy fees associated with an apartment, it was just a very clean transaction," Ramsey said. "So I started to think to myself, how can I actually systematize this? How can I add a social layer to apartment finding, at scale?"

    In 2015, she left her position as a senior analytical lead at Google to launch Joinery with Brandicourt. The company has two missions, says Ramsey. First, to remove exorbitant broker fees for incoming tenants, and second, to partner with landlords who will pay their outgoing tenants to find a replacement for their unit.

    "The median New Yorker is spending 65% of their income on rent, which is absolutely staggering. When you add fees on top of that, it's kind of a kick in the teeth because you're already struggling and living paycheck to paycheck," Ramsey said. "I just felt like the current system was unfair ... so just having to pay a fee on top of that was a little bit financially onerous."

    Similar to other popular apartment rental aggregators, such as StreetEasy, renters can scroll through listings on Joinery, filtering by neighborhood, price range, amenities, and move-in date. But instead of connecting users with a broker, Joinery connects them directly to a departing tenant.

    Joinery screenshot

    "I thought it just intuitively made sense to be able to find an apartment from other renters, because the person who's been living in that unit is probably going to know a ton about the apartment and give you information on the management company, they can tell you where to put your air conditioner, and how to get the mail, all these kinds of details around the apartment," Ramsey said.

    Joinery currently has partnerships with a dozen landlords across the city who have agreements to pay their renters a fee for finding a new tenant.

    Only about half of the current listings are in buildings with landlord partnerships, though. When there isn't a partnership in place, the incoming tenant pays a fee to the outgoing tenant — a maximum of half a month's rent — through Joinery's platform. Joinery requires all outgoing tenants to receive permission from their landlord before listing their unit.

    Each listing displays the fees the incoming renter will pay, and calculates how much they're saving by choosing Joinery over a traditional broker.

    Joinery saving money

    Eventually, Joinery will take 20% of that fee, Ramsey says, but the company is forgoing it for now in order to scale. Though the company has no immediate plans for bringing the service to other cities, Ramsey says they regularly receive emails from renters in Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, asking when it will be available for them.

    "Our No. 1 goal is to grow the number of listings on our site," Ramsey said. "We want to become a marketplace where there's a ton of variety and we want to basically save people money and make money for renters as well."

    Since launching two years ago, Ramsey says Joinery has successfully filled over 300 apartments, saving renters "well over $1 million" in fees, assuming the same apartments had been filled by brokers instead.

    SEE ALSO: Why a month's free rent isn't such a good deal

    DON'T MISS: A self-made millionaire who retired at 37 says buying a home was 'probably the worst financial decision' he ever made

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    sunnyvale california

    When it comes to finding a place to live, homebuyers can usually expect to pay up for safety.

    Niche, a company that researches and collects reviews on cities, recently revealed the safest cities in the country in a 2017 ranking. To compile the list, Niche analyzed public crime data — including larceny, vehicular theft, and homicide rates — from sources like the US Census and the FBI, and considered over 100 million reviews from users, who rated how safe they feel in their cities.

    The ranking suggests that California, with seven of the top 15 cities, is one of the safest states in the nation. It's also home to several of the priciest housing markets in the country. Two California cities at the top of the ranking, Irvine and Thousand Oaks, have median listing prices at least twice the national figure of $259,000.

    Check out the chart below to see how much it costs to put down roots in the 15 safest cities in America.

    Home costs in safest cities graphic

    SEE ALSO: The 25 safest American cities to live in

    DON'T MISS: The hidden costs of owning a home in the 16 biggest cities in America

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    trader joes store manhattan

    There are so many features that attract homebuyers: renovated kitchens, curb appeal, school systems, proximity to $4 canned wineavocado yogurt and cookie butter...

    Yes, nearness to a Trader Joe's can actually increase your home's value to buyers, according to a new study.

    Homeowners with property near a TJ's saw an average home price appreciation of 67% over the last five years, reports real estate research group ATTOM Data Solutions.

    Those near a Whole Foods or Aldi saw a more modest 52% and 51%, respectively.

    The study, which compared data from 1,275 zip codes nationwide, put the average value of a home near Trader Joe's at $595,288, nearly triple to the nationwide median value. The average value of a home near Whole Foods follows close behind at $531,103 with a home near Aldi at $211,855.

