Michael Strahan Sells Brentwood Mansion for $21.5 Million

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87th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals
Getty ImagesMichael Strahan, shown here with Kelly Ripa at the Academy Awards, has sold the L.A. home he bought in 2013.

Talk-meister and former NFL player Michael Strahan has quietly sold his Brentwood mansion in Los Angeles for $21.5 million, according to our friends at the L.A. Times.

Strahan, the gap-toothed co-host of “Live! With Kelly and Michael” reportedly bought the house in 2013 for $16 million when he was engaged to Nicole Murphy — model, VH1 reality star and former wife of Eddie Murphy. Alas, the wedding is off, and Strahan has jettisoned the nine-bedroom, 14-bath house that was big enough for his four children and her five.

About that split in August, Strahan’s rep told People: “They love each other very much, but with the distance and work schedule it has been hard to maintain the relationship.”

Nine kids probably didn’t help love blossom, either.

But, back to the 15,600-square-foot house, which features:

  • Prohibition-style wine cellar
  • Two laundry rooms
  • Air filtration system in library to handle cigar smoke
  • Nine bedroom-and-bath suites
  • Gym, game room and sauna.

Strahan had been seeking $23 million for the home, but it looks like he decided a $5.5 million profit was enough.

Michael Strahan Selling L.A. Area Mansion for $23 Million

 

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Amid Life Changes, Rosie O’Donnell is Unloading Homes

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ZillowRosie O’Donnell bought this Florida home with four bedrooms and 100 feet of beachfront with Michelle Rounds in 2013.

After the breakup of her marriage contributed to her resignation from “The View,” comedian and talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell is parting with more real estate. She sold her Greenwich Village penthouse in December for $9 million, and for months listed a string of four riverfront homes in Nyack, New York.

Now, O’Donnell is asking $5.75 million for the Florida home she bought with wife Michelle Rounds in 2013. The two have been separated since November, according to O’Donnell’s publicist. (See O’Donnell discuss her separation and her departure from “The View” in the video below.)

Rosie O'Donnell Opens Up About Her Separation

The gated, Gulf-front home near Sarasota has four bedrooms, 5.5 baths and 100 feet of beachfront with a private dock. It’s situated on 0.78 acres of an eight-mile-long barrier island called Casey Key.

A poolside loggia includes lounging space and an eat-in bar with extra counter space and a television hook-up.

Inside, the light and airy rooms have imported French oak floors and tongue-and-groove ceilings. French doors open from the master suite and other rooms onto large balconies with water views.

The 4,648-square-foot home has an elevator, a garage that fits at least four cars, hurricane-rated windows and comes with dry-boat storage in a full-service marina less than a mile away.

The listing agents are Jill Friedman and Kevin Vale of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate.

 

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7 Common Mistakes of First-Time Home Buyers

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Elnur/Shutterstock

Buying your first home can be an exciting experience — but it can also be complex, confusing and time-consuming. To make sure you do it right, here are seven common traps first-time home buyers fall into that you should avoid.

1. You’re Not Sure How Much You Can Really Afford

“How much can I borrow?” is not the same as “How much should I borrow?” The mortgage that you qualify for isn’t necessarily the amount you can actually afford. To see what size loan you might qualify for, try these mortgage calculators — but remember that maxing out your mortgage might not be wise.

How much “should” you borrow? The answer depends on the type of lifestyle you want to enjoy. Are you a homebody who spends every Friday and Saturday night reading books and watching movies at home? Or do you want to spend the next few years traveling to Europe, Asia and Latin America, dining at foodie restaurants, taking scuba-diving lessons and enjoying other adventures?

If you’re a homebody, spending 28 percent of your income on your mortgage might make sense. If you’re an adventurer, however, you might want to wrestle down your home payment to a much smaller percentage of your income, so you can save the rest for travel and excitement.

Bear in mind that homeownership brings extra expenses such as utilities, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance and repair costs. Factor those into your monthly budget to find out how much home you can comfortably afford without becoming “house poor.”

2. Overlooking Extra Costs

Your mortgage isn’t the only cost to consider when purchasing a home. You’ll also have to be ready at the outset to cover closing costs — potentially including loan origination fees, appraisal and home inspection costs — as well as moving costs and any necessary repairs you’ll need to make when you take possession of the home.

Some of these (like loan origination fees) can be rolled into your mortgage, while others (like moving costs and upfront repairs) must be paid out-of-pocket immediately.

