Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
By Christine Watson
From her blog: Hide Your Personals! Protecting your privacy when selling your home!
Putting your luxury home on the market poses two very personal concerns:
1. Invasion of privacy: that your personal life will be on show;
2. Theft: your personal effects are prey to any “prospective” buyers
De-clutter your property before placing it on the market: this is my first piece of advice for those vendors concerned with their privacy being publicised to the world.
To some it means removing everything from bench tops, cupboards and shelves and to others it means keeping the home clean, neat and tidy. But how do you protect your privacy and hide your personal items?
Your home generally depicts your personal life, showing your taste in furnishings, colours, art, antiques and family photographs. Is opening your home to the public an invasion of your privacy? Absolutely!
The experience of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes shows that people buy the home that “ticks most of the boxes”. When selling your home, you should take the distractions away so the buyer can concentrate solely on looking at your home.
Furthermore, we are not great advocates of open inspections in a troubled market and it is important to appreciate that household-contents insurance does not cover the loss of personal effects during a viewing of a property. Remove the opportunity for theft and protect yourself as if you were a celebrity like Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise or Hugh Jackman.
Selling your home can be stressful enough without the concern that someone is taking an interest in your personal life and possessions.
Marquette Turner Luxury Homes we will not allow anyone to view your home without showing their photo identification. If someone objects they are not respecting your home and are not serious about buying the property. Only a luxury agency can truly protect your privacy.
Christine Watson is a 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 Michael Marquette and Simon Turner, Marquette Turner is a property consultancy company covering the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Along with Marquette and Turner, now we have a new blogger providing excellent content for the Luxury Real Estate Blog. Wonderful! Thank you very much for the excellent advice, Christine. Don’t forget that both sellers and real-estate agents are at risk at open houses, so it’s best to be as safe as possible. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/jef/1526987585 and it is the copyright of Jef Poskanzer.
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 Todd Cutter
Breathtaking beaches, stunning rainforests teeming with wildlife, pristine waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, along with endless activities ranging from adrenaline-boosting eco-adventures to soothing relaxation in some of the worlds premier resorts are just a few of the reasons why Costa Rica has become a Mecca for vacationers, retirees and investors from the world over. Costa Rica’s stunning natural beauty and abundance of wildlife are matched only by the warmhearted and peace-loving people who call this paradise home.
The unique combination of tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, active volcanoes, world-class surfing, an array of adventure activities, some of the world's most breathtaking rivers, waterfalls, and other dazzling natural phenomenon have made Costa Rica an ideal location for travelers from all walks of life, looking to rediscover the natural wonders which inspire us all. In recent years, Costa Rica has also become increasingly well-known for its investment potential, stable democracy, inexpensive cost of living, first-class health-care system, and overall lifestyle it can offer the international community.
With an environment of enormous potential, Costa Rica has investors, retirees, as well as vacationers from all over the globe flocking to seize on the opportunities to own their own piece of this tropical paradise. Whether you are looking for a vacation getaway for you family, a rental property offering secure annual returns and appreciation, or the retirement spot of your dreams, Costa Rica offers the answer.
Finding a more complete destination is nearly impossible. To have such a spectacular natural backdrop, without sacrificing a peaceful and stable democracy, tremendous investment potential, a fantastic health care system, booming tourism, and an ever-expanding infrastructure makes Costa Rica a truly unique destination for investors, vacationers and retirees alike.
Todd Cutter is a real-estate agent with 2Costa Rica Real Estate, a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Cutter came to Costa Rica in 1998 after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Spanish for International Business. Upon his arrival, he founded an online travel business. Although his travel business is still in operation today, he sold the business to dedicate all of his time and energy to 2Costa Rica Real Estate. He specializes in large development parcels, hotel development and marketing programs for developer partners. Another LuxuryRealEstate.com member has submitted content to the Luxury Real Estate Blog. This is wonderful. That’s a lot of praise for Costa Rica! I’ve been hearing quite a bit about great investments to be found in that beautiful country. Maybe that would be a good place to seek your new luxury home.
By Robert Lockard
Ilya Moshenskiy, the Principal Photographer of Ilya’s Photography, recently came home from an eventful trip to Cannes for the International Boat & Yacht Show. He arrived with a whole bunch of beautiful photos highlighting the celebration of luxurious watercraft of all shapes and sizes. Check out his collection of photos here:
Ilya is no stranger to covering big events with his keen eye for small details. Near the end of summer this year, he took time to photograph beautiful images at Seafair in Seattle. He has also been present at many Luxury Real Estate conferences, and he will be at the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference on Oct. 11-14, 2008. He’s such a hard worker and we definitely appreciate all of his efforts here at Luxury Real Estate.
Enjoy some of his amazing work below. Be sure to contact him at Contact him at ilya (at) ilyaestate.com or 425.883.2246 for all of your photography needs, including luxury homes, events, food and more.
