Marin County California, a Bucolic Enclave

While most other real estate markets have experienced a frightening freefall, Marin County, California—a bucolic enclave across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco—has merely “softened a bit.” Those are the words of Karen Hardesty, a long-time veteran of Marin County real estate who shares an office in quaint Tiburon with her daughter Chelsea. Further, Karen sees the recent decline in Marin property values, modest in comparison to other communities, as a “correction that’s been long overdue.”


Hard to believe but Karen (who has been a real estate broker in Marin since 1982) says that the current correction is the first downturn she has experienced in Marin. “Historically we would experience aggressive appreciation for a period of time and then values would stay at a plateau for 2-5 years. Before the current softening of the market it had become rather insane with multiple offers on desirable properties pushing the prices out of the realm of reality. I hate those frenetic times. They are not good for buyers or sellers.” Well, that hardly sounds like typical broker speak. Perhaps Karen’s attitude comes from the fact that the Hardestys, who have separate businesses under the banner of McGuire Real Estate, live and work in a highly unique spot on the map.

 Marin County, with a stable population of a quarter million, has historically been resistant to development. Karen calls the county’s mindset “no-growth oriented.” Seventy percent of Marin is open space. “As opposed to other areas all over California, we are not in competition with homes in developments,” Karen says, adding that people are drawn to Marin County, or plant firm roots there, mainly for its natural beauty and exceptional public schools. The Hardestys work in a small boutique office—just a block from the water. In contrast to the hustle bustle found in a lot of realty firms, the McGuire office exudes a sense of calm. “I would say we eat, breathe and sleep real estate—it’s a twenty-four/seven job, but our clients would never know it,” Chelsea says with a conspiratorial chuckle. The Hardestys sacred philosophy is pretty simple: clients first. Happy customers who enjoy the experience have led to continued repeat and referral business.. “When I hear other brokers desperately saying ‘I have to sell a house, I’ve got to get these people into something, I cringe,” Chelsea says. “Clients proceed at their own pace with the assurance that we are sensitive to their needs and timeframes.”

 Karen started in the real estate business in 1979 in Newport Beach, California. She knew right away it was a fit and provided her with the ability to work full time and still arrange her schedule to be there for her small children. “From the beginning it was obvious to my clients that their needs came first. Because of that the referrals started coming in immediately. Many of my clients have become dear friends through the years. I consider this one of the greatest rewards of this business.” Chelsea, meanwhile, was running the U.S. Equities division of Bank of America in London when her mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and given three months to live (Karen has long been cancer-free). Chelsea returned to Marin County, continued in the financial business, but “living in a corporate environment was getting old, so she decided to run her own business the way she wanted. It was only natural that Chelsea turn to real estate.

 That was in 2003, and she hasn’t looked back. Although their businesses are separate, mother and daughter routinely cover for each other. They also share similar priorities: For instance, a portion of each transaction goes to causes that focus on helping children. Working so closely together has, Chelsea says, “enhanced our relationship. We’re good friends, we travel together occasionally, we have friends in common, we socialize together, but we make sure we have time apart. It’s definitely given us a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other.” - Eric Snider

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Posted by: jnchapman
Posted on: 10/29/2009 at 10:10 AM
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Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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The Nevada Jackpot

Leaving Nevada empty-handed isn’t the only option. Nor is tying the knot.


Millions come to Nevada each year enchanted by the entertainments of Las Vegas; however, the Silver State supplies more than Sin City. “Reno is an amazing town that is often overlooked,” says Shari Chase of Chase International. “It is a responsibly growing community—a hidden gem.”

Whether searching for somewhere to settle down, invest in real estate or enjoy life to the fullest, Nevada is the place to be. The thriving tourist-driven economy, affordable housing, growing job market, and favorable taxes make Nevada a strong market in a weak economy.

“An internationally renowned city famous for over-the-top luxury, glamour and non-stop entertainment, Las Vegas offers a climate perfect for year-round outdoor activities,” says Tanya Murray of Realty Executives of Nevada. “Las Vegas is predicted to be the tenth fastest-growing metropolitan area through 2025 and with tax haven advantages, including no state income tax, no estate tax, and no corporate tax, Las Vegas has been a top destination for business and pleasure and continues to evolve and exceed all expectations.”

