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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cowardly Lion's lair in Beverly Hills is listed at $25.5 million

Cowardly Lion's lair in Beverly Hills is listed at $25.5 million

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A Beverly Hills home built for actor Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz," is back on the market, this time priced at $25.58 million.

Designed by Paul R. Williams in 1941, the gated estate encompasses 1.38 park-like acres. The Connecticut/Hamptons-inspired main house features a media room with wet bar, a wine cellar and a tasting room. There is a 3,000-square-foot secondary house with its own driveway and a third newly built structure containing a two-lane bowling alley, a game room and a bar. There are eight bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

Other celebrities who have called the compound home were actress Betty Grable, band leader Harry James and actress Melanie Griffith.

Lahr, who died in 1967 at 72, was an actor and a comedian. He won a Tony for his role in the musical "Foxy" in 1964.

Before its current renovation and expansion, the property sold in 1999 for $2.55 million, according to public records. It was listed in 2011 at $28.5 million.

Cowardly Lion's lair in Beverly Hills is listed at $25.5 million

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

blooming_flower

Freddie Mac recently released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook through March showing that as we head into the spring home buying season, continued low mortgage rates, increasing house prices, and gradually improving consumer confidence will help support increased home sales. A short preview video and the complete March 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook are available here.

Outlook Highlights

• Compared to 2012, expect home sales to be up 8 to 10 percent for 2013.

• Expect housing starts to increase to 950,000 units for 2013, compared to 780,000 in 2012.

• In 2012, real estate added $1.5 trillion to balance sheets, and residential mortgage debt outstanding increased by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating household deleveraging might be drawing to a close.

• Because of sequestration spending reductions, expect the unemployment rate in 2013 to average about 7.8 percent, essentially flat for the year or about 0.25 percentage points higher than it otherwise would have been.

• Regardless, the housing wealth effect is taking hold in the broader market which should translate into the healthiest spring home buying season since 2007.

“History shows us not all economic recoveries are created equal and consumer confidence mirrors this fact,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

“With the spring home buying season upon us, the recent highs in the stock market are a welcome signal of better times ahead. But it will be the gradually declining unemployment rate and steadily improving housing market that will deliver broad-based economic benefits for Americans and, in turn, support the overall recovery.”

For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com.

From Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Don't Be a Chicken! Try these 20 Creative Easter Egg Ideas | Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Don't Be a Chicken! Try these 20 Creative Easter Egg Ideas | Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Madonna, Ryan Seacrest and Other Celebrity Homes: The Secret World of Star-on-Star Real Estate Sales

The Secret World of Star-on-Star Real Estate Sales

Seacrest Home Aerial View - H 2013
CarrCarrillo/©CelebrityHomePhotos.com
Ryan Seacrest's new compound

How Madonna, Ryan Seacrest and the Osbournes wheel and deal for their sprawling estates.

This story first appeared in the April 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

If Your Mama has learned anything from our five years of research and snarky reportage on celebrity real estate transactions, it's that famous folk have a thing for buying estates from or selling their multimillion-dollar mansions to other rich and famous people, especially in the more expensive ZIP codes in and around L.A.

In suburban Hidden Hills, midpriced-apparel mogul Jessica Simpson is on the verge of handing over $12.4 million to Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne for their 11,000-square-foot mansion. The Osbournes seem to draw fellow celebrity buyers. In February, Christina Aguilera sold a six-bedroom Beverly Hills house she bought from them in 2007 for $11.5 million.

Cher's duplex condo in West Hollywood -- the one she recently made available off-market for $5.5 million -- previously was owned by Vincent Gallo, David Geffen and Dragnet's Jack Webb. The multiresidence compound in Beverly Hills that meticulously manicured TV tycoon Ryan Seacrest bought in 2012 from Ellen DeGeneres and lady-wife Portia de Rossi for about 37 million clams has a showbiz provenance as long as Your Mama's old tooth: Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick, Broadway composer Jerry Herman, jet-setting international socialite Joan Collins, comedian Totie Fields and, once upon a time, Oscar-nominated Room at the Top actor Laurence Harvey.

