Ask the Experts: How Can I Engage Consumers with Content Marketing?

Jason Doyle Vice President Homes.com www.homes.com Q: In terms of content marketing, what strategies must real estate professionals employ when it comes to engaging with today’s consumer? A: Today’s agents and brokers must have a Web and social media presence and create a content marketing strategy that sets them apart from others and helps them […] Continue Reading →

Peter Madoff's Long Island Home Hits the Market for $4.495 Million (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 416
Peter Madoff home on Long Island

Filed under: , ,

By Catherine Sherman

He may be serving 10 years behind bars for his involvement in the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, but by the looks of Peter Madoff’s Long Island home you’d never know.

The brother and co-conspirator of disgraced investment adviser Bernie Madoff owned an elegant English manor in Old Westbury, N.Y., for more than 20 years, according to The New York Times. Now the U.S. Marshals Service is asking $4.495 million for the 4-acre property.

This is not the first Madoff property to go. After pleading guilty last year to falsifying documents and lying to regulators, Peter was ordered to forfeit his family’s assets. His primary Manhattan residence sold for $4.6 million right before his prison sentence began earlier this year, and the sale of his Palm Beach property closed the year before.

The Long Island estate was first listed in 2011 for $6.495 million in an attempt to pay back Madoff investors. Now with a $2 million price cut and 33 days on the market, the Marshals Service is eager to close to deal. But will the 5-bedroom, 7-bath home find a buyer?

An in-ground swimming pool, tennis court, elevator and guest cottage — not to mention several historic details and antique furnishings — are worthy of a million-dollar price tag. Even with the price cut, however, the Marshal Service is asking nearly double the Old Westbury median list price of $2.399 million. And with the Madoff name etched in property records, there will always be a reminder of a fraudulent past. “Everything in this home was obtained on the backs of other people,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Kamrowski said in an e-mail to The New York Times.

%Gallery-189615%
More on Zillow:
It’s Official: Steven Cohen Asks $115 Million for Manhattan Apartment
Rupert Murdoch Tweets About Buying Bel-Air Estate & Vineyard
Dominick Dunne’s Former Connecticut Home for Sale Again

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.
See celebrity real estate.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Peter Madoff Sentenced To 10 Years For Ponzi Scheme Role

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Storm-Shelter Sales Spike After Oklahoma Tornado

Thumbnail for 418
Man in opening of storm shelter surrounded by building rubble.

Filed under:

After seeing the extensive destruction and loss of life from the Moore, Okla., tornado on Monday, Tornado Alley residents are going into prevention mode, vowing to avoid becoming victims when the next twister strikes. Companies that manufacture safe rooms and storm shelters are reporting a spike in business from buyers trying to avoid the devastation that they’ve seen in Moore and in Joplin, Mo., where a catastrophic tornado struck two years ago.

“People are saying, ‘Sign me up — I don’t care what it costs,” said Debbie Schaefer, office manager at her son’s store, Ground Zero Shelters in Perry, Okla., which has been open since 1999. “We went from being able to keep us up with emails Sunday to now we have 3,000, and we can’t even answer them as fast as they come in.”

Last year, Ground Zero sold 5,500 shelters in 21 states, primarily Oklahoma. The company’s most popular model is an underground shelter that is considered safest for those who can manage steps. Following the Joplin disaster in May of 2011, Ground Zero hired additional workers to keep up with demand, expanding to about 80 employees from about 50. Afterward, Schaefer said there were “a lot more companies coming out of the woodwork.”

One such company to join the fray is Joplin-based Atlas Safe Rooms, which opened its doors in April 2012. After the tornado, Jim Moss and several other employees at a local steel manufacturing company saw an opportunity and left to launch Atlas.

“There were some companies that had been doing it for a while, but they were more or less mom-and-pop shops, and they found themselves backlogged by hundreds of units,” said Moss, chief executive at Atlas. Since the steel manufacturing company had capacity to make more additional product, Moss thought a new safe-room company could use the extra capacity to push out product faster than its smaller competitors. “Our thought was, if you want a storm shelter, you want it now,” Moss said.

Atlas currently manufactures only above-ground safe rooms, which enable people to secure themselves quickly when a storm arises. During its first year, Atlas sold 142 units, but since Monday’s tornado, demand has skyrocketed, with 40 to 50 new orders coming this week.

Twister Safe, which opened near Joplin in 2004, also sells safe rooms in the area and has also seen an uptick in interest. “I think our website has been hit about 19,000 times since Monday,” said Jennifer McKeough, an independent distributor and consultant. “Last week we probably had about 2,000 for the whole week.” Prior to the Joplin tornado, Twister Safe was the only manufacturer of above-ground shelters for 100 miles. Since then, several companies, like Atlas, have entered the market.

The advantages of the above-ground models include not having to brave the elements to get inside and avoiding groundwater problems that can occur in some parts of the country. Safe rooms and storm shelters are especially important in Tornado Alley because many homes lack basements, NPR reported. Fewer than one percent of newly-constructed homes in Moore and surrounding towns extend underground, largely due to the high water table and the red clay that most of the area’s homes stand on, which absorbs moisture easily.

