Celebrities are just like you and me. They need places to live, they buy houses, and…that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
When it comes to celebrities and real estate, they approach the home buying process differently than just about anyone else. From budgets and tastes to how they purchase properties, the process is far different than what most people go through.
4 Unique Insights Into How Celebrities Buy Real Estate
From actors and athletes to musicians and well-known entrepreneurs, the celebrities that we see on our TV screens have to find a way to spend the money they rake in. For many, expensive real estate and nice homes are where they start. And for some information on exactly how this process unfolds, we’ve gathered some insights that you may be interested in learning more about.
- Transactions are Confidential
Real estate transactions are considered public records. Anyone can run a search for someone’s name or a specific address and find out information related to property taxes, mortgages, and titles. As a celebrity looking to keep their information away from prying eyes, this isn’t exactly welcome news. So in order to circumvent this, they’ll generally establish a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or trust to purchase the house.
“They [celebrities] find someone to be a trustee, a lawyer or a business manager, and set up a trust called a blind trust,” says attorney Hugh Robertson. “The trust would be the owner of the property and the trustee would be someone that wouldn’t be easily connected to an individual.”
Jennifer Aniston, for example, purchased a penthouse in New York City in 2011 under the “Norman’s Nest Trust,” which was named after her believed terrier-corgi mix.
- Privacy is a Huge Concern
In addition to financial confidentiality, celebrities are also concerned about privacy and security on their properties. This is why they often choose communities that are gated.
“In order to get past it, you must possess some sort of access code,” explains Green Residential, a Houston-based property management company. “This keeps out unwanted visitors and intruders and gives homeowners inside the luxury of being able to relax at home without having to deal with lots of riffraff or nosy intruders.”
- Celebs Buy From Celebs
One of the more interesting phenomena in the high-end real estate market is how frequently celebrities buy from other celebrities. In fact, it’s not uncommon for one house to transfer to two or three different celebs within a decade. And it’s not because they’re in some super secret society where they’re obsessed with each other. In most cases, it comes down to the unique amenities that are found on these properties.
“Stars and other high-net-worth people have special real estate needs regular people don’t, needs probably already addressed in a home owned by a celebrity: high walls to act as looky-loo buffers, remote-control access and badass alarm systems are inviolable requirements,” one celebrity real estate blogger writes. “They need Kardashian-sized closets for all their swag and a home office to house their squadron of personal assistants.”
It’s also far less likely that a fellow celebrity will talk after a transaction is complete. A ‘regular’ seller, on the other hand, might be quick to spill the beans to friends (even if the transaction is completed as part of an LLC or trust).
- They’re Rarely Emotionally Attached
Celebrities have emotions like the rest of us, but they rarely get attached to their homes. While there are exceptions – Warren Buffet has famously lived in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska that he bought in 1958 for $31,000 – it’s not the norm.
Whereas the typical American lives in the same house for 13 years, celebrities like Jordan Spieth, Taylor Swift, and Kim Kardashian-West are just a few of the names who have all bought and sold homes within the same year.
Buying Like the Rich and Famous
It’s not just celebrities that use LLC’s, off-market listings, and other tricks to purchase real estate. Many wealthy citizens who aren’t even in the spotlight will also rely on these techniques. And if you end up striking it rich, maybe you will as well.