The state with the Home Means Nevada state song, is home to U.S. Highway 50, “The Loneliest Road in America;” Reno, “The Biggest Little City in The World;” Lake Tahoe, “America’s Adventure Place;” Hoover Dam, “The Highest Arch Dam in the U.S.;” and Rachel, “The UFO Capital of the World.”

Mountains, deserts, lakes, and valleys are all found within the state lines attracting quite a number of people looking for their fair share of activities. Scenic Lake Tahoe offers a sea of water sports, hiking, and biking in summer as well as skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing in winter. “Lake Tahoe is one of the most pristine areas in the country,” Chase says. “This is a beautiful place to be.”

A culturally rich atmosphere with fine dining, designer shopping venues, relaxing spa retreats, and world-class shows are found in the metropolitan areas. Life is a gamble, and the odds are in your favor when buying real estate in Nevada. - Reynolds Fuller

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Posted by: rfuller
Posted on: 10/28/2009 at 1:24 PM
Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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Ferris Bueller's Day Off - House for sale!

This architectural treasure, constructed of steel and glass and cantilevered over lushly wooded ravines, is truly the ULTIMATE ADDRESS for the buyer who requires space and seclusion only 25 minutes drive from downtown Chicago.

Though world famous for the site of the iconic movie " Ferris Bueller's Day Off", the real value of these two Meis van der Rohe inspired buildings, on almost an acre, is the quality of the architecture and construction, never to be duplicated in such a setting. The vistas of  natural  woods with the green leaves blowing softly in the wind creates magnificent shadings and a tranquil setting for the viewers.

The 3800SF main house, designed for the Ben Rose family by A. James Speyer in 1953, the first graduate student of Meis van der Rohe, was so far ahead of it's time that the bathrooms and kitchens are still in style today. The vast size of the great room with the  free standing fireplace, the Nanny's room and bath off the kitchen, and the large master bedroom with walk in closet are all features sought after by today's buyers. There are two other family bedrooms and a study used by the previous owner for his  studio where he designed his famous line of fabrics and graphics on permanent display at Chicago's Art Institute.

In the pavilion, where Cameron's father's classic red Ferrari catapulted through the huge glass windows into the ravine 100 feet below, there is a kitchen and full bath as well as space for 6-8 classic sports cars. Ben Rose and his wife had this building designed and built in 1973 by David Haid, a protege of A. James Speyer. They used it for his art studio as well as his collection of race cars that they both drove in rallies. It also works well as a guest house or a wonderful entertainment center where there is plenty of room to dance the night away.

The home has been featured on all the major web-sites around the world and filmed by the local and most national TV stations. We have been asked

so many times if a red Ferrari, especially a vintage one or facsimile,

will be included with the home and the estate has agreed to give

the buyer a very special one at our asking price of $2,300,000.


For further information, brochures, floor plans etc. please contact:

Meladee Hughes | Broker/Associate

Sudler Sotheby's International Realty

312-636-8020 |

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Posted by: jnchapman
Posted on: 10/27/2009 at 9:27 AM
Categories: duPont REGISTRY Celebrity Properties
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The Former Home of Senator John and Cindy McCain

Nestled in exclusive North Central Phoenix at 7110 N. Central Avenue, this "old world" estate adorns all of the subtleties of Tuscan design, as well as the eye catching amenities found in a modern luxury home. This 15,000 square foot estate features 13 bedrooms, 14.5 bathrooms, a 7-car garage, win tasting room, gourmet kitchen, guest house, and pool guest house.

Spend an evening curled up next to one of the 10 fireplaces, or entertain the family and friends in the resort-style backyard. This home will be sold to the highest bidder, at a bid of $5,900,000 or above.

Additionally, the entire collection of art, furnishings and other property will be offered at ABSOLUTE AUCTION to the last and highest bidder.

The auction will be held on site Friday December 4th, and Saturday December 5th.

Contact for more information.

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Posted by: jnchapman
Posted on: 10/26/2009 at 11:15 AM
Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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South Pacific Living in Fiji


Long stretches of white sand beach. Crystal-clear blue lagoons. The sound of palms swaying in the evening breeze. Carefree island living. Privacy, splendor and exquisite property. Just another South Pacific vacation? Not anymore. Now this island paradise can be yours.   

