Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
By Robert Lockard
This is my last blog entry in this luxury real estate blog. After more than a year and a half of blogging, I'm afraid my time has come to an end. I'm about to move on to something new and scary, but I suppose change always involves some degree of fear and discomfort. I will no longer be the editor of the Luxury Real Estate Blog.
Thank you very much, everyone who has taken the time to share their thoughts on this blog. I'm sorry if I wasn't able to respond to all of your comments, but I definitely read them all and tried to incorporate what I learned from them into future posts. I have grown a lot in the past year and a half and I think you can definitely see that by going back through my many blog entries and seeing me try to articulate my feelings and ideas.
I don't know if I'll be able to respond to your comments on this blog entry, so I hope you won't be offended if you write me something and I am unable to respond for some time. Thank you again for sharing a wonderful discussion with me. I would say more, but once again I feel compelled to hold my tongue and simply encourage you to keep holding to hope in these perilous times. Don't put your trust in men, but build your foundation on something sure.
Farewell, my friends.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Some East Bay Real Estate Is On The Slippery Slide Of FEAR!
Once you get on the Slipper Slide of Fear, it is difficult to get off! Please stay off that slippery slide!
So, I picked up USA Today last Saturday on my flight to the Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference in Philadelphia where I was a presenter. The USA Today headline was, “FEAR is a slippery slide!” In some of my past comments I have used the sailor’s mantra, “Do not be fearful!” It still applies today, in spite of an almost 900-point recovery on the Dow Jones the past two days. Don’t forget… once you step on the “slippery slide” of fear, the momentum carries you away very quickly.
The voice of experience, the voice of the local authority, and the voice of credibility can still prevail. And we are the ones that need to be that voice. I just completed a walk from the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton to Constitution Hall, the Liberty Bell, and other reminders of the work our founding fathers did on our behalf 230+ years ago. What an inspiring day! (You may recall this is the organization that is the acknowledged authority of luxury real estate! It was founded by John Brian Losh with a vision of connecting the best luxury brokers and agents in the world – 1,900 members from 65 countries.)
Do you think they were afraid? Of course they were. But, the consequence of letting fear paralyze them from action was not acceptable. Instead of the “slippery slide” of fear taking them away from the liberty and freedom they so dearly wanted for our country, they discovered – step by step – the actions needed to create the most incredible democracy in our world’s history. It was very hard. Thousands of lives were lost as part of that payment for liberty. And, the founding fathers never lost site of end result that was required – FREEDOM!
There is a book I have enjoyed reading several times – “The Tipping Point.” They have a very insightful analysis of Paul Revere’s ride in Boston a few days before the Revolutionary War was officially declared. His ride was so effective that it mobilized the citizens along his route in a manner that called them to action in stopping the British from confiscating their arms stored in Concord. Did you know there was a second rider who was sent in a different direction to alert another section of Massachusetts to immediately prepare to defend Concord. Does anyone remember his name? In fact, I had never heard of him before I read “The Tipping Piont.” He was totally and utterly ineffective in his call to arms.
What was the difference between these two men with similar intentions? Paul Revere was one of the most respected local authorities on what was happening within the colonies which he believed required a liberation movement to break away from British rule – even if it meant war. I would like to be as effective as Paul Revere during these uncertain economic times. We are the local citizens calling our “citizens” to action in order to work through the financial crisis we are in. Will you join me as we serve our clients and communities, and help them off the “Slippery Slide of Fear?” (You get bonus points if you email me with the other freedom rider’s name whose ride was a waste of time.) Contact me with your thoughts. Until next time…
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global Luxury Real Estate network. Jim is an exceptional blogger, as you can see by visiting his blogs, East Bay Real Estate and Caribbean Islands Realty, and reading his great blog entries like the one above. He is the master of fractionals and other luxury homes in the Bay Area and the Caribbean, and he always has a lot of great opportunities to share. Simply marvelous. This is the last blog entry from Jim that I will have the privilege of editing and posting to the Luxury Real Estate Blog. I am always impressed by his enthusiasm, cheerful disposition and unparalleled kindness. Thank you, Jim, for being such a good person and being a light to a world of shadows and fear. You are amazing.