    It's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg question when it comes to whether or not TJ's is actually driving up home values. It's also quite possible the chain is just really good at spotting up-and-coming neighborhoods and planting its outposts accordingly. (Case in point: Not one, but two, TJ's have popped up at the intersection of several increasingly trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods.)

    Either way, the news is something for aspiring homeowners to consider. So if you're about ready to buy and you hear a TJ's is coming to town, it might be time to make your move.

    SEE ALSO: This $3 canned wine is so popular, Trader Joe's can't keep it in stock

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Albert Elkouby Beverley Hills Home

    A new mansion has just hit the market in Beverly Hills.

    At $80 million, it's one of the most expensive houses on the market in the US. With 28,000 square feet of space, it's also one of the largest.

    The property is being sold by retail CEO  Albert Elkouby, a property developer who also owns an apparel company called JH Design. The house was previously listed two years ago for $72 million, but it failed to sell in its half-finished state.

    Described as a "French Chateau" in the listing, Elkouby's home has every luxurious amenity and excess imaginable. 

    Sam Real of Nest Seekers International has the listing.

    SEE ALSO: 11 things every man should take out of his apartment and burn

    The 1.5-acre property was landscaped to look like it belonged in the French countryside.

    The entrance is grandiose and unflinching.

    Inside, two marble staircases lead to the second floor of the two-story foyer.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hong kong

    It’s already the world’s most expensive housing market. And it just keeps getting more expensive.

    In the second quarter, the proportion of income spent on mortgages in Hong Kong—a measure known as the housing affordability ratio—hit 67 percent, shooting up from 56 percent earlier in the year, according to Bloomberg.

    On average, a household earning median income would need about 18 years to be able to afford a home in Hong Kong. Overall flat prices were 94 percent higher in June compared to 1997, according to government statistics.

    Residential transactions increased by 43 percent during the second quarter, which helped contribute to the rising prices.

    Like New York, finding a decent sized place to live in Hong Kong can already be difficult, with one new housing development in Hong Kong’s Happy Valley offering apartments with usable floor areas of 61 square feet.  This makes them a touch smaller than prison cells located 30 minutes away.  

    SEE ALSO: This might be the cheapest piece of real estate in San Francisco

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    thinking employee student learning

    For most, homebuying seems to be an overly complicated process.

    Viewed from a wider lens, you have multiple steps — mortgage application and approval, making an offer, competing with other buyers, contract negotiation, the due diligence period and (hopefully) a successful closing — rolled into one larger process that leads to your home purchase.

    For something the majority of Americans will undertake at least once in their lifetime, shouldn't it be easier?

    All told, simplifying the homebuying process is hard without taking out key elements that ensure honest lending, sales negotiations and understanding of the details of the deal for both the buyer and seller. But resources for homebuyers to better get a handle on the process are growing.

    First-time homebuyer workshops are popping up throughout the U.S. as real estate agents, lenders and agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have taken up the task of providing more transparency for homebuyers about getting approved for a mortgage, making an offer and preparing to close on a home.

    This is particularly important as new buyers flood the market. First-time buyers make up about 35 percent of homebuyers in the U.S., according to the National Association of Realtors' 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

    For many, an education in jumping into homeownership is necessary. "They're coming in fresh and brand new and just wanting to understand the whole process," says Darlene Bharath, a housing counselor for Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc., a nonprofit housing organization in Baltimore and a HUD-approved counseling agency.

    Of the 50 people that typically attend the organization's semimonthly homebuyer classes, between eight and 10 have spoken to a lender or real estate agent so far, but the rest aren't quite ready, says John Watkins, also a housing counselor at Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc.

    Homebuyer workshops aren't exclusive to first-time buyers. Jessica Diaz, a Realtor for Coldwell Banker Residential Services in the Atlanta area who puts on first-time homebuyer workshops with colleagues, notes clients listing their home with her decided to attend her recent workshop because they previously purchased their home from the builder and wanted a refresher course on the buying process for an existing home.

    "It took the edge off, because [buying and selling] can be scary to do at the same time," Diaz says.

    A first-time homebuyer class can be key to pointing out steps you may have previously been unaware of, walk you through some of the challenging aspects and help you identify the right timing and location for your home purchase.

