High-Priced Houses: The World’s Most Expensive Homes

While I certainly do enjoy discussing real estate development and the industry as a whole, I also enjoy taking some time to admire the homes and properties that are being provided to the market. Like most other people, I thoroughly enjoy looking at lavish houses with dozens of rooms, extravagant decorations and top-notch amenities. With that being said, I wanted to go through and highlight some of the most expensive and extravagant houses around the world.

 

Beverly House

Beverly Hills, California

$135 million

When most people think of extravagant houses, they picture Beverly Hills, with good reason. Boasting six flat acres of land, additional smaller homes, an expansive library, billiard room and family room with an outside terrace that can seat 400 people, this mansion has something for everybody. The mansion even features a nightclub, a wine cellar and a spa facility. With amenities like these, there’s no reason to ever leave your house. The house itself has become incredibly famous, most notably for being featured in The Godfather and The Bodyguard.

 

Villa Leopolda

Villefranche-sur-mer, France

$750 million

Not many people can say that their homes are built around royalty, but the owner of Villa Leopolda certainly can! Built by the Belgian King Leopold II in 1902, this absolutely magnificent mansion is truly a sight to behold. This 50-acre expansive building features a helipad, pool, outdoor kitchen a commercial greenhouse and more than a dozen bathrooms and bedrooms combined. Similar to the Beverly House, the Villa Leopolda has been featured in many movies, such as The Red Shoes and To Catch a Thief.

 

Tour Odéon Penthouse

Monte Carlo, Monaco

$400 million

How can a penthouse be worth $400 million dollars? Simple: it’s the greatest penthouse in the world. This 35,000-square-foot space sits atop of a 560-foot skyscraper (the second-tallest building in the Mediterranean) and provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the area’s beautiful waters. While some prefer to stay on the ground, for anyone looking for a lavish high-rise apartment, look no further.

Real Estate Startups in 2018

2018 is finally in full swing. Regardless of your thoughts on last year, we must all move forward and look towards a bright and hopeful future. And, if you’re invested in the real estate industry, you may have some exciting trends to look forward to. As someone who is closely connected to real estate, I am incredibly excited to see some new companies and businesses that are looking to make some waves in the industry. Without further ado, here are some of this year’s most interesting real estate startups.
Dealpath
For any of you involved in commercial real estate investment, you may be tired of the tedious and mundane tasks associated with the job. Luckily, Dealpath is looking to make the process a bit easier. With Dealpath, development and acquisition teams can streamline their process by cutting down those pesky tasks and focusing on high-level strategy. Dealpath allows users to communicate easily, collaborate more efficiently and to keep track of deals and projects in real-time.
Flip
Where Airbnb focuses on providing users with the ability to house guest for short-term rentals, Flip does the complete opposite: long-term rentals. With Flip, landlords have a better deal of security on payments and renters have a bit more flexibility. Leases on Flip can range anywhere from a month to a year, but they typically begin at six months. The startup is currently works in the New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles markets and recently secured a $2.2 million seed round of investments.
Rentalutions
With short-term rental services such as Airbnb and FlipKey becoming more and more popular, we are in an era where anyone can be a “landlord.” This is a bit scary, considering the fact that being a landlord isn’t necessarily easy and that title comes with a great deal of responsibility. Rentalutions looks to solve this dilemma by providing the necessary tools and information to brand-new landlords in order to make their lives a bit easier and to make tenants feel a bit more comfortable and safe. Last year, the startup earned $2 million in funding and it looks to continue growing this year.