By Robert Lockard
In the winter 2009 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine (this link will start working in December 2008 when the magazine is published) I wrote an article entitled “Seeing Green: Living eco-friendly without sacrificing luxury.” In that article I mentioned a number of links and resources awaiting readers online. As promised, here they are! Check out the following Web sites for valuable information on what you can do today to start enjoying the benefits of “green” homes. In addition, I included links to the personal blogs/sites of the five Luxury Real Estate members and Eco-Brokers who I interviewed for this article. They were very helpful in the writing process and I’m sure you’ll find them to be extremely helpful in the home buying and selling process:
“Green” Organizations and Resources
www.buildinggreen.com: An independent publishing company focused on “green” building materials and methods.
www.builditgreen.org: A nonprofit dedicated to promoting “green” building in California by providing education, professional directories and more.
www.builtgreen.net: The Built Green™ logo signifies a property meets rigorous “green” standards. Based in Western Washington.
www.earthcrafthouse.com: Founded in 1999, EarthCraft House™ certifies new homes in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Virginia as “green” based upon high standards.
www.greenhomeguide.org: Sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, this site offers a variety of resources for “greening” your home.
www.lowimpactliving.com: A tool for setting realistic goals based on your budget, location and other factors.
www.nahb.org: Formed in 1942, the National Association of Home Builders provides in-depth data on housing trends, including “green” homes.
www.southeastgreen.com: A user-friendly directory of businesses offering “green” products and services in the Southeast United States.
www.usgbc.org: Official site of the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry, which provides LEED™ standards for homes, businesses and more.
Blogs/Personal “Green” Sites:
www.cottenalston.com (Cotten Alston’s personal site)
www.roseannblacher.com (Roseann Blacher’s personal site)
http://maringreenrealestate.blogspot.com (Jonathan Marks’ blog, the only “green” blog in Marin County)
www.thebuckheadblog.com (Carson Matthews’ blog)
http://welcomehomegreen.typepad.com (Hannah Tai’s blog)
By Robert Lockard
I have some very fun news to share. A new TNT movie starring Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. is currently filming in the Detroit area, and part of the filming is being done at a waterfront luxury home on Windmill Point Drive in Grosse Pointe Park. This property is being represented by Higbie Maxon Agney, Inc. Realtors, a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate and the Board of Regents.
Check out this wonderful story in the Grosse Pointe News that I received earlier this week. Sorry I don’t have a link to the story online. Apparently, that newspaper doesn’t post some of their stories on their Web site, but luckily I have a PDF version of the printed article.
The movie is called “Gifted Hands: The Story of Ben Carson” and it follows the life of Ben Carson, born into poor conditions, who was able to lift himself up and become a famed pediatric neurosurgeon. It’s scheduled to debut on TNT on Feb. 7, 2009. I love inspirational stories about good people triumphing over difficult circumstances. Actually, this discussion reminds of a blog entry that Jim Walberg, the co-Owner/Broker of The Bay Area Team, just wrote about not giving in to fear despite our difficult financial market.
The luxury property on Windmill Pointe Drive is quite remarkable. It includes near two acres of land, its own private dock and 12,000 square feet of living space for $7.3 million. If you’d like more information, you can contact Heather Adragna Ulku or check out this brochure on the property.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate's newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. Feel free to share your good news like this with us, as well. I love reading and writing good stories for the Luxury Real Estate Blog. The photo of Cuba Gooding Jr. is from www.flickr.com/photos/rafamado/2635448556 and it is the copyright of Rafael Amado Deras.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Economic Meltdown Causes Fear In East Bay Real Estate Community!
No matter how positive and resilient one is, we are in stormy economic times! However, opportunities abound in the midst of this economic hurricane!