    Here are eight things you'll learn in a first-time homebuyer boot camp.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how much you need to earn to comfortably afford a home in the 25 most expensive ZIP codes in America

    DON'T MISS: Harvard researchers say one-third of Americans overpay for housing — and renters have it the worst

    Your credit history is important. You've probably heard this once or twice already, but a first-time homebuyer class starts with the basics — and the most basic thing you can know about buying a home is that your credit matters when you apply for a mortgage.

    Alexandra Conigliaro Biega, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Services in Boston who also hosts first-time buyer workshops with colleagues, says the stress put on knowing your credit score and available credit leads a lot of workshop attendees to determine whether they can buy now or if it's better to wait and improve their credit.

    Preapproval is a must. Beyond your credit, mortgage preapproval is key to both setting a budget and looking good to sellers. Being preapproved means a loan underwriter has examined your financial credentials and, barring any issues with the home's condition or appraised value, confirms you qualify for a certain mortgage amount.

    "The first step is to get preapproved – we don't know what to look at without knowing the budget," Diaz says.

    You may qualify for assistance programs. Lenders often offer or are able to be a part of larger mortgage programs that make it easier for you to purchase a home — whether it's a down payment assistance program, a grant for the purchase price of your home or another form of monetary assistance.

    A lender representative is often present in a first-time homebuyer workshop and will help guide you as you search for the mortgage program or low down-payment program that can best help you, but the organization that hosts the seminar may assist as well.

    Belair-Edison Neighborhoods Inc., for example, works with homebuyers to apply for the right grants or programs, many of which actually require attendance of a homebuyer boot camp, among other requirements, before you're considered eligible.

    House hunting comes after mortgage prep. Securing your financing is certainly a big step, but it's just the beginning — once you're preapproved for a loan, it's time to start house hunting.

    At your first-time homebuyer workshop, you'll likely get an overview of how you can begin searching online for available properties, as well as your real estate agent's role in finding houses, touring them and narrowing your options.

    Conigliaro Biega says she often includes a housing market report in her course materials, which can help homebuyers narrow the area they're looking to buy in based on affordability and other personal factors the buyer has to weigh, such as commute time, schools and safety.

    There may be one-on-one options. Most professionals putting on the class welcome more personal questions about the homebuying process, and at HUD-approved counseling agencies, there are typically one-on-one meeting options to go in depth about your own qualifications for homeownership. For some programs, completing the workshop and a one-on-one session is required to be approved for a mortgage- or down payment-assistance program.

    "Once the client comes in to schedule a one-on-one interview, we'll address their individual situations, so we'll look at their pay stubs, income tax returns, bank statements and things of that sort to determine how much of a house they can afford to purchase, as well as what grant they would be eligible for," Watkins says.

    Closing and beyond. In an overview of homebuying, the natural end seems to be when you close on your home and take possession of the property. But there's so much more to homeownership that can serve as an unpleasant surprise if you're not ready.

    In addition to lenders, agents, appraisers, inspectors and more discussing their role in the purchase process, Bharath says a representative from a title and escrow company is typically in attendance, as well as a homeowners insurance representative to discuss coverage once the home is yours.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    A private island in New York featuring a house based on Frank Lloyd Wright's designs is on sale for $14,920,000. The iconic architect designed the home on Petra Island, located 47 miles from Manhattan.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    jule pond

    There's a new most expensive home for sale in the Hamptons, and it has a connection to the Ford family.

    Once part of a larger property called "Fordune," the 42-acre estate has hit the market for $175 million. It was originally built for Henry Ford but has reportedly been owned by portfolio manager Brenda Earl since 2002.

    Cody and Zach Vichinsky of Bespoke Real Estate have the listing, which is now referring to the home as "Jule Pond."

    If it sells at its current price, Jule Pond would be the most expensive home to ever change hands in the US. The current record is held by hedge funder Barry Rosenstein, who bought an East Hampton property for $147 million in 2014. 

    The main house has 20,000 square feet of space, 12 bedrooms, and 12 bathrooms. The property also has tennis and basketball courts as well as a greenhouse and about 1,350 feet of oceanfront.

    Let's take a look around.

    SEE ALSO: A retail CEO is selling his enormous Beverly Hills 'palace' for $80 million — take a look inside

    The estate is set on 42 acres in Southampton.

    It fronts the ocean and several ponds, including Jule Pond.

    The home was built in 1960, and many of its original architectural details have been maintained.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hamptons beach house

    When you think of a summer home, you probably think of sandy hallways, shady porches, and bitter battles over who inherits the place when Grandma and Grandpa are dead.