PHOTOS: Santa Ynez Real Estate: What's for Sale in Wine Country

The seemingly constant cycle of celeb-to-celeb property purchases begs the question, children, of why?

Stars and other high-net-worth people have special real estate needs regular people don't, needs probably already addressed in a home owned by a celebrity: high walls to act as looky-loo buffers, remote-control access and badass alarm systems are inviolable requirements. They need Kardashian-sized closets for all their swag and a home office to house their squadron of personal assistants. Really big stars need someplace for security personnel to hang around and take a leak, and they cotton to luxury amenities such as private beauty salons and screening rooms because -- let's get real, chickens -- entertainment industry cynosures such as Jennifer Aniston or Justin Bieber can't just go have their weave highlighted, their bum waxed or see a damn movie lest they be circled by a pack of paps or a bunch of autograph-seeking Screaming Mimis.

Confidentiality is paramount when dealing with the rich and famous -- and you can bet they trust one another a lot more than others in these matters. It's not uncommon for brokers to sign lengthy nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), be told they can't have open houses and/or be asked to quietly shop a star's home off-market as a pocket listing before it goes on the MLS, if it ever does.

And we kid you not, butter beans, Your Mama hears that the NDA for Madonna's Sunset Boulevard mansion -- the one she bought from actress Sela Ward and now has on the market with a $22.5 million price tag -- is said to be so restrictive that it forbids anyone from even acknowledging the NDA exists. That's some serious bizness, but it's also just some silly celebrity real estate rumor and gossip.

STORY: Real Estate Notes: Debra Messing Sells Bel-Air Mansion, Historic Beverly House Re-Listed as $600K-a-Month Rental

While some agents have password-encoded pocket listings on their websites, word of a celebrity-owned house being floated as a pocket listing is far more likely to spread via what Your Mama might call the Underground Celebrity Real Estate Railroad, a loosely affiliated network of real estate- and showbiz-related professionals through which information quickly is passed as to which celeb has their house available as a pocket listing, for how much and with which well-connected broker. How else would celebrities know whom to call to secure a look-see at, say, Halle Berry's Sunset Strip compound -- now an off-market listing at $15 million -- which she bought from child star Frankie Muniz for $6 million in 2005.

Fortunately for us property gossips like Your Mama, we can't see any slowing of celebrity-on-celebrity action. Jason Bateman just dropped $3 million on the late Ernest Borgnine's spread in Beverly Hills, and we hear that at least a couple big-name Tinseltowners have toured Katy Perry's off-market mansion (to be had for somewhere in the $7 million range) above Laurel Canyon.

And so the cycle continues …

Madonna, Ryan Seacrest and Other Celebrity Homes: The Secret World of Star-on-Star Real Estate Sales

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

My little hummingbird babies are growing so fast in Beverly Hills, must ...


My little hummingbird babies are growing so fast in Beverly Hills, must ...

Lloyd Wright’s Samuel-Novarro House Back on the Market for $4,490,000

Lloyd Wright’s Samuel-Novarro House Back on the Market

Source: IMDb

Source: IMDb

Embezzlement, Hollywood stardom and architectural fame are wrapped up in the Samuel-Novarro House. Designed in 1928 by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. (known as Lloyd Wright), the Los Angeles home was listed for $4.195 million in November 2011. But after sitting on the market for six months without securing a buyer, the listing was removed. Now, less than a year later, the historic property is for sale again with an even bigger price tag of $4.49 million.

While perhaps overshadowed by his father’s groundbreaking architectural design, Wright made his mark on Los Angeles real estate, designing homes for silent-movie stars and contemporary A-listers. This property, located at 2255 Verde Oak Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, was named after its first two residents.

Ramon Novarro was the first Latin American actor to achieve stardom as one of Hollywood’s top silent-movie stars. Wright was asked to design the home for Novarro’s personal secretary and companion, Louis Samuel. However, when Novarro discovered Samuel was embezzling funds from him a year later, he said he wouldn’t press charges if Samuel “made it right.” The secretary proceeded to turn over his prized home to Novarro to make up for financial losses. Novarro accepted the offer and rehired Wright to make the house his own, adding a pergola, music room and bedroom suite.