I was chatting with my friend, Bob Waun – president of Vacation Finance, which is headquartered in Michigan – about the financial meltdown going on in the credit markets and the stock markets. He asked if I was afraid for what is next for our real estate businesses in the Bay Area and the Caribbean. I told him, “Nah… we are still having the time of our life!” The mantra of a sailor is…, “Do not be fearful!” And, the definition of FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real! If you didn’t know, my favorite condition in sailing is with the gunnels (side rails on each side of the boat) in the water and salt water spraying all over me. You can’t imagine the big grin on my face while I am sailing in those conditions. However, it is not the time for the faint of heart if you are a sailor in stormy seas. It is the time when experience pays off.
Both our Bay Area and Caribbean real estate businesses are thriving… however, it is taking all hands on deck to pull it off. We are blessed with a great team who only look at the glass half full, and are committed to creating a GREAT experience for our customers. Many of our competitors are running down to Starbucks talking about how the sky is falling. The vacuum they are leaving within our real estate community is amazing, and whoever fills that void today will have a larger market share when the market shifts again – which it will. In order to make it through these tough financial times we all need to work together, side by side, realizing storms don’t last forever. At the end of Bob’s and my conversation, he left me with these thoughts:
Faith, beliefs and conviction can be fickle friends when they are tested by panicked masses. “The end is near!” seems to be the chant of the crowd across the world today. But what of substance has changed within our global economy. Did a world of Fathers change their commitment to feed and clothe their children? Did Mothers decide that the generic brand cereal would be fine in mass? Did we stop wanting nice things and suddenly over the weekend decide to settle for less? What is the shift that causes such a panicked response? What fundamental changes are causing us to doubt the future? Purely fear of what “MIGHT” change. Does that sound rational to you?
Historians and economists can attest that humans don’t always act rationally en masse, but as individuals we can still choose to be rational – to act out of faith and conviction, not panic. ”Looking back on it, I was a trader in the pits of the S&P in 1987. It was the most exciting and profitable stock market opportunity of my lifetime,” a friend told me today… Did he notice it at the time? No. He said he was scared to death, but he kept at his work of trading stocks in the best way he could. Life is clearer in the rearview mirror. Regret is more painful than overcoming fear…
In a storm, it is not time for people to jump ship and swim to safety. A storm is the time for experienced sailors to do their work and sail through it. It doesn’t mean we are not afraid. However, it does require us to not panic – which could cause our ship to go down. I promise we will all will make it through this economic mess. We may get wet and a bit wind-blown, but working together, we will get to a safe harbor and live to see another day when we will look back and tell the stories of how we made it through the storms of 2008 and 2009. Contact me today if you would like some help through your storm. Until next time… fair winds!!!
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global Luxury Real Estate network. Jim is an exceptional blogger, as you can see by visiting his blogs, East Bay Real Estate and Caribbean Islands Realty, and reading his great blog entries like the one above. He is the master of fractionals and other luxury homes in the Bay Area and the Caribbean, and he always has a lot of great opportunities to share. Such wonderful words of hope! Thank you, Jim, for your marvelous understanding of what is really happening in today’s market. People are filled with great fear at the moment and it’s hard to know what to do when we’re in the middle of so many crashing waves. I trust that wisdom and goodness will lead us to prevail over these hard times. I hope that we will all be wiser about who we put our faith in after we come through this. I am in total agreement with Jim that this is no time to panic or jump ship. Let us return to honesty and kindness, for it appears to me that this crisis was brought on by the dishonesty and selfishness of a few. Now people don’t know who to trust. I hope we will all be trustworthy and good, like I know Jim is.
By Jim Walberg
From his blog: Caribbean Fractionals Expanding To Botany Bay Resort!
St. Thomas, USVI is the location, and the former Preserve At Botany Bay is the spot!
