Playboy Mansion Cottage for Sale: $28 Million Makes You Hef’s Neighbor

hugh-hefner

Courtesy Associated Press Jennifer Graylock

Next to one of the most storied mansions in Los Angeles, the Playboy Mansion, sits the “other” house Hef built-and now it’s for sale. You can be Hugh Hefner’s immediate neighbor by purchasing his freshly listed home next to the mansion for $27,995,000.

The house according to Yahoo:  “The two-story 7,300-square-foot English Manor-style home was built in 1929, and bought by the Hefners in 1998. It sits behind private gates on 2.3 acres and has some of the original wood paneling, leaded-glass windows and a hand-carved staircase. There are hand-painted walls, a newly remodeled kitchen with a morning room and butler’s pantry, two staff rooms, formal living and dining rooms, a library and family room. It has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.”

hefs-house-for-sale

10 Best U.S. Housing Markets: Only Two in California

forbes-nyc

Courtesy Forbes.com New York City

Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article 2-27-09

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-27-09

According to a new Forbes.com report “10 Best and Worst US Housing Markets” California only has two markets rated in the top 10 Best: San Diego #5 and Los Angeles at #9. The most surprising fact was San Francisco’s ranking as the #5 Worst housing market in the nation.

The 10 Best Housing Markets in the US

  1. New York, NY
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. Portland, OR
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Denver, CO
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Dallas, TX
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Seattle, WA

Win $1 Million California Home for $150

The auction and contest trend for selling a home in a tough real estate market continues with the latest edition. The Bahms of Tracy, Ca have created a contest with a twist. For the price of a $150 entry fee and the answer to their own word question, you can be the lucky owner of their ranch style home.

The Deal

The Bahms make make money on their contest by selling 11,000 entry fees at $150. That is the minimum number of tickets necessary to make the contest official. With that number the Bahms would be looking at a cool $1.6 million. They decided to cap the number at 13,000 which would mean $1.9 million payday.

The Charity

The Bahms have been quoted, by the Contra Costa Times, as stating they would like to donate $300,000 of their fee total to the charities of their choice. In any economic times, that is a noble gesture.

Has A New Ed Okun Arrived On The 1031 Exchange Scene: Vesta Strategies LLC Staggers From Wall St. Journal Story

In another apparent blatant rip off of 1031 exchange investor funds, Vesta Strategies of San Jose, California “has closed its doors, leaving investors scrambling to recover millions and pointing to flaws in the largely unregulated industry” according to the Wall Street Journal report “Behind the Boom and Bust of Real- Estate Player Vesta.”

Do we have another Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group on our hands?

The Founders

Chicago businessman John Terzakis and partner Robert Estupinian were the principles at Vesta Strategies. They founded Vesta in 2004 amid a firestorm of legal problems

History

According to WSJ’s Kris Hudson’s report:

“Mr. Terzakis had a history of failed real-estate deals and soured relationships — information Mr. Terzakis isn’t required to disclose to potential clients. Now the two men are accusing each other in separate lawsuits of diverting millions of dollars from Vesta for personal use.”

The Losses Sound Familiar

Christina Pappas a California investor, a familiar story to the “Trainwreck Victims of Ed Okun”, is out $2.5 million she handed to Vesta in April 2008 from the “sale of a property.”

When Ms. Pappas found a replacement property, another building, to purchase within the IRS’s 180 day exchange period, she requested her funds be wired in order to close the deal. To her utter horror, but familiar to the people following this industry, Ms. Pappas maintains that the “Vesta representative failed to wire her money to complete the property exchange by the June 16 closing, and still hasn’t done so”

The Numbers

According to WSJ story, Mr. Estupinian was quoted as saying that “Vesta Strategies held $10 million to $30 million in client money at any one time.” Okun like no, but no small sum of money in any case

Vesta Infighting And Meltdown

In a scene worthy of Ed Okun, the two principles Terzakis and Estupinian ended up in court with Terzakis initiating the legal action.

Mr. Terzakis allegations included

1. Estupinian misappropriated several million dollars of Vesta’s money for his family’s use

2. $96,000 salary for Mr. Estupinian’s wife, who allegedly did little work for the company

3. Expenditures on a $1.3 million house

4. A $160,308 oceanfront apartment in Long Beach

5. $50,000 for a pair of dogs-doesn’t everyone have $50,000 twin dogs?

