If you have ever entertained fantasies about owning a piece of the big sky, you might want to start saving your pennies. According to Curbed, former Dell CFO Tom Meredith has listed his 612-acre Montana ranch for a mere $15 million. The enormous property, which took five years to complete, contains multiple buildings as well as private access to the beautiful Blackfoot River. If that's not enough to make you think it is worth the asking price, there is an old-timey saloon, complete with a pool table and a stage for impromptu talent shows. Saddle up, partner!
Annie Leibovitz has enlisted the services of a new broker to sell her West Village compound — and the home and office space has a new price, too. Corcoran has brought the price up to $29.9 million from the $29 million it was listed for in April.
Brown Harris Stevens originally listed the 10,000-square-foot home for $33 million in Dec. 2012. The property is comprised of three townhouses at the corner of New York's West 11th and Greenwich streets and surrounded by a private garden. Leibovitz bought the first two homes in 2002 and the third a year later. Since then, she's renovated and connected all three homes, which have seven bedrooms and 13 wood-burning fireplaces among them. Two of them now serve as living quarters; the third hosts a photo studio with its own kitchen and reception area.
A peek inside the home Leibovitz built, here in the gallery.
Photos via Brown Harris Stevens.
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of requirements when purchasing a new home, especially if you haven't done it all before. Don't get weighed down by the stress of buying a home — Wise Bread has advice on what you need as a first-time home buyer.
Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting events in adult life. In many ways, it's our society's primary marker of adulthood, a symbol of financial prudence, and the ultimate sign of stability. But without the right planning, buying your first place can be fraught with stress, fear, and way too much guesswork. Here are seven financial prerequisites that, in my book, are musts before you sign on the dotted line and start picking out curtains and countertops.
Related: Buying a Home Without the Money
1. Bank a Large Enough Down Payment
Ask 12 people what an acceptable down payment is, and you'll get a dozen different answers. Common ranges are 5 percent to 20 percent, with anything less than 20 percent requiring buyers to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI) to protect lenders against loan default. Your down payment should be large enough to make the resulting mortgage manageable each month, even if there's a temporary financial hiccup. Remember, every dollar you save toward your down payment is one less dollar you'll need to borrow and one less dollar you'll be paying interest on for the next 30 years.
2. Understand How Much You Want to Afford
Lenders are great at telling us exactly how large a mortgage we can afford based on factors like our down payment and debt-to-income ratio. But I think there's a second, much more important equation — how much do we want to afford?
Paying for a house is confusing and complicated. Luckily, Wise Bread has your back with all of the pros and cons of buying your new home in cash.
My husband said that when we do buy a house, he wants to just buy it with cash so we can own it outright and in our way say "screw you" to the banks. I like that idea, but just like any financial decision, there are pros and cons to doing this.
No Credit History Needed
A long time ago I read a story of a guy who avoided credit cards and loans like the plague so he did not have a credit history, but he had considerable savings. When he wanted to buy a house no one would give him a loan, so he bought a house outright with his savings. In situations where you do not have the ability to get a reasonable loan, then paying cash might be the best option.
RELATED: Building a Credit History
Risk Free Savings
If a mortgage costs 7% and you pay cash, you would essentially be saving 7% in interest risk free. So in the case where mortgage interest rates are higher than what you can get on your investments, you would come out ahead by paying in cash.
If you're trying to sell your home, then Business Insider has some advice on things that may affect the pricing.
With the real estate market as shaky as it is, homeowners can't afford to deal with more problems. And yet there's always something that pops up — whether it's noisy neighbors or an unfortunately placed sinkhole.
Related: 17 Things You Should Always Buy New
We've rounded up some of the biggest threats to the value of a home.
Sinkhole damage sucks property values down a staggering 30 percent.
The prevalence of reports of sinkhole damage in the US this year has raised questions about the impact on property values.