Caribbean fractionals continue to be THE real estate choice of thousands of Caribbean buyers. Last week David Burden – founder and CEO of Timbers Resorts – announced that the ultra-luxury resort located on the western tip of St. Thomas will be managed by the international hospitality management group – Jumeirah Group, which is a member of Dubai Holding. This announcement was made at the signing ceremony with Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of Jumeirah (Remember my past article about the Virgin Islands fractional market?).
“We selected Jumeirah as the ideal hotel company to partner with at this unprecedented resort on the secluded western tip of St. Thomas,” remarked David Burden. “Based on their internationally renowned hotel experience in luxury service, they will be a perfect match for our discerning owners and resort guests.”
Jumeirah Botany Bay Resort is one of the true world-class luxury resorts which include mashed-potato sand beaches, private coves to explore, protected coral reefs and a nature conservancy, ultra-fine dining, a beach club as well as a Talise Wellness Spa.
Jumeirah Group will manage the five-star luxury hotel of 84 rooms, spread over nine tropical buildings in a very secluded setting on St. Thomas’ western shores. Scheduled to open in 2011, the 400-acre resort will also include 30 fractional residences, 30 whole-ownership villas and 20 grand estates. These full-service residences will be managed by Jumeirah Living, combining the luxury of a prestige hotel with all the privacy and comforts of your home away from home.
Jumeirah Group is also in the midst of ultra-luxury resort developments in Phuket, Shanghai, Argentina, Mallorca, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Jordan, among others. “We are impressed by Timbers Resorts’ commitment to responsible development and the care with which they intend to develop this protected enclave,” said Gerald Lawless, Executive Chairman of the Jumeirah Group. “With its secluded location in a tropical environment, the Jumeirah Botany Bay Resort will be true to our ‘STAY DIFFERENT’ promise.”
Timbers Resorts is a world-class developer that we have enjoyed working with in serving our client’s needs. The Timbers Collection is a group of small, private, luxury resort properties in the world’s most sought-after ski, golf, beach and scenic countryside locations. They include One Steamboat Place in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Botany Bay Resort on St. Thomas in the USVI; Castello di Casole in Tuscany, Italy; The Rocks Luxury Residence Club in Scottsdale, Arizona; Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; The Timbers Club in Snowmass, Colorado; and there latest is The Orchard at The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley.
For further information regarding Botany Bay Resort, or any other of the Jumeirah and Timbers Collection, contact me today! We are standing ready to serve any of your luxury real estate needs around the world! I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Jim Walberg is the co-Broker/Owner of The Bay Area Team, the most-successful team at Keller Williams Realty-Danville. He is also a member of the global Luxury Real Estate network. Jim is an exceptional blogger, as you can see by visiting his blogs, East Bay Real Estate and Caribbean Islands Realty, and reading his great blog entries like the one above. He is the master of fractionals and other luxury homes in the Bay Area and the Caribbean, and he always has a lot of great opportunities to share. Hmm… Botany Bay. You know what that reminds me of? Call me crazy, but Botany Bay brings to mind Khan Noonien Singh, the famous villain in one of my favorite films of all time, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. As Khan would say: Ah, Jim Walberg… my old friend. Do you know the proverb that says vacations are a dish best served warm? It is very warm and pleasant… in the Caribbean! Feel free to nerd out in the Comments section if you know what I’m talking about.
By Michael Marquette
From his blog: Australian Real Estate Agent in Final Four for International Real Estate Award
Australian Michael Marquette, founder of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, is one of only two non-American Award Nominees at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Conference to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on Saturday, October 11th through Tuesday, October 14th, 2008!
One of only four international real estate agents nominated in the category of Outstanding Rookie, Michael Marquette will be joined at the award’s conference at the Ritz-Carlton by fellow agency founder Simon Turner.
The Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network is the most prestigious luxury real estate organization in the world, and its website LuxuryRealEstate.com is the most-viewed luxury real estate portal in the world. The invitation-only industry peak body is made up of almost 6,000 offices worldwide.
