From the category archives:

Out-of-State Real Estate

Today I am in Austin, TX for a luxury home conference and had the opportunity to tour some beautiful homes currently for sale. While the Texas climate is completely different than Minnesota, I did find one thing that Austin and Minneapolis – St. Paul have in common… a river runs through them.

As most rivers do, they shape the future of any city. Without the Mississippi River, the Twin Cities as we know it might not exist –  lumber and flour barons would never have come to the region to make their fortunes. I am sure the same goes for Austin and the Colorado River (not the one you are thinking of, this one is all Texas).

So, it should be no surprise that some of the highest priced real estate involves water. In Austin, million dollar luxury homes sit on top of limestone bluffs over-looking various man-made reservoir lakes on the river. With sweeping views of the landscape, how could you not love gazing out at this every morning?

Austin Blufftop Panoramic Water View

Of course the really expensive homes must sit on the water. I am told by the agents here that waterfront homes double the price of the home, which is not too different than the Twin Cities. Homes on the Mississippi River, or any of our large lakes like Lake Minnetonka can result in millions of dollars more in a home’s price.  The home below had stone steps literally taking you down into the river (really cool!) not to mention a nice breeze coming off the water.

Austin Waterfront Luxury Home

Many times I find that not-so- luxury homes are still pretty expensive if they sit on the water. The current trend is to tear these houses down, and build a big luxury mansion in its spot. However the economy is slowing tear-downs in Minneapolis and the Metro area, with property owners rethinking the amount of money they want to sink into a large project.

Just remember, waterfront homes come with a heavy price tag so be prepared when its time to go shopping! Don’t suffer from sticker shock!


If you are fan of the Godfather movie, then you should recognise this home in an instant. It is the home of the famous “horse head in the bed” scene. A beautiful mansion located in Beverly Hill, Californian, it is also for sale, at a record list price of $165 Million.

Originally built for Milton Getz of Union Bank and Trust in 1926, the home was designed by renowned architect Gordon Kaufmann in the Mediterranean style. An expansive addition in excess of 20,000 square feet was completed in 1992 . Another famous person attached to the home is William Randolf Hearst, the infamous newspaper tycoon. This luxury estate has six buildings, three swimming pools,and a movie theater, all nestled on over 6 acres of prime real estate. With over 72,000 square feet, I think you could easily get lost trying to view all the rooms. There are 29 bedrooms and 40 bathrooms!

The property is listed with Westside Estate Agency in Malibu, California.


If you are looking to buy a second home and love the Gulf Coast, now is a great time to consider purchasing a beach front property or condominium. A hidden area that many don’t know about is Pensacola Beach.

Pensacola Beach is the located on the Panhandle of Florida and is the farthest west you can go before hitting Alabama. It is known for its emerald blue waters and sugar fine sand. It still has the southern town atmosphere with a twist of luxury. Unlike Destin, a renowned tourist hot spot 45 minutes east, Pensacola Beach has kept its integrity by not allowing highrise condominiums to dominate its beach front, and keeping a good mix of local residential and smaller condos for visitors.

There are many, many fine homes for sale on the beach, as well as units in the newly constructed Portofino, a true luxury resort. One reason it is a good time to buy is that is seems like everyone is selling. The market crashed in the area late 2005 and has only gotten worse. Buyers are scarce, so the market is supersaturated with units for sale. There are currently 75 homes for sale and 336 condominium units, which is big for the beach.

If you think you might be interested in possible investment on the Gulf Coast, give me a call. I lived off the beach for four years and know the area well. I am also licensed to sell real estate in the state of Florida, and was a Realtor while I lived in Florida.