In the heat, the clay tends to dry out, causing a cycle of contraction and expansion that adds pressure to concrete-reinforced basement walls, causing leaks. But NPR noted that even after improvements in building technology mostly solved this problem, people avoid basements largely because of a “psychological hangover for people that are used to seeing houses from the ’40s and ’50s, when the technology wasn’t quite as good for waterproofing.”

Buying storm shelters are another thing that Oklahomans typically avoid, but Ground Zero Shelters’ Shaefer said many are now taking the plunge. “People think, ‘Oh well, we don’t have to worry about it. We’re not going to get hit,'” she said. “But now, they say we should have done it, and they’re doing it.”

See more on CNBC:
Crowdfunding Relief for Disasters
What the Hamptons Tell Us About Stocks
Tracking the Real Estate Recovery

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Jessica Simpson Lists Beverly Hills Home for $8 Million (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 420
Jessica Simpson home, Beverly Hills

Filed under:

When Jessica Simpson bought Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s former Hidden Hills mansion in March, she was in full mom mode, making space for 9-month-old daughter Maxwell and baby No. 2. Now with her summer due date fast approaching, Simpson is saying goodbye to her Beverly Hills bachelorette pad for good. The “Fashion Star” judge just listed her longtime residence for $7.995 million.

Custom-built in the early ’90s by award-winning L.A. designer Kerry Joyce, the 5,500-square-foot home is located in a private celebrity enclave with a gated entrance and vine-covered exterior. Simpson has owned the five-bedroom property since 2005, when she bought it for $5.275 million following her separation from then-husband Nick Lachey.

“Ebonized hardwood floors and fabulous crown and [base moldings] throughout are just some of the quality details in this romantically emotional home,” real estate agent Jory Burton of Sotheby’s International Realty wrote in the listing description. And Simpson isn’t the only celebrity with an emotional attachment to the place. According to Burton, Ellen DeGeneres, “Crocodile Dundee” star Paul Hogan and Hollywood manager Rick Yorn have also lived there.

Recently renovated by Rachel Ashwell of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture, the interior is Hamptons shabby chic with white-washed fabrics and rich hardwoods. Touches of glam are also evident in the home, with antique chandeliers in nearly every room. While Simpson now has a private veranda and ginormous swimming pool to enjoy in Hidden Hills, her Beverly Hills property provided her own secret garden. Spanning a third of an acre, its park-like grounds display lush landscaping and a secluded swimming pool. An eat-in kitchen also overlooks a stone courtyard with a serene koi pond.

See the listing for more details.

Find more homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

%Gallery-189526%
See more on Zillow:
Jessica Simpson Makes Room for Baby in Osbourne Mansion
Report: Jennifer Lopez Buys $10 Million Hamptons Mansion
Christina Aguilera’s Beverly Hills Home Finally Snags a Buyer

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Kat Von D Lists Her Gothic Home in Los Angeles (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 422
Kat Von D's Los Angeles home

Filed under:

Kat Von D, the most famous tatted up chick in America, is selling her gothic home in Los Angeles for $2.5 million. Kat Von D is known as much for her work as a tattoo artist and appearance on the reality show “LA Ink” as she is for her train wreck of a relationship with Sandra Bullock’s philandering ex, Jesse James. He and Kat Von D dated, got engaged, broke up, got re-engaged and then finally ended things for good after she discovered he had cheated on her with multiple women. Shocked or surprised? Yeah, we aren’t either.

After that relationship, Kat Von D got back into the dating game and is now engaged to uber-famous DJ and music producer Deadmau5. In case you missed it, he proposed to her on Twitter. The duo are set to wed Aug. 10 in an underwater-themed wedding. Not kidding.

With the nuptials just months away, Von D and her fiance are looking for a new home for their fresh start as husband and wife. Very much a reflection of her gothic style, Von D’s for-sale abode is a gated and private artist’s retreat with guest house and dark details. A 1920s Spanish-style home, the property has four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a chef’s kitchen with Viking appliances and a dining room fit for a Medieval castle. Outside, an entertaining area includes a barbecue, fire pit and spa.

See the listing for more details.

Find more homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

See more celebrity homes on Trulia’s Luxe Living blog.

%Gallery-189339%

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi's New Mansion (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 424
ellen degeneres portia derossi home in montecito

Filed under:

Ellen DeGeneres is well-known for her sticky trigger finger when it comes to real estate. The comedian and daytime television host goes through properties the way others go through designer shoes — listing or buying a new property nearly every year.

So it’s no surprise to hear a report from TMZ that DeGeneres, along with wife Portia de Rossi, picked up a new property in Montecito, Calif., for $26.5 million — a gorgeous, bluff-front estate called the Saladino Villa. (UPDATE: 10:26 a.m.by AOL Real Estate, The Huffington Post reports that the property, though listed as in Montecito, is shown on records as having a Santa Barbara address.) Although DeGeneres likes to pick up “projects,” admitting to Elle Decor recently that she’s always ready to move, this home looks pretty move-in ready.