Marquette comments that “It is such an honour to have been initially invited to be a part of the exclusive Who’s Who, so to have been nominated for an award is truly humbling.”
He continues, “As an Australian, I’m very proud to have been recognized. With around 120,000 luxury real estate agents in 65 countries, the Who’s Who is an amazing network and I’m thrilled and excited that our hard work has been noticed. What this nomination also demonstrates is what Simon Turner and myself have long believed, that Australian real estate deserves a forward-thinking, savvy luxury agency to showcase some of the stunning properties that our country has to offer to a worldwide audience.”
Furthermore, “The launch of our company and its success and recognition in just 18 months is testament to the belief of our clients and others important to us in what Marquette Turner Luxury Homes has to offer, and we look forward to further cementing our place in the market.”
Other top real estate industry awards to be awarded during the conference include the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Billionaires Club, Extraordinary Philanthropist, and the Biggest Sale in 2007.
Michael Marquette & Simon Turner are very much looking forward to meeting and learning from some of the world’s leading agents and the most influential people in real estate worldwide.
For more information, please contact Michael Marquette at +61 433 170 170 or via email michael (at) Marquetteturner.com.au.
As he mentioned above, Michael Marquette is the co-Founder and Director of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, a member of Luxury Real Estate in East Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Founded on Australia Day 2007 by Marquette and Simon Turner, Marquette Turner is a property consultancy company covering the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Marquette has a background in medicine and a large retail and wholesale business. It is so wonderful to hear the excitement and enthusiasm of these luxury experts about attending our conference and benefiting from the networking opportunities there. Marquette and Turner are busily establishing themselves as the go-to guys in their market. Last week, Turner was invited to a prestigious event celebrating the first A-380 aircraft in Australia. Keep up the great work!
By Robert Lockard
I am sorry to keep talking about sad things in my luxury real estate blog entries, but I just read an article in CNN entitled “Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt” and it once again brought up many familiar concerns to my mind on the topic of consumer debt. I wish that I could talk about happy topics. I would much prefer to discuss luxury properties or any other topic, including how getting adequate sleep can lead to more success, but, alas, I feel it much more pressing to focus on the problems upon us.
I am absolutely disgusted by the state of our financial markets. It seems to me that dishonesty is rampant and the very people who are responsible for this mess are asking for a great deal of money to supposedly solve the problem. But I care about people much more than institutions. And, based upon the testimony of the two honest women in the CNN article, who both have good consciences, I see little difference between the practices of certain banks and lenders and the practices of drug pushers. Many lenders trick people into taking more money than they need, they strive to get young people addicted and they keep people in a state of dependency for extended periods of time. All of that adds up to trouble.
Debt is a plague that, when handled unwisely, can lead to all sorts of problems that I think are even worse than the horrible effects of drug abuse. People can at least stop taking drugs and eventually go through a process of withdrawal and recovery. But with debt, even if a person stops going into more debt, they still have interest building up on the money they owe and they face all sorts of roadblocks on the way to recovery.
The very institutions that have pushed so many people to get addicted to debt are now suffering from a major withdrawal (pardon the banking pun) and seem on the verge of collapse… wait a minute – collapse? How is this possible? It starts with how good people are treated. We have not been treated fairly and now those who have been engaging in dishonest practices are reaping the bitter fruit. We have become a nation of debtors, instead of a nation of wealth.
Perhaps our financial market, as it currently stands, should not be saved. Perhaps we must soon create an entirely new and honest way of working with our money. Whatever we choose, we cannot keep doing what we have been doing.
I feel like I’ve been ending every blog entry with an apology for being so negative. I just don’t want to leave my readers with a sense of anger or hopelessness. I think that there is much to hope about. There are plenty of good people in this world and in our wonderful nation, the United States. I am confident we will make it through this sad time. I just want to make sure this never happens again.
Robert Lockard is the Public Relations & Media Specialist with LuxuryRealEstate.com. I am Robert. I create all of Luxury Real Estate's newsletters, write the editorials in LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and much more. The photo of the parrot biting a credit card is from www.flickr.com/photos/djkbird214/2695122732 and it is the copyright of dj-squared.