Real Estate Trends For 2018

It’s the dawn of a new year. 2018 is officially here, and we have a bright future to look forward to. Multiple industries have much to look forward to this year, and real estate is no exception. There’s plenty to celebrate and get excited about. With that being said, I wanted to highlight some of the most fascinating and impactful trends that real estate will likely experience this year.
The Millennial Mindset
Real estate agents are quickly learning that they must learn to work with a newer mindset: The Millennial Mindset. Millennials (those born anywhere from early 80s to late 90s) look at housing in a very different way than previous generations. Millennials are, for one, in debt. Several Millennials have a college degree, which is fantastic, however, that does mean that a great deal of Millennials are now in debt due to their student loans. They are incredibly price conscious. Millennials are also very open to communal/co-living situations. They understand that having more people in a home means less pressure on rent price. Millennials are also constantly invested in their digital devices. Real estate professionals are now learning that, in order to reach this new demographic, they must begin to utilize the tools that Millennials use. This means social media, emails, Internet, simplified websites and mobile apps.
Millennials are also very accustomed to living in a world where almost everything is available at the tap of a button. We can now hail a ride, order food, purchase clothing and goods and even handle our bank accounts from our mobile devices and computers in a few easy steps. Millennials see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do the same with real estate. Having dedicated websites or mobile apps that allow potential home buyers to sell or buy a property is almost a must in today’s age; and if it isn’t yet, it’s getting there.
Short-Term Rentals
This is a growing trend with both Millennials as well as older generations. Short-term rental services, such as Airbnb or FlipKey allow users, and everyday, average citizens, become landlords. You can use your home as a hotel or bed and breakfast and profit! These stays tend to be very short, hence the term, “short-term rental.” As people look for cheaper ways to pay for housing, short-term rentals are the most lucrative market. If you haven’t looked into short-term rentals yet, make sure to do so. The industry has been growing for the last few years and shows no signs of slowing.

Airbnb is Getting Into the Real Estate Industry

I recently wrote a blog that discussed the effect of Airbnb, the popular sharing economy service, on real estate. In that blog, I mentioned that Airbnb could prove to be a real threat to the real estate industry. The service is already disrupting the hospitality industry and has caused a bit of a stir in real estate, but its latest venture could drastically impact both industries.

 

According to a report from Fastcodesign.com, Airbnb is partnering up with a South Florida-based development company, Newgard Development Group, in order to construct an apartment building specifically designed for the sharing economy. Depending on the success of the building, Airbnb could roll out several more buildings throughout the country.

 

Dubbed “Niido,” the apartment building will exclusively host Airbnb rentals and feature 324 units. Niido is being constructed in Kissimmee, Florida.

 

Airbnb has been looking into making deals with apartment complexes for sometime, but has been limited by legal restrictions. By partnering with a development firm to build its own apartment buildings, the company can completely avoid those issues.

 

The Niido building is being specifically designed to accommodate the average sharing economy user. Niido will feature wide open common areas in the hopes that visiting travelers will interact and engage with each other; units will feature home offices that can easily transform into a spare bedroom; each unit will feature bathrooms and kitchens constructed of durable material that is also easy to clean; units will include small safes for travelers to store their personal belongings; each unit will work on a keyless entry system that only grants access during the duration of a visitor’s stay and tenants will be able to access both home-sharing and maintenance services through a single app. Newgard Development and Airbnb have truly pulled out all of the stops in order to provide a unique experience that will hopefully push the sharing economy industry forward.

 

With the Niido building, Airbnb hopes to create something of a small community. A portion of all standard Airbnb booking fees will go towards community projects, such as cooking and art classes. This will help to create a sense of community and offer a great experience and a better reason to stay in a Niido building.

 

Should Airbnb’s Niido building take off, the company could drastically encroach on the real estate industry. What are your thoughts? Do you want to see Airbnb make their own apartment complexes or would you rather they stick with what’s been working?

Where Will Amazon Build its New Headquarters?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are familiar with Amazon. What once started out as a small, online book store has grown into the world’s largest online retailer and one of the world’s largest retailers, period. Currently, the company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. However, the company is continuing its growth, and it is looking to build a secondary headquarters. And several cities across the nation are vying for the opportunity to become the newest headquarters for one of the world’s largest companies. Now, the question remains: where will Amazon call its second home?

 

Since Amazon announced its nationwide location hunt, multiple cities around the country have all flocked at Amazon’s door to bring the company, and the prospective 50,000 jobs that it entails, to their town. And Amazon has not been shy about what it wants from its new hometown. In an official statement from Amazon, the company announced that it will accept applications from cities while looking at six core factors: tech labor force, fiscal health, cost of living, college population, culture fit, and state tax rank.

 

At the moment, there seem to be a few cities that are prime contenders. These cities are: Dallas, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, New York, Nashville, Austin, Minneapolis, and even Newark. Surprisingly, another major contender on the list appears to be Seattle, Washington.

