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
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 Serge Cowan
Cyprus offers a superb tax system whereby foreign pensions will only ever be taxed at 5 percent – maximum. “This is exceptional,” says Serge Cowan, MD at Unique Living, specialist property agents offering supreme luxury and lifestyle homes around the world including luxury homes for sale in Limassol.
“When looking for a retirement home, one has to consider not just what the country has to offer but also where you stand financially. Cyprus must come high on people’s agenda because it has so many benefits”.
In some countries you could be paying tax in your home country on pension income of 40 percent or even higher, so the 5 percent is something that really needs to be taken into consideration when buying abroad.
Cyprus also has many other benefits: good year-round weather, low crime rate, you drive on the left, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, quality golf courses, European Union membership and superbly located at the east end of the Mediterranean, providing convenient access to the Middle East and Far East as well as Europe.
In addition, the Government of Southern Cyprus is making big strides to be a serious contender in the world of “movers and shakers.” Developments are increasingly for the luxury market, and soon to be released is a Marina Resort in Limassol. This is to include a manmade island for residential villas, plus there is rumoured to be a 5-star hotel and berths for 600 privately owned boats. All of which is to be in the heart of the old town of Limassol and its rapidly growing commercial and business centre.
“Southern Cyprus is rapidly changing and those who are astute can be part of this altering picture – one that is creating a supremely elegant and sophisticated island to appeal to discerning buyers from around the world. A shrewd buyer looking at the current market place will not be disappointed with Cyprus and in particular luxury real estate in Limassol,” concludes Serge.
Founded in 2002 by Serge Cowan and Sophie Hammond, Unique Living’s portfolio of luxury properties for sale includes new property developments, resale property, villas, townhouses, penthouses and apartments in prime locations around the world. Unique Living is headquartered in London and it is a member of Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate. Let’s see, in the past week or so we’ve received blog entries on Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean, Australia, Vanuatu, France and now Cyprus. This is very exciting. Keep checking the Luxury Real Estate Blog for great information like this. Also, feel free to submit your own blog entries for consideration. The photo of the Limassol, Cyprus shoreline is from www.flickr.com/photos/mamchenkov/281322233 and it is the copyright of Leonid Mamchenkov.
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 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: Australia’s most expensive apartment SOLD in Potts Point
Potts Point in Sydney has achieved Australia’s record apartment price with a $20 million penthouse sale.
An undisclosed “prominent Sydney businessman” bought the apartment off-the-plan after the Sydney City Council approved the development on Monday.
The two-level penthouse, with views across Woolloomooloo Bay towards the central business district, Sydney Harbour and the Opera House, will have 530 square metres of internal space and 115 square metres of balcony.
The Wylde Street sale trumps an $18.2 million off-the-plan penthouse sale in East Melbourne and the $16.8 million Sydney record sale in Macquarie Street’s Bennelong block earlier this year.
The Ashington Group, chaired by mortgage broker Mark Bouris, bought the development site for $15.5 million last year, indicating it viewed Potts Point as one of the true urban villages of Sydney.
“The sale was a sign that buyers will act quickly for distinctive apartment product,” Ashington’s director, Craig Minahan, said yesterday.
The design by architects Tzannes Associates echoes the curved glazing and copper roofing in the neighbouring 1930s heritage-listed Wyldefel Gardens residential complex.
The nine apartments included in the development with the penthouse will have interiors by fashion designer Alex Perry.
Interestingly, the Australian newspaper incorrectly quoted the apartment as being in Point Piper, not Potts Point.
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. Marquette and Turner just can’t stop providing excellent content like this for the Luxury Real Estate Blog. People are still interested in purchasing luxury properties for the right price. Keep looking for good news and you’re sure to find it.
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 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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