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Chris Paciello, ex-mobster turned celebrity club owner buys Orbie’s Miami spread



Chris Paciello, ex-mobster turned celebrity club owner buys Orbie's Miami spread

He made her an offer that was tough to refuse.

Zaki Amin, the widower-husband of the late celebrity hair stylist Oribe, has sold their Miami Beach mansion to Brooklyn-born Chris Paciello — an ex-mobster turned club owning FBI informant who also hobnobbed with celebrities.

The Mediterranean-style villa at 5645 North Bay Road was last asking $3.8 million.

Charged in the murder of a woman shot in the head during a Staten Island home invasion, Paciello served six years on racketeering charges and became an owner of South Beach nightspots including Club Liquid, with Madonna pal Ingrid Casares as a partner.

In 2012, he opened Bianca, a restaurant, at the Delano South Beach hotel.

At 5,128 square feet, his new home features five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths and sits on 0.42 acres.

The home was built in 1931 and features cathedral-beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace, a family room with vaulted ceilings, a formal dining room and an eat-in chef’s kitchen.

There’s also a pool and outdoor kitchen on the property.

The listing brokers were Laura Cresto and Bill Hernandez, of Douglas Elliman.

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Real Estate

Hip Midcentury Home By Harold B. Zook Hits The Market In Los Angeles



harold b zook midcentury ranch home studio city

If you’re looking for a slice of Palm Springs in Los Angeles, the newly listed Lynch Residence in Studio City checks all the boxes. The midcentury gem was designed and built in 1955 by Harold B. Zook, and remains a stellar example of the architect’s mastery of form that follows function. It’s for sale at $2.6 million, according to a listing with luxury real estate specialist Donovan Healey of Hilton & Hyland.

The son of prominent Chicago architect R. Harold Zook, Harold B. Zook began his career working with celebrated architect Albert Frey, who was a founding father of modernism in Palm Springs. In addition to residential projects (some captured by photography great Julius Shulman), Zook’s works also include the Pasadena’s Saga Motor Hotel and the since-demolished Gwinn’s Drive-In Restaurant.

According to Healey, over the years, Zook-designed homes have developed a significant following among midcentury enthusiasts and are generally beloved by their owners. Celebrities have also caught the Zook craze; a few years ago, actress Mandy Moore purchased and renovated another of the architect’s homes in Pasadena.

“Harold B. Zook’s homes are coveted for their classic brick fireplaces, which are a traditional Mid-Century Modern feature. This home has been curated beautifully by the current owners, who are immensely prideful of the property,” Healey says.

Like many decades-old homes in Los Angeles, the home on Willowcrest has been updated but still retains its character details. Updates include several energy-efficient upgrades including a full-solar panel system and dual-pain, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors. “Preserved with an incredible eye for detail, this home is both period correct and meticulously updated,” the agent says.

Consider its location on a quiet cul-de-sac, among Mellenthin-designed and other character homes, and it all adds up to being a slice of Mayberry in an urban metropolis, Healey says. “You get the big city feel but you also have lots of space, lots of parking, a cul-de-sac for kids to run around, and a view of Universal Studios in the distance.”

A red-hot Los Angeles housing market in 2021

The Los Angeles housing market is currently operating at a record-breaking clip that is showing no signs of slowing down. Last month, The Los Angeles Times reported that Southern California home prices soared to an all-time high median price of $655,000, a 20.2% increase year-over-year. The median home price in Los Angeles County, specifically, now hovers above $750,000.

Healey says that available inventory has become an epidemic in itself. “There are way more buyers who have decided their home is the most important thing. Now, that’s driving the market. If you’re an agent, the buyers are coming to you,” he explains.

Among the big winners of the current home-buying craze: cash buyers. “Cash buyers are winning bids because, in some markets, the comps (comparable sales) don’t support the bids, making cash buyers even more appealing,” Healey says.

Healey believes the market has become so incredible in some segments that Westside Los Angeles prices, traditionally among the highest in Los Angeles, have started leaking over into the San Fernando Valley. “It’s an incredible time to sell if you have the right representation,” he adds.

Hilton & Hyland is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Real Estate

What To Do After Storm Damage?



Two-story brick home with storm insurance in case a storm damages the home

Over the years, many cities across the U.S., especially cities like Tampa, FL, and New Orleans, LA, have weathered brutal storms that have damaged homes, devastated communities, and had lasting impacts on their housing markets. Unfortunately, destructive storms are becoming more and more common, and it’s important to know what to do after a storm has damaged your home. 

If a storm damages your home, it can feel like your life is suddenly flipped upside down. You may feel overwhelmed with the destruction the storm has caused, and it can be difficult to know what to do first. But careful planning before a storm hits can help you navigate the challenging waters afterward, so you can return to normalcy as quickly as possible. So what should you do after a natural disaster? Here are 5 steps to take so you can be prepared if a storm damages your home. 

