Russians turn attention to South Florida real estate, Canadian foreign buyers’ tax gets a caveat, and more news from around the world
BY ANNE MACHALINSKI ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 03, 2017 | MANSION GLOBAL |
The buyer of this 12,385-square-foot mansion will receive a Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph.
DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE
Buy a condo, get a sports car.
While this sort of two-for-one arrangement has become common in markets where there are a lot of luxury property listings, add-ons like this aren’t always what makes the sale—and in some cases, can actually harm a negotiation, experts say.
In some cases, luxury extras— like six-figure classic cars, yachts, helicopters and fine art—can add value, especially when they’re relevant to the lifestyle of the would-be buyer. Other times, they don’t impact the end deal, but are a way to attract attention and get media coverage. And then there are the cases in which including luxury extras with a listing are seen as a sign of desperation, and a cue for brokers to negotiate hard on price.
“When it comes to these houses that come with a boat or a Porsche, in general, it’s a gimmick,” said Gary Gold, executive vice president of Los Angeles agency Hilton & Hyland. “But if we’re talking about a $25 million house on Kauai that’s fully furnished and comes with cars, or a property on a golf course that includes a bonus golf cart, that makes sense. Those aren’t coming out of left field.”
When Mr. Gold considers where this practice of throwing in an extra car came from, he sees a direct link to how resort homes are generally sold fully furnished with everything you need already there.
Mansion Global is now on LinkedIn. Join the discussion.
When Los Angeles developers saw how many buyers of homes in the $10 million to $30 million range were using properties as the equivalent of a vacation home, and only staying there for two or three weeks of the year, they adapted that practice to this market.
It was about five years ago that Mr. Gold noticed that many luxury spec homes in neighborhoods like Beverly Hills and Bel Air were coming fully furnished. Today, he estimates that more than 50% of these properties priced above $20 million come with high-end, modern furniture.
In Manhattan, the developer of a new West Chelsea townhouse, listed for $36.8 million, is applying the same logic, and including a 2016 Bentley, valued at $368,000, as well as modern furnishings, which the client can purchase with the property.
“We wanted this mansion to be the complete, turnkey package,” said Compass broker Alyssa Soto Brody in an email. “The home is already breathtaking, but we wanted this home’s buyer to be able to just walk in and start enjoying.”
A much more extreme example of this same practice is Bruce Makowsky’s 924 Bel Air Road. Listed for $250 million, this 38,000-square foot spec mansion comes with 100 curated art installations, millions of dollars’ worth of classic cars and motorcycles, a deactivated helicopter and a $1 million outdoor TV.
“He did something in an extraordinary way,” Mr. Gold said, “and he’s shooting for a certain type of person that’s going to be completely enamored with the whole thing. I think it’s cool.”
If these are cases where the luxury add-ons make sense from a utility or lifestyle perspective, there are also times when extras are included in an organic way, leading to increased exposure and a sale.
Brad Robson, a listing agent for Place in Brisbane, sold a property that fits that criteria in late-November. The Chelmer house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and came with a 1993 Porsche Carrera 911, valued at $100,000. It sold a week before it was meant to go to auction for $2.31 million—an amount that Mr. Robson said the seller was “thrilled” with.
“I don’t believe the car was the reason that we sold it for a premium price,” said Mr. Robson, noting that the seller was looking to unload the car at the same time as the house, so they decided to make it a package deal. “What it did was generate a huge amount of interest over and above what we would have gotten without it.”
Because it’s incredibly uncommon to include an extra like this with a sale in Brisbane, Mr. Robson said the curiosity from would-be buyers was genuine. “If everybody was doing things like this, I certainly wouldn’t,” he said.
In the end, the buyer “loves the car, but isn’t sure what he’ll do with it just yet.”
But when the extras are thrown in as an afterthought—neither part of a lifestyle package or included in an organic way—there’s a chance the whole thing will backfire, said Dolly Lenz, the founder of Manhattan-based Dolly Lenz Real Estate.
“As a buyer’s representative, if I see a developer or seller offering a car, trips or other incentives, I see that as a major sign of weakness, and a cue to negotiate hard on behalf of our buyers for those units,” she said. “It’s just so silly. Anyone buying these properties could afford those things on their own.”
Mr. Gold agreed, noting that he recently told a client selling a $3 million West Hollywood house to forget about throwing in a $60,000 car, as he was inclined to do.
“That would have been a mistake on so many levels,” Mr. Gold said. “It makes it look like you’re desperate, adds an unnecessary cost, and now, you need to find someone that loves your home and also loves Porsches.”
Not to mention that this type of maneuver can be frustrating when it comes to paperwork tied to the sale. “In general, people don’t want to pay property tax on an extra like a car or artwork,” Mr. Gold said, so they separate the home from the add-on. “You’re basically adding an unnecessary cost that could impact how people look at your house.”