The Do’s and Don’ts for Investing in Real Estate


Are you thinking about investing in real estate in 2021? It may be the perfect year to purchase a rental property, a vacation home, or to flip houses. I would be happy to help you find the perfect investment property, and I’ve put together this list of tips to help you get the best return on your investment.

First, consider what type of investment property is best for you and your family.

If you are thinking about a rental property, such as a vacation condo or rental home, consider how much time will be needed for things like maintenance, managing a website or rental listings, and vetting potential tenants. For rental homes, make sure the areas you are searching are attractive to tenants in terms of proximity to nearby business centers and transportation hubs, and in good school districts for family tenants.

Is a family vacation property more to your liking? Make sure you read any and all rules pertaining to owners and guests, as well as rules on renting your property out when you are not using it, if that is something you plan to do. Also be sure that your vacation property is somewhere you foresee your family wanting to travel to often enough to make it worthwhile.

For new house flippers, you want to find out what return you can expect to get in your market area and talk to contractors and suppliers to get realistic estimates on renovations, both in terms of price and time to completion.

Here are some additional Do’s and Dont’s for investing in real estate:

  • Do aim for at least a 15% return on investment.
  • Do look for homes priced in the low end of the median price range.
  • Do look for 3-bedroom, 2-bath single family homes for rentals or flipping.
  • Do focus on one neighborhood or area.
  • Do purchase rental properties close to your home if you plan to manage them yourself.
  • Do use one real estate agent to help with all your buying and selling needs.
  • Don’t purchase a second property until the first is earning revenue.
  • Don’t buy properties that you wouldn’t want to manage, even if you plan to use a property manager.
  • Don’t buy a home that you cannot afford to carry for several months in case of a slow market.
  • Don’t buy a home or condo without having inspections performed.
  • Don’t buy without title insurance.
  • Don’t buy more properties than you are able to manage.

As I said, I can help you search for investment properties. Sometimes buyers make the mistake of searching on their own and contacting the sellers or listing agents directly. Working with several different people wastes your time and increases the chances that you will miss out on a deal. Also, working with one agent allows that agent to learn your tastes, needs, and parameters, so I can be out looking for the right property while you are busy doing other things. I’d love to discuss further with you!

From Oscars Tickets to Harry Potter-Themed Videos, Homebuyers Are Spicing Up Their Offers

The La Peer House in Beverly Hills

After a year of searching for a home in Oakland, Calif., for their growing family, technology executive Jack Hirsch and his wife Kie Hirsch found the perfect place in November — a charming 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival-style three-bedroom in a family-friendly neighborhood in the city’s foothills. But there was one problem: Like many U.S. home buyers in 2020, they had a lot of competition.

In a bid to make their offer stand out in the midst of a three-way bidding war, Ms. Hirsch leveraged her extensive knowledge of rock music.

Ms. Hirsch was convinced that the sellers were rock music fans, too. During tours of the property, she saw vinyl records by the B-52s, Neil Young and U2, a set of bongo drums, a guitar and a keyboard. They displayed a shadow box filled with old concert tickets. She saw an opening.

For their first offer, the Hirsches submitted a bid of $1,450,138 exactly. While it seemed, especially to their mortgage broker, like an oddly specific number, the 138 at the end was a reference to the 1978 song “We Are 138″ by the punk rock band Misfits, Ms. Hirsch said. For their second offer, they bid $1,471,979, a reference to the song 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins. Their final offer of $1,486,753.09, a nod to the 1981 song “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone, was accepted. The deal has since closed successfully.

“I thought it was a long shot but maybe, just maybe, they would get it,” said Ms. Hirsch, 33. She and her husband, 37, were upset they were outbid on a home previously and almost gave up their search. “We were trying to speak to them through the numbers.”

The Hirsches, like many American home buyers, felt that they had to get creative to grab sellers’ attention. They are not alone. Gone are the days of simply writing a heartfelt letter about how much you love a house, said the Hirsches’ agent, Kate Norton of Redfin. Faced with one of the hottest U.S. housing markets in years, buyers today are thinking way outside the box for clever ways to make their offers more appealing, she said.

“The price is obviously the most important thing. But if things are close, it can just tip the scales,” Ms. Norton said.

