Does a Famous Name Really Give Property a Push?
- Feb 25, 2008
On Friday, we discussed how some celebrities seem to have unusual luck in the real estate market–and why some buildings are using celebrities as a marketing tools.
However, some people could care less about whether or not a famous person is attached to the home they want to buy.
And–especially in today’s market–celeb power alone may not sell a unit.
The Star Sell: Not for Everybody
A star owner or neighbor, in some cases, may up the value or quicken the sale of a condo or apartment.
But celebrity tie-ins aren’t popular with all developers–or with all celebrities, for a variety of reasons:
- Not all celebs are interested in being known for their real estate buys. Jon Stewart bought his
6,000-square-foot, $5.8 million Tribeca loft in 2004 under a
corporation named for his dog and cat–presumably to conceal the transaction.
- Not all buildings are interested in a celeb connection.
Developer Izak Senbahar said that Leonardo DiCaprio’s broker suggested
he receive a 20 percent discount for buying in the 165 Charles Street
building. "I said, ‘I don’t
think so.’ We don’t need gimmicks," Senbahar told The Wall Street Journal. (DiCaprio’s spokesman declined
And truthfully, the effectiveness of promoting a building or unit with a celeb name is unclear. New York real estate Web site Curbed.com says celebs don’t always sell apartments faster.
"In the case of Madonna and the East 62nd Street townhouse, yes. Lenny Kravitz and the Duke Semans mansion, not so much," the site says. (Luxist.com also reports Courtney Love had a hard time selling her unit at 30 Crosby Street, where Kravitz’ also lived–he’s had a hard time with property it seems.)
Also, not all celebs cash out on real estate deals: "Law and Order" actress Mariska Hartigay sold her downtown penthouse
apartment, originally listed for $6.5 million, for
$5.1 million in fall, according to The New York Post.
According to Forbes,
while celebrities will sometimes attach their name to a condo or
single-family home to get more attention, it doesn’t always bring a
higher price. Paddington Zwigard, a broker for Brown Harris Stevens in
New York, says she’ll subtly reference the celeb connection in
listings–calling properties something like a "celebrated loft" rather
than one "owned by a star."
In recent years, Zwigard has quietly put Harvey
Keitel’s Tribeca loft (and numerous other celeb listings) on the market. But even Zwigard says celeb
pull only does so much–because in the end, closing the sale is all about price,
location (of course) and generally fitting a property with a buyer’s needs.
“I really try to spend a lot of time talking to somebody at the
beginning and finding out what they want,” she told Forbes. “It feels great
when you get a person and it clicks."
After all–whether or not it involves a celebrity–isn’t that true of any real estate deal?