 

The e-commerce company has received at least 238 applications, many of which are from major metropolitan areas. Others are from much smaller areas, like Rockdale, Texas, whose population maxes out at 5,628.

 

Whichever city is chosen to house Amazon’s newest headquarters will likely be looking at some great benefits. Firstly, the building will cost several billion dollars to actually build, and, as previously mentioned, the new headquarters will create around 50,000 jobs, which is certain to stimulate the local economy. The lucky city will also become something of a tech haven overnight.

 

I am not only interested in seeing where Amazon decides to set up shop, but also how this decision ultimately affects the surrounding area. When a major corporation like Amazon builds a new campus, things are bound to change drastically; and not always for the better.

 

What are your thoughts? Where do you want to see Amazon build their second headquarters?

Disruptor: Bitcoin in Real Estate

Technology is an absolutely invaluable part of our society. Objectively, the Internet is no longer an option, it is a necessity; we are constantly performing a variety of tasks on our smartphones, which are really supercomputers condensed into a device that’s barely larger than a deck of cards; and we are moving closer and closer to self-driving cars that no longer run on gasoline. The world around us is evolving into a digital utopia, and it’s taking no prisoners. Almost every industry, field or sector has been heavily influenced by some form of technology. One of the more recent impacts technology has made on our society is in our money. And this new form of money is impacting another important aspect of life: real estate.

 

Before I go any further, let me explain what exactly Bitcoin is. Originally introduced in 2009, Bitcoin is a digital form of currency known as cryptocurrency. The system works on a model known as peer-to-peer, meaning users exchange monies with one another directly without the use of a “middleman.” In the simplest description possible, Bitcoin is an online-exclusive method of virtual payment. And even though it has been around for roughly 10 years, it is just beginning to catch on in the mainstream market now.

 

Bitcoin seems to be most prevalent in the retail and restaurant industries. It is quickly becoming a viable option for payment. And now it looks to take on the real estate industry.

 

A report from CNBC.com states that there have already been properties purchased through Bitcoin in New York, Texas and California. President of Magnum Real Estate Group, Ben Shaoul, who was featured in the article, claims that he has begun to see Bitcoin make an impact in the Texas real estate market. He believes that the younger demographic of America is looking for alternative methods to purchase homes and property; they no longer want to rely on traditional U.S. currency. Bitcoin offers that freedom and variety in spades.

 

If Bitcoin continues to become widely accepted, it could take over the world and become just as easa to use as a credit card or a check. I am very interested to see if this new trend will take over or fizzle out.

How AirBnB is Affecting Real Estate

We all love the wonders that technology has bestowed upon us. Truly, it has changed our lives in some fascinating ways. We have instant access to virtually all of the world’s knowledge, we can communicate with almost anyone in the world, instantaneously, and we are making significant advancements in a variety of industries, like healthcare and finance. That being said, although technology has been a major boon for us as a society, it has also been a bit of a nuisance to others. Technology has a knack for “disrupting” longstanding traditions and industries. And almost every industry has been disrupted in some form or another. For those unaware of the term disruption in this context, it can be quickly summed up like this: disruption occurs when a new technology or method of completing a task, objective or service displaces longstanding traditions and methods.

 

And while disruption tends to move our society forward in a positive direction, it can pose challenges to our pre-existing industries. A great example of this can be seen in the sharing economy. Services like Uber and Lyft, where ordinary citizens can become overnight chauffeurs, are giving the taxi industry a run for its money. But I want to focus on another sharing economy service: AirBnB.

 

AirBnB takes the concept of Uber and Lyft and applies it to the hospitality industry. Homeowners and landlords can post a room or building on the service and host visitors, travelers or anyone else. You simply sign up with AirBnB and, essentially, turn your house into a hotel. And while this may sound like a novel idea, it poses a potential threat to the real estate industry.

 

According to recent reports, the wildly popular sharing economy company is looking into getting into long-term real estate. Currently, AirBnB focuses primarily on short-term leases. Most AirBnB hosts rent rooms out for a few days, but now, because of the company’s growth, they may be expanding into more lengthy leases.

