Asking $200 million, Playboy Enterprises plans to reinvest the proceeds of the sale; a buyer would have to remodel the ‘dated’ interiors and let tenant Hugh Hefner remain.
CANDACE TAYLOR for The Wall Street Journal
The Playboy Mansion—the sprawling Los Angeles house that over four decades came to embody Hollywood’s sybaritic party culture—is going on the market for $200 million.
Longtime resident Hugh Hefner has no plans to leave: Seller Playboy Enterprises is stipulating Mr. Hefner, 89, be allowed to remain at the home for the rest of his life.
Founded by Mr. Hefner in 1953, Playboy helped usher in the sexual revolution, but more recently has shed staff and reorganized its business. Scott Flanders, Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive, said in a statement that the sale of the mansion “enables us to continue to reinvest in the transformation of our business.” “The Playboy Mansion has been a creative center for Hef as his residence and workplace for the past 40 years, as it will continue to be if the property is sold,” he added.
On roughly 5 acres, the property is one of the largest in Holmby Hills and borders the Los Angeles Country Club. According to listing agentsMauricio Umansky of the Agency and Gary Gold andDrew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland, the mansion is roughly 20,000 square feet. The property includes an elaborate swimming pool and grotto, zoo and game house.
The estate is in need of renovation. “The house will require remodeling, for sure,” Mr. Umansky said, though he added that the value of the land alone is close to $100 million. The home’s interiors are “dated and will need to be remodeled and redesigned,” he said. Moreover, a buyer may want to increase the size of the house.
Acquired by Playboy Enterprises in 1971 for $1.05 million, the mansion is the longtime home of Mr. Hefner, who rents the mansion from the company for a “small, nominal amount each year,” according to a Playboy spokesperson. While Mr. Hefner’s remaining at the property is “nonnegotiable,” Mr. Umansky said, the exact terms of the arrangement will be determined during purchase negotiations.
The Mansion has six bedrooms, six full baths and two half baths, the agents said. The first floor has a great hall with 22-foot-high ceilings and custom hand-carved oak panels. Two staircases lead up to the second floor, where the master suite and other bedrooms are located, along with four offices. The living room is also used as a movie screening room, where there is a pipe organ that has been restored over the past decade. An office, with hand-carved wooden walls, has a secret door to the wine cellar. The party-ready kitchen has a butler pantry and a walk-in refrigerator and freezer.
Outside sit the heated swimming pool and a grotto, which were built in the 1970s after Mr. Hefner purchased the mansion. The cavelike grotto contains four separate hot tubs. The pool area also includes a koi pond, and an outdoor bar and kitchen. A stone bathhouse has four changing rooms, a sauna, gym and a tanning area.
The property also has a zoo with exotic birds and monkeys, and is one of only a few, if not the only, home in Los Angeles to have a zoo license, Mr. Umansky said. He added that the zoo license would transfer to the new owner along with the property.
The separate game house has poker and pool tables, pinball machines, a piano and an old-fashioned Wurlitzer jukebox with jazz recordings. The property also contains a four-bedroom guesthouse with two bathrooms, a sitting room and a solarium.
While many American real estate brokers would name features such as safe neighborhoods, proximity to top schools, and good sunlight as big factors upping a home’s value, some new elements are becoming equally important: stairs that don’t face the door, a stove that’s not placed below the master bedroom, and a bathroom that’s not in the center of the home. Thanks to growing Chinese demand for property in the United States, houses that align with good feng shui principles are earning big money and have propelled a cottage industry of feng shui-literate agents, developers, and design consultants in the U.S. real estate industry.
The results of a new survey by the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and AREAA find that the feng shui design philosophy plays a role in home selection for the vast majority Chinese-Americans. A philosophical system that translates to “wind and water” in English, feng shui is focused on harmony with the surrounding environment and has traditionally been used in China to plan the orientation, architecture, and interior design of buildings. Out of 500 Chinese-American survey respondents, a staggering 86 percent say that feng shui will play a role in their future real estate purchasing decisions. A total of 76 percent said that they are familiar with feng shui principles, with over half of those familiar saying that they use it in their daily lives. Out of those surveyed who are homeowners, 81 percent said that feng shui had factored into their purchase.
Feng shui is already having a major effect on luxury home design in America as a result. In Arcadia, California, an upscale suburb of Los Angeles nicknamed the “Chinese Beverly Hills” due to its large Chinese population, developers are buying up older houses devoid of feng shui influences, tearing them down, and constructing new ones following the proper rules governing the flow of qi, or the invisible forces that govern the universe, according to the philosophy. This includes not only floor plan and layout, but the placement of the home itself—developers are most interested in buying lots that are in the middle of the block and facing south, while corner homes are less auspicious.
