Trump’s former $95 million mansion to be torn down

Published: Saturday, March 26, 2016 @ 8:25 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 27, 2016 @ 1:08 PM


            The Palm Beach Architectural Commission has green-lighted the demolition of a mansion built by the late health-care magnate Abe Gosman at 515 N. County Road. Completed in 1988, it faces 475 feet of beachfront. Photo courtesy of RobertStevens.com
The Palm Beach Architectural Commission has green-lighted the demolition of a mansion built by the late health-care magnate Abe Gosman at 515 N. County Road. Completed in 1988, it faces 475 feet of beachfront. Photo courtesy of RobertStevens.com

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An oceanfront mansion Donald Trump sold to a Russian billionaire for $95 million in 2008 is going to be torn down.

The demolition of the estate, which was the largest single residential sale ever in Palm Beach, Florida, was approved this week.

>> PHOTOS: Former Trump estate

Long before he became the 2016 Republican presidential front-runner, Trump purchased the mansion in 2004 at a foreclosure auction for $41.4 million. He then renovated the property before selling it to fertilizer mogul Dmitry Rybolovlev in July 2008, five months before the Great Recession hit Palm Beach.

The Architectural Commission green-lighted the demolition in a 4-3 vote.

Commissioners were not given specifics about what is being planned at the property, which measures 6 acres with 475 feet of oceanfront views.

But sources familiar with the estate told Palm Beach Daily News that it may be subdivided and redeveloped into two or three houses.

The main house encompasses about 62,000 square feet. Outbuildings bring the total square footage to 81,738, according to property records.

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Landscape architect Lynn Bender told the board that once the demolition was complete, the lot would be resodded until plans for it were finalized. Only the perimeter walls, fences, access gates, columns and small portion of main entry driveway will be retained. A fountain at the main entrance also will be removed.

Known as Maison de L’Amitie, the estate was the longtime home of the late health care magnate Abe Gosman, who lost it in foreclosure. Gosman died in 2013.

Over the past several years, the estate was among the disputed assets in contentious divorce proceedings, stemming from 2009, between Rybolovlev and his ex-wife, Elena. Last June, a Swiss judge reduced her $4.8 billion payout to about $604 million, but the couple reportedly settled for an undisclosed amount said to be close to $1 billion. Details were also not disclosed about whether ownership of the house had changed.

Commissioners discussed the project for about 25 minutes Wednesday. Newly-elected chairman Richard Sammons recused himself from the agenda item because of conflict, although he did not provide specifics as to why.

Anthony Mauro, of Mauro Brothers LLC, spoke on behalf of the owner’s representatives at the meeting.

A carriage house built in the 1930s is the oldest building on the property. The French provincial-style main house, finished by Gosman in 1988, has one story and a basement. “The house is in relatively good shape,” Mauro said.

Commissioner Michael Small said he was given a tour. “It truly is an exquisite property,” he said.

Mauro said there are a number of people interested in buying it.

Vice Chairwoman Ann Vanneck voted against the demolition. After the vote she explained that in demolition cases, commissioners usually are given an itemized list of trees that will be affected by the demolition with corresponding photos. Applicants typically include a notation for each plant listed as to whether plans call for it will be left in place, relocated or removed.

Real estate firms merge to form Coldwell Banker Lingle

Published: Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 10:19 PM

Managing Partner Ron Sweeney stands outside Coldwell Banker Heritage's new office on Yankee Street in September 2017. The firm has now merged with Richmond, Indiana-based Lingle Real Estate Inc. to become Coldwell Banker Lingle.
KAITLIN SCHROEDER / STAFF
Managing Partner Ron Sweeney stands outside Coldwell Banker Heritage's new office on Yankee Street in September 2017. The firm has now merged with Richmond, Indiana-based Lingle Real Estate Inc. to become Coldwell Banker Lingle.(KAITLIN SCHROEDER / STAFF)

Coldwell Banker Heritage based in Dayton merged with Lingle Real Estate Inc. in Richmond, Indiana.

The merger creates Coldwell Banker Lingle.

Paul Lingle, son of Bill Lingle, who started the company n 1959, will continue to manage the sales and operations of Coldwell Banker Lingle, according to a release sent Thursday night.

This is the 50th anniversary year for Coldwell Banker Heritage. 

Both real estate firms have been top in their market for decades.

Coldwell Banker Lingle will be supported by Coldwell Banker Heritage’s marketing and technology resources, and Coldwell Banker will gain a presence in Wayne County and eastern Indiana where Lingle Real Estate has long been the most trusted name, the release stated.

