Tag Archives: real estate

The Queen of Versailles

I’ve been anxiously awaiting The Queen of Versailles’ imminent release on DVD.  It officially arrives November 13th, but the most enterprising among you may be able to snag a preview.This film sets out to ostensibly document the construction of America’s largest residential home, but in actuality it captures a project so mismanaged and out of control that it ultimately grinds to a halt.  The half-constructed monstrosity sits on Orlando’s lawn like a rotting carcass. David Siegel made his money in timeshares (Westgate) and all that it implies.  When the economy crashed, Westgate’s “moocher” clientele could not get the easy credit required to purchase pricey vacations on monthly payment plans.  As Siegel is quick to admit, the company lives and dies by those monthly payments.  When they dry up, so does the funding for the mega-mansion expansion and in turn the collateral for the company’s newest venture – Vegas high-rise condos. From this slim portal into the Siegels’ lives it appears they consume and produce and that’s about it.  They are bursting out of their current 26,000 square foot home which is packed full of kids, staff, clutter, and dog shit.  (What is it with filthy rich people literally being fucking filthy with their pets?  A post for another day I guess.)  David Siegel doesn’t seem to know his kids, even the adult one he works closely with every day.  Jackie Siegel admits she knows little about her husband’s current state of mind and even less about their perilous financial situation.  For most of the documentary, it looks like David Siegel is one breath away from a stress induced triple-bypass.  This is a man in his twilight years trying to live the life of a middle-aged man on borrowed time and borrowed money.  No doubt, filmmaker Lauren Greenfield struck a thematic goldmine with the conveniently-timed financial crisis, but this layered documentary is more than just a byproduct of unfortunate timing.  The Siegels are apparently pissed and suing Greenfield, but I suspect the clever directer just gave the couple enough reel to hang themselves.  Actively seek this little movie out.  A smart and insightful person such as yourself will like it.

 

Drop the needle on Frankie Rose ~ Interstellar

I’m fucking obsessed with Frankie Rose.  You may know her from her other projects Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and the Vivian Girls.

Her recent solo release Interstellar is sublime.  Someone else somewhere compared the album structure to Disintegration, and I have to agree that there are definite similarities between the two records.   That’s not to say Rose’s Interstellar is derivative in the least bit unlike many, many, many, many artists inspired by The Cure. Couple of my favorite songs ~ Know Me and Pair of Wings, but listen to the whole collection of songs as a complete thought because it is absolutely excellent from top to bottom.  Catch Frankie on tour with Real Estate this summer.

To Rent, Buy, or Cry?

Attentive readers may remember I’m looking to relocate while I work on a project in a semi-remote location.  I’m currently in the midst of negotiations with the homeowners of a nearby property I would like to rent while working on the project.  At first, I thought I could handle keeping the house on the market.  When I really considered it, I’m intensely private and clean, and there is no way I can have strangers noodling around in my stuff and shedding errant pubes.  Plus, I don’t want to deal with the insecurity of worrying the house will sell and force another disruptive and expensive move.  The owners are considering a counter that keeps the house off the market for one year for a generous amount of rent.  They expressed an interest in unloading the house.  Between you and I, the house has been on the market for three months with no offers and just a handful of showings.  If it is going to sell, it will sell before Labor Day, but I seriously doubt it will sell at all without a drastic price cut.  It’s a quirky overpriced house with a weird, obviously-not-to-code staircase.  I’ll take it as a rental, but it’s obvious to see why it hasn’t ignited much interest in the market or yielded any offers.  Now, I’m contemplating what to do if they decline our offer.  (No hard feelings if they do).  Do I upgrade to an overpriced rental or buy something cheap and fix it up?  A fixer upper adds value to my investment, but diverts funds from my central project.  A posh rental also adds up, but is move-in ready, completely fresh, and low-maintenance.  The third and final option is whether I can make my current abode work for a little while longer?  Even though my LL (fairly and modestly, but annoyingly) raised the rent?  I hate it here, and I hate to hate where I’m living.  We’ll see what happens with Mr. an Mrs. Homeowner from above; maybe they’ll come to their senses and see my offer for the money making opportunity it is for them.  Because trust, that house will sit on the market stale for another year until they make an embarrassing price reduction or rent it to someone else less tidy and dependable. 

when there’s none, make some

I’m looking for a place to move temporarily while I work on a project.  The rent inventory is low and the selections are overpriced and abysmal. The area where I’m looking has a dearth of rentals and a plethora of homes on the market.After looking at a filthy rental that exceeds my current monthly payments by several hundred dollars, I felt defeated and relinquished to sub-optimal rental living hell. Rather than take this defeat, I decided to contact the listing agent of a vacant house for sale in the neighborhood where I want to move.  I proposed renting the property.  This updated house is way better than the dump I looked at just a few doors down.The agent spoke to his clients and they were open to the idea of renting.  I have an appointment Sunday morning to check out the place.The advantages of this approach are many.  Homes on the market tend to be cleaner and have updates ordinary rentals don’t.  The fact the house isn’t listed as a rental means there isn’t any competition from other renters.  Since I proposed the idea, I have more power in the negotiations. Really, it works out for everyone.  The sellers get a super clean light-treading renter with no pets and no kids.  They get their mortgage paid and benefit from having the house staged for possible buyers. Can’t get ahead of myself, the deal hasn’t been done.  I’ll let you know how the scheme worked out either way, and you can decide if it’s a tactic you want to employ to upgrade your living situation. 