Photo Courtesy of The Boutique Real Estate Group
These principles are being employed at luxury developments across America as feng shui experts are called in to guide designers on how to appeal to wealthy Chinese real estate investors flocking to the United States, after they spent $22 billion on U.S. property last year. In Queens, New York, a condominium development called The Grand at View Sky Parc placed entrances in a way that would prevent the flow of negative energies, while strategically placing stones, plants, water, and wood in its rooftop park. Meanwhile, the waterfront Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach employed Hong Kong feng shui expert Patrick Wong to make sure the design and decor of the building were feng shui-compliant for its properties, which range from $2 million to $40 million.
This big investment in feng shui can lead to some major profits for developers, as a total of 79 percent of survey respondents said they would pay an average of 16 percent more for a home with proper design. Meanwhile, 90 percent of respondents said that they believe implementing feng shui elements will help improve a home’s resale value. Agents with knowledge of feng shui are especially prone to success with Chinese buyers, as 36 percent said they wouldn’t even work with an agent with no knowledge of feng shui.
For home sellers, poor feng shui now comes at a price, since many respondents saw negative elements as “deal breakers.” A home being at the end of a dead-end street is the worst, and would prevent 31 percent of those surveyed from buying it, while 29 percent wouldn’t buy a house with stairs directly facing the front door or with a sloped backyard, and 24 percent couldn’t accept front and back doors aligned with one another.
Feng shui, of course, isn’t the only important selling point for a home marketed to Chinese buyers. In Arcadia, new homes are also being tricked out with wine cellars, marble-lined double-entry halls, multiple master-bedroom suites to accommodate extended family, and separate “wok kitchens.”
Each year, agents and brokers nationwide continue to raise the bar for the quality of real estate videos. Properties are showcased in ever more unique fashions. Homes for sale are better staged and styled to help buyers envision themselves living there. All in all, more effort is put into making these videos visual masterpieces — ones that compel agents’ audiences, earn them new leads, and nurture existing ones. In 2015, this real estate video trend continued, as countless great listing videos were created by industry pros across the country — including the 10 featured below.
Check out each of these stunning real estate listing videos from 2015 and discover what makes them great … and how to emulate them with your own real estate video marketing strategy.
1930 Providence Road, Charlotte, North Carolina — Savvy + Co Real Estate
Knowing your audience: That’s how you win over real estate buyer leads. In the case of this gorgeous residence in Charlotte, the agency representing the listing, Savvy + Co Real Estate, knew the outdoor space would appeal to those who like hosting get-togethers: family BBQs, swanky pool parties, and everything in between. Telling the story of planning such a gathering through the eyes of a would-be owner is a perfect way to exhibit what life could be like for potential buyers. Of course, this narrative is just a part of the promotional angle of the video — showing the owner stroll through the listing also gives viewers a crystal clear view of every facet of the home.
1972 Outpost Circle, Los Angeles, California — The Boutique Real Estate Group
Another real estate video that offers a glimpse of life for the homeowner through an actor comes from one of the best-of-the-best listing video producers, The Boutique Real Estate Group of Orange County, California. The production of this video is stellar: from the background music that spurs our homeowner to sway rhythmically throughout the residence to the overhead drone shots of the Hollywood Hills. While selling a high-end home in L.A. may seem like an easy gig, it still takes a lot to stand out in the luxury market, and BREG does an incredible job at showing off this particular property in a distinct light.
RUHM Luxury Marketing is no stranger to making lists of the best real estate listing videos — and there’s a clear reason. The company goes above and beyond — spending who knows how much — to craft award-worthy videos that look like those an Oscar-winning director would shoot. For this listing video of the lavish Hurlingham estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, the video marketing agency went the extra mile to showcase not just the home, which looks beyond pristine, but also the expansive property surrounding the house itself, which includes the best nature has to offer and a picturesque farm. There’s also insights from the estate manager and even nearby residents. Admittedly, this is a home that’s aimed at the super-millionaire, but the real estate video still shines brightly and does an astounding job of convincing any viewer the residence would be right for them.
6454 Shinnwood Road, Wilmington, North Carolina
Aside from creating first-rate tips-and-tricks real estate videos to her home buyer and seller audience, Edwards does a wonderful job with her listing videos. From start to finish, you get the complete sense that she has her business in order. We see her chic branding at the very beginning of the clip and immediately know how to find her online when she shares her social media info. Then, we get to hear from her and the dedication she and her team put into learning the ins and outs of her new listing. Finally, we see every detail of the home as Edwards and Co. tour the property. Oh, and the drone footage of the stunning water out back certainly doesn’t hurt.
