We’re in the middle of a pandemic, but some celebrities are still buying luxurious homes. One example that likely comes to mind is Kylie Jenner’s $36.5 million Los Angeles mansion and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s $5.1 million West Hollywood home.
Why are celebrities still making high-priced home purchases right now? Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke to Troy Palmquist, founder and broker at The Address, a luxury real estate brokerage. Here’s what he had to say.
roy Palmquist: For many, there’s the desire to take advantage of lower prices in some markets and unusually motivated sellers. In purely practical terms, larger lots, more outdoor recreation space, pools, tennis courts, and putting greens, in a time when there are no camps or country clubs and international travel has been canceled, means being able to stay home and stay outside more comfortably. This is especially true for those who have been living in highly desirable, yet crowded, in-town neighborhoods with smaller footprints.
CS: What is one of the most extravagant celebrity home purchases you’ve heard about recently? Why did it make an impression on you?
TP: It just came out that Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick bought LA’s Bellagio estate for $43.3 million. It’s a two-acre property with two pools and a tennis court and a lot of historical interest, aside from being just spectacularly beautiful. It originally listed for $75 million, so Kalanick obviously got a great price and all the space he could ask for.
CS: Does the changing real estate market mean regular folks will have a chance to buy luxury celebrity homes? Are prices lower now because of the pandemic?
TP: In some cases, yes. It depends on the market, of course, and the demand there. For example, The Hamptons has exploded because everyone is trying to get out of NYC, so bargain hunters there are going to be disappointed. On the other hand, in some markets where people are staying put and riding out the next few months, there may be some opportunities, especially with properties that have been sitting on the market since February or March when the Spring market got interrupted.
CS: What advice or precautions would you give people who are looking to buy a home during the pandemic? Is it possible to find out if the previous homeowner had COVID-19?
TP: Many real estate associations have put into place a COVID-19 addendum to help protect both buyers and sellers in the event of a COVID-related disruption to their transaction. While it may not be possible to find out if the previous homeowners had COVID-19, you can certainly leave a few days to a week between the seller’s move-out date and your move-in date. That should give any exposure time to die down. Follow up with a professional cleaning crew and open up the house to let fresh air blow through, as well. In this case, patience is definitely a virtue.
CS: What advice would you give to people who are looking to sell a home during the pandemic?
TP: Great marketing materials–photography, video, and copywriting — is key, especially when people have less access to the property itself. Emphasize and enhance outdoor spaces — that’s where everyone wants to be right now. Consider smart home updates and upgrades that allow owners to be more hands-off, including handsfree entrances and voice-activated controls. That offers peace of mind and convenience to buyers and makes the entire home healthier.
CS: Anything to add?
TP: I am bullish on the real estate market, both now and in the future. A lot of people are finding out a lot of things about their homes and living situations, and I think we’ll see a lot of movement as markets start to recover and reopen. It’s an exciting time to be in luxury real estate.