    In The New York Times, Paul Sullivan writes that wealthy families who once turned to their lawyers over matters of inheritance are now pursuing a different method of conflict resolution: transformative mediation.

    He describes transformative mediation as "an ambitious but often lengthy process with a single goal: to get the people involved to think differently."

    Sullivan, who is also the author of "The Thin Green Line: Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy," continues: "If siblings are successful in changing their thoughts about each other, practitioners say, the present conflict will be resolved and the relationships that the siblings have with each other will be altered."

    Interestingly, squabbles over summer homes run counter to another trend profiled in the Times: grown children's resistance to inheriting their parents' stuff, to the point that Goodwill is "overrun" with donations and aging parents are paying thousands for help downsizing.

    Apparently, four bedrooms on Nantucket doesn't count as "stuff."

    But before wealthy families started using transformative mediation to change their minds about each other and the beach access up for grabs, Sullivan points out, the US Postal Service incorporated it as an "accepted method of conflict resolution."

    This started in 1994. Robert A. Baruch Bush, a law professor at Hofstra University, and Joseph P. Folger, a communications professor at Temple University, helped the USPS develop a program to "solve underlying conflicts between workers so that they could return to their jobs and work together," Sullivan writes.

    While staying out of court is probably a good thing for families at odds, the transformative mediation process can be long and expensive, writes Sullivan — and in that way, at least, perhaps not all that different from the legal channels families might have pursued in the past.

    Read the full article at The New York Times »

    SEE ALSO: 7 ways super-wealthy people think about their money

    DON'T MISS: Goodwill is 'overrun' with stuff millennials and gen-Xers refuse to take from their parents, who pay up to $5,000 to get rid of it

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A Frank Lloyd Wright cottage on a private island is on sale for $14.9 million

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    Trulia_Contributor9Small homes may continue to rise in popularity, but bigger will always be better for the most luxurious end of the real estate market.

    When your budget has no bounds, you can afford endless space for you, your family and your helicopter.

    Whether you've been dreaming of your own villa near Hollywood or a remote castle in upstate New York, these truly grand estates have earned their spot on the list of the ten biggest houses currently for sale in the United States.

    SEE ALSO: An enormous Hamptons estate that once belonged to the Ford family is for sale for a potentially record-breaking $175 million

    DON'T MISS: Wealthy families are turning to 'transformative mediation' to decide who gets the summer home

    1. Deluxe lakeside compound


    63,000 sq ft

    It's two magnificent estates for the price of one in this jaw-dropping compound on the shores of scenic Lake Winnipesaukee in the quaint town of Alton, New Hampshire. Between these two properties, you'll enjoy 12 bedrooms and a combined total of 63,000-square-feet. Your commute to either home can be whatever you choose, thanks to the on-site helicopter pad and multiple docks. (Those traveling by luxury car will simply enjoy the drive in from the gated entrance and through six acres of manicured lawns.)

    Though built for year-round enjoyment, certain features stand out for milder months of the year, like the stone amphitheater, an infinity pool with grotto and the tennis court. For those who plan on hosting many get-togethers, you have a 7,655-square-foot reproduction post-and-beam barn specifically built for entertaining. There's also one of the most charming features we've ever come across: A private lakeside tea house.

    2. High drama in the desert


    52,000 sq ft

    Set against panoramic views of Camelback Mountain and metro Phoenix, this 14-bedroom, 23-bathroom estate gives you 52,000-square-feet to customize to your own taste. That's because this luxury property is being sold as-is — which means you can consider this a massive blank slate for limitless creativity.

    Though some features would be in need of updating (for instance, the great room appears to have popcorn ceiling tiles), some are worth keeping, like the amethyst stone fireplace in the guest house, the imported marble throughout the home and the  herringbone floors. Sporty types will also appreciate the racquetball court and his-and-hers locker rooms. Overall, it's an intriguing project for the right owners.

