Archive for February, 2011

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The Celebrity Beat: Relocation.com’s Celebrity Real Estate Report

By Serena Norr

This week the sports media was buzzing with the trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the NY Knicks.  Now that Anthony is back in the Big Apple he now needs a place to live and has reportedly been looking for a high-priced NYC rental for about $30,000 a month. We aren’t sure what he will choose but there is buzz that he has been eying the uber luxurious Soho Mews and 158 Mercer (the same building where Bon Jovi lives). The rest of the Beat takes us to California where reigning pop queen Britney Spears and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe both recently purchased new mansions. There were also homes listed on the market in California by TV stars Dave Coulier and Mischa Baron whose home is described as a “modern villa.” Until next week…

•    Carmelo Anthony Looking to Rent
Much has been said about trade of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets to the NY Knicks. With everything in place, Carmelo and his family are now looking to rent in NYC for about $30,000 a month. He has been reportedly scouting 158 Mercer St., the same building where Jon Bon Jovi lives and SoHo Mews where Justin Timberlake has a place.

Britney Spears' New Hollywood Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•    Britney Spears Buys in Hollywood Hills
Oops she did it again but this time it is an expensive real estate property. Purchased for $12,900,000, the Hollywood Hills home includes 19,107-square-feet of living space, 10 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms that is situated on a 3.39-acre village-like estate. The gated Tudor-style home also includes an arcade, a modern kitchen, a fitness center, a poker playing room, guest quarters, a swimming pool and spa.

Rachel Zoe's New Beverly Hills Home. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•    Rachel Zoe Moves to Beverly Hills Mansion
Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is on the move. The pregnant Zoe and her husband recently left their one-bedroom apartment and relocated to a huge 7,185-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills. The two-story contemporary mansion includes five bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and two walk-in closets. The complex also includes a formal living room with a fireplace, a private terrace, private facilities, a well-lit kitchen and a two-car garage. The property also includes a backyard with luscious greenery, a swimming pool and spa. It was also reported that Zoe paid $8,250,000 for the property.

Deck View from Mischa Barton's Home. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)

•    Mischa Barton Looking to Sell Beverly Hills Estate
Former “OC” actress Mischa Baron is looking to sell her gorgeous Beverly Hills estate for $8,695,000, or for lease at $30,000/month. Located in the gated Beverly Glen community of Bowmont Estates, the home includes an ivy-draped main house, 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, and 9,800-square-feet of living space. There is also a modern kitchen, guest houses, an outdoor swimming pool, and spa. According to listing information, the main house and three guesthouses total 8 bedrooms.

Exterior View of Dave Coulier's Home. (Image Credit: Zillow.com)

•    Dave Coulier Places Encino, California Home on the Market for $1.65 Million
Dave Coulier, better known as Uncle Joey on the popular show “Full House,” has recently placed his Encino, California home on the market for $1.65 million. The remodeled and gated home includes 4,000-square-feet of living space, six bedrooms, three bathrooms, an office, living room and dining room, and an outdoor space with a patio and a swimming pool.

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Visiting Hawaii Before You Buy

 

Looking to buy a home in Hawaii? Whether you’re relocating to the islands or thinking of buying an investment property, finding the right piece of Hawaii real estate requires time, effort, and yes, an island visit — or two! Though you can easily narrow down prospective island properties with a myriad of online tools, virtual house hunting can only take you so far. There’s no substitute for the real thing. 

Visiting Hawaii isn’t exactly a hard sell, but if you’re new to the islands; it can still be daunting. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind before you book your trip. 

1. You don’t have to splurge on a hotel.
There are two versions of Hawaii: the one you see as a tourist, and the one you see as a resident. Though there is a massive amount of resources and services available to tourists, things work very differently for locals. While you’ll probably have to stay in a hotel, keep it simple. Forget the ocean view or the upgrade to a suite, and don’t rule out discount chains. After all, the point of visiting Hawaii is to spend as little time as possible in your hotel room. And you don’t want to mistake tourist luxury for day-to-day reality. You might even want to consider a Hawaii vacation rental… though be careful: these are tightly regulated, and not all of them are legal operations. 