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. All of the photos in this blog entry are the copyright of Ilya’s Photography.
By Benjamin Pradel
From his blog: [TELEVISION 3] HGTV & R. CHAYLA Immobilier - "House Hunters international"
Pie Town Productions est une importante société de production américaine basée à Los Angeles et à Chicago.
Elle cumule aujourd’hui plus de 3200 émissions de télévision de tous les styles. Elle s’est tournée ces dernières années vers des émissions de décoration et de rénovation qui font fureur actuellement dans tous les pays anglophones et dont on commence à voir quelques exemples sur nos chaînes françaises. De leur série d’émissions House Hunters international (n°1 aux usa) diffusée sur la chaine américaine HGTV (Home and Garden Television) ils parcourent le monde à la recherche d’agents immobiliers spécialistes des transactions internationales. Cette émission au format Télé réalité, diffusée dans de nombreux pays anglophones (USA, Grande Bretagne, Canada, Australie, Nouvelle Zélande & Finlande), détaille les différentes étapes de l’acquisition de biens immobiliers par des clients étrangers. Pour les besoins de leurs émissions dynamiques à très forte audience, (91 millions de foyers rien que sur les USA), que vous pouvez revoir sur leur site internet www.hgtv.com ou sur celui de la société de production Pie Town TV (www.pietown.tv), ils filment des achats de biens immobiliers à Paris pour un appartement ayant vue sur la Tour Eiffel, ainsi qu’à São Paulo, Prague, en Jamaïque, Hollande, en Ecosse, aux Bahamas... et en passant par cet épisode qui vient de se tourner au sein de notre agence de Limoux.
Notre agence communique régulièrement sur des supports internationaux en direction notamment des Américains. Les producteurs nous ont donc contacté pour organiser un tournage sur notre activité et afin de détailler un processus d’acquisition d’un logement de caractère dans notre région. Une équipe de télévision a donc débarqué à Limoux, afin de tourner un scénario dans l’Aude. Le tournage a attiré de nombreux curieux, passionné les employés de l’agence et devrait, si l’on considère la forte audience de ces émissions, attirer des investisseurs d’outre Atlantique.
Billet issu de l’article rédigé par “Le Journal de Carcassonne” à qui nous adressons un grand merci, contrairement aux autres quotidiens et médias locaux qui nous ont informés être surchargés pour cause de vendanges !
Rendez-vous pris pour le tournage d’une suite d’ici 6 mois que nous ne manquerons pas de diffuser sur ce blog.
Don’t speak French? Click here for an English version of this blog entry. Benjamin Pradel is an Information and Technology Specialist with R. CHAYLA Immobilier in Carcassonne, France. 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 global Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate network and regular contributors to the Luxury Real Estate Blog. What a positive development! It’s very smart to work with media companies like HGTV to gain exposure for luxury properties. By the way, “House Hunters” is the most popular show on HGTV, I believe.
By Las Villas de Mexico
Las Villas de Mexico, a newly announced collection of luxury resorts spread across Mexico’s top tourist locations, is sponsoring the 13th Annual Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference, which will be hosted in Philadelphia on October 11-14, 2008 at The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia.
Planners of Las Villas de Mexico are currently building 1,000 luxury properties in four locations: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Subsequent phases are expected to include other Mexican destinations such as San Miguel de Allende. The first pre-construction purchase opportunities are scheduled to be offered in the first week of December 2008.
“We have created a whole-ownership concept that is altogether different from anything else on the marketplace,” said Brett Sawyer, director of international sales at Las Villas de Mexico. “By purchasing a Las Villas de Mexico home, owners become part of a greater community of multiple locations throughout Mexico, all of them dedicated to the very best luxury experience, from world-class golf and spas to stunning beaches.”
A twist on the traditional vacation home, Las Villas de Mexico allows buyers to stay at a number of homes in other popular locations while still maintaining ownership of their own property. Maintenance and security are also handled by the resort while the owners are away. Within five years, Las Villas de Mexico planners hope to complete construction on a total of 10,000 resort residences in other well-known vacation spots across the country.
“Every home we build is designed to be inspirational,” Sawyer said. “Perfectly wrapped in the history of each region, Las Villas de Mexico showcases an ideal blend of modern amenities. Behind every wall, inside every cabinet, we have filled every home with state-of-the-art convenience.”
Las Villas de Mexico will sponsor the Opening Night Reception at the Luxury Real Estate Fall Conference. More than 250 LuxuryRealEstate.com members from around the world are expected to attend the conference. Niurka, a highly sought-after keynote speaker, consultant and peak-performance coach, will speak at this event.
Hmmm… this blog post sounds kind of familiar. I figured I’d give credit to Las Villas de Mexico for this blog post since they sent it to me. I hope you enjoyed it!
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!
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