The market has rarely been more challenging for buyers. In October, strong demand pushed home sales to a 14-year high. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which tracks average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the country, rose 8.4% in the year that ended in October, up from a 7% annual rate the prior month. In markets nationwide, properties are getting numerous offers and selling at way above asking price.

“It’s an exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking process,” said L.A. marketing executive Andrea Kissling, 40, on her family’s search for a home. “There were probably three or four houses that we really wanted and didn’t get. My husband, who is a designer, would be already mocking up the space in CAD and then we would find out we didn’t get it.”

Ms. Kissling said she and her husband, Brad Kissling, 42, were desperately looking for a bigger home with space for their two young children, son Jack and daughter Lily, and their cat Carson. They toured more than 50 Los Angeles homes. They submitted 16 offers, sometimes over asking, only to be outbid. When they finally found their dream home last summer, a $725,000 three-bedroom house with a big pool in the Northridge area, they knew they had to pull out all the stops. “We were turning up at showings and there would be a line of people who were there before us. These houses were getting 30 or 40 offers and going $100,000 over asking,” she said.

Memorabilia around the house indicated that the sellers were fans of the “Harry Potter” films, so Ms. Kissling got to work putting together a “Harry Potter”-themed video for the sellers about why they should choose their offer.

The video opened with the movie franchise’s theme music and title cards spelling out “The Kisslings.” The Kisslings then proceeded to gush over the home and showed a montage of family photos of them doing Harry Potter-type things, like visiting a Harry Potter attraction and reading Harry Potter books to their children. The company Mr. Kissling works for provided design services for the Warner Bros. London studio tour “The Making of Harry Potter,” so the couple ended the video by offering to buy the sellers VIP passes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood if they accepted the offer. Ms. Kissling, who knows her way around an editing suite thanks to her job in marketing at real-estate firm Nourmand & Associates, said she produced the video in about an hour.

Unfortunately, the gambit didn’t work and the sellers didn’t even acknowledge the video. The sellers ultimately chose a bigger offer of $800,000. But Ms. Kissling said the family isn’t bitter. “You don’t win if you don’t play, right?” she said. “If they love it, they love it and if they hate it, they hate it.”

These tactics are definitely hit-or-miss, said real-estate agent Chris Furstenberg, also of Nourmand & Associates in Los Angeles. Mr. Furstenberg said one of his clients once made an offer that came with the promise of tickets to the Academy Awards; the client was a filmmaker and had once been nominated for a short film, he said. The seller went with another, higher, offer. Mr. Furstenberg said these ploys often only work to break a tie in a bidding war and are rarely the deciding factor for sellers.

“They had a chance to rub elbows with the famous movie stars but at the end of the day it boiled down to money,” he said.

And, sometimes, buyers go too far. Mary Lou Wertz of Maison Real Estate in Charleston, S.C., said she recently represented a couple of young New York doctors relocating to Charleston amid the pandemic. The doctors fell in love online with a $1.2 million modern four-bedroom home in the Mount Pleasant area this fall but, unfortunately for them, the sellers accepted another offer. “They were very disappointed. I’d say more than very,” Ms. Wertz said.

In a bid to secure the property for themselves, the doctors made an unusual offer: In addition to committing to pay $10,000 more than the other buyers, they offered their competitors $25,000 to walk away from the deal and even told the seller, who had recently lost his wife to cancer, that they would make a $30,000 donation to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital in New York, Ms. Wertz said. The doctors’ offer wasn’t accepted, Ms. Wertz said. The seller wanted to honor his word to the other buyers and, ultimately, the offer seemed “a little over the top,” she said.

For the Hirsches in Oakland, their funky, music-based offers couldn’t have worked better. Their agent said she suspects they got the chance to make a third offer on the property, which is unusual, because the sellers enjoyed their ingenuity. While they closed for exactly $1,486,753, the 9 cents was sadly automatically dropped by the online filing system.

When Mr. Hirsch went to do a quick walk-through of the home post-sale, he said he ran into one of the sellers, who was packing up. “He said, ‘I have to ask you. The 138, was that a Misfits reference?’” Mr. Hirsch recalled. It turned out that the seller’s uncle was a onetime drummer for the band.