2. Be flexible on transportation.
For the most freedom and flexibility, you’ll probably want to rent a car while in Hawaii. But if your budget is limited, or if you’re not comfortable driving in an unfamiliar place, you have other options. If your interest is Honolulu real estate, the island of Oahu boasts one of the best bus systems in the country. If you find a place to stay near Waikiki or Ala Moana Center, you can catch the bus just about anywhere for $2.50 each way (or $25 for a four-day pass). Otherwise, you can look for shuttle and taxi services (though these often require reservations, as you can’t “hail a cab” on the street). Finally, remember that there are many friendly and knowledgeable Realtors in Hawaii. They would know the best way to get around your future neighborhood, and often schedule caravans or gladly take clients around on their own dime. 

3. Play early, work late.
Checking out Hawaii homes and Hawaii condos is hard work, but it’s hard to resist taking some time to play tourist. You should! But if you’re looking to see some of the most popular attractions — the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, or Diamond Head on Oahu, or the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island — don’t waste your time in lines or fighting crowds. Start your day as early as possible to avoid the crunch, and to save more of your day for your property search. Hike Diamond Head at dawn, catch the first tour at Pearl Harbor, and be ready to get back to work by lunch. The afternoon and early evening is often the best time to meet with Realtors or sellers, anyway. 

4. Eat different.
Hungry? Sure, Hawaii is a U.S. state, and has most of the brands and chains Americans love. But Hawaii is in many ways a whole other country, and overflows with unique dining options. Try to make it through your stay without visiting a single chain restaurant. Or at least stick to Hawaii-based chains: Zippy’s and L&L Hawaiian Barbecue restaurants are almost everywhere. Mom and pop diners and food trucks are great options as well. Remember that Hawaii has strong ties to the Pacific Rim and Asia, and explore those cuisines. You probably won’t be able to stick to your diet while in the islands, but you could quickly become an expert in sushi, or the local plate lunch. 

5. Slow down, and take it easy.
If you’re used to the fast-paced, brisk and efficient pace of business in most American cities, landing in Hawaii can be a jarring experience. Bringing expectations from New York, Chicago or L.A. will only lead to frustration. Things in Hawaii move slowly, run late, and are usually very casual. (“Hawaiian Time” is an oft-used phrase that essentially means nothing starts or runs on time.) Leave your ties at home, don’t panic if you get a hug instead of a handshake, and expect to miss a few appointments. Rather than trying to squeeze in six visits or meetings, plan for three, then play it by ear. 

Finally, don’t forget the basics. Wear sunscreen and carry water, as you can still get sunburned or dehydrated during “winter” in Hawaii. Don’t leave valuables in your rental car, and keep important documents safe. And most importantly, enjoy. You’re in Hawaii!

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The Celebrity Beat: Relocation.com’s Celebrity Real Estate Report

By Serena Norr

This is the first time on the Beat when an apartment was listed on the market that was NEVER lived in. The apartment in question is owned by the fashion maven Karl Langerfeld who recently listed his NYC penthouse for $5.5 million dollars. New York City is also the location where Jennifer Aniston is reportedly looking to buy. She allegedly placed an offer on a 2,950-square-foot complex in the West Village for $14,950,000 and is looking to sell her mansion in Beverly Hills.  Another interesting property on the Beat is the Beverly Hills home of Elvis and Priscilla Presley that can now be rented out for $25,000 a month. Not a cheap rental by any means, this property is a one-of-a-kind listing where the new renter will shack up in same abode where The King lived for years. Do you know of a hot property on the market? Email me at serena.norr@relocation.com. Until next week…

•   Karl Langerfeld Lists Never-Lived-In Apartment for $5.5 Million
Fashion maven Karl Lagerfeld recently placed his never-lived-in NYC apartment on the market for $5.5 million dollars. Located at 50 Gramercy Park North, the three-bedroom 3.5 bathroom co-op was originally purchased fin 2006 for $6.575 where Langerfeld was reportedly going to retire. The designer has since changed his tune and decided to stay in Paris – leaving an immaculate and untouched sixth-floor residence. The space includes custom bookcases personally designed by Lagerfeld, spacious closets, views of Central park and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. It is also reported by the NY Post that “Chanel will be doing an “installation of images” in the apartment, and closets will be filled with Chanel bags, shoeboxes and garment bags.”