“It’s a very unique property,” said Hilton & Hyland listing agent Aaron Kirman. “There is a lot of nice open space; gardens and terraces throughout.”

The home also boasts a pool, sleek concrete floors and dramatic windows — not to mention its highly sought-after location in one of L.A.’s most exclusive neighborhoods, The Oaks.

In the listing description, Kirman says the home has been “meticulously restored, keeping the architect’s original vision intact.” While it’s unclear exactly what Wright’s architectural vision was, Oscar winner Diane Keaton, who owned the home in the ’90s, thinks it was perhaps more about making a design statement than housing a growing family.

“If you have a family, it’s not as easy to live in a Lloyd Wright house,” she told The New York Times in a past interview. “They are beautiful. But they have very, very small bedrooms.”

Keaton moved on to purchase a Spanish-style home — perhaps she would have been more suited for Wright’s Mayan-inspired home in Los Feliz. Other celebrity owners, Christina Ricci and Adam Goldberg, also didn’t last long in the Samuel-Novarro property, selling it a year after they bought it in 2005.

While the Hollywood Hills housing market is on the rise, the median home value is $1.22 million — significantly less than the asking price on Wright’s design. An estimated monthly payment is $16,146, assuming 20 percent down on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Lloyd Wright’s Samuel-Novarro House Back on the Market for $4,490,000

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Monday, March 25, 2013

How to Throw an Unforgettable Kid’s Birthday Party

How to Throw an Unforgettable Kid’s Birthday Party

Plan the most unforgettable birthday celebration for your little tyke with these inspirational tips, cakes, theme ideas, crafts, and games

 

Pick a Theme

First, you need to decide on a theme for the party. The best approach is to pick something that will appeal to everyone invited. Real Simple magazine declares this year to be the season of the “Stripes” birthday party theme, which offers a cheery, neutral alternative to more traditional birthday themes.

Party Timeline

Even the most experienced host knows that party success depends on a timeline. Home entertaining savant Martha Stewart suggests you start planning your party about six weeks before the big day, and send out the invitations in plenty of time, too; about a month ahead. This process can take more time than expected, since you’ll need to get your kid’s list of classmates and their addresses to send out the invitations.

Planning Essentials

Once you’ve sketched out your party timeline, it’s time to zero in on the best location depending on the kind of party you want to throw for your kid. Here are a few common places where kids’ birthdays take place:

-At Home. At-home parties are a classic choice. You can have your kid’s friends sleepover, or go swimming and play games in your backyard. If you’re worried about the kids wandering away, clearly designate lines of your property with balloons and streamers, and close any doors that you don’t want them wandering through.

-Off Site. Parks and playgrounds are great places to throw birthday parties in spring and summer when the weather is warm.

-Community Center, Church, or YMCA. You can also choose to rent a secure facility, like a church or community center, if your home isn’t big enough or if you don’t want to worry about inclement weather. Event rentals vary, but typically cost between $75-100. 

Party Basics by Age

No matter how old your kid is, you want to throw a memorable party. Here’s a general guideline for throwing parties for kids from age 1 to 10

-For ages 1-2, schedule the party after nap time, around mid-morning or in the early afternoon. These parties can last up to an hour, and parents usually prefer to stay with their young child during the party. With that said, make sure there is enough food and birthday cake for all the guests. 

-For ages 3-4, parties around lunchtime or just after lunch are typically best. You can grill hotdogs and hamburgers, and kids can spend the afternoon playing outside. Depending on how many kids you decide to invite for the party, you may want to enlist some neighbors, fellow parents, or trusted babysitters to help supervise the young toddlers. Plan at least an hour and a half for celebrating your kid’s birthday.

-For ages 5-6, early to mid-afternoon parties are a great choice and you can choose to serve lunch, snacks, or just birthday cake, depending on your preference. These kids are a little bit older, but may still require extra supervision if you have fifteen or more invited. These parties can last anywhere from one and half hours to 3 hours.