Make sure you have a budget that can cover several thousand dollars of extra expenses related to home buying.

3. Not Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Before you even start looking at houses, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This carries two benefits: First, you’ll know the price range for a home you can realistically purchase, and second, many realtors won’t even let you put a bid on a house until you’ve completed this step.

Note that “pre-approved” is different than “pre-qualify.” Pre-qualification is a quick and simple process, while pre-approval requires more paperwork, time and energy. Pre-approval, however, carries more weight and may make your offer stand out if the seller receives multiple offers. Don’t lose out on your dream home because you weren’t prepared.

4. Getting Too Emotional

It’s easy to fall in love with a home at first sight, but don’t let that initial emotional reaction cloud your judgment. Look beyond the aspects you adore and ask yourself if the entire house is the right fit for you — is it large enough, is the layout workable, is it in the right neighborhood, will you have to make any costly renovations? Make an informed decision, or you could wind up disliking the home in the long run.

5. Being Too Critical

On the flip side, you don’t want to nit-pick too much and focus on minor aesthetic issues that can easily be fixed. An ugly carpet can be torn out; a hideous wall color can be repainted. Look at the basic bones of the home and remember that minor details can always be changed.

6. Not Getting a Home Inspection

Without a home inspection, you could be purchasing a money trap without even knowing it. Home inspections shine a light on potentially pricey (and dangerous) issues with a home and can save you from getting in way over your head. Don’t be scared off by the high cost of a home inspection, which typically runs $300-$500. If it saves you from buying a house that would have needed $20,000 in unanticipated repairs, that inspection fee might be the best money you’ve ever spent.

7. Not Having a Down Payment

If you can’t put a full 20 percent of the closing cost down, you’ll need to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. This will increase the cost of your monthly mortgage payments, which will already be higher because you’re borrowing a larger sum (90 percent instead of 80 percent).

If you don’t have 20 percent to put down right now, wait until you do, or look for homes at a lower price point. Perhaps you could purchase a small condo instead of a single-family home, or make compromises on the level of finishes or the neighborhood location.

Paula Pant quit her office job in 2008, traveled to 32 countries and is a successful real estate investor. Her blog Afford Anything is the groundswell of a rebellion against tired old financial advice that says you should skip lattes and chain yourself to a desk for 40 years. Afford Anything helps you crush limits, create riches and maximize life.

 

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What You Need to Know About Closing Costs

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Break down of the real estate closing cost
Yukchong Kwan/Getty

By AJ Smith

So you’re ready to buy a house. Or are you? The selling price is not the only cost you need to prepare for if you are seriously considering making a home purchase. Often forgotten in the equation are the closing costs.

What Are We Talking About?

Closing costs are the fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction, when the title to the property is transferred to the buyer. They are charged by lenders and third-party service providers. You will have to pay these in addition to the down payment on the home and any principal and interest related to the mortgage. It’s important to factor closing costs into your homebuying budget. (You can use this tool to figure out how much house you can afford.)

How Much Will I Have to Pay?

The exact cost will be difficult to estimate, but it’s a good idea to expect the total to be between 2% and 5% of the price you are paying to buy your home. This amount can either be financed with your loan or can be paid in cash, similar to your down payment. Your lender is required to provide a good faith estimate (GFE) of closing costs within three days of when you submit a loan application, but the GFE is subject to change by up to 10%.

What Charges Make Up the Total Closing Costs?

Closing costs vary based on things like where you are buying a home and your mortgage provider. Your total closing cost amount can be broken into lender charges, settlement services, and pre-paid and escrow costs. Lenders charge an origination fee for the service of getting you a loan and “points” that you may sometimes pay in exchange for a lower interest rate. The amount of these costs often depends on your credit. (You can see where you stand by taking a look at a free credit report summary from Credit.com.)

Settlement fees cover the administrative and legal work needed to finalize a home sale such as an appraisal fee, a credit report fee, flood certification, title services and lender’s title insurance, owner’s title insurance, home inspection, a survey, attorney costs, a government recording fee, transfer tax and all necessary postage or courier services.

The final costs of the closing process are amounts you have to pay in advance for items you will be paying regularly as a homeowner. This includes homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and daily interest. Some of these payments are placed in a special holding, or escrow, account that provides a reserve in case the deal falls through or you can’t pay at some point in the future.

When you are considering the total cost of home ownership, there are some things you can do to minimize closing costs — but understand they will rarely be completely avoidable.

AJ Smith is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online content. She currently serves as the managing editor for SmartAsset.

 

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