Home-Sale Hassles of the Rich and Famous


rapper 50 cent's homeWe all know that many people are having trouble selling their home in today’s market, but none more than the wealthy. With the amount of buyers that are choosing to downsize and the fact that jumbo loans are now on the endangered species list, selling a multi-million dollar home has become more difficult than ever.

And this has even started to affect those “beings of perfection” better known as celebrities. Here are some celebs who just can’t seem to sell their houses:

• Jon and Kate Gosselin, co-stars of the popular TLC show “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” have been trying for three months to sell their former home in Elizabethtown, Pa.

• Mel Gibson slashed the price of his Greenwich, Conn. Estate from $39 million to just over $29 million.

• Rapper 50 Cent has given up selling his mansion in Farmington, Conn., after dropping the price from $18.5 million to $14 million.

• Richard Gere and wife Carey Lowell have dropped the price on their home in the New York’s Hamptons from $8.8 million to $7.2 million.

• Model Elle Macpherson cut the price of her London Victorian from $9.5 million to $8.5 million, and has since dropped it to $7.5 million.

• Former heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield is again facing foreclosure on his 54,000-square foot home in Fayette County, Georgia worth over $10 million.

Yikes! How difficult is it to have to shave millions off the listing price? Normally, I’m sympathetic to anyone having difficulty selling their home, but it’s hard to feel too sorry for celebs…especially if they make millions, overspend and don’t plan properly. Am I wrong?

Source: Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger (06/21/2009)

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26 Responses to “Home-Sale Hassles of the Rich and Famous”

  1. Kevin Levent Says:

    It is a case of larger numbers and a smaller buyer pool. As we all know, when you get into the upper 10% of the price range the buyer pool is less than 5% of the population, so you already have a disadvantage as a seller, plus most purchasers in the multi-million dollar range want a custom build, so re-sales move much slower and alway must be priced right.

    Now that many sellers in all price ranges are reducing 10%-20% to sell, the upper stratosphere is no different. It is just a matter of the percentage. 20% of $20,000,000.00 is $4,000,000.00, just a different “ouch” factor….

    Maybe they are all starring in a new reality show….What would the name of that show be?

    • Michael A. McFadden Says:

      Maybe they can all move into Evander Holyfields home… Jon and Kate, and there 8, plus Holyfieds 11… Great TV!!!

  2. Jeanette Nolan Says:

    “Life Styles of the Less Rich but still Famous”?
    Personally I’d rather list 10 $100,000 homes than have to deal with a million dollar listing that sits . As Terry Young says, it’s a “lasting” not a listing .

  3. Mary Ann Varner Says:

    This story might help some Sellers to know they are not the only ones going through this tough market. It’s across-the-board!

  4. Valerie D. Brown Says:

    In reading this article, I think of the song, “Memories, maybe beautiful and yet, oh so painful to remember…” The days of building 50,000s.f. mansions are fast becoming a memory. In these times, everyone must face the painful truth of cutbacks. Kevin mentioned 20%, but with the rich facing substantial losses in income, it might be 30-40% — double ouches plus groans!!

  5. Dionne Sanford Says:

    I am going to use this today for my listing appointment at 5:30. Maybe this will help them understand what to expect in todays market/realistic listing world.

  6. Sandra Rodrick Says:

    I tell my agents we’re all in this together on a big ship floating on through the financial seas and straits of real estate. Like the Titianic, we’ve hit something in the waters but unlike her still afloat. Because everythng is relative and the recession doesn’t play favorites, it’s evening out everyone’s playing field, those living the life of the rich and (from this aforementioned list) the INFAMOUS! I’d much rather try to navigate my financial seas with their income but when it comes to the debts, I’ll keep sailing along in my dinghy!

  7. Jack Nunn Says:

    The Blog is great. Keep it up! It is bound to help my business.

  8. Tye Jones Says:

    In talking to several homeowners thinking of selling, they are skeptical of the market and afraid of the prospect of placing their property on the market. I have an out of town potential client that is comparing the Boston RE market to GA’s. He has a home here that he wants to sell and I am working him but he may need to reduce his asking price!