By Donna Sapolin
From her magazine article: Decorati Designer Feature: Robert Passal, Style Infusion
Welcome to a designer feature by Decorati, the online resource for high-end interior design. In this post, we are featuring New York-based interior designer Robert Passal, who has transformed this 2,200-square-foot apartment on Manhattan’s tony upper eastside. See below for some tips that you can use for staging your next home.
His mission: to diffuse the banality of new construction by administering a healthy dose of visual intrigue to heartily lived-in, white-box rooms devoid of interior architecture.
Designed for a couple with two infants, his furnishings plan shuns the sort of precious, hands-off quality that some elegant schemes engender and, instead, welcomes the thrills and spills of everyday life with wear-resistant surfaces and a few colors that politely refuse to show the (sometimes grubby) touch of human hands. Passal’s design concept focused on the creation of dimension and interest through geometry and texture.
“I use art lamps all over, even in unexpected places, like [in] a powder room over a toilet.”
Entrants to the living room are struck by a strong sense of interior architecture forged by the grid work frame of a Holly Hunt armchair, the x-shaped bottoms of two leather stools, the circular form of a brushed steel B & B Italia side table, and the rectangular shapes of a glass-topped copper Martha Sturdy coffee table and custom-designed cantilevered media cabinet.
The geometric motifs extend to the dining room where a pair of Oly leather chairs and a custom banquette sidle up to an oak table supported by two trios of x-shaped legs. Passal painted the baseboards a deep chocolate tone and carried the color across the bottoms of the Belgian linen drapes, into the cotton velvet upholstery on the banquette and onto its stained base.
“Whenever I am short on surfaces in a room, I use the dining table for art – here, I placed a cast bronze sculpture under the fixture.”
The full version of this article can be found in Decorati’s Access Magazine. Donna Sapolin has written a number of articles for this magazine, and they are definitely worth checking out. This looks like a great luxury property. Luxury Real Estate recently partnered with Decorati to share content between the two sites. You can find my “Hot Spots for Yachts” article from the spring 2008 issue of LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine published on Decorati here. Very exciting!
By Jason Leach
From his blog: What’s the market doing? And the Russians ARE coming
There are a lot of mixed signals out there and different people have different angles on the French property market at the moment. The Brits are still buying, but not in the numbers that they used to. But then again July and August are generally quiet months for the Brits to buy.
On the other hand, there is still, and increasingly more so, lots more interest from the Dutch, German, Belgian, Swiss and Scandanavian countries, but more than ever it’s the French.
France hasn’t really been affected by the credit crunch due to the fiscal regulations that exist. We did see some small protests when the fuel prices were increased but even that’s come down again now to a more reasonable level.
Strangely, we’ve seen lots of clients with budgets of 1 million-plus euros and are just starting to see the spread of Russians starting to come across from the cote d’Azur and they’re really holding up and maybe inflating the prices at the top end of the market, saying that there are lots of properties on the market, and we are seeing stronger negotiating from buyers, but within reason.
With Languedoc becoming the fourth biggest in France for industry the prices should still see some rise and figures have been quoted at approximately 7 percent by a respected body of real estate agents which is up from last year’s figures. Personally, I think this might be a little on the high side and we should wait and see what the third quarter of the year brings us.
Jason Leach is with www.simplylanguedocproperties.com, a subsidiary of R. CHAYLA Immobilier in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1991, R. CHAYLA has a multilingual team, agencies with cutting-edge technology and exposure on dozens of Web sites. They are known across France, and their international exposure grows daily. They are members of the Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network. Wow! This blog entry is in English. It’s a good idea to keep informed on what’s going on with global luxury property markets. Thanks for the great information, Jason.
Submit Your Blog
To submit a blog entry for consideration on this web page for FREE, please send your materials to our PR Department: firstname.lastname@example.org