6. $42,795 in tuition toward Mr. Estupinian’s doctorate degree-education is expensive

The Countersuit by Mr. Estupinian

1. Embezzlement of about $25 million and the following quote by Mr. Estupinian:

“Beginning as far back as 2000, John Terzakis has been treating the client funds as his own personal piggy bank in order to fund his many personal business and development projects”

Final Final

If this does not sound like the Okun case it certainly sounds like a close facsimile to it. The bottom line for Ms.Pappas and fellow investors serviced by Vesta Strategies could be the same fate suffered by Okun victims: no return on investment, IRS nightmare tax bill, and the prospects of a lost retirement fund spent in a lavish lifestyle befitting a crook

Networking Tip #11: Non Profit-Charitible Organizations’ Powerful “Client” List

In what has long been a high society secret some of the greatest most influential connections can be made while you are performing a great service to your community: charity volunteering.

Simply put associations, non profits, charities, and foundations solicit community business and political leaders for help. The list of volunteers is often a Who’s Who of your area. The help comes in fund raising as well as “substance factor” mentoring.

How Does This Benefit Me?

If you are looking for a place to network and meet your community leaders, business stalwarts, and possible networking partnerships, then volunteering at a well established charity organization is a powerful networking opportunity. Here are the 3 benefits involved:

1. Provide assistance to a worthwhile cause by giving back to your community

2. Network and meet influential networking connections

3. Become a speaker or mentor further advancing your name recognition and public perception

Where Do I Start

1. Begin by visiting your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and National Foundation (ex-Cancer) for information on the local scene.

2. The best source is the A to Z Charity Listing for the American Institute of Philanthropy at charitywatch.org.

3. Charity Rating System at http://www.charitywatch.org/ratingguide.html is a fantastic report of the top 500 Charities nationwide

4. Local “Society Sheet” is usually contains the favorite charities of your local power brokers, business mavericks, and politicians. A great example of this in my area, San Francisco, is the NobHillGazette.com.

Final Analysis

Even if these kinds of society gatherings make you feel intimidated or uneasy, the possible connections are truly worth a few hours of self consciousness. At the very least, you will providing a service to a good cause and you can report your experience on your blog-website and at local industry meetings.

Realtor’s Search Engine Strategy #1: Traffic Is Meaningless Unless It Comes From Your Target–Finding Leads In Your Market

This video explains some of the content needs a blogger must address. I have provided a list of content subjects (below) that will give you a beginning template. Be creative!

Many people on Active Rain and other sites tout the idea of traffic and how to increase your website or blog traffic aka readership, unique visits, or page views. The reality is that hits, or any other terminology you wish to use to describe “eyeballs” is virtually useless in generating leads to eventual sales if those “eyeballs” aka traffic are not coming from your intended keyword-keyphrase campaigns.

What is the use of having hundreds of pages views per day if those views were generated by keywords or phrases that have nothing to do with the region, the county, city, neighborhood, your business name, your surname, your specialty, or specific searches related to real estate?

“Hyper Local” Strategy

The best example of a hyper local blog strategy can be found at http://theharperteam.com authored by Bay Area Realtor John Harper. John’s strategy is to provide unending value pinpointing everything, not just real estate, happening within their region.

Power of Hyper Local

Your subject matter is a wide variety yet it is focused upon your locality. Consequently you have a well rounded, rich library of articles which become traffic drivers that bring in people interested in finding you and your specialty.

Remember Why

If people do NOT KNOW YOUR SURNAME then writing a blog with a hyper local strategy will lead them to you and introduce them to who you are and what you provide the community

Subject Matter

The following are some of the subjects utilized in a hyper local blog:

1. Traditional market reports

2. State information

3. County information ie politics, legal issues, growth

4. City issues, politics, public works, projects, politicians, new construction

5. Neighborhood information analysis vs rest of city neighborhoods

6. School systems

7. New Shopping malls, facilities, supervisory news

8. Restaurants

9. Entertainment

10. Services

12. Seasonal issues fire safety etc

13. City History, Civic Leader interviews

14. WiFi cafes

15. Entrepreneurs

16. SEO strategies

17. Local networking or support groups

18. Carnivals, fairs,

19. Fund Raisers

20. Local Sports

The list goes on and on.