    3. Secluded Spanish villa in Los Angeles


    40,000 sq ft

    A cool $75 million doesn't just get you a 40,000-square-foot mansion with 8 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, a recording studio, outdoor movie screen, a wine cellar and tasting room. It gets you an unthinkable amount of privacy thanks to some very specific features: An underground auto gallery, an indoor saltwater lap pool, an indoor basketball court that doubles as a grand ballroom, your own full service salon complete with a wellness center and a movie theater complete with a candy wall. Though you could very well never leave the house thanks to these features, you're not far from civilization. The Los Angeles estate is close to the Hotel Bel-Air, and is in close proximity to Brentwood, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    28. Napoleon Bonaparte_DEA Picture Library AGE Fotostock

    In my decades in finance and real estate, one thing I’ve learned is this: the core underlying principles of investing rarely change.

    You see, the fundamentals aren’t new. Technology, computing, speed of information dissemination and transparency… sure, these have all helped change the game.

    But throughout the span of recorded human history, the same lessons are there in plain sight, again and again… they are timeless.

    So if you want to learn to be a successful real estate investor, just look back at the greatest real estate deals of all time.

    For example, consider the Louisiana Purchase…

    A pawn on the chessboard of European politics

    The “Mighty” Mississippi River is born a mere trickle in Lake Itasca, some 1,500 feet above sea level in the northern U.S. state of Minnesota.

    From there it meanders its way south, gathering volume as the increasing flow from tributaries swell it into the 15th largest river in the world (and fourth longest, at 2,320 miles).

    The river creates some of the most fertile agricultural terrain in America, along with navigable rivers, forests, prairies and mineral riches.

    These bounties led France throughout the 17th century to explore the Mississippi River valley creating settlements across the region.

    By the middle of the 18th century, the French held sway a length of terrain from New Orleans in the south, to Montana in the north.

    To be clear, this “Louisiana Territory” was enormous… covering some 828,000 square miles.

    That’s nearly three and a half times the size of France today.

    2017 08 21 image1

    The territory came to be, as historian George Herring puts it, a “pawn on the chessboard of European politics”.

    France ceded control to the Spanish at the culmination of the Seven Years’ War in 1762 under the Treaty of Paris… however, Napoleon Bonaparte regained ownership from Spain in 1800 under the secret “Third Treaty of San Ildefonso” between the French and Spanish.

    Around the same time, President Thomas Jefferson demonstrated considerable foresight and downright smart thinking by agreeing to increase American presence in what was a politically unstable area of North America.

    However, he was concerned that political instability in the area could undermine efforts to occupy these lands and lead to further conflict with the American state.

    Word filtered that that France had entered into a secret agreement with the Spanish to take back control of the Louisiana Territory.

    Soon after Napoleon’s France was facing revolutions across its colonies, most notably Haiti and Hispaniola, where French forces suffered thousands of casualties from war and yellow fever.

    Napoleon’s visions for the French colonies in the western Atlantic were in tatters.

    His plans to use the Mississippi basin as a base for food production and trading activities to support French colonies in the region now made little sense.

    The colonies were breaking… and French forces would be inadequate to protect the Louisiana Territory.

    Moreover, plans were afoot for conquests closer to home in Europe. But he needed money to fund those military adventures.

    America’s great luck

    Jefferson offered to purchase some of the territory from Napoleon. Specifically, they were prepared to pay up to US$9.375 million for New Orleans and its surroundings.

    Napoleon countered, offering Jefferson a deal of incalculable value…

    He proposed the sale of the vast Louisiana Territory… in its entirety… for US$15 million (roughly a quarter billion dollars today).

    The Americans couldn’t believe their luck. The offer was completely unexpected. They were stunned.

    In a single stroke the newly emerging America could almost double its total land area. And at a cost of less than 3 cents per acre.

    Signed in Paris on the 30th April 1803, and aptly announced to the American public on the 4th of July, this deal became known as the Louisiana Purchase.

    America went on to become the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth… as predicted by founding father Robert Livingstone, who said at the time…

    “We have lived long, but this is the noblest work of our whole lives…From this day the United States take their place among the powers of the first rank.”

    What we can learn from the Louisiana Purchase

    Bear in mind, the Louisiana Purchase was more a political deal than an outright real estate one.

    But still, there are a couple of major lessons that still ring true today…

    1. Motivated sellers offer value.If you’re a buyer, the best sellers of real estate are ones who need to get out, and fast.
    2. Distress equals opportunity.There are hundreds of reasons why an individual might need to sell: maybe they need cash to bail out their business, maybe they’re leaving the country, it could be a divorce, it could be a case of over-leverage… who knows?

      Regardless, a motivated seller usually gives you negotiating power… in other words, the opportunity for a lower price.

