Amazon employees snapped up NYC real estate before headquarters announcement

Like the billions in public money destined for Amazon's benefit and that of the world's richest man, it's all perfectly legal.

The two employees decided to the buy units just before the first press reports surfaced that Amazon was likely to choose Long Island City for its new headquarters, Mr. Aguayo said. The buyers now live in New Jersey and Queens, he added.

While employees aren’t permitted to buy and sell stocks based on nonpublic information, several real estate lawyers said they were aware of no such prohibition for real-estate transactions.

The WSJ reports no "reliable figures" on sales in the area since Amazon's announcement (and immediately before it, evidently) but it's explosive. One brokerage says it sold 150 condos in the last four days, 15 times its normal volume. Read the rest

Discover if someone has died in your house

Have you ever wondered if someone died in your house, or worse?

Enter DiedInHouse.com. A simple $11.99 search through them will tell you everything you (probably don't) want to know.

A query on this website will uncover if a specific address is "stigmatized," meaning that it's got issues beyond its physical condition. Sellers are generally not under legal obligation to share if something horrible -- like a murder, suicide, or, say, a meth lab -- has happened on a property. And they certainly aren't required to disclose "paranormal" activity.

Software engineer Roy Condrey founded the site in 2013 after getting a strange text.

Forbes:

The website’s creation begins like a ghost story. ...Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but not finding, an easy way to determine if his property had indeed seen a gruesome crime or fatality.

“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything, but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” says Condrey, who rents out several properties. He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.

Read the rest

HGTV not saying how much it paid for the Brady house

The Hollywood studio that crushed Lance Bass' dream of buying the Brady Bunch house has been revealed. It's HGTV. But the amount they paid has not yet been disclosed.

'N Sync singer Lance Bass ... was “heartbroken” when his deal fell through after the bidding deadline. In an Instagram post, he wrote that an undisclosed corporate buyer wanted the house "at any cost."

Bass doesn't seem to have any hard feelings, though. In a tweet published Tuesday, the singer explained, "How can you be mad at HGTV? My television is stuck on that channel." He added, "Kudos, HGTV. I know you will do the right thing with the house. That was always my biggest worry. I can smile again."

Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the sale Tuesday morning:

“One of our projects for HGTV will speak to those Brady Bunch fans on the call... You may have heard that the house from the iconic series was recently on the market in California. I’m excited to share that HGTV is the winning bidder and will restore the Brady Bunch home to its 1970s glory as only HGTV can. More detail to come over the next few months but we’ll bring all the resources to bear to tell safe, fun stories about this beloved piece of American TV history.”

Buy, buy, buy.

Previously:

Here's the story of how 'N Sync's Lance Bass won and then lost the Brady Bunch house

For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house

(The Wrap) Read the rest

Here's the story of how 'N Sync's Lance Bass won and then lost the Brady Bunch house

'N Sync's Lance Bass tweeted on Friday afternoon how he had won the bid to buy the real-life Brady Bunch house.

A couple of Brady kids congratulated him.

Actress Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady), wrote:

Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) wrote:

View this post on Instagram

I really didn’t know I cared that much until I found out that the house will be owned by someone who will give it live. Besides, in his efforts to experience space travel, he underwent Cosmonaut training. That makes Bass a living personification if a Bobby Brady dream sequence! Grats man!

A post shared by Susan Olsen (@thesusanolsen) on Aug 4, 2018 at 1:41pm PDT

But by Saturday night, he shared that the agent called to tell him a Hollywood studio was willing to buy the house "at any cost":

Marcia Marcia Marcia! Im feeling heartbroken today. As many of you may have heard, we placed the winning bid on the iconic Brady Bunch house—at least that’s what we were told. The agent representing the estate informed us we made the winning bid (which was WAY over the asking price) after the final deadline for all offers had passed—even writing up the “winning bid” for my team after informing me of the good news.

Read the rest

For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house

The house at Klump Ave. and Dilling St. in Studio City, also known as the Brady Bunch house, has been put on the market for $1.885 million.

LA Times:

The Brady Bunch house, a Traditional-style residence near the Colfax Meadows neighborhood, was used for outdoor representations of the beloved television family’s abode. That included the show’s opening and closing scenes as well as numerous interludes to denote the time of day. Interior scenes for “The Brady Bunch” were filmed in studio.

Violet and George McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom house in 1973 for $61,000, records show. The series ran from September 1969 to March 1974 before moving into reruns in syndication.

Ernie Carswell, a Douglas Elliman agent who is listing the property, said the split-level house has been updated and upgraded but retains almost the exact interior decor from that era, though the layout does not resemble the TV show home.