The Results and Analysis

1. By writing articles and providing valuable information, news, and analysis John has become a go to source of free information for his East Bay area.

2. Google Searches- due to John’s articles he has many pages of diverse subject matter yet related to hyper local activities that rank very high on page 1 searches for keywords related to real estate, his community, or how to guides

3. His specific hyper local strategy has helped him become an expert about his community without him utilizing any sales tactics. The tone is simply giving over and over again valuable information to community readers who eventually find John because of his high Google placement on so many hyper local topics

May 27, 1937 A Day In San Francisco History: The Golden Gate Bridge Is Open

The south (San Francisco) tower and the south tower pier, with the north (Marin) tower in the background; circa February 15, 1935

Courtesy of http://www.co.marin.ca.us

One of the most recognizable, visited, and beautiful landmarks the world over, the Golden Gate Bridge was officially open for business this day May 27, 1937. Although the Bridge is not Golden in color, the official color is International Orange, it is golden in the hearts and minds of native San Franciscans. It is both a landmark of fame and infamy.

The Facts

1. Longest Span: 4,200 ft
2. Total Length: 8,981 ft
3. Width: 90 ft
4. Height: 746 ft
5. Annual Average Daily Traffic: 100,000 vehicles
6. Toll $5.00
7 Engineer of Record and Fame: Joseph Strauss

For more information on the Golden Gate Bridge go to goldengatebridge.org.

Realtor Marketing Meetings: The Most Important Networking Event You Can Attend

One of the most effective methods to market listings, meet like minded professionals, search for affiliates, hear industry news-updates, and build last relationships is the Realtor Marketing Meeting. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, most counties have at least one weekly meeting; with many counties having 2 or 3 participating associations that hold separate meetings.

Profile

In the last five years, I have attended hundreds of breakfast marketing meetings sponsored by Realtor Marketing Associations. My schedule was filled with four morning meetingsTuesday through Friday. After these meetings, the associations sponsored broker open house tours where we could caravan together and see upwards of 15 locations. It is a chance to network with other Realtors and see their properties.

My Favorite Meetings

1. Walnut Creek aka Contra Costa Association of Realtors: Tuesday mornings from 7:45 to 9:45. This is one of the most powerful meetings available with Realtors and affiliates coming from as far away as a 50 mile radius. The attendance level was 200-350. Many prominent Realtors, mortgage brokers, and independents attend this meeting faithfully. This meeting is held at the Concord Centre a old but huge meeting hall reminiscent of your high school auditorium.

2. Los Gatos aka Silicon Valley Association of Realtors: Wednesday mornings 8:00 to 9:30. This meeting is the best Association meeting in Silicon Valley (Penninsula) in my opinion. The power broker quotient is high with very prominent brokers and long time Realtor luminaries, like English royalty, dot the landscape. This meeting held at the Willow Street Pizza restaurant has, easily, the greatest breakfast spread of any meeting for only $5 and the most hilarious host in big Michael.

*Note: This meeting was where I received the tip, ahead of the press at the time, that the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group scandal had just hit. 1031 Advance in San Jose had just closed it’s doors and my “contact” put me onto the story that day.

3. San Ramon aka Realtor’s Marketing Association: Thursday mornings from 8:30-9:45. This meeting is powerful like the Walnut Creek meeting but on a much smaller scale. Attendance runs between 50-85 but again there are a number of Real Estate broker owners, managers, and powerful agents. The beautiful people quotient at this meeting makes it look like a casting call from the 1980’s Dynasty series–fun people watching.

4. Pleasanton aka Valley Marketing Association: This meeting is held Fridays from 8:30-9:30 at Tommy T’s Comedy Club. The venue itself is special because it has a wonderful stage and the best tech gadgets for multi-media presentations. The attendance here is 80-150 with many luminaries coming from Livermore, Dublin, and farther outbound. Information is fresh and the speakers list in most cases is top shelf presenters. John Harper, he of theharperteam blog fame, is one of the long time attendees adding substance to this group. It is a fun meeting and a social event!

5. Fremont aka Tri-City Marketing Meeting: This meeting is held on Thursdays from 8:00-10:00 in a huge banquet room of the Golden Peacock Chinese restaurant a cavern of a space. The crowd is warm and diverse in cultural experiences. Attendance runs between 120-175 per meeting. One of the greatest drawings aka lottos of any meeting, I won the number in one meeting and walked out with $175. This is a more difficult meeting to break into as many Realtors and affiliates are long time partners and have their own cliques.