Then, Mr. Hirsch said, the seller rolled up his sleeve. On his arm, there was a Smashing Pumpkins tattoo.

Originally published in WSJ, Written by Katherine Clarke

Pandemic changes California homebuying behavior, fuels market competition


Pandemic changes California homebuying behavior, fuels market competition, C.A.R. survey finds

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 7) – A renewed interest in homeownership during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed homebuyers’ housing choices, widened the imbalance between housing supply and demand in California and created a more competitive housing market than ever before, according to the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) 2020 Annual Housing Market Survey.


More people are buying second or vacation homes:

Low interest rates drive first-time buyers to highest level in 10 years:

The share of investor buyers was the lowest since 2001:

Homebuying Behavior

The pandemic has changed consumers’ housing preferences. With remote working becoming the norm, buyers’ housing demand is slowly evolving. Since the coronavirus outbreak, more than two of five REALTORS® (43.6 percent) saw a change in buyers’ preferences in the property type they want to purchase. Of those changes, 39 percent of REALTORS® who responded said their buyers are opting for a bigger home; 35 percent said buyers are opting for a property with more rooms; 37 percent said buyers are less concerned about the commute time to work; 37 percent said buyers are opting to live in a suburb rather than a city; 26 percent said buyers are opting to live in rural areas rather than cities or suburbs.

More people are buying vacation or second homes this year as its share of total sales rose to the highest level in four years. The flexibility to work from home and the desire to move from metropolitan areas motivated homebuyers to relocate to resort communities in search of more space and a healthier lifestyle.

Reasons for Buying

The top three reasons homebuyers purchased a home remain the same as last year. A quarter (25 percent) of buyers bought because they were tired of renting, and one of five (20 percent) bought because they desired a larger home. Another one-fifth (19 percent) bought because they desired a better location. 

With the cost of borrowing at historic lows, buying a home makes more sense than renting for many first-time buyers. As such, more than half (54 percent) of all first-time buyers purchased a home because they were tired of renting. For repeat buyers, 25 percent said their primary reason for buying was a desire for a larger home, an increase from 21 percent last year. 

Market Competition

Homes for sale received more multiple offers, and the average number of offers reached their highest levels since 2013. Nearly two-thirds (59.2 percent) of homes sold in 2020 received multiple offers at an average of 4.8 offers per home. In 2019, less than half (47.7 percent) of homes sold received multiple offers with an average of 3.9 offers on each home.

Further illustrating the high level of competitiveness this year, a bigger share of properties was sold above their asking price in 2020. Over a third (35.5 percent) of homebuyers paid more than what home sellers asked for this year, compared to a quarter (26.7 percent) in 2019. In fact, this year’s level is the highest in seven years and is 16 percent higher than the long-run average.

While all price segments were more competitive than the prior year, market competition varied between price segments. Mid-priced range homes ($500,000 to $1 million) were the most sought after with 67.3 percent receiving multiple offers. They also received the most multiple offers (6 offers), were the most likely (37.3 percent) to receive an offer at or above the asking price and sold the fastest (10 days).

Good Time to Sell

Home listings flew off the shelves at record pace in 2020, and more homes sold above asking price. Results from C.A.R.’s 2020 Annual Housing Market Survey suggest that home sellers typically pocketed a net gain of $210,000 from their home sale — a 63.8 percent increase from the purchase price. Not surprisingly, the gain was greater the longer they owned their home. Sellers who lived in their home for less than five years typically earned a 16.5 percent profit from their sale, while those who lived in their house five or more years typically earned a 100 percent profit.

C.A.R. has conducted its Annual Housing Market Survey since 1981. The survey was sent via email to a random sample of 60,124 REALTORS® throughout California, asking them to provide information about their most recent sales transaction that closed escrow between April 2020 and August 2020. The survey instrument was a questionnaire with both multiple choice and open-ended questions. There were 3,103 valid survey responses, equivalent to a response rate of 5.2 percent. The margin of error for this survey was +/- 1.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with more than 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Originally published by C.A.R

The housing market is red hot. How long can it last?


Katerina Krumwiede wasn’t looking to move. She and her husband, Rob, recently spent “well over” $100,000 on a complete remodel of their Encino house that added a backyard gazebo, custom kitchen countertops, new roof and imported bathroom tiles from Spain. 