12958 Northside Road, Monticello, Prince Edward Island, Canada
No matter how amazing your real estate listing video looks, if no one knows how to get in touch with you, it probably won’t help you secure more leads and clients. Michael Poczynek of Prince Edward Islandunderstands this: He wisely incorporates every potential way in which his audience could contact him in the opening seconds of his videos and posts his phone numbers at the bottom of the screen throughout the clip. Add in the fact that he explains everything a prospective home buyer could ever dream of knowing about the Monticello home for sale, the ocean nearby, the surrounding community, and the intricate details of the property’s interior and exterior and you’ve got one extremely well-produced video. It’s little wonder as to why Poczynek has accrued hundreds of thousands of views on his YouTube channel.
4847 Rim Road, Santa Barbara, California
Ideally, your real estate videos will provide clarity regarding your listings, like an oral explanation of the properties’ dimensions and features or text overlays highlighting updates made to the residence. Sometimes, though, all you need to do is let the home for sale and the surrounding area speak for itself, as real estate cinematographer and drone photography specialist Douglas Thron does for this video he shot for a Southern California listing. In just four minutes, Thron was able to exhibit practically every major attribute of the community, including the stunning pier and cliffside area, and the home itself.
3168 Countryside Drive, Brampton, Ontario, Canada — Open House Television and Royal LePage Real Estate Services
Taking essentially the opposite approach from the previous video is the firm Royal LePage, which employed Open House Television to create an intricately detailed listing video that spends just as much time and effort explaining the ins and outs of the property — everything from the dimensions of the marble tiles in the foyer to the pre-finished Oak hardwood floors in the dining room. When it comes to promoting a home for sale, there’s no such thing as providing too much information to prospective buyers, so if you produce a script that’s 2,000 words long, don’t feel the need to shorten it for the sake of brevity. Instead, do what the real estate agency behind this recording does and let no home characteristics go unexplained.
7320 Popp Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana — Wieland Real Estate
If there was an award for “Best Real Estate Listing Video Staging,” this one from Indiana-based Wieland Real Estate would certainly get a nomination. The warm (literally and figuratively) and inviting living room, cozy home office, book-filled bedroom, and bright kitchen are just some of the many astounding rooms we pass through via this expertly crafted digital tour. Add in the elegant ballad strumming in the background and the perfect branding to close out the video (both the cameo from the agency’s head Troy Wieland and the prominent logo and call to action) and you’ve got yourself one phenomenally developed listing promotion.
333 22nd Street, Santa Monica, California — Christophe Choo
Mr. Choo has got this digital real estate marketing thing down pat. After explaining how he drives thousands upon thousands of visitors to his real estate website each month via his organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts at Inman Connect San Francisco, it became clear he’s one the premier online marketers in the industry. This listing video is just the icing on the cake: Having already mastered written content, Choo and his team headed to the world of video, where they’ve produced awe-inspiring clips like the one above that really make viewers feel like they’re invited guests into this multimillion-dollar Santa Monica manor. As the tour guide, Choo does a remarkable job of suavely describing each of the home’s biggest draws. Should you ever decide to get in front of the camera for your own real estate videos, use Choo as an agent to imitate.
1611 Mokulua Drive, Kailua, Hawaii — 360 Property Videos and Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties
It’s definitely difficult to screw up a real estate video in such a magnificent locale such as Hawaii, but even with the resplendent natural setting and a handsome high-end home to boot, it takes a lot of effort to pull of a video like this one for Honolulu-based agent Tracy Allen’s luxury listing. Those aspiring to live the seaside life with warm weather year-round and easy access to the beach, trails, and mountains are clearly the primary demographic this clip targets. And though this may be a limited audience, the production value of the video likely attracted a hefty number of prospective buyers.
Get help with your real estate video production for your YouTube channel in our detailed Academy post, which explains how to brand your account, the types of real estate videos to create, and much more.
What real estate marketing tools do you use to create listing and other videos? How do you come up with real estate marketing ideas for your videos? Share your ideation and production methods with us below!
There was a guy, and he had a DREAM! Meet Raj Qsar; Founder, Visionary and ‘Chief Dreamer’ at The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County AND NOW also in their brand new swanky office in Corona Del Mar, LITERALLY 1 block from the gorgeous beach!
Raj is a differentiator. He stands out and that was the plan. The Boutique Real Estate Group tell AMAZING visual stories with high end, stunningly gorgeous videos and by asking (and answering) the all important question ‘Who wants to live in this home?’