Two for Tuesday

The new girls aren’t cutting it are they?  Bravo should have replaced the whole cast with a younger, more vibrant and ambitious group.  Rich bitches complaining about medical issues does not make for an interesting program.

The poor man’s Heather Mills broke out her prosthetic at the pedicurist. 

On a a completely unrelated note, it is time to consider a move.  The question is, where to go?  How about the Phinney House in Cape Cod that dates back to 1659?  Or how about New Orleans?  If you have $3 million+ lying around you could buy the house where The Real World New Orleans was filmed. 

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

May 2012 Horoscope

Taurus

Happy Birthday Dear Taurus!  2012 is a year of amazing opportunity and growth for you.  Don’t want to freak you out, but marriage may be on the horizon.  The first few months of the year have been challenging, but after May momentum builds all the way through the end of the year.  Your achievements will be epic.  During the first three weeks of the month Taurus is positively powerful.  Connections with women result in lucrative deals.  Bulls love a bargain, but May ain’t the month, particularly the 2nd.  Money flows all the way through August; just make sure it is flowing in the direction of your bank account and not the other way around.  Prepare for a long, rough relationship run commencing the 15th and running through June.  Settle feuds early this May.  Enjoy feeling admired at an abundance of social opportunities throughout the month.  Fortune favors you on the 7th.  Free yourself from the opinions and expectations of others and express your creativity.

 Gemini

This May Gemini must side aside personal desires and career ambition for the big picture and greater good.  Nourish others now.  The third brings creative thinking and fantastic ideas.  Gemini is prone to escapism; May brings extra temptation in that area.  You may find yourself zoning out.  Keep away from impulsivity on the 4th, but do feel free to go with the flow this month and let go of rigid expectations.  Focus on getting enough sleep.  Just as you care for others, allow yourself to be cared for.  Fresh and long-standing friends pop up throughout May to remind you why you are so lovable.

Cancer

Cancer feels lethargic the 7-8th, but after the 10th your energy will resume.  Pay attention to your dreams on the 21st and you will find that your dreams have a very powerful message for you.  This May, focus on achieving goals you have weighed for some time.  Embrace experimental ideas and unconventional angles.  Relax with romantic entanglements this month as you are likely to come off desperate and needy.  Dithering around, for whatever reason, wastes time.  Keep your feelings to yourself.  Low-key is May’s mantra.  Put your effort towards conveying ideas clearly and succinctly.

Leo

Leo reaps the rewards of past good deeds this May.  In particular, prepare to sparkle on the 16th.  Reputation and public perception influence your desire to make a great impression on a number of important people this May.  Expand your social circle; the planets create a favorable energy for new connections.  Consider hosting a party which brings together new and lasting friends.  Life-changing connections will come of it.  Keep conservative when making financial decisions.  Improve by initiating and sticking with a better diet or exercise program and ensuring that quality substances pass through your body.

Virgo

Little sneaky Virgo needs to lay off the manipulation this month.  Money dominates May, and you try to wring every last drop out of your livelihood.  When it comes to their partners, Virgos hold unrealistic expectations, an almost childlike idealism.  The intentions of someone close to you come under scrutiny.  Harness your own power and see how things shake out before making any big decisions.  Now is the time to shift into long term thinking; details become less significant.  An important woman sets the course this month.  Accept her help.

Libra

If you fuck up really badly on the 2nd, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Ward off carelessness with mindful attention.  Find co-conspirators after the 7th of the month.  Embrace all your beauty on the 12th.  Mid-month Libras tap into their rich, creative side.  Avoid letting May’s erratic mood swings sweep you into overly emotional fits.  Libras dish secrets by way of confidential advice.  Anything you share with or have a joint interest in with another will become a point of emphasis.  Strategize for the future, de-clutter, and organize.

Scorpio

Scorpios wish they could do everything alone, but this May they have a reckoning with reality and realize they need a partner to move forward.  Build intimacy and work together or cut ties and move on.  May requires a number of decisions, negotiation, and cooperation.  Upgrades and home repairs dominate the practical.  Career performance yields financial rewards on the 5th Scorpios initiate friends slowly, but then for life.  Watch out for this latest comrade who’s offering the world, but may not be sincere.  Luck favors you on the 26th in financial matters.  Delays plague travel.