-For ages 7-10, parties can be anytime in the early to late afternoons. At this age, you can throw a little more elaborate party, like a bowling, pizza, or skating rink party. Kids are incredibly social at this age, so plan on having kids hang out for about three hours.

How to Throw an Unforgettable Kid’s Birthday Party

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Existing-Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise in February.

home_sales_rising

February existing-home sales and prices affirm a healthy recovery is underway in the housing sector, according to the National Association of REALTORD®. Sales have been above year-ago levels for 20 consecutive months, while prices show 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in January, and are 10.2 percent above the 4.52 million-unit level seen in February 2012. February sales were at the highest level since the tax credit period of November 2009.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says conditions for continued housing improvement are at play. “Job growth in the improving economy and pent-up demand are causing both home sales and rental leasing to rise. Though home prices are rising much faster than rents, historically low mortgage rates are still making home purchases affordable,” he says. “The only headwinds are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive.”

Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 9.6 percent to 1.94 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 months in January, which was the lowest supply since May 2005. Listed inventory is 19.2 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.4-month supply.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $173,600 in February, up 11.6 percent from February 2012. The last time there were 12 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from June 2005 to May 2006. The February gain is the strongest since November 2005 when it was 12.9 percent above a year earlier.

“A strong rise in home values is contributing to housing wealth recovery, which has risen by $1.4 trillion in the past year and looks to top that increase this year,” Yun says. “The extra consumer spending arising from growth in housing wealth is expected to be $70 billion to $110 billion this year.”

Distressed homes–foreclosures and short sales–accounted for 25 percent of February sales, up from 23 percent in January but down from 34 percent in February 2012. Fifteen percent of February sales were foreclosures, and 10 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in February, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.53 percent in February from 3.41 percent in January; it was 3.89 percent in February 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., says interest rates remain extraordinarily low. “In the history of mortgage interest rates since 1971, the 30-year fixed rate has been below 4 percent in only 15 months, and those have all been in the past 15 months,” he says. “Even with rising home prices, affordability remains historically favorable because home prices over-corrected during the downturn. This means there is still great value for buyers in the current market.”

The median time on market for all homes was 74 days in February, which is 24 percent below 97 days in February 2012. Short sales were on the market for a median of 101 days, while foreclosures typically sold in 52 days and non-distressed homes took 77 days. One out of three homes sold in February was on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in February, unchanged from January; they were 32 percent in February 2012.

All-cash sales were at 32 percent of transactions in February, up from 28 percent in January; they were 33 percent in February 2012. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 22 percent of homes in February, up from 19 percent in January; they were 23 percent in February 2012.

“There was an upward bump in the shares of investor and all-cash closed purchases in February. These sales result from purchase offers during the holidays when shopping activity by traditional home buyers slows, but investors, who typically pay cash, remained active,” Yun says. “This is a seasonal pattern, but we’re now seeing a general increase in buyer traffic, which is 25 percent above a year ago.”

Single-family home sales slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.36 million in February from an upwardly revised 4.37 million in January, but are 8.7 percent above the 4.01 million-unit pace in February 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $173,800 in February, which is 11.3 percent higher than a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales rose 8.8 percent to an annualized rate of 620,000 in February from 570,000 in January, and are 21.6 percent above the 510,000-unit level a year ago. The median existing condo price was $172,500 in February, up 13.9 percent from February 2012.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 630,000 in February but are 8.6 percent above February 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $238,800, which is 7.6 percent above a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 1.7 in February to a pace of 1.14 million but are 12.9 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $129,900, up 7.7 percent from February 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 2.6 percent to an annual level of 2.01 million in February and are 14.9 percent above February 2012. The median price in the South was $150,500, up 9.3 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 2.6 percent to a pace of 1.20 million in February and are 1.7 percent above a year ago. With limited choices and multiple bidding, the median price in the West rose to $237,700, which is 22.7 percent above February 2012.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org, www.houselogic.com and http://retradio.com.

Existing-Home Sales and Prices Continue to Rise in February.