(Raj referenced a particular story where the home revolved around a baby grand piano and the song “The Summer Wind”. Check it out HERE)
Raj Can’t do it alone. He made it clear on the journey to achieving all of his dreams, he needed to establish a great team where each member has their strength and support each other. He’s heavily invested in marketing because as he believes, his clients deserve it!
“Our business is client driven. We are doing what we do here not because we want to be a video production company, and not because we want to be an ad agency or marketing company. We’re doing it because it gives our clients the best chance for success. Done.” ~ Raj Qsar
We also talk briefly about friend Mark Fitzpatrick and his super high end marketing agency RUHM for those VERY SPECIAL unique properties that require even more. (A-MAZING mini movies, websites, print, social, analytics & PR so you’ll want to check out FOR SURE!)
There’s a reason for every choice. Every detail… every touch point…every consideration has been made when you experience The Boutique Real Estate Group and that extends from the moment you engage whether online or off, in their swanky new diggs, and throughout the real estate process, and everyone works hard to set the bar high and ensure the client has an extraordinary experience!
The market has spoken, and we say ‘Boutiquify us!’ #tbreg
With the announcement of the new TBREG office in LA, I thought it would be fun to talk about the most iconic residential house of Los Angeles. Arguably, this is the most photographed house in the world – Case Study House 22, or the Stahl House. And it’s right here in our own city! So, let’s get started…
What exactly is a Case Study House?
After World War II, and with it the return of its soldiers, America found the need for innovative,
functional residential housing. Arts and Architecture magazine (which is no longer in existence) ran a 20 year long project commissioning prominent architects of the day to design homes, making the plans available to be reconstructed inexpensively. This type of program is unique to this day. 36 homes, which re-defined residential housing, were designed. Most of the Case Study Houses were built in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, although some never saw completion. The most photographed and famous is Case Study House 22, also known as The Stahl House, and is located in Hollywood.
Image (c) 2010 Stahl House, Inc. Photographer: Nickolas Loftus
Who lived in Case Study House 22, and how much did it cost to construct?
The Stahl family, who was neither famous or overly rich, lived in Case Study House #22. Buck Stahl and his wife, Carlotta, had three children. The land at 1635 Woods Drive in Hollywood was purchased by Buck Stahl in 1954 for $13,500 dollars. This piece of real estate was considered undesirable, because although it had great views of Los Angeles, it is on the side of the cliff with a very steep grade. Buck designed many aspects of the home himself before seeking out an architect. The project was completed 13 months later for $37,500, complete with a swimming pool and 2,200 square feet of living space. The 2 bedroom/2 bath home was named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1999. The home today looks much the same as it did when Stahl family was residing there, and much effort is put into maintaining
Who was the architect?
Pierre Koenig was an American architect who received his degree from USC, where he also later taught while continuing his practice. Along with CSH 22, he designed many other modern residential structures, including one other Case Study House (number 21, which sold at auction for $3.1 million in 2007).
What role did the photography of Julius Shulman play in promoting the home? Julius Shulman is a celebrated post war modern architectural photographer. The list of awards and
honors presented to Shulman throughout the years is long, and includes the American Institute of Architecture Gold Medal for architectural photography in 1969. He lived from 1910 until 2009. A critically acclaimed movie gives much detail to his life (poster pictured below), and is a great way to learn more about his extraordinary career. (Visual Acoustics is available on Netflix).
Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program published by Tashen
Visual Acousitcs: The Modernism of Julius Shulman: A Film by Eric Bricker poster – background photo by Julius Shulman
Why the obsession with The Stahl House?
The Stahl House embodies the Californian, and inherently, the American Dream. Although this piece of real estate was far from ideal, a beautiful, functional home that re-defined single family dwellings was built on it. A typical family lived here, which could have been you or me. The Stahl family made the home their own, tying their own stories and memories into it. This makes the residence all the more relatable. The photography and artistry that is drawn to this dwelling creates a continual sense of wonder, fame, and nostalgia.
Can I visit CSH 22?
Yes! A visit to this remarkable, historical home is worth the trip (I’ve done done it myself and recommend it). Tours are available for purchase through www.stahlhouse.com, and start at $35 dollars per adult (using one 1 car). Keep in mind that the home is located in a residential neighborhood, and in a effort to not disturb the surrounding community, tours and limited, as well as the number of vehicles allowed at any given time. Tickets must be purchased in advance (no ‘walk-ins’). All information derived from stahlhouse.com, The Stahl House, Inc. and Julius Shulman: Architecture and it’s Photography, TASCHEN America LLC
To connect with Kelly please shoot her an email at Kelly.Enciso@TheBoutiqueRE.com or visit her here.