1) Be careful and stay alert

The destruction and aftermath of a storm of any kind can pose serious injuries. Once you’re certain you and your household members are safe and unharmed, take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. It’s common to come across hazards from storm damage like broken glass, exposed nails, or displaced screws, so keep an eye out. Be alert of unsecured piles of debris like caved-in roofing materials, standing water, and collapsed walls. 

It’s important to always assume that downed power lines are still energized and dangerous. Stay as far away from the power lines if possible and alert the police if you find downed power lines in your neighborhood. Additionally, if you smell gas, immediately shut off any gas valves to prevent further danger.

2)  Assess the damage and take photos of the storm damage

After the storm has passed and before contacting your insurance company, assess the storm damage to your home. To ensure you’re fully compensated, take pictures of any interior and exterior damage to your home. Your house could have structural damage, so always be cautious as you’re moving about your home. When you’re inspecting the interior and exterior, record any of the following:

  • Roof lifting and lost shingles. Be alert of any holes or leaks in the roof, split seams, dents on vents and gutters, missing, broken, or dented shingles. 
  • Missing or damaged exterior siding. Rain can cause damage to siding and strong winds can tear it right off.
  • Broken windows and destroyed doors. The wind itself as well as the debris it carries can easily break windows and blow open doors.
  • Damaged or broken appliances, including your air conditioner. This is commonly due to water damage.
  • Basement flooding. When the soil surrounding your home becomes too saturated with water, your basement or crawl space can flood, causing damage to your belongings and the foundation of your home. 
  • Moisture damage. Rain and water can seep into your home and cause mold to develop in insulation, wood, furniture, and carpeting. 
  • Fire damage. Electrical shorts caused by downed power lines or water entering outlets and electrical equipment can cause fires. 

Don’t forget to record the loss or destruction to your personal items too. Most homeowner’s insurance policies include personal property coverage up to a scheduled limit.

3) Call your insurance agent right away 

After you’ve taken photos of the storm damage, call your agent as soon as possible and stay in contact until your claim is resolved. They’ll be able to explain what kinds of damage your insurance policy covers. Make sure to discuss the damage caused to your home and provide the photos you took along with proper documentation. Following this, your insurance company will send out an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage. 

4) Stop further damage 

Now is the time to do what you can and stop any further damage from occurring. If storm damage is allowing wind and water to get into your home, start by covering broken windows or a leaking roof with a tarp or plywood. Do what you can first to minimize further damage, then consider contacting a local restoration service provider to help you out. They can help you tackle storm damage and get your property back to normal. If you don’t know of a trusted contractor in your area, oftentimes your insurance company can help you get in contact with a reputable contractor to avoid any scams. 

During this time, if your home is in poor condition, consider booking a hotel room or staying with friends and family for the time being. If your home requires extensive repair, make sure you return only when it’s safe to do so.

5) Stay organized and keep receipts

Keep good documentation for any claim to your homeowner’s insurance. For example, save all receipts for materials and labor to ensure you receive fair reimbursement. 

Familiarize yourself with what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers. For example, a typical homeowners insurance policy will cover tree damage from a storm, but the biggest exception to most coverages is flood damage. Regardless of carrier, flood damage is not covered as part of a standard policy. Therefore, you’ll need flood insurance in the event that your home is damaged by a flood.

A homeowner’s insurance policy will typically cover three scenarios:

  • Weather damage: This typically includes damage due to hail, wind, fire, snow, and more.
  • Non-weather events: Common non-weather events are actions like theft and vandalism.
  • Sudden/accidental events: This includes situations like a water pipe breaking or a water leak.

If you live in an extreme-weather area with high storm risk, speak with your agent to find out if it’s in your best interest to protect your home and belongings with storm damage or flood insurance. It’s an additional coverage you can opt for in your homeowner’s policy, but can help you after a storm damages your home. 

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Real Estate

How Long Does an Appraisal Take and What to Expect?



How Long Does an Appraisal Take and What to Expect?

Congratulations! You’ve gotten preapproved for a home mortgage, found your dream home, negotiated an agreeable sales price, successfully maneuvered through the home inspection process, and finally, you have a fully executed sales contract in hand for your new house. 

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may not realize all the steps that go into buying a new home. Some of them, like the home inspection and obtaining the real estate appraisal, can be stressful. So, what should you expect with this next step in the appraisal process? And how long does an appraisal take?

Let’s go over some appraisal basics to help you understand what is involved in one of the last steps in your home buying journey.   

What is an appraisal, and why do I need one?