  9. Donna N. Hogan Says:

    HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?…would be the title of my reality show. Great article. Some amazing things are happening. Being humble is a new reality for many people on all levels. Possibly “Trying to Keep Up with The Jones” saying will be buried. Jethrow’s farm is looking pretty Cosmo these days.

  10. Lynn Stephens Says:

    I agree that I would rather list 5 $100,000 homes than one $500,000. I am the “queen of the low priced home sales” but they do add up and they get you CALLS. I had one listing that took over a year to sell but I sold 4 houses off calls I got for this one house that everyone laughed at when I listed it. I also sold the listing!!!!!

    • sandy minnick Says:

      I agree with Lynn. I too once had agents laugh at me when I listed a $50,000, 2 BR 1 ba home but after selling about 8 others off the calls (all were higher priced sales), I also became the listing and selling agent at 7% CM full price sale, which netted a tidy sum. This was probably the best and easiest transaction of my 20+ year career – also quite rewarding in other ways.

  11. Pam Nixon Says:

    No, you’re not wrong. When people (celebrities and athletes) pay that kind of money for homes and have to finance their lifestyle, I find it difficult to feel sorry for them. They make the money to pay cash for their homes….why don’t they!!!!!!

  12. Paul Cross Says:

    Interesting article. I think the phrase of “everything is relative” is very appropriate. I certainly enjoy the blog. Keep it up!

  13. Arthur Harris Says:

    The higher priced homes are a lot harder to sell in any market as they are fewer buyers. I have heard so many agents in our industry refer to these high priced listings as ” sittings ” especially when they are not priced correctly. These homes take forever to sell if they sell at all and the sellers of these homes usually have to be very aggressive with the pricing to attract the right buyer.

  14. Tim Howell Says:

    Lifestyles of the rich and famous are no different than anyone else. We all want a home and lifestyle. The celebrities mentioned let the lifestyle out run the market. In Holyfield’s case his lifestyle has been affected by loss of imcome potential.

    Buyers for the larger purchases are timid. Jumbo loans are very expensive. Using cash reserves to purchase a home as a celebrity is risky behavior considering the income potential for some has also performed like the mortgage market. Not sure if some of the celebrities will make movies in the near future.

    As for the new reality show ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless’ might be a title.

  15. Arye-Onne C. Waller Says:

    These days if someone asks me how the real estate business is, I say “unbelievable!”

  16. Judy Watkins Says:

    Homes ranging in price from $75,000-$120,000 range make me extremely happy. Why? They sell quicker than do the million dollar plus homes. Additionally, there are more buyers who qualify at that price range,especially in this economy.

  17. Mark Laycock, REALTOR® Says:

    http://www.Luxist.com has a good list of celebrity homes. I liked the article on Charlie Sheen’s home. He is selling his home because of his growing family (he just added twins). It reminds us that we are all human, even the “beings of perfection”.
    You can see what $6.9 million buys in Alpharetta on my website, http://www.NorthMetroMLS.com. Atlanta is considered to be one of the Celebrity Home Towns after L.A., New York, Chicago, and Miami.

  18. liz mabry Says:

    Get a bunch of retirees… particularly women… they could all go in together and help each other out …that is what they should be working on

  19. Asher Levans Says:

    I believe a good or fair name should be Expensive Home Habits of the Rich: episode one the bite more than you can chew effect. it would be good to showcase what it takes to have a lean fit real estate portifolio. also it might give some examples of those who are currently doing the right things in the upper real estate owner bracket. It might make for good tv or webisodes.

  20. ann bone Says:

    Thanks for an enteraining reality check! I was out of town for a week in a (very) secluded area of the mountains. Beautiful views, expensive views, and lots of very expensive homes for sale. I met a local broker and he confided that he doesn’t have a single solitary buyer or even a “looker” and hasn’t for months. Give me real homes for real people any day!

    The TV reality show? Maybe, “Conspicuous Consumption Comes Back to Bite”.

    • Susan Adams Says:

      ‘Love your TV show title, Ann. Great blog. Any ideas for these fabulous aggressively short sale priced, million-dollar-plus listings still sitting?

  21. Jack Says:

    Like what you did. Here’s wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year !

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