But Krumwiede, 40, said the single-story house still lacked quiet space — a drawback when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and she had to work from the master bedroom if she wanted to escape the sound of her husband’s frequent video calls. 

Eventually, it became too much, setting off a chain reaction that led the family to sell their Encino home for $1.5 million and purchase a larger one in Calabasas for $1.7 million.

“It was very uncomfortable sitting on the bed all day long,” said Krumwiede, an entertainment industry lawyer. “My back was really hurting.”

In recent months, the national and Southern California housing markets have been red hot. Bidding wars are common. Homes fly off the market in days. 

In November, the regional median home price jumped 11%, while sales climbed 19%, according to DQNews.

Many experts say the frenzy is due in large part to the pandemic. Although many low-wage workers worry they’ll face eviction, the economic downturn has left relatively unscathed the higher wage workers more likely to buy homes in the first place.

Federal Reserve policy has helped drive mortgage interest rates into the recently unheard of 2% range at the same time people are spending more time at home and realize they could use more space. 

But the torrid pace of the for-sale market raises the question: Just how long can this continue? 

For some, the pandemic simply accelerated decisions planned for the near future. And unemployment is still high, which will hinder home-buying dreams for others.

This was supposed to be the year of the wedding for Derek Fleck and his fiancée, Hayley Atwater, both in their late 20s. Next year, the couple, who met as college freshmen, would get serious about owning a home for the first time.

The pandemic upended everything. With no need to immediately plan for the big day, they found themselves not only with time to home shop, but also a new desire and added ability. 

Fleck, a human resources manager, and Atwater, a data analyst, were juggling work calls in a one-bedroom Santa Monica apartment and their savings swelled because “we weren’t going out and traveling anywhere like we normally would,” Fleck said.

In August, the couple closed on a $769,000 two-bedroom condo in Playa del Rey, which allowed them to stay near friends on the Westside but also have more space at a price they could afford.

“It’s roughly double the one bedroom’s square footage,” Fleck said. “It’s one of our favorite parts about living here.”

Although the pandemic accelerated purchases, there are plenty of people who didn’t buy who probably want to, said Danielle Hale, chief economist at listing website 

She noted that large numbers of millennials entered their 30s in 2020 and will continue to do so for several years.

Such demographic factors are one reason the company is forecasting strong price appreciation across the U.S. in 2021, including a 7.3% increase in the combined Los Angeles-Orange counties metro region.

“We have this huge wave of young people who are at ages where historically they thought about getting into the housing market as a homeowner,” Hale said.

Rick Palacios Jr., research director at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, said would-be buyers should have some more options to choose from next year as people increasingly list their homes for sale and builders ramp up. 

That added supply, along with the fact there’s only so much people can afford, should temper price growth somewhat in 2021. 

But Palacios and other experts pointed to additional factors that will keep prices rising substantially.

Interest rates are expected to remain low, which typically lures people into the market. Lower rates can make homes affordable, but at the same time push prices higher by allowing people to bid more.

The Federal Reserve, and others, also predict unemployment will drop next year as the vaccine rollout continues. Then there are people who have maintained employment throughout the pandemic and have saved because they’re not traveling or eating out.

In 2020, John Burns Real Estate Consulting expects prices to rise 9% to 14% in major Southern California markets, with that dipping to 7% and 10% next year. 

“We have a very bullish housing market outlook entering 2021,” the consulting firm wrote in a recent analysis.

Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, is far less bullish on prices.

People have bid up values to a point where, given falling rates, monthly payments, including taxes and insurance, are roughly the same as a year ago when prices were barely rising as people hit an affordability ceiling, he said.

And although the economy should improve somewhat next year, he said the rebound is unlikely to erase enough economic damage to allow for strong home price increases.

“We might see 1% or 2%,” Green said.

Predictions, of course, are fraught at any time, particularly during this pandemic. 

One unknown is the concept of working from home.

If the pandemic eases in 2021 and more businesses reopen offices, the immediate desire for a larger place could dissipate, lessening a trigger that recent buyers say kickstarted their move from smaller rentals or places they owned.

