1. Location, Location, Location
Ever wonder why celebrities are all clustered together in the same neighborhoods? It's for several reasons, but mainly it's because those 'hoods are prime real estate -- and they were even before the celebs moved in. Many of these areas are close to the restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and studios where movies and TV shows are filmed. They're in the heart of the action, yet these neighborhoods are positioned to offer the privacy these celebs desperately need. You may not need 12 foot-hedges and a guard-gated entry, but you can take a cue from the A-listers and find the best neighborhood you can for your budget. The old adage of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood that's convenient to work, close to great schools for your kids, and has outdoor amenities like parks or lakes is an A-list concept.
2. Inspiration for Great Design Ideas
You've seen the photo spreads of lavish celebrity homes in Architectural Digest and other design magazines, or peeked at for-sale celeb gems on Trulia Luxe Living. Generally, the ones that are published and available for the public to see, have fantastic and on-trend renovations, design, and furnishings. Despite looking picture-perfect, don't be fooled or dismayed. Celebrities don't automatically have better taste or more gifted design flair than the rest us. What they do have is access to (and the money to pay) the people who do! And thus, through all the media coverage their swanky pads receive, us everyday folks are able to see some of the best examples of great design, use of color, great landscapes, and layouts. It's a great way to steal some fantastic ideas that can be recreated on a mere mortal's budget.
3. Celebs Like to Make It Their Own
When they walk into a for-sale home, celebrities aren't turned off by someone else's differing taste or actual red carpets. They know they can make it their own and remodel. They don't shy away from homes that aren't completely turn-key or "move-in ready." They actually love customizing a home to their taste! This is an attitude everyone should have when touring a for-sale home. Hate the popcorn ceilings or pink bathroom tiles? If you buy within your budget, it's an easy fix. Sometimes, it's better to get that deal on the fixer-upper home and improve it to your liking over time.
4. Over-Improving Is Not a Wise Investment
Just because you throw an endless supply of money at your house, that does not mean you get all that invested money back when you sell. It's called overcapitalization -- or over-improving. You never want to improve your home beyond the level of your neighborhood. In other words, don't add a $50,000 gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances in a neighborhood that can only support the prices of homes with nice tile countertops and modest appliances. You won't get your money back. Granted celebrities are not the only ones who have done this and sold for a loss -- it's just that when they do, they do it in a big way and everybody can read about it in the tabloids!
5. When in Job Flux, Rent
Many celebrities have million-dollar bank accounts, but still choose to rent. It's because they listen to their accountants and well-known real estate advice: If you can't stay for 5-7 years, renting is the best way to go. Many celebrities have to relocate to New York City or Vancouver for a role in a new TV show, or they're in the middle of a divorce. Both are good reasons to rent. When life settles down a bit and the long-term outlook is clearer, then they could consider buying. The same rule of thumb applies to the rest of us: If you can't stay in a house for 5-7 years, consider renting.
6. They Plan Ahead
In Tinseltown, if a star is expecting a new baby, you can bet you'll soon see a for-sale sign on their mansion. Celebrities move when they experience big life changes. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis both just sold their bachelor and bachelorette pads and settled into a much more family-friendly estate in Beverly Hills, where there is room for their family of three (and any others that may come along in the next few years). You can do the same. Whether you're expecting a new baby, or plan on welcoming one in the next 2-3 years, buy accordingly. Leave room in your home for the kiddos, so you're not forced to go through a costly move when the stork arrives.
7. They Leave It Up to The Experts
If you're not a home repair expert, hire one. Celebrities know this and they trust their precious mansions to the experts. If you think it's expensive to hire an expert craftsman, pool repair specialist, etc., just you wait till you see the damage caused by an amateur. Also, when it's time to sell, you won't see any "For Sale by Owner " signs on their front lawns. They always use a trusted and respected real estate agent. Your home is the biggest investment you may ever make, trust its parts to the experts.
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