Katie Lee's cute eat-in kitchen - Sold for $11.65 Million. (Image Credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/)

•    Katie Lee Sold New York Townhouse for $11.65 Million
Lifestyle cook and Billy Joel’s third ex-wife Katie Lee recently sold the New York townhouse she received as part of her divorce. Purchased in 2006, Joel originally paid $5.9 million for the West Village home that was since renovated and redesigned by celebrity designer Nate Berkus. The massive 4,000-square-foot four-floor townhouse includes four bedrooms, four bathrooms, four fireplaces, a covered pool, a chef’s kitchen with a six-burner Wolf stove, custom cabinetry and wine storage an elevator and a landscaped garden. The undisclosed new owner paid $11.65million for the home.

You can rent Elvis' home for $25,000 a month. (Image Credit: Luxist.com)

•    Elvis’ Beverly Hills Estate Available for Rent at $25,000/month
The LA Times recently reported that Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s gated compound in Beverly Hills is up for lease for $25,000 a month. Built in 1958, the recently remodeled estate sits on 1.18-acres of land that overlooks the city and ocean. The house also includes four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a family room, a dining room, a media room, a guesthouse, floor-to-ceiling windows, a new kitchen and laundry room, a pool and spa and 5,367-square-feet of living space.

Pics of Jennifer Aniston's potential new penthouse. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•    Jennifer Aniston Might be Buying in NYC
Word on the street is that Jen Aniston might be looking to buy in NYC. She reportedly placed her 9,000+ square foot Beverly Hills mansion on the market and has placed an offer on a pre-war duplex penthouse in the West Village for $14,950,000. According to listing information, this 2,950-square-foot complex includes four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, two fireplaces, two terraces and two floors. The apartment also recently underwent a huge renovation to include a contemporary eat-in kitchen, marble counter tops and hardwood flooring. Since this is all speculation, we eagerly await news on this breaking real estate story.

The new home of Neil Patrick Harris. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•    Neil Patrick Harris Buys a New Home in Sherman Oaks
Neil Patrick Harris, star of “How I Met Your Mother” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.” recently purchased a suburban home in Sherman Oaks, California. The 4,286-square-foot home includes six bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms for $2,100,000. Built in 1991, the home sits on one-third of an acre of land that includes a two-car garage, an eat-in kitchen, French doors and a spacious backyard with a spa and a swimming pool for Harris and his two new children.

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Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day

Enjoy a sunset view at one of these romantic destination spots. (Image Credit: http://www.newlywedretreats.com)

By Serena Norr

With Valentine’s Day a few days away we thought it was the perfect time to inspire couples to take a trip to one of these romantic cities. Renowned for their beauty, exciting amenities and relaxing vibe, you and your sweetie will love venturing away from home – not to mention enjoying a much-better alternative to chocolate and roses. And who knows, your exciting getaway may just inspire an upcoming relocation.

1. Honolulu – With miles of sandy white beaches and clear water, it’s obvious to see why Honolulu is a romantic city. Located on Oahu, Honolulu is a popular travel destination where you and your loved one can enjoy restaurants, museums, beautiful lodging along the Pacific and the areas natural attractions. Travel + Leisure magazine also dubbed it as one of the most relaxing destinations to visit.

2. Charleston – A beautiful southern city seeped in a rich history, you and your sweetie can enjoy the beaches, golf, shopping, or fine dining at one of Charleston‘s numerous restaurants.

3. Napa Valley – A weekend in wine country is surely going an exciting romantic venture for you and your loved one. Research vineyards before you arrive in Napa and expect to find some unexpected places along the way.

