Buying a Home as a Celebrity: A Look Into How Fame Affects Home Transactions

June 3, 2022

When you're a celebrity, almost everything in your life is under the public microscope. But what about things that really, truly need to stay private, such as personal financial details? How do celebs keep their homes a safe refuge from the paparazzi and eager fans? The average homebuyer never has to think about how to keep their private lives private, but for a celebrity, privacy in home transactions is a top concern.

Want to know how some of the biggest names in Hollywood can keep their home purchases (and sales) top secret? Here's a look into how celebrities buy and sell homes on the down-low.

Do the Rich and Famous Get Mortgages? You Bet They Do.

You might think that a movie star with an annual income in the hundreds of thousands wouldn't even have to know the definition of "debt-to-income ratio," much less take out a mortgage, but plenty of celebrities do take out loans to buy their homes. The difference is in what kind of loans they can get.

If you've seen the palatial celebrity homes some stars inhabit, it will come as no surprise that the price tags are equally tremendous. Most of the time, someone wanting to purchase such an expensive home will be looking at taking out a jumbo loan, which is riskier for the lender. However, with incomes larger than most, celebs can often find banks that see the long-term investment of signing a mortgage contract with them as beneficial. This lets them get approved for loan amounts that many buyers wouldn't be able to.

Do Celebrities Put Their Own Name on the Deed? Not Generally.

The second major difference is in the level of anonymity celebrities take pains to create. Housing transactions are part of the public record—any enterprising journalist could get their hands on a star's home address if the house had their own name attached. That's not to mention the personal safety concerns that come part and parcel of being so high-profile in the eyes of the public.

Instead, celebrities usually buy homes through a trust or LLC with a name that's not easy to connect to them. Some even go the extra mile and have someone they're not related to buy the home for them, using the celebrity's money, just so none of the paperwork has their name on it. Even then, people still manage to dig up the details, which just goes to show that no amount of privacy measures can be considered overkill.

Not even arranging things through a business manager, swearing their real estate agents (and everyone on the agent's team, the selling agent's team, the potential home sellers, the real estate lawyers, etc.) to secrecy with an NDA, and clearing everyone out of the home before attending a home show is guaranteed to delay things for long.

Do Celebrities Ever Buy in "Normal" Neighborhoods? Sometimes, Yes.

Many celebrities, quite understandably, go for gated communities, homes with expansive grounds, or guarded high-rises with other celebrities where they can get some distance from the public's scrutinizing eye without too much difficulty. However, there are circumstances when a celebrity might buy elsewhere.

Knowing that the locals are protective of celebrity neighbors is certainly an appealing prospect for those stars who don't want to live in a figurative (or literal) ivory tower. Many celebrities that travel a lot, such as athletes, have a hometown base and a home in the city in which they play. Celebrities may even rent homes in places that they don't intend to stay long-term, such as for movie filming.

The Life of a Star Has Surprising Knock-On Effects

It might be easy to forget that celebrities face many of the same experiences that the rest of the public does, but they do. Home buying is one area where their wealth and fame might give them some advantages, but can also make the process much more complicated. From finding a property they like to negotiating a price and taking out a mortgage, the whole ordeal can be just as frustrating as it is for anyone else—and sometimes even more so.

 

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