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Article: HOUSE OF THE DAY: Producer Jerry Weintraub Has Finally Sold His $42.5 Million Malibu Estate


HOUSE OF THE DAY: Producer Jerry Weintraub Has Finally Sold His $42.5 Million Malibu Estate
http://www.businessinsider.com/jerry-weintraub-sells-malibu-estate-2013-3

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Christophe Choo Real Estate Group
Coldwell Banker Previews International
(310)777-6342

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale

Larry David’s $15 million ‘Hobbit’-style Los Angeles home is no hole in the ground - Listed for $14,999,000

Larry David’s $15 million ‘Hobbit’-style Los Angeles home is no hole in the ground

The house on the expansive Pacific Palisades property is stone and wood beams support most of the interior ceilings. A pool house looks like it could house Bilbo Baggins.

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The compound has ocean views, a pool house, seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and multiple fireplaces.

TRULIA

Larry David's Pacific Palisades compound has ocean views, a pool house, seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and multiple fireplaces.

Funnyman Larry David lives like a Hobbit, and now you can too. It’ll cost $15 million, though. That’s how much David’s Pacific Palisades gated estate will cost, or $14.999 million to be exact.

Just put on the market, the compound has ocean views, a pool house, seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and multiple fireplaces, some shaped in half-moon arches. The place is so nice, it's like someone's own personal Shangri-La.

DAVID22F_12_WEB

TRULIA

A pool house on the property overlooks the Pacific Ocean and beaches below.

RELATED: 'LIVIN' ON A PRAYER' IN BON JOVI'S $42M SOHO PENTHOUSE

The “Seinfeld” co-creator who became a star in his own hit series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” likes the country motif. The houses on the property are stone, wood beams support most of the interior ceilings and a pool house looks like it could house Bilbo Baggins.

DAVID22F_11_WEB

TRULIA

Larry David, who divorced in 2007, also has a 17-acre estate in Martha’s Vineyard and an apartment in New York.

The listing, held by Santiago Arana of Partner’s Trust, describes the property as a “Fairytale home.” We agree. The master suite has a large deck with views stretching across the Pacific Ocean, the pier at Santa Monica, and the planes coming in to Los Angeles International Airport.

RELATED: HIT FACTORY RETURNS TO STARDOM WITH $5.85M PENTHOUSE FOR SALE

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TRULIA

The master suite has a large deck with views stretching across the Pacific Ocean.

The home has a gym, pool, playroom and office. With oak trees, a charming guest house with fireplace and stone floor in a pool house with a ship-shaped barn roof, the manicured grounds and smaller structures are as pretty as the Shire. There are even cast-iron statues scattered about.

David, who divorced his wife Laurie in 2007, also has a 17-acre estate in Martha’s Vineyard and an apartment in New York. According to realestalker.com, it is unclear who owns the Palisades estate. Trulia.com dates the main house’s original construction to 1950.

DAVID22F_8_WEB

TRULIA

A library office with vaulted ceilings and wired windows.

RELATED: $14M SOHO GLASS PENTHOUSE PERFECT FOR HIGH-SOCIETY PARTYING

Neither David nor listing broker Arana were available for comment. The home is located in the Huntington Palisades section of the Los Angeles area, about a 30-minute drive to the famous Sunset Drive and closer to the surfing waves of Malibu.

DAVID22F_7_WEB

TRULIA

The home is located in the Pacific Palisades section of the Los Angeles area, about a 30-minute drive to the famous Sunset Drive.

For more go to 212vance.com.

DAVID22F_5_WEB

TRULIA

Low ceilings, wood beams and stone fireplaces are fit for the Shire.

DAVID22F_1_WEB

TRULIA

The living room of Larry David’s Pacific Palisades home.

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Al Bello/Getty Images

Larry David lists his Pacific Palisades house for a not-so-funny $14.999 million.

Larry David’s $15 million ‘Hobbit’-style Los Angeles home is no hole in the ground - Listed for $14,999,000

Posted on: Beverly Hills Real Estate-Beverly Hills Homes For Sale