But some experts said many employers have realized work-from-home policies have been successful and will probably remain flexible once they let people back into the office.

As employees get confirmation they can work from home beyond the pandemic at least a few days a week, Palacios said even more people are likely to move, seeking out the larger house or neighborhood they always wanted if not for the commute.

For Krumwiede, she said her family already had their “forever” home before the pandemic and work-from-home difficulty was the thing that got them looking for another place.

But what sealed the deal was when she and her husband realized the lack of a commute provided an opportunity to take their daughter out of private school and move her into a public school district they considered provided better education than the Los Angeles Unified School District offered. 

Although the new home they found was only 10 miles away in Calabasas, given Los Angeles’ notorious traffic, the move could have added significant time to their normal commute to Century City, causing the couple not only more aggravation behind the wheel, but less time with their daughter, Sophie.

The Krumwiedes confirmed they could both work from home part time after the pandemic. Then they moved 10 miles west.

Ed Pinto, director of the AEI Housing Center, said he believes flexible work-from-home policies will unleash waves of “repressed” housing demand.

Particularly in California’s expensive urban centers, Pinto said, many people with solid-paying jobs have prioritized commute time over living space. They are forking over sky-high rent for a tiny apartment or making a large mortgage payment for a small, old bungalow. 

But “once you break the tie to the office,” whole other worlds with cheaper housing open up, Pinto said. 

Couple that “unchaining” with the large millennial population aging into their 30s, and that’s one reason Pinto said home prices will rise rapidly in the nation’s suburban and rural communities in coming years. 

But don’t expect houses in places such as the Westside and central L.A. to become cheap, said Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA who forecasts rising prices for close-in areas of Southern California as well.

“The demand for those areas so far outstrips supply. It’s hard to imagine, even in the context of shifting preferences that benefit outlying areas, that [close-in locations] would not continue to be highly desirable,” he said. 

Unlike the John Burns consulting firm, predicts 2021 price growth will be slightly greater in the Los Angeles-Orange counties metro area than the more suburban Inland Empire of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. 

“Those suburban markets tend to do a better job at ramping up construction,” said Hale, the company’s chief economist. “And because they can ramp up supply faster than in more crowded urban areas … that’s why we see prices rise faster in urban areas”

Christopher Thornberg, founding partner at Beacon Economics, said the housing market could slow sharply after 2021 if today’s easy-money policies and deficit spending spur inflation, and thus, rising rates. 

But he predicted a hot market for 2021. That’s not because of work-from-home policies, which he thinks will have minimal effect on demand. Rather, he pointed to other reasons, including the fact prices are already rising. 

“The thing about hot housing markets,” Thornberg said, “is it just encourages speculation.”

Original article published by Los Angeles Times, written by Andrew Khouri

What celeb buyers want during the pandemic!


In South Florida, the rush of celebrities started with the Super Bowl.

“There were an incredible amount of celebrities in town,” said Dina Goldentayer, a Miami-based executive director of sales at Douglas Elliman. That weekend — about one month before the coronavirus pandemic began raging across the United States — she secured rentals for big-name clients, including Colombian singer J Balvin.

“Many celebrities rented mega-villas during that time, so it gave them a taste of what our waterfront home market has to offer,” Goldentayer added.

As the unpredictable year wore on, more boldface names snapped up property in South Florida: Pharrell Williams snagged a nearly 7,500-square-foot, $30 million home in Coral Gables, where he reportedly wanted to ride out the duration of quarantine. Jon Bon Jovi and Sylvester Stallone both bought in Palm Beach, paying $43 million and $35 million, respectively, for huge estates. And Tom Brady and his wife, Gisele Bündchen, paid $17 million for a property in the city’s exclusive Indian Creek Island.

Celebrities, it seems, were doing what many other Americans did during the pandemic: re-evaluating their living situations, constantly refreshing real estate listings and spurring a home buying boom in such exclusive enclaves as Palm BeachStar Island and Beverly Hills.

With international trips canceled and lifestyles significantly altered, the focus for high-net-worth buyers became “ultimate luxury at home, with all the bells and whistles,” according to Ron Wynn, principal at WSA-Compass in Santa Monica.