4. Santa Fe – A romantic Southwest destination, Santa Fe is filled with gorgeous deserts, rich art and culture, delicious food and romantic adobe architecture that was also recently ranked number one for peace and quiet by Travel + Leisure magazine.

5. San Francisco – The beautiful City by the Bay is the ultimate destination for a romantic getaway. Whether it’s a visit one of the areas numerous museums or visits or a day visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf or the Golden Gate Bridge, couples will find something exciting to do in San Francisco.

6. San Diego – As a beautiful coastal city, couples will love exploring the beaches, camping, hiking, or taking a romantic sunset gondola cruise while in San Diego. The city is also home to numerous museums and galleries and features options for world-class dining and dancing.

7. New Orleans – Couples will love checking out the “Big Easy” for amazing live music, delicious cuisine like crawfish or gumbo and a lively vibe. Explore the historic Le Pavillon hotel or take a stroll along the gorgeous French Quarter for a laid-back and vibrant getaway.

8. Miami – With beautiful weather and gorgeous beaches, Miami is a lively Latin city where you and your sweetheart can enjoy your days in the sun and your nights heating up the dance floor at one of the cities numerous clubs, bars or restaurants.

9. New York – The city that never sleeps certainly has much to offer you and your mate. You can choose to spend your days shopping, sightseeing or exploring at one of the areas museums. You can also take in a Broadway show, concert or dine at one of the best restaurants in the world.

10. Aspen – A ski lover’s paradise, Aspen is the backdrop of amazing mountain scenery, fresh alpine air, recreation, seclusion and surrounding historic towns. You can choose to stay at a luxury resort or a cozy mountain cabins, as you enjoy a week of beautiful scenery, hiking, nightlife and of course skiing.

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International Moving Guide: Obtaining a Driver’s License When Moving Abroad

You'll have a newfound freedom when moving abroad - just don't forget to process your driver's application beforehand.

By Relocation.com Staff

When moving abroad it is advisable to obtain an international driving permit – (even if you don’t plan on doing much driving). This form of identification is valid in over 150 countries and is translated into 10 languages. It can be very helpful as a universal identification, and of course, necessary if you are actually driving.

For those that plan to operate a vehicle, you should investigate the driving laws in your  new country as soon as you arrive. Every country has different rules regarding how long after you arrive that you will need to get a new license and what information you will need to provide to receive your new license.

In some countries a driver’s license from the United States will be honored and in others you must obtain a local license. You may also need an international driving license or international permit. This is just a certification of license and is currently available in nine languages. When you arrive in your new country you will usually be given a grace period before you need to obtain your local license.  You should be prepared to take a whole new test, including a written exam and eye exam and potentially a practical driving test.

If you are moving to a country in which driving is done on the opposite of the road (e.g. England, Japan or Australia), you will want to get some good practice in before you are required to take a practical driving examination.  Even for experienced drivers, these new driving rules will pose some serious short-term challenges.

To obtain a international driving license or international permit, you will need a valid U.S. driver’s license, $15USD , and two passport-type photos  to your local AAA office. You will also have to fill out an application to obtain an International Driving Permit and they may take 4-6 before you receive your license or permit. If you are currently overseas you can mail your completed application to the following office and address:

AAA/IDP
1000 AAA Dr.
Heathrow, FL
32746
Attn: Mailstop #2

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The Celebrity Beat: Relocation.com’s Celebrity Real Estate Report

Gorgeous views from Katay Sagal's former home - sold for $3.77 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)

By Serena Norr

We saw some exciting properties listed on the celebrity real estate market this week. Starting with novelist Truman Capote whose Brooklyn Heights home was recently listed on the market for $15.9 million – a drop from its original listing of $18 million. Considered one of the most expensive homes for sale in Brooklyn, the gorgeous Greek Revival is said to be the home where Capote lived from 1955-1965 and where he also wrote “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Kate Moss, the professional waif was also on the Beat this week for purchasing an historic mansion in London. Once owned by several literary figures, the home is situated on Highgate Hill and includes seven bedrooms and seven fireplaces – among many other attributes of this four-floor mansion. There were also numerous homes placed on the market from Los Angeles such as Rose McGowan’s Spanish-style home and Kyle Richards’ (of the Real Housewife fame) Los Angeles cul-de-sac and we are eager to see who purchases these hot properties. Until next time…

