They spend more. The median home in the U.S. costs $186,100. Nick Segal, founder of Los Angeles realty Partners Trust, says the range for celebs is $3.5 million to $20 million. Meanwhile, the median monthly rent in Manhattan is $3,444. In Los Angeles it’s $1,416. Taylor Swift–No. 1 on our Celebrity 100 ranking of the world’s top-earning stars–is renting a place in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village that was listed for $39,500 a month. Beyoncé Knowles and Jay Z are thought to be spending $150,000 per month to rent a mansion in L.A.’s Holmby Hills.
They buy younger. Swift reportedly bought her first home in Nashville at just 20 years old. Now 26, she owns at least four. The average first time homebuyer is 33. That age has been rising steadily since the 1970s, according to real estate data site Zillow.
They buy off market. Usually when someone sells a home, their real estate agent lists the property on the local Multiple Listing Service (databases where brokers share information about homes on the market). They set an asking price. People tour the home and offer some percentage of asking. Celebrities, however, are often drawn to homes that have never hit MLS. The allure is part owning something no one else has seen, part a hope for privacy. Agents call these “pocket listings,” and attempt to sell via whisper chain through their networks. Jennifer Lopez and David Copperfield both bought homes this way in the past year.
They shop with a team. Many house hunters bring a parent along for a second opinion. Agents who work with celebrities say that often an assistant or manager will vet a home before the celeb takes a look (sometimes via video tour). On occasion stars will show up with a large entourage. Darlene Hutton, of brokerage Partners Trust, once had an athlete arrive at a showing with three Hummers full of people.
They have better amenities. Britney Spears has a 3,500 bottle wine cellar. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have four gold toilets. Lopez has a private, man-made beach. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 has a two-story garage. Los Angeles-area agents are seeing increased demand for large garages among celebrities, both to accommodate visitors and killer auto collections. Valerie Fitzgerald, an agent with Coldwell Banker Previews International, has even seen a few glass garages.
They don’t get emotionally attached. The typical American selling a home has been there for nine years and most people buy expecting to stay for 14 years, according to the National Association of Realtors. Celebrities buy and sell properties much more frequently. Golfer Jordan Spieth just sold a home he purchased in 2014 (at 20) and picked up another more expensive place. Swift is said to have bought a Massachusetts home in November 2012 to be near boyfriend Conor Kennedy and to have sold it four months later, after they broke-up. The most extreme may be Kardashian and West, who bought a Bel Air home in 2013 for $9 million, spent $2 million on renovations and never moved in. It appears they will never sit on those gold toilets.
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