The article reports that Carswell is expecting many lookie-loos and to thwart the masses, he will not be holding any open houses. Interested buyers will need to book an appointment to see the "never-ending attraction." There's also a chance that its new owners will tear it down as it "sits in an area that has been ripe for tear-downs and new development." Caswell says the sellers would prefer to sell it to someone who will preserve it.

-----

So, I have a funny story about this property. A few years ago I had the opportunity to ride in a Wienermobile. Read the rest

London luxury housing market bubble bursts: 39% of sales last quarter were to deep discount wholesalers making bulk buys

London's property market continues its implosion, brought on by a combination of tightening capital controls (much of the market exists to help offshore criminals launder their money), Brexit, and a long-overdue correction to a wildly inflated market. Read the rest

Modest Silicon Valley home breaks record for highest price paid per square foot

They say that, in real estate, it's all about location, location, location. That's especially true if you're a Silicon Valley worker who wants to avoid a horrible commute.

The 848-square-foot house at 1062 Plymouth Drive in Sunnyvale is in a great location for someone in tech, as it's about a 10-minute drive to the Google, Apple, LinkedIn or Yahoo! campus.

And it just sold for $2M, a mere $550K over asking, according to KRON4.

That is $2,358 per square foot, the highest price paid per square foot ever recorded by the MLS in Sunnyvale.

The two-bedroom, two-bath house sold in just two days of being on the market, reports listing Agent Doug Larson. He told KRON4, "Well [laughs], I was kind of blown away."

The new buyer does plan to live there. He is a young, single man who works in tech.

And he paid all cash for his new home.

The Mercury News writes:

Friday morning, a realtor called Larson and told him she was sending over an offer. Larson told her his client wasn’t accepting offers until the following Wednesday, but the persistent realtor refused to take no for an answer and sent her client’s offer that afternoon.

It was too tempting to pass up — $2 million, all cash, closing in 10 days. The seller was shocked.

“She said, ‘What?'” Larson said. “She was as taken aback as I was.”

Read the rest

Unreal estate: World's largest chest of drawers for sale in North Carolina

Built in the 1920s as High Point, North Carolina's "Bureau of Information," this 36-foot-tall The Goddard-Townsend style dresser/building represents the area's furniture and hosiery industries (note the socks).

It is considered the world's largest freestanding chest of drawers, though down the street an 80-foot-tall bureau was created a few years back as a building's facade.

Now, for a mere $235K, this unusual High Point icon -- a commercial property -- could be yours.

(Pee-wee Herman, Old House Dreams)

first image via Google, second photo by Laurie Hlywa Read the rest

Nevada's creepy "Clown Motel" for sale, ghosts included

You could be the next proprietor of the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada. Packed with kitschy-creepy clown figurines, paintings, and mannequins, it's conveniently located next to a cemetery with the graves of residents and prospectors who died of a strange plague in 1902. Reportedly the ghosts of some of those folks haunt the Clown Motel. You could own it for $900,000 so long as you contractually agree that the Clown Motel won't shut its doors. From Mysterious Universe:

The greasepaint ghouls came from Leona and LeRoy David, a brother and sister who built the motel in 1985 and chose the site next to the cemetery because their father was buried there. They put their small collection of clown memorabilia on display and ran the inn until 1995 when they sold everything to Bob Perchetti, whose family has lived in Tonopah for four generations and most certainly knew the haunted history of the motel and its clownish contents...

Seven-year employee Marlena Dufour says she’s seen apparitions and moving mannequin hands and has heard disembodied voices. Dufur told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that a guest had a room key mysteriously disappear. However, it’s the clowns that cause the most trouble. While many guests come dressed as clowns and enjoy the experience, others have walked into the office and screamed or fainted.

Read the rest

You could live in a lighthouse auctioned off by the US government

The United States General Services Administration is auctioning off six lighthouses, one on in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland and five Michigan's Great Lakes. Bidding starts at around $15,000 and there isn't much action yet! From Mental Floss:

Prospective bidders must agree to put down a $5,000 to $10,000 deposit on the lighthouse they’re interested in. They must also be prepared to renovate the house’s interior so it will meet the legal standards for public habitation. The actual property each lighthouse stands on will still belong to the government, but with the building no longer needed for its original purpose, the new owner will be free to transform it into a bed and breakfast, a summer home, or anything else they envision.

Read the rest

Iconic (and super creepy) Clown Motel is up for sale

Between Las Vegas and Reno, there is a sleeping establishment like no other. It's simply called The Clown Motel and it's been deemed "America's scariest motel."

In 2014, Cory described it as follows:

Hundreds of clowns stare from every corner, the walls are hung with clown-portraits, and there is a "historic miners' cemetery" out the motel's back door, wherein rest the mouldering corpses of the victims of a mysterious epidemic that is only known as "Tonopah plague."

Now it can be yours for $900,000.