7 easiest ways to get into real estate investing now

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:59 PM

When most others are afraid to act...economics shows that's when you should seize the opportunity. Clark discusses the "get rich slow" tack of real estate investing.

Only 15 percent of Americans are investing in real estate other than their primary residence, according to a real estate investing study by Realty Shares. In fact, two-thirds of Americans believe that investing in real estate is too difficult, too costly or beyond their capabilities. This might be true if they were considering commercial real estate investing, which can be a risky move for new investors, but there are safer options.

What is real estate investing?

Investing in real estate means buying property to earn income and build wealth, either on your own or with the help of real estate investment companies. Many investors own more than one property, and their earnings include rent paid by tenants and the equity they build through appreciation. Investment-property owners have different tax considerations for their investment properties than they do for their primary residence.

Investing in real estate doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are seven ways to start investing in real estate now:

Rental properties

Buying rental property is one way to get started in real estate investing. Buying a rental property starts with choosing the right property, and then finding renters, maintaining the property, dealing with tenants and collecting rent each month.

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One stumbling block might be locating an affordable property worth investing in. “Traditional real estate investing is alive and well, although it’s largely dependent on geography,” said Aaron Milledge, founding partner and chief compliance officer of Targeted Wealth Solutions, LLC. “In some places, home prices have appreciated so much that it may be difficult to find a lucrative deal.”

Rental properties not only provide rental income but also tax benefits not available with other investment opportunities. An additional advantage is that you have more control over your rental property than you do over investments such as the stock market.

Live-in flips

House flipping involves buying a property at a discount, improving it for the purpose of appreciating its value, and then selling it at a profit. A live-in flip is a property the investor lives in while renovating it.

Living in your flip benefits you in two ways: First, you can make money when you sell the house later. Second, you avoid having to pay for a separate home to live in.

“Flipping a house — acquiring, repairs, and selling — can be completed in six months and result in a substantial payday,” said Lucas Machado, real estate investor and founder of Home Heroes, LLC. “Flips can earn tens of thousands of dollars in a short time frame. It’s the best strategy for those that need capital in the near future.”

Multifamily homes

Multifamily properties are buildings that house more than one family. The fact that people always need a place to live results in consistent demand for rental units regardless of the overall economic environment.

Investing in multifamily homes can be lucrative if it’s done properly. Justin Taber, real estate investor and a licensed realtor in Ohio, recommends living onsite. “While you live in this property, you will be living either for free or heavily subsidized by renters,” he said. “When you move out, you will be making money. In about 30 years, once this property is paid off, your cash flow will be quite substantial — just in time for you to start thinking about retirement.”

>> We Can't Afford To Live The American Dream

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is one of the newest and easiest ways to access the real estate markets. Rather than buying an entire property or financing a development project on your own, you can buy into a very small share of a property or project using a real estate crowdfunding platform.

Not all platforms are created equal. Look for one led by real estate professionals qualified to screen investments. From there, you can choose which specific real estate investments you want to buy into. Distribution of future gains is proportionally based on the ownership shares investors purchased. “These private placements are illiquid, though, meaning that you may have a hard time selling your investment if you need to raise cash quickly,” said Milledge.

REITs

Real estate investment trusts are a special form of security that invests in real estate. Unlike most other investment vehicles, REITs must pay out at least 90 percent of their taxable income as dividends to investors. When you invest in a REIT, you’re essentially paying a professional management team to do the work of investing your money in real estate while you reap the profits of REITs.

REITs are an easy way to invest in real estate because you don’t need tons of money. “The initial contribution to invest in a REIT is very low,” said John Barnes, certified financial planner and founder of The Annuity Assistant. “For example, you could buy shares of a REIT which manages apartment complexes for $500. Contrast this with a direct purchase in an apartment building, which might cost you $500,000 and the many risks that go with it.”

Real estate wholesaling

Real estate wholesaling is when there is a middleman involved in the transaction between the seller and the buyer, with the wholesaler serving as the middleman.

Kyle Alfriend, owner of Alfriend Real Estate Group, sums up what it’s like to be the middleman. “You focus on only finding the property, negotiating the price, and then selling that agreement to another investor,” he said. “This is called wholesaling and requires no out-of-pocket money from you.”

The fine line of separation between real estate wholesaling, which doesn’t require a real estate license, and real estate brokering, which does require a license, has led some states to set guidelines for wholesaling activities. Texas law, for example, requires that unlicensed wholesalers disclose their financial interest to prospective buyers.

Rent out a space in your home or on your property

Renting out part of your home or property is probably the most immediately lucrative investment you can make, and you won’t need outside funding or a new piece of property. Instead, find opportunities within the property you already own.