 

Industry professionals are unphased, claiming that AirBnB could not make the necessary impact on the industry to make any real impact. However, with the company’s massive growth and popularity, they could certainly hurt other real estate developers and investors. Many of the hosts that use AirBnB purchase multiple properties for the sole purpose of using AirBnB.

 

These are still just rumors, but if they come to fruition, then multiple real estate developers and investors could wind up competing with one of the largest growing hospitality services in the country.

4 Key Tips For Selling Land And Lots

You may think that selling land is the same as selling a home, but in reality the two are very different. In a changing real estate market, it is hard enough to sell a house, but selling land and lots can be even more challenging.

So what exactly is it that makes selling land and lots so different from selling a house? First of all, land and lot buyers are different from homebuyers. They have different needs and perspectives. While homebuyers want a home they can move into, land buyers are looking for the opportunity to customize the land to fit their needs. Selling land also requires different sales techniques, and the market for land is significantly less active than the market for existing homes. Additionally, it takes longer to sell a lot or vacant land, so the process requires patience.

Here are a few steps you need to take to successfully sell land and lots:

Understand your buyer.
When you’re selling land, it’s important to evaluate who your likely buyers will be. This depends on what type of property you’re selling, the location of the land, whether it has been developed, the market conditions and more. There also may be different buyers depending on whether it is a parcel of suburban land, a finished lot or rural acreage. After you’ve identified your likely buyers, try to think like them so you know what message to convey.

Make sure the land or lot looks presentable.
Before showing your lot to potential buyers, you’ll definitely want to clean it up. First impressions are extremely important in real estate. Make sure you remove trash and cut the grass. When your property is looking its best, take marketing photos. Some people who are selling vacant land will even plant wildflowers to make the land look more appealing.

Choose your price.
Picking a price is something that you need to put a lot of thought into. One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is pricing their lot or land too high. Pricing land can be harder than pricing a home. If you’re selling a developed lot in a community, you may be able to determine the “market” price based on the sale of similar lots. Raw land is a bit more difficult since there isn’t as much to compare to. The price you can attract for undeveloped land or a singular lot can vary based on the buyer’s intended use of the property. Land that a buyer feels is suitable for a high-end home development will likely bring a higher price per acre than land that a buyer only wants to use for a single home.

Use online listings specific to land and lot buyers
You’ll want to market to land and lot buyers in particular. While MLS is a helpful tool, it is focused on marketing existing homes. Therefore, it you want to sell land or a lot, MLS should not be a the only tool you use. Use a tool that is specifically for these listings, such as LotNetwork.com. Make sure that when you writing your listing, you understand your buyers and provide the information that they are likely to need.

Selling land and lots can be wildly different from selling a home. There may be some added difficulty, but with these tips you’ll be able to successfully sell your land or lot to a satisfied buyer.

Urban Land Institute Announces Real Estate Development Finalists

architecture

The Urban Land Institute’s Global Awards for Excellence recognizes and rewards excellence in project development. Since 1997, this prestigious awards program has been honoring projects developed in private, public, and nonprofit sectors. The Urban Land Institute (ULI) allows nomination to be open to all and a jury, which is not limited to ULI members, choose the finalist and winners of the competition. The jury consists of members from various professions including but not limited to real estate development, land development, public affairs, and designs.

This year‘s finalist consist of real estate projects that have the best use of Twenty-six developments from around the globe have been selected as finalists in the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) 2016 Global Awards for Excellence competition.

The finalist for 2016 include:

The Hall

  • San Francisco, California, United States
  • Developers: War Horse and Tidewater Capital

Chophouse Row

  • Seattle, Washington, United States
  • Developer: Dunn & Hobbes LLC
  • Designer: SKL Architects, Graham Baba Architects, et al.

Antara

  • Mexico City, Estado de México, Mexico
  • Developer: GSM
  • Designer: Sordo Madaleno Arquitectos et al.

Daniels Spectrum

  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Developer: Regent Park Arts Non-Profit Development Corporation (RPAD)
  • Designer: Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.