Some brokers leaned into the new normal. In April, Rochelle Atlas Maize of Nourmand & Associates partnered with Adnan Sen, recently featured on Netflix’s “Selling Sunset,“ to market a Beverly Hills mansion developed prior to the pandemic as a “Covid House.” The mud room was transformed into a disinfecting station complete with sanitizing supplies and a bootie dispenser to cover shoes. The home theater was made into a top-of-the-line “Zoom room.” Dining out was also covered by three months of a meal service arrangement with the nearby Beverly Hills Hotel. The property sold within a week for $19 million.

And over the summer, Maize represented the owner of a $39 million Beverly Hills home that pushed at-home self-care to new heights: It has a private Med Spa — complete with a professional spa chair, face steamer and IV drip stand — as well as a 12-car garage that can be converted into a ballroom for when 200-person gatherings are safe again. According to the broker, a twentysomething tech exec is currently leasing the home for a staggering $165,000 a month.

Those are extreme examples, but they speak to larger trends celebrities — and regular homebuyers — embraced this year: separate rooms for at-home schoolwork and video calls, dedicated “Amazon rooms,” infrared spas and elaborate home gyms tricked out with Peloton bikes and other gear.

Repeated lockdowns have made celebrities shuffle another new priority to the top of their lists: green space. Agents say that clients prioritized lots with maximal outdoor space to prevent residents from feeling cooped up while stay-at-home orders were in place, with some buyers even snapping up neighboring lots.

“The big trend is people wanting to buy their neighbor. It became such a massive part of my practice to help my clients acquire the home next door,” said Goldentayer. “They’re looking for additional land, should they ever be quarantined again, so they can enjoy that outdoor space.”

One such transaction that Goldentayer worked on this year in Miami Beach closed for $28.5 million. Waterfront homes especially benefited from the rush on outdoor space: Celeb couples such as Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, and Joshua Kushner and Karlie Kloss, purchased waterfront mansions with plenty of space — both homes measure more than 15,000 square feet — over the summer. 

“In Miami, there’s really only a certain [number] of waterfront homes. It’s not like New York — we can’t build out on top,” said Julian Cohen, a sales associate at the Jills Zeder Group. And within that number, only a certain number of those waterfront homes have the desired Miami totems of open bay exposures and sunset views.

In Los Angeles, the emphasis on outdoor space has driven demand in neighborhoods that aren’t typically seen as elite epicenters.

Singer Meaghan Trainor recently purchased a $6.6 million home in Encino, a town in the San Fernando Valley on the other side of the more fashionable neighborhoods in the Hollywood Hills. She joins other notable figures who’ve nabbed homes in the area, including NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, Selena Gomez and Gwen Stefani.

“If you want an acre in Beverly Hills, it’s not easy to find,” said Michael Nourmand, president of Nourmand & Associates. “But if you want a big piece of land in Encino, you have more options.”

Contractors have also been busy during lockdown, as celebrities plan tricked-out backyards for when it’s their turn to host their “quarantine pod.”

“There’s never been a time in the last 50 years that contractors of every sort are not more busy,” said Wynn.

In addition to pools, celebrities have been looking for backyards with paddle tennis courts, full-size basketball courts, putting greens and spaces for the latest trend among children of high-end Los Angeles: pickleball, a game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and Ping-Pong.

Stars have also looked west of Los Angeles and set their sights on homes that offer an escape from the city while they’re in quarantine. “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot bought a beachfront condo for $5 million, and singer Avril Lavigne snagged a Malibu spec house for $7.8 million.

Further up the coast, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom dropped $14.2 million for a nine-acre estate in Montecito, and Maria Sharapova picked up a five-acre ranch in neighboring Summerland for $8.6 million.

In addition to the waterfront views and larger lots, celebrities are looking to escape the city for “openness and not having everyone so consolidated,” Maize said.

“You go to the grocery store and there’s not as many people. It’s much more spread out,” she added.

For brokers, the unexpected rush of high-end transactions amid the pandemic is a reminder of the market’s unpredictability.

“I saw things close that I would have never ever expected to happen,” said Cohen. “And it teaches me that sometimes you think something is worth something in a market, but it could shift so fast. You could always be surprised by what something could sell for.”

Originally published in the Real Deal, written by Dan Latu