REALTOR'S DEN Most Popular Posts

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rosie O'Donnell Lists 2 New York City Apartments

Rosie O'Donnell listed two New York City properties. Her two-bedroom, 2.5-bath full-service condominium is listed for $2.25 million. The 22nd-floor unit features floor-to-ceiling windows with views of midtown Manhattan. She bought the property for $1.97 million in 2007, The New York Times says. The headquarters for her public school program, Rosie's Theater Kids, is a few blocks away.

Rosie O'Donnell's second Big Apple property is a four-bedroom Greenwich Village duplex that she purchased for $8 million last year. The 130 West 12th Street penthouse is now on the market for $10.95 million. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

5 things to know about rising rates

5 things to know about rising rates

After years of decline to rock-bottom levels, interest rates are on the rise. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage was recently 4.35%, more than a point above the 2012 low of 3.3%.

Whether you're buying, selling or refinancing a home, here's how to navigate the new environment.
1. No more record rates, but still cheap loans
If the economy continues to improve as anticipated, rates will keep inching up. Freddie Mac expects the 30-year to reach 4.7% by the end of 2014. IHS Global Insight forecasts that rates won't hit 6% until 2017.
2. The refi window is starting to close
The rate bump is already cooling off refis, but most homeowners with the equity and stellar credit to refinance have already done so.
If you didn't have enough equity to qualify, check again -- rising prices pushed 850,000 homes into the black in the first quarter, according to CoreLogic. Plus, the recovery may lead lenders to loosen up.
The average credit score for an approved mortgage has been 761, says the National Association of Realtors, up from the normal 720.
3. Higher rates won't scuttle the housing recovery
At worst, this turnaround will only dampen the pace of growth, says IHS U.S. economist Patrick Newport. A healthier economy is what's boosting prices. Rates would have to rise sharply to make a mark. "Going up three percentage points would be a major wet blanket," says Bob Walters, chief economist of Quicken Loans.
With prices rising, sellers can be patient. For buyers, mortgages are still historically cheap.
4. Once you're ready to buy, lock in
To avoid any short-term spikes, Washington, D.C., mortgage banker Frank Donnelly recommends locking in as soon as you can (typically when you sign a contract).
Most lenders won't charge for a 45-or 60-day rate lock. Pay for a 90- or 120-day lock only if deals close slowly where you live (ask your lender); the typical cost is a quarter of a point per 30 days. With a float-down option, you'll pay less when rates fall at least a quarter point. Skip that add-on unless it's free.
5. Fixed loans usually beat adjustables
You may be eyeing adjustables, which are up less than fixed loans. An ARM is the better call only if you plan to own your home for a short time.
"When you need five or six years, you might save with an adjustable," says Keith Gumbinger of the research firm
A monthly payment on a $250,000 mortgage is $1,194 with a 30-year loan at 4%, or $999 on a five-year ARM at 2.6%. But it's crucial to get a loan that matches your time frame.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vince Vaughn's Townhouse for Rent

This week in celebrity real estate, Vince Vaughn listed his Chicago townhouse for rent, Scarlett Johansson sold her L.A. condo and Octavia Spencer bought in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley.

Vince Vaughn’s Chicago townhouse for rent
In Vince Vaughn's next big role, he'll play landlord at a property in Chicago. Or, at least, that's his hope. The comedic actor has listed his townhouse for rent for $9,500 a month.
This isn't the first time Vaughn has rented out the home. He first put it up for lease in 2010 at $7,000 a month. In 2011, the townhouse was back on the rental market for $8,000, and this time around, Vaughn is hoping a new renter will pony up that extra $1,500 a month.
The Chicago native bought the townhome in 2005 for $4.1 million, upgrading to a 7,800-square-foot duplex penthouse in the Palmolive Building just a year later. Rather than sell the townhome, he's kept it as an investment property, which seems to have done well for the actor.

Located in a "prestigious" City Club development, the upgraded townhouse has 3 bedrooms and 4 baths on a 4,063-square-foot floor plan. The home includes a 3-car garage, a custom-designed home theater with plush leather recliners and a rooftop deck with views of the city.
Actress Scarlett Johansson has sold her 1-bedroom, 2-bath unit in the Hollywood Versailles Tower for $470,000.
Actress Scarlett Johansson has sold her 1-bedroom, 2-bath unit in the Hollywood Versailles Tower for $470,000.
Scarlett Johansson sells Hollywood Boulevard condo
We imagine stars living in sprawling Hollywood estates, but sometimes a modest condo is more believable for an actress hopping between movie sets.
While formerly owning a stunning mid-century modern home with ex-husband Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson has also owned a 1-bedroom, 2-bath unit in the Hollywood Versailles Tower since 2003. Listing the place for $425,000 in May, she's now handing over the keys for $470,000, theLos Angeles Times reports.

Measuring 1,148 square feet, Johansson's former condo is average in size for a 1-bedroom, but hardwood floors, granite countertops and other high-end finishes add an air of luxury. The home is also filled with touches of Hollywood glam, from gold sinks in the master bath to a dressing-room vanity surrounded by stage lights.

Located at 7135 Hollywood Boulevard, Apt. 506, Los Angeles, Calif. 90046 in a full-service high-rise, the condo's shared amenities include a 24-hour doorman and valet, a pool, gym and recreation room.

Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer just bought a 1,714-square-foot home in the Toluca Lake community.
Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer just bought a 1,714-square-foot home in the Toluca Lake community.
Octavia Spencer buys in Toluca Lake
Closing on a Toluca Lake house and making a red-carpet appearance for her latest film "Fruitvale Station," Octavia Spencer's keeping busy.

The Academy Award-winning actress just bought a 1,714-square-foot home for $841,500, according to property records. In the world of Los Angeles real estate, anything less than $1 million is typically not used as a celebrity's primary residence. Time will tell whether Spencer moves in permanently.

While modest in size, the 1927 Spanish-style home is filled with character — from dark hardwood floors and plantation shutters to vintage tiles and original fixtures. The property is also in a great location: a block and a half from Toluca Lake boutiques and restaurants on Riverside Drive.

Spencer received several prestigious accolades including an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minny Jackson in the 2011 film adaptation of "The Help."