Tag Archives | Real Estate

Mormon Church To Purchase 2% Of The Entire State Of Florida

mormon_churchJust when you thought Florida could not get any weirder…Russia Today reports:

The Mormon Church is poised to become the largest private landowner in the state of Florida after spending more than half a billion dollars to purchase hundreds of thousands of acres across three counties.

Representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced Thursday they had bought most of the real estate owned by the St. Joe development company for $565 million. Municipalities in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties are included in the nearly 400,000 acres of land. The land, much of which is rich with timber, is located along the Florida panhandle.

The St. Joe Co. has owned the land for more than a dozen years and originally planned to profit from so-called master-planned communities in the region. That plan went sour when the real estate bubble bust,

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Wall Street Investors Buying Up Entire Neighborhoods In Poorer Areas

wall street

Wall Street investment firms are eager to become your new landlord. New York Times Dealbook reports:

Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Nationwide, 68 percent of the damaged homes sold in April went to investors, and only 19 percent to first-time home buyers.

Wall Street played a central role in the last housing boom by supplying easy — and, in retrospect, risky — mortgage financing. Now, investment companies like the Blackstone Group have swooped in, buying thousands of houses in the same areas where the financial crisis hit hardest.

Blackstone, which helped define a period of Wall Street hyperwealth, has bought some 26,000 homes in nine states. Colony Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, is spending $250 million each month and already owns 10,000 properties.

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Bigfoot’s Grave For Sale In Oregon

Never forget—Bigfoot allegedly perished in the disastrous 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Now you can buy the spot where remains may lie. Oregon’s Willamette Week reports:

A real estate offer too good to exist: The owners of the defunct roadside attraction North Fork Survivors Gift Shop—which memorializes the 1980 explosion of Mount St. Helens and the subsequent death of Bigfoot—are selling their property.

The cost to own the gift shop, a 28-foot concrete Bigfoot statue, and a buried A-frame house swamped in flowing Mount St. Helens ash? Just $270,000, and they’ll throw in nine acres, a 1,120-square-foot house, restrooms, and a helicopter landing pad.

The tourist site, which honored the possible demise of Sasquatch by erecting the giant grinning statue, is located along Spirit Lake Highway in Toutle, Wash., less than 60 miles from Portland.

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Homeowners Foreclose On Negligent Banks

Via CNN, in areas of the United States hit hardest by foreclosure, turning the tables on banks who turn deadbeat after repossessing homes:

Since the housing bubble burst in Florida five years ago, more than 400,000 borrowers have had their homes foreclosed on by their lenders. But for some, it’s payback time.

Hundreds of homeowners and condo associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to pay dues and other expenses on the properties they’ve repossessed. When banks foreclose on a home they become responsible for paying fees to the homeowners association — both any unpaid fees going back as far as 12 months and all expenses going forward. In many cases, however, banks are failing to pay, leaving these associations short on cash, according to Miami-based attorney Ben Solomon. Now, homeowners groups are putting liens on the properties until banks pay up and foreclosing on them if they don’t.

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Mole Man’s Lair In London Sold For £1.12 Million

It has popularly been attributed to insanity, but building a subterranean network of tunnels underneath the middle of London is quite an achievement. No word on whether the new owner of ‘Mole Man’ William Lyttle’s house will be able to access the web of underground passageways. Via the BBC:

The home of a man who dug a labyrinth of tunnels under his property in east London over a period of 40 years has been sold for £1.12m.

William Lyttle, 79, who earned the nickname Mole Man, had made tunnels up to 60ft (18.2m) long under the 20-room house in Mortimer Road, Hackney. He was evicted in 2006 and rehoused in a flat, where he died in June 2010. Hackney Council discovered the network of tunnels under the house, which originally belonged to Mr Lyttle’s parents.

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Notorious Haunted Los Angeles Hospital To Be Turned Into Senior Homes

5500298875_753b7616aaThe Los Angeles Times reports on a recipe for trouble, with ambitious developers packing the elderly into one of Los Angeles’ most haunted grounds:

Historic — and some say haunted — Linda Vista Community Hospital that has been closed for two decades is set to be converted into apartments for low-income seniors in a $40-million makeover. The original hospital opened in 1905. It was razed and rebuilt on the same site in the mid-1920s.