      And hopefully, you can pounce… which brings me on to the next lesson…

    3. The ability to act quickly can be critical.Take the Louisiana Purchase. The deal was completed on the 30th of April… yet Napoleon’s offer of the entire territory was only made 19 days prior to that!

      Had the Americans not acted so quickly, who knows what could have happened.

      We do know that Napoleon’s two brothers were trying to talk him out of the sale!

      Some of the best real estate buys I’ve made have been done quickly… sometimes completely on the spot.

      Combining a speedy transaction with a motivated seller will give you a better price. Period.

    4. But critically,you have to know your market inside out.A seller looking to offload quickly often wants to sell you more than just his property… he wants to dump you with the problems that come with it!

      Maybe there are structural issues, a leaky roof, asbestos… a new sewage plant to be installed close by! You get the picture…

      The final lesson from the Louisiana purchase is this:

    5. Don’t sell real core assets to fund spending.It’s one thing to sell assets and reinvest, it’s quite another to do what Napoleon did…

      He frittered the entire proceeds on senseless wars and military incursions, squandering one of France’s greatest financial and economic assets.

      Some time later Napoleon was reported to have said, “America is a fortunate country. She grows rich by the follies of our European nations.

    I couldn’t agree more!

    Good investing,

    Peter Churchouse

    SEE ALSO: These industries will explode along with China's middle class

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    If you've ever had a landlord, you probably don't dream of being one: Fielding calls about oversize bugs and overflowing toilets doesn't seem like the most glamorous job.

    But done right, real estate investment can be lucrative, if not flashy. It can help diversify your existing investment portfolio and be an additional income stream. And it doesn't always require showing up at a tenant's every beck and call.

    The trouble is that many new investors don't know where or how to invest in real estate. So here are five options, ranging from high maintenance to low.

    1. Invest in rental properties

    Tiffany Alexy didn't intend to become a real estate investor when she bought her first rental property at age 21. Then a college senior in Raleigh, North Carolina, she planned to attend grad school locally and figured buying would be better than renting.

    "I went on Craigslist and found a four-bedroom, four-bathroom condo that was set up student-housing style. I bought it, lived in one bedroom and rented out the other three," Alexy says.

    The setup covered all of her expenses and brought in an extra $100 per month in cash — far from chump change for a grad student, and enough that Alexy caught the real estate bug. Now age 27, she has five rentals and is a broker and owner of Alexy Realty Group in Raleigh.

    Alexy entered the market using a strategy sometimes called house hacking, a term coined by BiggerPockets, an online resource for real estate investors. It essentially means you're occupying your investment property, either by renting out rooms, as Alexy did, or by renting out units in a multi-unit building. David Meyer, vice president of growth and marketing at the site, says house hacking lets investors buy a property with up to four units and still qualify for a residential loan.

    Of course, you can also buy and rent out an entire investment property. Find one with combined expenses lower than the amount you can charge in rent. And if you don't want to be the person who shows up with a toolbelt to fix a leak — or even the person who calls that person — you'll also need to pay a property manager.

    "If you manage it yourself, you'll learn a lot about the industry, and if you buy future properties you'll go into it with more experience," says Meyer.

    2. Fix up and resell properties

    This is HGTV come to life: You purchase an underpriced home in need of a little love, renovate it as inexpensively as possible and then resell it for a profit. Called house flipping, the strategy is a wee bit harder than it looks on TV.

    "There is a bigger element of risk, because so much of the math behind flipping requires a very accurate estimate of how much repairs are going to cost, which is not an easy thing to do," says Meyer.

    His suggestion: Find an experienced partner. "Maybe you have capital or time to contribute, but you find a contractor who is good at estimating expenses or managing the project," he says.

    The other risk of flipping is that the longer you hold the property, the less money you make because you're paying a mortgage without bringing in any income. You can lower that risk by living in the house as you fix it up. This works as long as most of the updates are cosmetic and you don't mind a little dust.

    GettyImages 811471914

    3. Use a crowdfunding service

    If you're familiar with companies such as Prosper and LendingClub — which connect borrowers to investors willing to lend them money for various personal needs, such as a wedding or home renovation — you'll understand the concept behind investing through a real estate crowdfunding site.