According to LasVegasNow.com, the motel's current owner (of 22 years) Bob Perchetti is selling it so he can retire, "I'm going to go fishing. I want to go enjoy myself. I'm going to do a little camping with the grandkids."

One condition of the sale: "the new owners can upgrade it but don't lose what the people love."

Wait, does that mean the clowns or the corpses? Either way, no thank you. Read the rest

For sale: Single home spanning two countries with doorways to both

This apartment house spans Beebe Plain, Vermont in the United States and Stanstead, Quebec in Canada. The owners, who have dual citizenship, put the fixer-upper on the market for $109,000. There are entrances from both Canada and the United States. From the Associated Press:

Beebe Plain is a community in the Vermont town of Derby, which along with Stanstead, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northeast of Montpelier, or 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Montreal, have become the cliché of security changes on the U.S.-Canadian border brought on by the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Residential streets that used to be open were blocked by gates. The back doors of an apartment building straddling the border in Derby Line village have been locked shut. The street next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, deliberately built in both countries, is blocked by flower pots, although Canadians are still allowed to walk to the library's U.S. entrance without going through a border post....

Troy Rabideau, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant port director for the area that includes Beebe Plain, said the agents know who live there, but keeping track can be a challenge.

"It's always a fine line," Rabideau said. "We do the best we can to keep an eye on it. We do what we have to do, security first, but we also want the support of the locals."

Read the rest

Real-estate advertisement for a $100m house "Makes Me Want To Be A Socialist"

Julia Wick found a cinematic trailer for a Opus, a "$100 million "state of the art dream home" currently for sale in Los Angeles." The creators "wanted to do something really high art," she quotes a spokesperson mercifully left unnamed. [via JWZ]

The video was created by the Society Group—a luxury public relations firm whose "mission is to spark authentic conversations in society by intersecting the worlds of art + architecture + lifestyle"—along with a "celebrity developer," a high-end realtor, and "a french director who specializes in marketing luxury brands." We spoke to the Society Group's Alexander Ali over email for some more information.

It's all so Trumpian. Read the rest

American of Italian descent has house for sale

Enjoy Joe Pitzo's charming, verge-of-tears tour of a house he recently inherited. Vertical video is surely the least of his NSFW sins. Now, it's true that one can never be sure anyone is who they say they are on the internet, but as a man of Italian descent, I do recommend a home inspector who has a nice ground-penetrating radar. We all cope in different ways. Read the rest

You could live in Grey Gardens

For $20 million, you could live in Grey Gardens, the East Hampton, NY home that starred with lovable eccentrics Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale and her mother Edith "Big Edie" Ewing Bouvier Beale in the incredible 1975 documentary "Grey Gardens." (Watch the whole thing below!) Current owner Sally Quinn, the journalist and Washington socialite, bought the home from Little Edie for $220,000 in 1979 and restored it from its astoundingly squalorific state scene in the film. From the New York Times:

On a recent afternoon, Sally Quinn walked through Grey Gardens, her fabled summer home, one that has been the subject of both a documentary film and a Broadway musical, and passed by a glass menagerie of tiny kittens. The figurines had once belonged to Edith Bouvier Beale, better known as Little Edie, a woman of many cats, who for years lived in the house with her mother, known as Big Edie. Both were former socialites and relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Restoring the home was not for the faint of heart, but Ms. Quinn was undeterred. In fact, she was smitten.

“‘It’s yours,’” Ms. Quinn recalled Little Edie saying to her. “She did a little pirouette in the hall and said, ‘All it needs is a coat of paint.’”

Read the rest

Luxury nuclear bunkers in Kansas

Larry Hall is developing luxury nuclear bunkers underground at an old nuclear missile site in Kansas. Hall says the Survival Condos, starting at $1.5 million, are "nuclear-hardened bunkers that are engineered… to accommodate not just your physical protection but your mental wellbeing as well." From BBC News:

Mr Hall says he has spent millions on providing the complex with every possible feature to keep residents safe both now and for an indefinite period, should a catastrophic event occur.

These include air and water filtration systems, a range of energy sources (including wind power), and the capacity to grow plants and breed fish for food supplies. Armed guards patrol the entrance.

There are many other features too, such as a cinema, swimming pool, surgery, golf range, and even a rock climbing wall. "It's like a miniature cruise ship," says Mr Hall.

He believes that luxury touches like these could help to explain a development that may seem a little surprising.

At first, he says, clients saw owning an apartment as "like life insurance", just something to be used in case of an emergency. But now some purchasers have come to regard their apartments as second homes, making regular use of them for weekends or longer breaks.

"Everyone comments on how well they sleep here," he adds.

Read the rest

China's capital controls are working, and that's bursting the global real-estate bubble

More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest

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