Judge Lauck’s “Specific Findings of Fact that Okun was a Flight Risk”: If This Is True-Hidden Assets Must Exist

Norman’s Cay Cocaine Kingpin Carlos Lehder’s hideout courtesy cache.boston.com/…/10/05/1191605832_7450.jpg

After rereading the US Trustee’s Newsletter #6 a phrase struck me even though I read it a number of times. At the end of the newsletter in the last paragraph from Gerald McHale US Trustee for the Ed Okun case “Trustee Newsletter #6”:

“Edward Okun’s bail hearing was held on May 9, 2008 and Judge Lauck in the Eastern District of Virginia, the location of the criminal proceeding, denied bond and made specific findings of fact that Okun was a flight risk.”

“. . . specific findings of fact that Okun was a flight risk.”

What Can We Assume About The Judge’s Statement?

1. Ed’s “crying poor” plan, with nary a dime to his name, was an elaborate ruse to lull the court into thinking he was unable to run

2. Ed’s new court appointed attorney, usually reserved for people without any money, could be considered part of this ruse in order to persuade the court to free him on bond

3. If Ed were broke then why was his Miami attorney Rosenberg, who does not work for free, in Virginia during the bond hearing-that according to the “mystery caller”?

4. If Judge Lauck has proof that Okun is a flight risk then it is not difficult to deduce that there must be stolen funds hidden somewhere off shore or otherwise–you can’t escape the US Government on the cheap!

5. If Okun is a flight risk with hidden funds, it only makes sense that he would need accomplices in order to execute an escape plan–is the “mystery caller” such an accomplice? Hidden assets are not only monies but people willing to help or harbor an individual

6. The Bahamas, where Okun had his ill advised cash infusion smuggled, has been a notorious fugitive hideout for centuries having harbored Medillin Cartel heavyweight Carlos Lehder and international embezzler Robert Vesco

NIN’s Trent Reznor’s Direct Marketing Approach: How Realtor’s Can Understand The Power Of Value

Trent Reznor is a hard core rock n roll singer who looks the part and acts the part. He is the centerpiece of a very successful band: Nine Inch Nails. What can Realtors learn from a screaming rock God?

Marketing direct to the consumer is all about giving away what your target audience values, continuously giving value to your audience, and giving away value without asking or demanding anything in return.

Reznor’s Plan A Purple Cow?

Seth Godin author of “The Purple Cow” and marketing guru for the ages suggests many of the concepts Reznor has adopted in his approach to marketing his music.

Value Prop #1: Giving Away “The Slip” As An Introduction

In a great article by Eliot Van Buskirk of Wired.com NIN’s latest album “The Slip” is being offered online for free to any fans who wish to download the music to MP3, lossless (FLAC or Apple) or 24-bit, 96-kHz WAV files. The album-CD goes on sale in July so this is a free introduction to fans

Realtors: What can you provide your audience for free that is of value and makes you a valued expert in the eyes of your audience? Blogs written with expert advice, sources, tools, and tips would fill this order

Value Prop #2: Selling Tickets Direct To Fans

In an effort to remove the inflated ticket prices that come with widespread “scalping”, Reznor now sells concert tickets directly, through their website, to fans. Each ticket is printed with the fan’s name on it; the supply is controlled giving the perception of exclusivity while keeping the average fan coming out due to ticket affordability

Realtors: How can you help a consumer save money, avoid dishonest deals, or help them understand the changing real estate landscape? Educate your audience on deceptive lending practices, on proper home inspection, or provide them information on avoiding PMI

Value Prop #3: Staying In Direct Contact With Your Audience

nin.com provides their audience with Official NIN news, discography, tour dates, video clips, and answers to submitted questions. Fans can subscribe to the site feed and everything is free. In addition Reznor and the band communicates directly with their audience by posting articles and answering fan questions

Realtors: If you believe that staying in touch with today’s buyer or seller entails placing a listing print ad in a local rag, commenting to a real estate columnist in a local rag, sending out email announcements aka Spam, or writing a 1x per month newsletters you are mired in Web Zero and in need of a Web 2.0 makeover.