Visitors come across stray medical equipment such as dusty baby incubators and gleaming stainless steel autopsy tables. A corner of the basement holds what appears to be a cluster of jail cells. “People tell me it’s the most haunted place in L.A.,” said Maurice Ramirez, executive vice president of Amcal.

Caretaker Francis Kortekaas acknowledged a couple of incidents he can’t explain. In the dimly lighted underground level housing the operating rooms, Kortekaas said he once saw the water turn on when he approached a sink where doctors scrubbed before surgery.

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Bank Of America Now Suing Itself In Foreclosure Cases

4501651351_6540d48316_nIn the latest phase of the foreclosure crisis, our nation’s biggest banks have reached a Zen-like state in which they resemble snakes eating their own tails, reports Forbes:

Here’s a sign of just how big and messy the foreclosure problem is: Bank of America has sued itself at least nine times in April.

That’s what lawyer and fraud expert Lynn Szymoniak discovered recently during a search for foreclosure filings in Palm Beach county Florida.”There are likely at least 100 examples of the same thing happening across the state,” Szymoniak says. “The company is literally seeking damages from itself in order to foreclose on the condo owner.”

“We are servicing the first mortgage on behalf of an investor and we own the second mortgage,” said Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens [in regards to one case].

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Hong Kong’s Booming Market For Haunted Houses

ALeqM5hvMNMdjNjAJEHa_anYDDlWDomOHwThis AFP piece on the intersection of morbid superstition and real estate piqued my interest. Local buyers typically shy from residences where gruesome, unnatural deaths occurred, so out-of-towners are swooping in to buy at a discount. Would you be bold enough to mess with the ghosts of Hong Kong?

Then there is the divorcee whose body was discovered a month after she poisoned herself with the fumes of burning charcoal, or the woman hacked to death and mutilated by her domestic helper in an exclusive apartment block.

For bargain hunters in Hong Kong’s turbocharged property market apartments that belonged to the recently deceased are proving irresistible — and the more gruesome the occupant’s demise the better.

By law, buyers are entitled to details on so-called “haunted houses” — or hongza in Cantonese — and many rigorously check the backstory to their potential purchase. Discounts of between 20-40 percent are the standard for haunted houses.

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LAPD To Crack Down On Use Of Unmanned Drones By Real Estate Agents

dronerIn a nightmarish scenario from the future, technology ostensibly created to spy on our “enemies” is now being turned against us by the most nefarious of forces — real estate brokers. The Los Angeles Times reveals:

The Los Angeles Police Department is warning real estate agents not to use images of properties taken from unmanned aircraft, saying the flying drones pose a potential safety hazard and could violate federal aviation policy.

The warning was issued this week after officers saw a television news report showing a basketball-sized object with multiple rotors hovering over an expansive Westside residence.

Real estate agents have been posting aerial photos and video of homes for sale in the Los Angeles area, according to the LAPD. The pictures have been taken from several hundred feet off the ground in the city’s crowded airspace — an altitude at which police helicopters often fly.

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Speculative Fictions: Scientology’s Tin-Pot Real Estate Empire and the Real Owners of the World

Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

Yippee! We'll never have to pay tax on this building! Photo: Scientology Media (CC)

Business Insider pulls the veil aside a little on the vast global real estate portfolio of The Church Of Scientology, with 10 examples from the over 8,500 Scientology Churches, Missions and affiliated groups buildings in 165 countries around the world.

Still, Scientology is way behind the top five largest landowners in the world: Queen Elizabeth II (legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface, valued at £17,600,000,000,000); the Russian state (4,219 million acres); the Chinese state (about 2,365 million acres); the Federal Government of the United States, which owns about one third of the land of the USA (760 million acres); and the King of Saudi Arabia (553 million acres).

And not even in the same class as the more venerable Catholic Church, but of course Scientology hasn’t been able to take advantage of tax exemption for as many centuries …… Read the rest

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