    Companies including RealtyShares and RealtyMogul connect real estate developers to investors who want to finance projects, either through debt or equity. Investors hope to receive monthly or quarterly distributions in exchange for taking on a significant amount of risk and paying a fee to the platform. Like many real estate investments, these are speculative and illiquid — you can't easily unload them the way you can trade a stock.

    The rub is that you need money to make money. Real estate crowdfunding is generally open only to accredited investors, defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission as people who've earned income of more than $200,000 ($300,000 with a spouse) in each of the last two years or have a net worth of $1 million or more, not including a primary residence.

    4. REITs

    REITs, or real estate investment trusts, allow you to invest in real estate without the physical real estate. Often compared to mutual funds, they're companies that own commercial real estate such as office buildings, retail spaces, apartments and hotels.

    REITs tend to pay high dividends, which makes them a good investment in retirement. Investors who don't need or want the regular income can automatically reinvest those dividends to grow their investment further.

    REITs can be varied and complex. Some trade on an exchange like a stock; others aren't publicly traded. The type of REIT you purchase can be a big factor in the amount of risk you're taking on, as non-traded REITs aren't easily sold and might be hard to value.

    New investors should generally stick to publicly traded REITs, which you can purchase through an online broker. (See the NerdWallet analysis of the best brokers for beginners if you're new to this world.)

    5. Rent out a room

    Finally, to dip the very edge of your toe in the real estate waters, you could rent part of your home via a site like Airbnb. It's house hacking for the commitment-phobe: You don't have to take on a long-term tenant, potential renters are at least somewhat prescreened by Airbnb, and the company's host guarantee provides protection against damages.

    SEE ALSO: 6 tips from top entrepreneurs on turning real estate into real wealth — even if you start with nothing

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    Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann WeWork

    WeWork has raised $4.4 billion in funding from SoftBank Group and SoftBank Vision Fund, the office sharing startup announced Thursday. 

    SoftBank is investing $3 billion in WeWork itself, and putting another $1.4 billion into three new WeWork subsidiaries — WeWork China, WeWork Japan, and WeWork Pacific. 

    As part of the investments, SoftBank will is naming two directors to WeWork's board: Ronald D. Fisher, a director of SoftBank Group; and Mark Schwartz, an external director of SoftBank Group.

    Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that WeWork raised $300 million from SoftBank with plans to raise a total of $3 billion. Then, in early July, Bloomberg reported that WeWork had gotten another $760 million. At the end of July, WeWork secured an extra $500 million from SoftBank. Thursday's announcement includes the previous investments. 

    WeWork leases out large blocks of space in commercial buildings and then subleases them to smaller companies, frequently tech startups. The new-age real estate firm was valued at $21 billion in July, making it the fifth highest-valued startup in the world. 

    SoftBank's investment represents one of the first made by its new $100 billion tech-focused Vision Fund, which was announced last October and is being described as the largest fund of its kind in the world.

    SEE ALSO: 2,000 WeWork employees and their guests flew to the UK for an epic summer camp with outdoor activities, parties, and concerts

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    cointreau house

    Vineyards are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when considering real estate in Malibu.

    But there is one currently on the market, as Béatrice Cointreau — whose great-grandfather foined Cointreau Distillery and whose grandfather founded Rémy Martin — has listed her family's wine estate in the beachside community for $12.5 million.

    Cointreau was previously the CEO of Champagne Gosset and was the first female member of the Wine Academy of France.

    She is reportedly returning to France but has been producing wines for the Admirable Family Vineyards label here for several years. Cointreau bought the property, at the time a defunct vineyard, as two separate parcels in 2013. 

    "As far as the property itself, it's not everyday that you can purchase a vineyard in Malibu. There are none on the market beside L' Admirable," Shauna Walters, director of international luxury properties at John Aaron Group, told Business Insider. Walters is listing the vineyard with Sally Forster Jones.

    Walters added: "The city of Malibu is not allowing them if they don't already exist so this is the chance to own something extraordinary."

    The estate consists of a 6,635-square-foot home on roughly five acres, which is also home to 3,000 vines of Viognier, Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Syrah varietals. 

    SEE ALSO: 2,000 WeWork employees and their guests flew to the UK for an epic summer camp with outdoor activities, parties, and concerts

    L'Admirable sits behind private gates on a plot that overlooks Point Dume in Malibu.

    The main home was built in the Mediterranean style.

    Inside, you'll see high ceilings and an open floor plan.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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