It's not the threat of a sinkhole that damages property value — there's insurance coverage specifically for sinkhole damage. In fact, a 2007 study found no statistically significant difference in home values in areas prone to sinkholes. Like earthquakes, it's only after sinkholes hit your property that problems arise.
Rob Arnold, a Florida real estate investor and realtor who has bought and sold more than 30 sinkhole properties in the last five years, told CF13 News he tells owners of damaged homes to knock 30 percent off their asking price, plus the cost of any repairs.
- Student property: The homeowner's insurance covers property belonging to all members of the household, even if they go away for college. Most likely, the student will have to be housed in a college-owned property, like a dorm, to qualify for coverage. Expensive property like laptops and cell phones can be covered by the insurance plans.
- Pet bites: If Fido gets you into legal trouble by biting one of your neighbors, your home insurance may take care of everything if you meet some of their requirements, such as the breed of the dog.
- Fraud: Chances are, if you accidentally received counterfeit money or were a victim of check or credit card fraud, you might be able to get some of it back from your insurer. You may not get much back, but every bit counts!
- Garden damage: If any of your plants, such as trees and shrubs, have been damaged unintentionally, you may be covered for it under your insurance.
- Spoiled food: If a power outage caused your fridge to break down, you may be entitled to get some of your money back on the food that spoiled.
- Missing luggage: Many homeowners' insurance policies cover belongings you bring outside of the home, so check to see how much of your lost baggage your insurer will cover.
- Injuries outside the home: Many policies provide coverage on accidents and injuries, even ones that occur outside of the home.
The couple had initially bought their home when they were 24 and had been working toward paying of all their debt for five years. Biking says their combined income when they began was $77,000 and their income now is $127,800. Here's how they did it:
- Doing research and finding what works. They both read The Total Money Makeover by debt guru Dave Ramsey and modified his plan to suit their situation.
- Sticking to a strategy. They decided to prioritize paying off debt instead of investing, although they were still contributing a good amount to their retirement accounts. They paid off high-interest loans first and avoided carrying balances on credit cards.
- Keeping track and automating. He automated as much as he could and kept track of everything on an Excel sheet.
- Increasing their income. Both he and his wife worked full-time jobs to contribute toward debt repayment. They increased their income over the years. His wife got a master's (which accounted for their student loan debt) and had a $15,000 salary increase as a result of a higher position, while Biking's average pay raise each year totaled to $3,500. To add to their income, he started a sports photography side business that generated an extra $10,000 a year.
- Tightening belts in various ways. For example, they saved on groceries by coupon-cutting. Biker says, "[My wife] would routinely knock $50 off a $125 grocery bill with coupons from the Sunday paper. She would plan meals by the week and we would save the left overs for lunch the next day or dinner the next night."
The main advice the Reddit user has for others is to create a debt repayment plan and stick to it, which for most people is easier said than done.
Are you inspired by their example?
- The Big Chill house can be yours for $4.5 million — TopTenRealEstateDeals
- Elizabeth Taylor's living room style — HuffPost Home
- DIY ombré your staircase — Real Simple
- Twenty charming teapots for your Easter brunch and beyond — Houzz
- Maps as decor — California Home + Design
Footwear king Steve Madden and his wife have been buying up units of the historic Blacksmith House on New York's Upper East Side since 2006. Now that they own it all, they're ready to sell.
The home, which was listed just this week for $8,995,000, was originally built in 1860 and was subsequently cut up into separate apartments. Located on East 73rd Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, the house is spread over 6,000 square feet. Current floor plans feature seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, and the master suite opens onto a private garden. There are also three terraces — one on the parlor floor and another two on the top level of the house.
A look at the house and all that comes with it, here in the gallery.
Better than backstage passes to the Grammys, this triplex penthouse once belonged to Lenny Kravitz and is now being sold by Alicia Keys and her husband, Swizz Beatz.
With over 6,000 square feet of space — including five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a private spa — it is a home worthy of music industry legends, but for a mere $15 million, it is available to lesser mortals.
Click through to take a peek at this luxurious SoHo apartment.