“Indeed, there’s nothing the television star and comedian loves more than designing a house,” the article stated, and quoted Los Angeles designer Cliff Fong, who quipped: “Ellen has moved more times than any person I know.”

Although the home boasts everything “streamlined and modern for easy living,” expect an overhaul of the 1928 home from DeGeneres.

Designed by architect Wallace Frost, the home was redone by designer John Saladino around 2009. Offering six bedrooms, nine fireplaces and seven baths, the home sits on 13 acres with ocean views. The two-parcel property is, of course, incredibly private, with luscious landscaping and gracious indoor and outdoor living areas.

Now that DeGeneres and De Rossi have a new “project” on their hands, will they dump their enormous horse ranch? While it seems that DeGeneres wouldn’t mind listing, it’s De Rossi, an avid horseback rider, who likely wants to keep the property. But with a feature in Elle Decor, the home may end up on the market regardless. Besides, this new home in Montecito does have room for stables and barns.

%Gallery-189154%
See More on Zillow:
Ellen and Portia Sell Malibu Home a Year After Buying
Drew Barrymore Lists in Montecito
Katy Perry Buys Mid-Century in Hollywood Hills

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.

See celebrity real estate.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Ryan Seacrest Buys Ellen DeGeneres's Home for $37M

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Great Spaces: Paradise Property for Sale, Walls Optional

Want to move to paradise? Who could blame you! This Hawaiian estate, located on the big island of Hawaii, is called Laule’a, or “a place of peace and happiness.” Happiness, indeed! Overlooking the fifth green of the Kona Country Club’s mauka course in the prestigious Keauhou Estates, this stunning property mixes tropical design with contemporary […] Continue Reading →

A Stunning Grass-Covered Modern in Austin (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 426
Edgeland House

Filed under: ,

curbed logoBy Amy Schellenbaum

Spotted over at Co.Design: Edgeland House, a glassy, open residence with ever-popular grassy roofs, also brags a badge of sustainability, completing the site remediation. Another bonus: the place was built for an unnamed sci-fi writer and his family, so the whole sharp-modernism-meets-ragged-post-industrialism bit speaks to the client’s personal tastes.

“The owner was very engaged with the process at the early phase of schematic design,” co-principal Thomas Bercy told Co. Design. “It is not every day that you have discussion about Paul Virilio’s Bunker Archeology with a client.”

This article was originally published on Curbed.

%Gallery-188731%
See more on Curbed:
German Power Plant Goes Incognito as a Garden Hedge
Composer John Philip Sousa’s Former Home Relisted for $28.9M
Here, Have a Look at Atlanta’s Most Utterly Insane Beds

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.

Find homes for rent.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →

Your Place: Tools and Techniques for Cleaning Your Deck

(MCT)—I was looking at my home’s back steps, constructed of pressure-treated wood, and decided it was time for the annual get-rid-of-the-mildew-and-seal-them program. For some reason, they aren’t looking as green as they were last year, so the job will be a snap. It has been a long time since I discussed deck cleaning in this […] Continue Reading →

Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris Buy First Matrimonial Home (House of the Day)

Thumbnail for 428
Hollywood Hills home of Hugh Hefner, Crystal Harris

Filed under:

Newlyweds Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris may need to set a price limit for exchanging gifts. Shortly after Harris made her husband a homemade gift for his 87th birthday, the Playboy magazine founder dropped $4.995 million on a Hollywood Hills mansion for the 27-year-old Playmate. The couple finally tied the knot in January. They’d been engaged for awhile, but Harris called off the wedding in 2011. Now the newlyweds have sealed the deal with their first real estate purchase. According to TMZ, Harris is a co-owner of the property. (UPDATE: 10:20 a.m. EDT by AOL Real Estate — The Huffington Post, meanwhile, reports that the title is in the name of Crystal Harris’ mother.)

The modern manse is constructed in a decidedly different style than the traditional and Tudor-esque architecture of the Playboy Mansion. The 5,917-square-foot home was built in 2011 with several modern amenities, as well as a view of the city lights. A gated entrance leads into a contemporary kitchen and up a floating wood staircase into a luxurious master bedroom and bath. Outside, a white-glass infinity pool and deck provide secluded relaxation while sliding doors out front provide open-air living space.

Hefner has lived in the famous Playboy Mansion for several years, but it may come as a surprise that the millionaire doesn’t own it. According to details of the lease, filed with the SEC as an appendix to his employment agreement, Hefner pays rent for the 29-room house. With the “Bunny Hutch” (across the street from Hefner’s not-so-humble abode) recently listed for $11 million, time will tell whether Hefner decides to make the Hollywood Hills home his primary residence.

Find homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

%Gallery-188654%
See more on Zillow:
Anna Faris & Chris Pratt Upgrade to Hollywood Hills Home
‘Anna Karenina’ Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson Buys in Hollywood Hills
Superhero Actor Chris Evans Wins Bidding War for Hollywood Hills Home

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.

Find homes for rent.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue Reading →