Perhaps you’re a homeowner with a garage apartment that only needs a bit of TLC to make it ready for renters. Or maybe you have a spare room in your home that’s sitting empty. With a little bit of money up front, you can start renting it to a tenant almost immediately. Alternatively, advertise the room as a vacation rental on an online booking site such as Airbnb.

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(Michael McDonald contributed to the reporting for this article.)

House hunters, here are 5 secrets to getting the best home loan

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

Getting a home mortgage loan is one of the most important financial commitments most people will ever make, since the terms of your loan can affect your finances in a big way for years to come.

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Start shopping for a loan before you actually begin looking at homes, since this lets you know where you stand and gives you greater negotiating power with sellers.

The following are five important things you should know before and during the home loan shopping process:

Know your credit score

Your credit score has a great effect on how easily you'll be able to get a home loan as well as on the interest rate you'll pay, according to Realtor.com. Your score takes into account your credit history, current debt and other factors. Lenders use it to determine your credit-worthiness.

Check your credit report before you start the process of applying for a home loan. This way, you can correct any errors – which do occur sometimes. If your score is particularly low, you may want to delay applying for a loan until you can improve it.

Research, and research some more.

Your Realtor may recommend a mortgage lender, and it doesn't hurt to use this as a starting point. However, if you fail to shop around, it could cost you a substantial amount of money over the years.

Consumer Reports recommends casting a wide net when you're shopping for a home loan. Try large national banks, regional banks, credit unions, online banks and mortgage brokers, but be sure to compare them within a few days of each other since rates can fluctuate.

Make sure you’re making an accurate comparison on loan quotes.

When you're getting quotes from several lenders, you'll need to make sure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison, according to CBS News. The loan terms should be the same, and so should the loan type (variable or fixed-rate, for example).

"Points" are also an important consideration. These upfront fees reduce the interest rate on your loan, and you should get each potential lender to give you a rate with and without points so you can make an accurate comparison.

Ever heard of PMI? You might need to get to know it.

If you're not making a down payment of at least 20 percent, your lender will usually require PMI, or private mortgage insurance. Although you're the one paying for the insurance, it doesn't protect your interests. Instead, it protects your lender in case you default on your loan.

Forbes recommends saving up for a 20 percent down payment if you can, since PMI adds to your monthly costs. 

Prepare yourself for closing costs.

Be aware of the closing costs you'll pay as part of your loan, Investopedia recommends. You'll be stuck with some of them, but others can sometimes be negotiated. These include application fees, underwriting fees, mortgage rate lock fees and loan processing fees.

As a starting point, Bankrate lists the average closing costs by state, so you can have an indication of how reasonable your potential lender's fees are.

Equifax example shows what companies shouldn’t do

Published: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 @ 9:46 AM

AP Photo/Mike Stewart
AP Photo/Mike Stewart

As the chief executive of Equifax Inc. steps down, a Dayton-area cyber-security expert says the company’s example in the past few weeks has been a case study in what companies in similar situations shouldn’t do.

“When there’s a potential loss of data or (a sign that) data has been compromised, the first thing not to do is start covering your own butt,” said Shawn Walker, co-founder and vice president of Miamisburg-based Secure Cyber Defense LLC.

Richard Smith, the chief executive of Equifax Inc., is retiring less than a month after his company first publicly acknowledged that it sat on news of a broad cyber-theft of customer financial data.

The retirement is effective today, according to a company statement. Mark Feidler, an Equifax board member, will serve as “non-executive chairman,” Equifax said. Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., president of company’s Asia Pacific region, has been appointed as interim CEO.

RELATEDSenator calls for SEC, Justice investigation into Equifax

“The board remains deeply concerned about and totally focused on the cyber-security incident,” Feidler said in the company’s statement. “We are working intensely to support consumers and make the necessary changes to minimize the risk that something like this happens again.

“Speaking for everyone on the board, I sincerely apologize,” he added. “We have formed a special committee of the board to focus on the issues arising from the incident and to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken.”

RELATEDEquifax steps back from ‘forced arbitration’

Equifax — one of the biggest consumer credit reporting agencies — acknowledged earlier in September that it suffered a “cyber-security incident” that affected about 143 million U.S. consumers.

The unauthorized access to the company’s data happened from mid-May through July this year, but the company did not alert customers until about six weeks after it was uncovered.

Information stolen primarily included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and even some driver’s license numbers, the company said.

Walker said Equifax is showing that companies need detailed plans in place to deal with cyber attacks before they happen.

“We’re seeing an example where companies at the highest level are starting to feel the blowback that will come of not adequately protecting data,” Walker said Tuesday.

There were also reports of Equifax executives selling company stock after the breach was discovered but before it was publicly acknowledged.