Exterior shot of Truman Capote's Brooklyn townhouse - Listed for $15.9 million. (Image Credit: Sotheby's International Realty)

Four flights of stairs in Truman's former townhouse

Kitchen in Truman Capote's former home. (Image Credit: Sotheby's International Realty)

•    Truman Capote’s Brooklyn Home Drops to $15.9 Million
Truman Capote’s former Brooklyn Heights residence was recently placed on the market for $18 million – only to see a recent drop to $15.9 million. A Greek Revival townhouse, built in 1839, the 9,000- square-foot home includes 11 bedrooms, 11 fireplaces, columned porches, mahogany staircases, two kitchens, crystal chandeliers, an artist’s studio, a library and a gorgeous garden. The sale of the historic home is being maintained by Sotheby’s Realty that is said to be the most expensive townhouse for sale in Brooklyn.  Capote lived in the home from 1955-1965 where he wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood.”

Exterior shot of Rosie McGowan's home - Listed for sale at $1.8 million. (Image Credit: The Luxist)

Rose McGowan's living room- Listed for sale at $1.8 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)

•    Rose McGowan Lists Los Feliz-Area Home
Actress Rose McGowan recently listed her Los Feliz-area home for $1,849,000 million. Purchased in 2004, the home features both Spanish and Moroccan architectural elements that cover the four-bedroom with wood doors, three-bathroom home. The vintage-inspired home also includes a formal dining area, arched windows and 4,278-square-feet of living space. The home also includes a renovated kitchen and dining room and French doors that opens to a balcony on the second floor.

Katey Sagal's Kitchen. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)

Katey Sagal's Kitchen - Sold for $3.77 million. (Image Credit: Housing Watch)

Outside

View from the pool of Katay Sagal's former home.

•    Katey Sagal Sells Her Hollywood Hills Home for $3.77 Million
Actress Katey Sagal and her husband Kurt Sutter have recently sold their spacious Los Angeles home for $3.77 million to Rickey Minor, former music director of “American Idol.” Measuring at over 7,202-square-feet, this five-bedroom, eight-bathroom home is located on a gated property that leads up to the wooded hillside property. Built in 1962, the home is situated on 1.5 acres of land that also includes a dining room, a two-sided fireplace, a built-in contemporary breakfast area and an outdoor area with a basketball court, swimming pool and spa that also happen to overlook the gorgeous LA hills and the ocean.

The new mansion Kate Moss purchased for £7,950,000. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•    Kate Moss Buys a Historic Literary Mansion in London
Model Kate Moss recently purchased a 6,728-square-foot home in London for £7,950,000. Situated on Highgate Hill, one of the highest points in London, the mansion is considered an historic home where numerous literary figures once lived. The historic four-floor home includes seven bedrooms, seven fireplaces, two kitchens and four full-sized bathrooms. There is also a wine cellar, boiler room, storage space and guest quarters that includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room and a kitchen/dining area. Moss also owns a 10-bedroom farmhouse in Little Faringdon and a property in St. John’s Wood/Primrose Hill area of London, which is expected to go on the market shortly.

Kyle Richards' Hollywood estate listed for sale. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

Kyle Richards' Hollywood estate - Listed for sale at $2.4 million. (Image Credit: The Real Estalker)

•   Kyle Richards, a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills is Looking to Sell
Kyle Richards of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” recently placed her four-bedroom, five-bathroom home on the market for $2,450,000. Located in Los Angeles, the 4,200-square-foot remodeled home also includes a formal dining area, an office and a resort-style back yard with a pool, barbecue area and a spa. The home, located at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, was first listed for sale in 2009 for $3,450,000, which later dropped to its current listing price.