Archives for posts with tag: real estate news

Here at Rocket Lease, we always take a special interest in celebrity real estate news. Who’s buying, who’s selling, who’s flipping, who’s renovating. So you can bet we took notice when NBC mentioned that Olympic swimming superstar, most medal-winning athlete, and most impressive eater Michael Phelps had put his Baltimore condo on the market.

According to photos and details that are up on RealEstalker, the condo has 3 bedroom, 2 and a half baths and some seriously nice fixtures and flooring. The place has exposed brick walls and sweeping rooftop views of the Baltimore harbor. Phelps moved into the condo, which is located in the Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point, in 2007. And yes, the building does have a pool.

Phelps reportedly paid $1.7 million for the condo 5 years ago and is asking $1.42 million now. We can’t help but wonder whether the mystique of owning a piece of Olympic history could bump up the price a little bit. Can you imagine eating breakfast on the same granite countertop where Phelps scarfed an entire pizza? It’s enough to make you dizzy.

There hasn’t been any word as to what Phelps’ plans are now that he’s moving out of this spacious place. There’s always a chance that he’ll make a brief stay in the rental market until he finds a nice place. Who knows, maybe he’ll take up residence in London — they’ve been good to him so far.

What do you think, would you want to live where an Olympian once lived? Would you move into Mark Spitz’s guest house or Dominique Moceanu’s split level? Let us know in the comments.

Maybe it’s the warmer weather and all the talk of bikini season, or maybe it’s just the way of America, but it seems like everywhere you look there is another data set telling you just how much better you life would be if you were more attractive. But now it’s not just you that needs to hit the gym and think about Botox, it’s your real estate agent, too.

It’s no secret that sales jobs are notoriously preferential to those employees who are on the more attractive end of the spectrum and the real estate business is no different. In fact, it could be argued that even more is expected of real estate agents in the looks department. After all, you’d be hard pressed to find another job outside of the entertainment industry that expects you to put your face on signs, billboards, and anywhere else it can fit.

But a new study shows that the attractiveness of your real estate agent can affect more than their billboard efficacy – it can actually affect the final selling price of your house. A recently released report in the journal Applied Financial Economics compared the relative success of different real estate agents against a survey of those same agents’ attractiveness. The results show that more attractive real estate agents tend to earn higher selling prices for their clients, although the homes they sell may sit on the market for longer than those of their plainer colleagues. The study also notes that the more attractive agents, be they male or female, do not necessarily make more money each year, they just earn more per sale.

Of course, as laymen we can interpret the results of this study unscientifically and say that of course human beings are eager to spend more money with more attractive people, that’s simply the way of the world. I would be interested to know whether there was a control for the gender and sexual preference of the buyer and how much more attractive was counted as “attractive” versus “unattractive.”

If you’re currently in the process of selling your house, you certainly want to find the very best real estate agent for the job, regardless of how attractive they are. But if you’re looking to sell your house as fast as possible, you may not necessarily want to go with the prettiest or most handsome agent available and vice versa if you are simply looking for the best price.

What do you think about this study? Would you let the attractiveness of a real estate agent sway your choices?

Image courtesy of

When you spend as much time keeping tabs on the real estate industry and rental market as we do, you can’t help but notice some trends.  And one thing that seems to pop up each and every week is a story about a celebrity (or a former pairing of celebrities, in some instances) selling his or her home.  Not that it’s in this blogger’s budget, but it got us at Rocket Lease thinking: what would it be like to buy a house that used to have a high profile owner?  Would you do it?  Let’s take a second to think about the pros and cons of buying a celebrity home.


Readily Available Aerial Photos

Gene Hackman's (Former) Estate

If you’re lucky enough to buy a home that was featured in celebrity arrest, the likelihood of finding pictures of it online that were shot from a helicopter are extremely high.  These types of photos can come in handy when trying to arrange furniture or figure out the best escape routes should those cops ever come for you.


Mistakenly Receiving Their Mail & Unsolicited Scripts

It’s always annoying to get someone else’s mail after you move in to a new home, but it’s even more annoying when that mail consists of autograph requests and scripts for the next great indie comedy that you will definitely love if you just read it!  You could consider the endless supply of scrap paper to be a pro, but you probably don’t.

Toss Up

Celebrity Neighbors

Unless they’re the weird kind of celebrity that prefers to hole up in Wyoming when they’re not on set, most celebrities live in close proximity to their celebrity brethren.  This might be great if you like hobnobbing and namedropping, but it might be awful if you have to cope with TMZ photogs and Lindsey Lohan walks of shame.  Plus your neighborly disputes might end up somewhere a little more visible than the neighborhood ledger.

But What About the Money?

Most people do agree that the celebrity factor can help a house fetch a higher price.  While this isn’t necessarily a selling point when you’re looking to buy, it’s always something you could mention if you decide to rent the house out, like Meg Ryan did with her home, for something like $40,000 A MONTH.  We can only  imagine that those renters went through a credit check or two.

What do you think?  Would you buy or rent a house where a celebrity used to lay her head?