Aug 04, 2014
Colossal Closet Caper

(WOODLANDS, TX) If you built a three-story, $500,000 addition to your home to house “a fortune's worth of expensive handbags, watches, shoes and other baubles,” we suppose it would be difficult to suppress the urge to show it off. But you might want to think twice. Former Texas beauty queen, Theresa Roemer, showed off her 3,000-sq. ft. “she-cave” recently on Good Morning America. It wasn’t long after that national exposure that thieves broke in and stole nearly $1 million of her prized jewelry, bags and other valuables, including Louis Vuitton and Gucci shoes, and Rolex and Cartier watches. Why, you might reasonably ask, would anyone need a closet as large as many homes? 'Yes, it’s full of amazing things,” Roemer told Houston’s KHOU, “but this closet was built and intended for fundraising.” Seems like the thieves would wholeheartedly agree. 

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Aug 01, 2014
Clubhouses Rule

(NEW YORK) There’s an upside to the downside of the real estate crash. Developers had to rethink their strategies. Now, instead of a building a top-tier golf course and a nice clubhouse, private communities are attracting luxury homebuyers with clubhouses that are the star attraction. The Wall Street Journal reported on the trend yesterday, “His-and-her massage rooms, guest quarters, art collections and farm-to-table cuisine help justify annual club fees and property prices that start in the millions. Developers also endeavor to create an intangible value—a sense that the clubhouse is the epicenter of a big, close-knit family.” Exclusivity, privacy, and over-the-top amenities that appeal to all generations of both men and woman are big right now. Brays Island Plantation, Shooting Star, and Fisher Island Club are featured in the piece.

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Jul 31, 2014
Stray Balls

(SCARSDALE, NY) It’s long been thought, and supported by the courts, that those who bought homes on or adjacent to golf courses assumed the obvious risk that came with the location. And while the notion that a homeowner “came to the nuisance” still generally holds true, several recent rulings are challenging that precedent. A couple of successful homeowner suits have employed a new legal theory that uses trespass laws to win their cases. Brad D. Steele, Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel at the National Club Association, notes in the organization’s newsletter that, “Recently, we have seen more plaintiffs cite ‘trespass’ laws as their basis for their lawsuit against a club,” he wrote. “They base their claim on the number and frequency of golf balls hit onto their property. Unfortunately, this claim is gaining traction.” In New York, Winged Foot Golf Club and Quaker Ridge Golf Club have already lost suits on that basis. Looks like it’s no longer buyer beware, but golf club beware.

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Jul 30, 2014
Mass Mania

(BOSTON, MA) Keegan Bradley’s beloved Red Sox might be trending downward, but the home state of last year’s world champs (and this year’s cellar dwellers) is riding high when it comes to luxury home sales. According to The Boston Globe, foreign buyers (many of them Chinese anticipating their kids will go to college in Boston) are helping to fuel soaring luxury home sales. From January to June of this year, sales of luxury homes jumped nearly 15 percent from the same period last year. During the same time overall homes sales in Massachusetts declined 3 percent. The Bay State’s 15% increase dwarfs the 4% increase in national luxury home sales. Boston’s posh neighborhoods, Beacon Hill and Back Bay, account for some of the most expensive residences, but the effects are being felt in new neighborhoods like Chinatown and Fenway. Now if the Red Sox could only the ride wave of changing fortunes in their neighborhood.

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Jul 29, 2014
Sweet Acquisition

(SANFORD, NC)  You might not be familiar with the parent company, but you certainly know much of their portfolio of high-end golf clubs. Escalante Golf describes itself as a “boutique owner and operator” of luxury golf properties, including Black Hawk Country Club, Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Golf Club of Houston, Black Diamond Ranch, Sonoma Golf Club and The Golf Club at Dove Mountain. The Fort Worth, Texas-based company has quietly assembled an impressive collection of exclusive clubs in key markets that have hosted a number of prestigious amateur and professional golf tournaments, including the U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, the Charles Schwab Cup, the WGC Match Play Championship and the Shell Houston Open. Add the highly acclaimed Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, North Carolina, to their list. Carolina Trace is the centerpiece of the 1,600-home Carolina Trace Community and features two layouts designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., the Lake Course and the Creek Course. Escalante Golf is planning significant improvements for the club including a major facelift for the Lake Course, which will begin next spring. 


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