Are Celeb Apartments and Condos An Easier Sell?

Selling a home is no easy task these days–unless you’re famous.

Forget how easy it must be to finance a home if you make millions. The real perks of being a star involve living at a luxury address that was owned previously by another celeb and/or features famous neighbors. (P. Diddy paid $5 million for his three-bedroom Park Imperial Manhattan apartment–which came with great views and neighbors Tommy Mottola and Deepak Chopra.)

And–of course–those perks also involve being able to said the home easily when you decide it’s time for another.

While celeb mansions may be the norm in L.A., in New York, fancy apartments are just as prevalent as celeb-owned townhomes–and so are successful celeb real estate deals.

  • Model Jessica Stam bought an $800,000 New York condo–her second–in 2004 and sold it for $935,000, according to the New York Observer.
  • Julia Roberts is practically a Manhattan land baron, according to Forbes. She sold her Greenwich Village apartment in 2004 but still
    owned a bunch of
    apartments on Gramercy Park, including a penthouse and unit for guest
    or staff quarters, at the time.

Celeb Market (and Marketing) Success

The New York Times reported in December that the general housing market seemed to be gearing toward multifamily housing as mortgages became more and more difficult to obtain. Not surprisingly, celebs, too, are snapping up apartments–and a few who sell are experiencing unbelievable success, despite the otherwise troubled housing market.

For example, New England Patriot Tom Brady reportedly sold his three-bedroom condo in Boston’s swanky Burrage Mansion–which features five parking spots–for $5.39 million recently, according to the Times Colonist. Brady bought the unit in 2004 for $4.1 million.

A quick sale? A profit? Celebrity has its privileges, indeed. Which is why, when it comes to real estate, star power is no new marketing tool.

Some developers–like James Helman, who created the 42-story Las Olas
River House
condominium development in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.–have harnessed celeb PR power to promote new complexes.

Helman gave former football star Dan Marino a discount
on a 3,382-square-foot, three-bedroom unit in the property in exchange for some promotion because, as Helman says, "In Florida, Dan is the

Dan is also the display in Florida, thanks to Helman, who put him up on billboards around Fort Lauderdale promoting Las Olas, according to a 2005 Wall Street Journal article. (He’s also all over the "events" section of Las Olas’ Web site.)

Free Trips, Treats–and Three-Bedroom Units

Celebrity perks–like a condo discount–are nothing new. Fashion designers have been outfitting stars with clothes for years because it’s free PR. "The same way every designer wants to dress Nicole or Gwyneth for the
Oscars, every developer wants to say someone fabulous bought in the
building or even looked at it," New York broker Michele Kleier of
Gumley Haft Kleier Inc. told the Journal.

The luxury Cipriani Club Residences at 55 Wall Street also enlisted a little star shine to promote the condos before they hit the market. Margherita Missoni–a member of the Missoni designer family–and actor Mickey Rourke "allowed their names to be attached to the project," according to the Journal.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell posed with co-developer Giuseppe Cipriani for a photo that was used in promotional materials and ads in Vanity Fair. For allowing photo use, the celebs received a discount, Cipriani said; Campbell’s publicist told the Journal that her modeling fee was
deducted from the condo price.

Not a bad deal for the celebrity–but is it a bargain for the developer? Join us Monday for part two of our look at celeb condos and apartments to find out …