What Is a Luxury Home, and What Makes It So Special?

kitchen2If you’ve ever looked over real estate listings and came across an ad for a “luxury home,” you might have thought, “Wow, this one must be special!” But what exactly defines a luxury home, anyway? Is it determined by price, location, square footage, or some magic combination of all of the above?

Well, for starters, “luxury” isn’t strictly about how much cash you blow on the purchase. It’s much more subjective, and a moving target based on what a particular area’s high-end buyers have come to expect.

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Foreign Buyers and Residency Requirements

Header ForeignRealEstateLawsQ: I’ve read that some countries require buyers to actually take up residence and have a tax domicile in order to purchase a home there. How exactly is this done, and what are some countries that require this? 

“As you might suspect, the laws in every country differ on this issue and as a result, so do the solutions,” said Hope P. Krebs, partner and co-chair of the International Practice Group at the Duane Morris law firm in Philadelphia. 

Many countries—like France and Mexico— have a so-called “domicile” requirement—meaning you have to live in the country to buy a home there, said John Olivieri, partner of the global Private Clients Group at White & Case LLP in New York. But there are workarounds.

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Essential Apps for Your Smart Home Hub

If you were lucky enough to receive a Amazon Echo or Google Home this holiday season, chances are you’re still getting to know your new smart home speaker. (If you weren’t so lucky, maybe treat yourself to the present Santa forgot?) Below we’ve collected a few of our favorite apps for these in-home hubs that will allow you to unleash their full potential.

Note: We’re eschewing the the more obvious (yet certainly useful!) individual service-control apps like Philips Hue (lights) or Nest (temperature) for the more overlooked and under-appreciated apps. And while we’re saying apps, Amazon calls Alexa’s (the brains behind the Echo) third-party services “skills” while Google’s Home refers to them as “actions,” as they are both engaging in the marketing illusion that you have an artificially intelligent entity in your home and not a short and stout, yet undeniably smart, speaker.

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San Diego Home Values Near $600 billion

sandiego1The total value of homes in San Diego County reached $596 billion in 2016, up 6 percent from the year before, said a study by real estate website Zillow. It follows a national trend of increasing home values, rising 5.7 percent in the same time period.

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9 Things to Prevent Home Buyer's Remorse

blog dynamic 09Any home buyer understands the generic “before you buy” to-do list: Check out the schools. Knock on your future neighbors’ doors. Get an inspection. Stop by at night. 

But in order to truly do your due diligence, you have to get even more proactive—and sometimes just a bit nosy. We know your pile of home-buying homework is huge, and you don’t want to add more to your to-do list. But the payoff of all this extra sniffing around can be truly substantial.Trust us on this one, OK? Here are nine things that home buyers often forget to check that can cause massive headaches—and costly expenses—down the line.

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5 Things To Know Before Buying A Winter Vacation Home

6If home ownership is the first cornerstone of the American Dream, then a quiet cabin by the lake (if not a beach house with a view of a breathtaking sunset) in the mountains as far away from a Wi-Fi hot spot as possible probably runs a close second. Indeed, overly-wired and Internet-saturated Americans are looking to the peace and quiet of a cabin again. Zach Klein, the co-founder of Vimeo and the current chief executive at DIY.org, an online school for kids, recently wrote a best-selling book on the thousands of Americans who have gone to the backwoods to build their own.

Of course, you don’t have to saw your own logs to get the log-cabin effect. Heather Barbosa, a 45-year-old architectural project manager in Fullerton, Calif., bought a two-bedroom cabin in Big Bear, Calif., near the popular ski resort in 2003 with some money her grandmother left her. She uses it four times a year, but rents it out for 8 to 10 weekends a year as well. “It’s really a staple of our family now and a cheap vacation for us, ” she said. “Now that we’ve paid it off it becomes positive cash flow for us too.”

So if you’re looking to the mountains for some solitude, here are five things to consider.

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Anonymity Can Be Hard To Come By

Header ForeignRealEstateLawsWhen high net worth individuals sell real estate, they often go the off-market route to maintain their privacy. But buyers seeking that same anonymity have to jump through more hoops—and spend extra time and money while doing it—to keep details about themselves and their property decisions out of the public eye, experts say.

Some buyers want to keep their identity private so it doesn’t impact price negotiations for a new property, while others want to ensure a massive purchase doesn’t negatively impact their larger business presence. But most just want to maintain their safety and security, said Jonathan Nash, a Los Angeles-based agent at Hilton & Hyland.

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