Available to the discerning buyer at Maui Bay, a residential development is Bali Hai—a custom built luxury three-home manor located on the largest and most private lot of the twenty-seven Maui Bay beach lots. Bali Hai offers 4,000+ square feet of living space, towering thirty-foot hand carved ceilings, an impressive master suite, two guest suites, two outdoor plunge pools, inside/outside showers, Terrazzo® custom natural stone tubs and vanities, and private road access. Phone, power, and well are in place. Wireless internet is available. 


In addition to the natural privacy of the landscaped lot, Bali Hai enjoys access to Maui Bay Estate’s common beach, ownership in the beachfront clubhouse, and is within easy distance to some of the area’s most prominent resorts, fine dining, nightlife, diving, fishing, and surfing, as well as seaside activities.

“Unlike many Fiji properties, Maui Bay Estates is guaranteed freehold property—which means the developer has clear titles to the land and property is owned by the purchaser, not leased,” says Joe Soecker, Marketing Director for Taveuni Development Company, who have been developing properties in Fiji for 17 years. “Buyers receive their title at closing. We also offer financing for up to 15 years.” Their Maui Bay Estates and Koro Seaview Estates on the island of Koro have been the fastest selling developments in Fiji.


Viti Levu is Fiji’s largest and most populous island. The city of Nadi, a quick one-and-one- half hour drive from Maui Bay Estates, has an international airport with daily flights from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. 

“Fiji offers a safe, English-speaking island lifestyle ideal for early retirement and people who love the ocean, fishing, surfing, diving or lounging on the beach. Fijians are known for being very welcoming to foreigners,” points out Soecker. Maui Bay Estates also offers numerous lots available at varying price points, staring at $100,000. “Construction costs are quite low with excellent quality. People who buy lots at 

Maui Bay are free to begin construction at any time and we will help arrange all the details for them,” says Soecker. “This is a great place to invest, retire or just enjoy owning a piece of the islands! Fiji is a secret no longer only available to actors like Mel Gibson, Anthony Robbins and many others, who own island property in Fiji.”

Visit or their main site, for photos, videos, pricing and detailed information. - Britta Reque-Dragicevic

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Posted by: jnchapman
Posted on: 10/26/2009 at 10:34 AM
Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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The Crown Jewel of Naples

 In the Naples market Bill Earls, broker and director of John R. Wood Realtors for more than 26 years, knows what sets the luxury home market apart. “Naples is all about quiet elegance, quiet power,” Earls says. “The Waterfront Estate on Gordon Drive is synonymous with true, ultra high-end luxury homes. We have evolved to a truly different level in dealing with the ultra high-end in Naples for the last two decades.”The Italian Renaissance era setting begins as you pull through the gates to this regal estate, winding down the brick-paved driveway lined with remarkable gardens and grass comparable to a putting green and onto the motor court with elaborate, custom fountains. Stepping inside the marble foyer of this six-bedroom, eight-bath estate, an exquisite, two-story rotunda with a hand-painted domed ceiling and crystal chandelier looks out to breathtaking views of the water. 

 When driving down Gordon Drive in Naples, Florida, it is hard to find one home more impressive than the next. That is, until you come across La Capanna, the Crown Jewel of Naples. “This is one of the grand, Gordon Drive beachfront estates,” Earls says. “This one stands out.”Sixteen thousand square feet of luxury and quality sits on over an acre and a half of lavish landscaping along the Gulf of Mexico shore. “Even for those unfamiliar, you still know it’s something special,” says Larry Lappin, associate realtor at John R. Woods. “It is a wonderful presentation that many homes don’t offer.”


 The estate features a home theater, fitness center, gourmet-styled kitchen, “his” and “her” studies, 500-bottle wine room, and 5-bay collector’s garage. The finishing touches include custom molding and cabinetry, marble baseboards, and hand-stenciled walls, as well as Waterford sconces, silk wall coverings, and elaborate architectural detailing.The world-class amenities do not end indoors but overflow onto an open, outdoor area perfect for entertaining. On the marble deck beyond, is a pool containing a mosaic-tile turtle, a beachside game room with a mahogany bar, and a poolside cabana and trellis-covered spa. Naples’ most exclusive private beach club, the Port Royal Club, which is just minutes from downtown shopping, fine dining, and cultural events, is only a short stroll down the beach from this $28-million property, Lappin says.“You will find nothing wanting in this beachfront estate,” Earls says. “It is one of Naples’ true crown jewels.” Offered at $28,000,000

- Reynolds Fuller

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Posted by: rfuller
Posted on: 10/23/2009 at 3:26 PM
Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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