An appraisal is an objective estimate of a home’s value. It is provided by a licensed professional real estate appraiser.

You need an appraisal for several reasons. First, an appraisal is needed primarily for your mortgage lender. By providing an estimate of the fair market value of your home, the appraisal assures the lender they are not lending more money for a piece of property than it’s actually worth. Also, the appraisal helps protect you, it assures that you’re not paying more for the home than you should.

How long does an appraisal take?

The home appraiser, on average, will visit a property for 1-3 hours, however, you most likely will not get back the final appraisal report for one to two weeks. The amount of time it takes for the appraiser to complete the appraisal process varies depending on the size and complexity of the house. For example, a 10,000 square foot property with a detached carriage house, horse barn, and lots of land in Dallas, TX will take longer to appraise than a three-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,900 square foot house in Seattle, WA

Remember, once the appraiser has done the physical inspection of the property, he or she then needs to begin the work of locating comparable properties and eventually writing up the final report. From the initial inspection of the property to obtaining a final report can take a week to two for a typical property, depending on how busy the appraisers are and what the housing market is doing in your area at the time.

Who orders the appraisal and when?

Your mortgage company or lender orders the appraisal once all the inspections are complete and inspection repair negotiations have been finalized (if there are any). The home appraisal cost is usually between $300 to $400 or more, depending upon the size and complexity of the property, and the appraisal is paid for by the buyer. 

What happens during an appraisal?

During an appraisal, the appraiser visits the home where they thoroughly inspect the property, inside and out. Unlike the home inspector who tests all of the systems within the home and recommends any needed repairs, the appraiser is interested in determining the market value of the property as it compares to similar homes in the area.

The appraiser does this by gathering information needed to complete a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report. This form is quite detailed and requires the appraiser to measure each room and the lot the house sits on. They also take pictures of every room in the home and the exterior, including the yard.

They have to note, among other things, how old the house is, where it is located, how big it is, and what the structure is made of. They also determine whether the layout of the house is optimally functional, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the overall condition of the interior, roof, and siding.

Once the appraiser has compiled all the necessary information from your property, he will obtain information on nearby homes. It is important that these houses are comparable to your property. He will use all of this information to determine a fair market value of the property, complete the Appraisal Report and forward the report to your lender so you can move forward in the closing process.

And in case you’re wondering, the buyer is typically not in attendance on the day of the appraisal. The seller can be present during the appraisal, but often their agent steps in and takes their place. This way, the agent is available to answer any questions that may come up while the appraiser is conducting the inspection of the property.

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3 possible outcomes of a home appraisal

When the appraisal comes in, the fair market value assessed by the appraiser could go one of three ways. 

1. The appraisal comes in lower than the agreed-upon purchase price

You have several options if the appraised value comes in lower than the agreed-upon sale price.  

  • You can request an appraisal review. An appraisal review is when another licensed appraiser prepares an independent report using the same elements found in a standard appraisal. The purpose is for the reviewer to comment on the accuracy and completeness of the initial appraisal.  
  • You could also offer to make up the difference by bringing any additional amount needed to closing. For example, if the agreed-upon purchase price is $225,000 but the appraised value comes in at $215,000, you would pay an additional $10,000 in closing costs to make up the difference. Some closing costs are tax-deductible.
  • Another option would be to ask the seller to lower the purchase price by whatever amount fits your financial situation best. This includes having the seller drop the purchase price to match the appraised value, in other words, the seller would take $10,000 off the agreed purchase price. 
  • You could try negotiating with the seller. You may choose to increase the amount of cash you bring to closing by $5,000 and ask that the seller drop the purchase price by $5,000. This would make up for the $10,000 difference between the purchase price and the appraised value.
  • A final option would be for you to walk away. If you and the seller are unable to agree on a way to settle the issue concerning the low appraised value, and you signed an appraisal contingency, you have the option to withdraw your offer without being penalized.  

2. The appraisal comes in higher than the agreed-upon purchase price

If the appraised value of the property is higher than the purchase price, that’s great news. You’ve just bought a home with some equity already built in. An example of this would be if the agreed-upon purchase price is $225,000 but the appraised value is $230,000. In that scenario, you would have $5,000 worth of equity before you even make your first payment. And luckily for you as the homebuyer, the seller can’t demand more money, and the sale of the home will move forward.  

3. The appraisal matches the agreed-upon purchase price exactly?

Appraised values often match the amount of the agreed-upon purchase price. If that is the case in your buying situation, then everything is fine and no additional negotiations are needed.

Getting an appraisal will be a requirement if you are obtaining a loan to purchase your dream home. And although it can sometimes be a rocky part of buying a home, remember, once you successfully maneuver past the appraisal process, you can move on to working with a title company to finish out the closing process and finally enjoy your new home. 


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