When you are looking to buy a luxurious and large house or a sumptuous apartment, you could be easily tempted to explore the option of buying your new real estate property from a celebrity. Moreover, you don’t have necessarily to be in a need of a new villa and still be interested in investing in real estate for the simple reason that you have perused an ad about an incredible residence that is being owned by a true V.I.P. and suddenly you could become the proud owner of the same abode.
What is the charm (and obvious advantages) of buying a home from a celebrity?
The reasons why the purchase of a celebrity’s home can be so enticing to you can be summarized as follows:
Firstly, let’s not fool ourselves. Everyone knows that the chances of crossing one’s path with that of a celebrity are slim to none. Therefore, no one would like to squander the ‘great’ opportunity of interacting even for a short period of time with a big shot (or more likely and realistically with a representative of the superstar in question). Very often and regretfully, we are inclined to measure our status in society and even within smaller groups of people that matter to us on the basis of our exposure in the media (incl. social media) and/or our social contacts with some bigwig (preferably with more than one).
Secondly, the home that we might buy from some mogul appears to us to be much more attractive to us because of its history. The association of our new dwelling with some notable person can make us think that we have made an investment which is much more valuable than a comparable house or apartment in the same location. Actually that is exactly what the broker will try to induce you to believe. Usually people buy real estate with the intention to leave it (after many years – preferably 😊) to their children and accordingly to their grandchildren as well. However, buying a home from today’s celebrity will most probably mean nothing tomorrow because your children and let alone your grandchildren will be utterly unimpressed by the stature of the celebrity in question. Sic transit gloria mundi (or in plain English – ‘Thus passes the glory of the world). Of course, disregard completely this piece of advice from me if the celebrity is Elvis Presley and you are in the process of buying his estate Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee 😊
Thirdly, the new home can easily become a much valued ‘conversation piece’ and something to brag about for years to come. We have to admit that nothing human is alien to us and our vanity is fine – it is the vanity of other people that is obnoxious and intolerable if we need to make a subtle distinction that could justify our behavior (unfortunately, in our eyes only) 😊
Fourthly, the real estate that we are buying is (or at least should be) perfect in every way since it was the property of a celebrity (i.e. a person that is extremely demanding and difficult to please). Consequently, we are getting for free (or the expression goes so) some implied warranties about our new luxurious place. But mind that this is a very slippery slope.
Fifthly, the media quite often bombard us with articles on celebrities’ properties that are put up for sale. It is a well-known fact that the celebrities are liked not only by their admirers but also by the media, and particularly the mainstream media. Therefore, the news about the sale of a celebrity’s property are usually very carefully crafted and no one can expect from the journalist who is writing the article to carry out a thorough investigation in this particular case.
What are the risks of purchasing celebrity real estate?
Alas, the picture that I drew in the previous section is too good to be true. There are considerable risks in buying a home from a V.I.P. and those risks outweigh considerably any benefits from this potential real estate transaction. Let’s review those risks one by one and let’s not forget the Latin maxim ‘Caveat emptor’ (or ‘Buyer Beware’ in plain English) since it encapsulates in a perfect manner the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of any home or other goods before a purchase is being completed.
The property of a celebrity comes with a hefty price tag. So, the immediate question that we have to ask ourselves is: is our showing off with the new home worth it? Or, are we ready to pay substantial premium on the basic price of the property for a name of a famous person? The sad but accurate answer to that question will be almost invariably that such a transaction is simply not worthwhile. Besides, there could be a slew of additional possible problems associated with the coveted by you property.
If you ask the broker who is offering the celebrity’s home for sale why the big shot is doing it in the first place, you can rest assured that in 99 % of all cases the broker will claim that the owner of the property has decided to buy a new and larger home and solely for that reason they are ditching this otherwise exceptional property. Such an explanation might be true, of course, but it is highly unlikely that this is the case. If the celebrity has started turning into washed-up actress or a rock star, then obviously they will not admit such a shameful development in their career and life. Please bear in mind that this is the best case scenario that you can dream for and that can work out nicely for you. In all other cases you will be a big loser, and there will be no one to blame but yourself. And, by the way, let’s imagine for a second that one is lucky enough to find themselves in this situation. Is it fair then to pay a much higher price for a home that is owned by a former star and not an actual celebrity? Of course, not but it is up to you to decide if this ‘best scenario’ is good enough for you.
Grave problems with the property which can easily turn into buyer’s remorse
The possible problems arising from your purchase of a celebrity’s home are so many that I will limit myself to examining just few of them. The common thread for all of them is that each problem is such a disastrous nightmare that you will regret deeply your involvement with the transaction that might turn out to be the greatest disappointment in your life.
1. Nasty neighbor(s)
A bad neighbor can be the nastiest nuisance that you can think of. I have had my fair share of personal experience with this particular situation but I was fortunate that the property in question was a rental. Nevertheless, the only possible solution to this particular problem is to get rid of the property altogether. The financial losses will be huge but any risky adventure has its price.
2. Hidden flaws
The property that you are buying might have scores of hidden defects but usually it takes just one to make your life a misery. The diversity and the magnitude of those potential problems are so immense that I will have to write another lengthy article just to enumerate them. Suffice to say that those flaws usually require a huge investment and there is never a guarantee that the extra money that you will pay will solve the problem once and for all.
3. Construction work close to your new property
It is possible that the nuisance that you might be subjected to for years can be situated outside your home. Imagine that a huge public work project starts just days after you buy your new house or apartment. Somewhat conveniently the broker and the celebrity themselves have failed to disclose this piece of information that will change your life for the worse and wipe out any other positives that you might derive from the property.
Of course, you might sue the previous owner for damages but your chances for success are quite limited.
What if the property that you want to buy is not actually belonging to the celebrity that it is purported to belong? This is, unfortunately, a possibility which should not be easily discarded. Especially, if the broker insists that the property is owned by a corporation for tax purposes but there should be ‘no doubt’ that the real owner is the big shot in question. There is a saying that ‘blessed are those who believe’ but in our context more often than not those who believe such a tall tale could be ‘cursed’ for their naïveté.
What should you do?
If you might be confused at this moment by the very few pros (if any) and the numerous cons for buying a home that is being owned by a celebrity, please do not worry. In order to make myself crystal clear – my concise and wise piece of advice to you would be to stay away from buying real estate from celebrities. The price and the risks associated with such an acquisition are just not worth it. After all, the celebrities like to declare on a regular basis that they are ordinary people just like of all us and I suggest that you believe them once and particularly for that matter 😊
The alternative is to conduct a thorough investigation before buying real estate from a celebrity but such an investigation might cost you an arm and a leg and it will also take a lot of your precious time.
By the way, I do not want anyone to be under the impression that I hold a grudge against the most successful and most famous people in our society along with the brokers (who are in most cases very respected by me professionals). This could not be any further from the truth – I admire a lot of celebrities and I have profound respect towards both entertainment and real estate industries.
Let’s keep in touch: Subscribe to my YouTube channel