Heart of Lake

  • Xiamen, Fujian Province, China
  • Developer: Vanke Real Estate Enterprise;
  • Designer: Robert A.M. Stern Architects, BIAD, and Olin

BBVA Bancomer Operations Center

  • Mexico City, Estado de México, Mexico
  • Developer: BBVA Bancomer
  • Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)

Celadon at 9th & Broadway

  • San Diego, California, United States
  • Developer: BRIDGE Housing Corporation
  • Designer: SVA Architects and Studio E Architects

The Boucicaut Eco-Neighborhood

  • Paris, Ile-de-France, France
  • Developer: Sempariseine;
  • Designer: AUA Paul Chemetov, Jean-Francois Schmit Architectes, et al.

The Edge

  • Amsterdam, North-Holland, Netherlands
  • Developer: OVG Real Estate
  • Designer: PLP Architecture et al.

35XV

  • New York, New York, United States
  • Developer: AGA 15th Street LLC
  • Designer: FXFOWLE

345meatpacking

  • New York, New York, United States
  • Developer/Designer: DDG

For a complete list of finalist for the 2016 The Urban Land Institute’s Global Awards for Excellence, please visit Uli.org

 

A Guide To Smart Home Buying: Part 2

home buying

In previous blog post, we discussed some tips for smart home buying. But that was only the beginning. If you’ve already gotten your cash together and searched for a home, it is now time to purchase the home of your dreams. This may seem simple, but there are quite a few steps left in the process. Here is a continuation, starting at step 6, of the step-by-step guide to buying a home:

6) Make an offer on the home
After you find the house you want, you’ll want to make your bid quickly. You’ll want to get advice from your buyer’s broker, if you are working with one, to figure out the initial offer. If you’re working with a seller’s agent, you will need to figure out your offer strategy on your own. Find the data on at least three houses that have recently sold in the surrounding neighborhood. Generally speaking, do not make a bid that snubs the seller. This may lead the seller to give up due to sheer annoyance. The amount of leverage a buyer has depends on the market’s pace. You have a lot of control in a slow market, but in a hot market, you have almost none at all. It will probably take some creativity to satisfy the needs of the seller. For example, you can ask the seller to throw in some of the appliances if you meet his or her price.

7) Enter a contract
After reaching a price that both the buyer and seller can agree on, the seller’s agent will draw up an offer to purchase. Run this document by your lawyer and buyer’s agent in order to make sure that:

  1. You will obtain a mortgage.
  2. The home was inspected and has no significant defects.
  3. It has been guaranteed that you can conduct a walk-through inspection 24 hours before closing.

You are required to make a good-faith deposit which will typically go into an escrow account. This is typically 1% to 10% of the purchase price. After the deal has closed, the seller will receive this money.

8) Secure a loan
You will now have to call your mortgage broker or lender in order to agree on terms. You will decide whether to choose a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage. You will also have to decide whether to pay point. At this point, you should expect to pay $50 to $75 for a credit check, as well as an extra $150 on average for an appraisal of the home. The appraisal price could, however, be anywhere up to $300. The majority of other fees will be due at the time of the closing of the house.

9) Get an inspection
The mortgage lender will make an appraisal of our home, but it is also a good idea to hire your own home inspector. On average, an inspection costs around $300, but big jobs can cost up to $1,000. An inspection takes two hours or more. You should ask to be present during your inspection. This way, you can learn a lot about your house, such as its overall condition, wiring, construction material, and heating. If the inspector finds significant problems, such as a roof that needs replacement, you should ask your agent or lawyer to discuss this with the seller. The seller should either repair the problem before you move in, or deduct the cost of the repair from the home’s final price. If the seller does not agree to do either of these things, you may walk away from the deal without penalty as long as you have a properly written contract.

10) Close the deal
Approximately two days before the closing of the house, you will receive a final HUD Settlement Statement from your lender. This will list every charge you will have to pay at closing. It is important to review this document carefully. It will include important information such as the cost of the title insurance. This is the insurance that protects you and the lender from any claims people may make regarding who owns the property. The cost of this insurance is typically less than 1% of the home’s price, through it varies a good deal from state to state. You may also need to establish an escrow account. The lender can tap this account if you fall behind on your property tax payments, or on your mortgage. The closing itself will not have any surprises, but you should ask your real estate agent or your lawyer to brief you on the specifics.

Buying a home doesn’t have to be overwhelming and confusing. If you follow this step-by-step guide, you will be on your way to buying the home of your dreams in the smartest way possible. Happy home buying!