Sagittarius

Surprise, surprise, Sags have the travel bug this month.  During the second week of the month you may find the party comes to you.  Work moves to the forefront on the 23rd.  Now is the time to stop procrastinating and escape an isolated home environment.  Self-start and propel yourself towards pivotal action and a clear direction in life.  Career may veer towards entertainment or leisure.  Mundane chores take up a lot of time, and this month is filled with tedious details.  May requires an increased level of commitment in relationships.  Give support and attention to meaningful alliances.  Love up on parents, children, animals, and honeys.

 Capricorn

Funny how subtle shifts at work can bring happiness from misery?  Gloating will land you in trouble; just keep your mouth shut.  Go solo the first week of the month.  Receive dividends on the 19thCaps feel unusually easy-going and spontaneous this May.  This lightheartedness garners attention.  Look your best.  This will be a busy month full of hosting, traveling, and paperwork.  Caps‘ unquenched thirst for learning draws you towards a new area of study.  Pursue a trip to deepen your knowledge.

Aquarius

Aquarius opens the month dodging bullets.  If you know what is good for you, avoid the trappings of a dispute with your partner by keeping mum.  Freedom seduces you mid-month and you can’t wait to get the hell out.  The liberation will light you up and you will shine brighter and enjoy yourself more than you have in some time.  You’ll feel a natural tendency to turn inward, focus on family, and protect the home front.  Are you becoming your parent(s)?  Aquarius starts to see major alarming parallels among generations.  Tender feelings bubble up towards family members.

 

Pisces

Work dominates the scene for Pisces this May.  Put all your energy into your profession.  Tune into vivid dreams mid-month and learn how to make them come true towards the 21st.  Rely on strong partners for support after tiring days.  Keep at least one toe out of your escapist bubble of self-delusion.  Contact your sibling.  As for finances, keep discussions practical.  Keep one ear listening for your inner-voice to avoid feeling scattered and anxious this month.  Enjoy a flood of warm social energy that inspires a little redecorating for impromptu entertaining.

 Aries

 

Aries enjoy a busy and social May.  Articulate and persuasive, Rams align a strong team to guide through the practical and material challenges of the month.  As for material well-being, concerns over finances and property move front and center in May.  You’ll spend time maintaining, moving, and protecting your possessions.  Aries must decide what to ditch and what to purchase.   This month weigh financial priorities; focus on ways to develop and improve your lifestyle.  Health matters to Aries in May.  You may find yourself extra interested in supplements and remedies; don’t go overboard.  Expect the travel itch the first nine days of the month.  Go ahead and scratch it with a little holiday.

My Realtor Hates Me

I’ve been looking at properties.  I hate everything.  After over a dozen tours of different homes all over the area, there is nothing I want to buy.  The investment pool in my area is tiny.  Many banks have decided to hang on to foreclosures and release them a little at a time.  Limited inventory drives up demand and inflates prices.  Good for the economy and the bank’s books, but not for buyers who were hoping to take advantage of the foreclosure glut. Everything needs work.  Even places that have been redone need work, but many of these homes aren’t priced to reflect the work actually required.  I’m not scared of a little hard work, nor do I lack vision, but nothing inspires me right now.

It’s finally time to direct the energy and resources to another project, a major renovation in the woods.  When I get back from Coachella, this remodel is officially on. 

My New Favorite Program: Million Dollar Listing New York

Faithful readers (love you) know that I have an odd little soft spot for Josh Flagg from Million Dollar Listing, so I was a little unsure if Million Dollar Listing New York could live up to its West Coast fore-bearer.   MDLNY has got a slightly different flavor, but it has all the ingredients for a tasty, boy bitch-fighting stew.  Tune in for big money negotiations, real estate porn, and an actual former gay porn star.  Hello Fredrik.  Nice nip. In other real estate news, model Agyness Deyn just sold her Williamsburg apartment for $2.175.  Elisabeth Hasselbeck recently listed her apartment for $3.3 million.  Agy’s above, Hasselbeck’s below, as if you really needed the clarification.

Bethenny’s House Warming Party

Bethenny Ever After returned last night.  After a few seasons of a spin-off focused on Bethenny’s claw to the top, this season courts our collective envy and resentment by showcasing the expenditure of her new obscene wealth.  A couple of interesting points worth mentioning before we get to Frankel’s new apartment: 1) Bethenny made Jason sign a pre-nup; and 2) He’s still butthurt about it.  As for the dirty details on the family’s new condo, The NY Post reports Bethenny purchased a unit located on the 5th floor at 195 Hudson St. in Tribeca.  The 3,600 square foot, four bedroom joint located in the “baller building” (her words, not mine), was rumored to cost just shy of $5 million.  Did she overpay?  The same unit was sold in oh-five for $3.265 million and again in oh-seven for $3.725 million.  In August of 2011, Bethenny paid $4.995 or $388 more per square foot than the previous owner.  That said, smaller neighboring condo 5A just sold for $5.125 million, so maybe she got a bargain after all?