duPont Marketplace: Lake Rabun, Georgia

Lake Rabun is a haven for those wanting to escape to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains but be within an easy 2-hour commute to Atlanta, Ga., Greenville, S.C., or Asheville, N.C. Its scenic 25 mile shoreline provides ample opportunity to meander along some of the most gorgeous lake country in northeast Georgia.

"We have a very strong sense of community, a 70-year tradition wooden boat regatta, and many activities throughout the summer that celebrate living here," says Kay Whiten, realtor with Harry Norman Realtors. She and Julie Barnett, also of the same company, have listed an exquisite new construction home on the lake.

"Bobcat Lodge was designed to fit into nature. We chose natural stone and a variety of wood to achieve a harmonious blend while retaining amenities expected by today's families," says Claude Rickman, the builder. "It was designed to be very low maintenance with a lot of use - to make it easy to enjoy every minute here."

Bobcat Lodge is one of the rare properties on Lake Rabun that is not on leased land. It features four master bedroom suites, five and one-half baths, open great room with chef's kitchen, ten stone fireplaces, reclaimed timber, South American granite, Rocky Gap Virginia stacked rock, Honduran pine, walnut, wormy chestnut custom cabinetry and custom lighting and fixtures. A 2-stall covered boathouse with fireplace and deck, large terrace and mature landscaping complement the home.

With the exception of shoreline homes, Lake Rabun is surrounded by U.S. Forestry land and has very clean, pristine water. There are many waterfalls within a short hike from the shore.

"It seems that once you go to Lake Rabun, you're drawn back. We have many fourth generation residents who own or build homes here. It's a wonderful place to be," says Whiten.

For more information on this property, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/31/2011 at 12:50 PM
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Ellen DeGeneres & Portia DeRossi List Beverly Hills Estate

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi recently listed their estate in Beverly Hills for $49 million. The pair purchased the 12,000-square-foot home in 2007 for $29 million, and also purchased three adjacent properties to expand their estate and get their privacy (for $60 million total, you can buy these adjacent properties also). [ShelterPop]


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/31/2011 at 10:43 AM
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Categories: duPont REGISTRY Celebrity Properties
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duPont Marketplace: Indian Beach, North Carolina

The grand oceanfront estate on Indian Beach in North Carolina doesn't have a formal name, but Prudential York Simpson Underwood broker Wes Minton figures it's appropriate to call it the Jewel of the Atlantic Crystal Coast.

"The estate looks right onto the Atlantic," Wes says. "And as far as the East Coast of the United States is concerned, I don't know how you could have a better view. The home gives you access to so much outdoor beauty. It has a lot of porches and patios. The home is in a private community, so you have the beach to yourself, probably a hundred yard of coastline - mixing vegetation and a white sandy beach."

This 10,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom jewel of a mansion sits on three lots. Custom-built (completed in 2000), it has two large guest quarters attached. Amenities aboard, everything from elevators to hot tub, swimming pool to outdoor grilling with an ocean vista. Shops and restaurants are but a half-mile away in the town of Salter Path. "It's a quaint seaside East Coast town," Wes says, "like a village, very family-oriented."

Just 5-plus miles farther east is the slightly larger burg of Atlantic Beach. But while the urge for a dinner or an ice cream cone in town may hit, the Indian Beach estate's chief asset is its privacy - perfect for everything from private family getaways to corporate entertaining. "The grounds are well-landscaped, manicured actually," Wes says, "with a lot of walkways."

The Crystal Coast has a more temperate climate than most places in the Southeast, with the mercury averaging in the mid 50s during winter and sea-breezy summer highs in the high 80s.

Looking at the size and breadth of the property from a sky view, it's difficult to fathom that the property is listed at $7,950,000. "There's no way around it," Wes says. "It's incredibly priced."

For more information on this property, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/31/2011 at 10:13 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: So You Want To Be A Market Leader?

In luxury real estate marketing and in business in general, market leadership is measured in sales volume and market share. It is also measured with an equally important indicator, "top-of-mind status" because mindshare always precedes market share. Here are the two keys to becoming a market leader.

The First Key to Becoming a Market Leader

If you want to be a market leader, the first key is to identify an uncontested or underserved market niche or category that you can serve more effectively than anyone else. Then become the dominate player in that arena.

Your marketplace does not have to be an entire town. You get to define the scope of your market segment. It can be as narrow as you want as long as it has the potential to fulfill your financial expectations. You can achieve top-of-mind status in a three-block section of a suburb or a community of just 500 homes or by specializing just in waterfront properties or condos.

The Second Key to Becoming a Market Leader

In any category or niche, the battle for market leadership is actually a contest of ideas, and the prize is top-of-mind status. Therefore, the second key to achieving market leadership is to seize an idea that you can stand for authentically and own like "the waterfront expert" or "condo king."

Do not waste your time copying what the current market leader is doing. And, do not try to compete by using your opponent's idea. As the famous chef Emerial Lagasse said, "Get your own show!"

We have a client in Florida who takes prospective buyers on boat tours of waterfront properties in her marketplace. She not only owns the boat, she "owns" this idea of boat tours. To compete with a market leader like this, it would be futile to copy boat tours. Instead, you would need to stand for and own your own idea.

Consider the top wireless carriers. Today, both AT&T and Verizon offer the iPad and the iPhone. The price is the same. Which one would you choose? Verizon stands for and "owns" the idea of "coverage and reliability (few dropped calls)"; AT&T cannot compete on this attribute. However, it is attempting to acquire T-Mobile so it can compete in terms of size, which may translate into "faster product availability" because of the deals they can strike with manufacturers, or "deeper selection" (of bundles of services) down the line. Spring has the first 4G network; it currently "owns" the idea of "speed." But, 4G is just a feature that all wireless carriers will eventually have.

So, you want to become a market leader? Find an uncontested or underserved market niche. Then, find an idea you can own in the minds of your target market. Remember that marketing is a contest of ideas, and top-of-mind status is the price!

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/31/2011 at 9:43 AM
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duPont Marketplace: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem, North Carolina is a city set on reinventing itself. Long a center of manufacturing and finance, it has recently become home to a growing bio-medical technology industry. Entrepreneurs and medical professionals are discovering the many advantages of life in the heralded "City of the Arts." It's also a magnificent place to retire.

"We are seeing a slight pick up in our luxury market, mostly with homes that are aggressively priced to the point of being a deal. People who have the capacity to purchase are finding this is a great time to do so. Our market was hit hard, but it is stabilizing this year. I anticipate that in the next few years we will see modest appreciation in values," says Mary Preston Yates, Realtor at Prudential Carolinas Realty.

Luxury homes in Winston-Salem occupy coveted spaces in traditional neighborhoods and newer developments. One extraordinary property Mary Preston Yates represents sits atop a knoll on a generous 6.17 acres in town. With 5 bedrooms, 5.2 baths, the estate at 480 Stonegate Lane offers a private getaway with the convenience of in-town living.

"You feel like you are in the mountains, and yet, you're in town. This is a beautiful property," Preston Yates says. "There's a very long private driveway, lovely yard, gorgeous terrace. It's truly a wonderful place to enjoy the ambiance of mountain serenity while having the convenience of urban amenities."

Winston-Salem is headquarters to several Fortune 500s, as well as Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Salem College. It was the first city in 1957 to establist an Arts Council and has a thriving arts culture. The city is located within 3.5 hours of the ocean and one hour to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is within a one-hour flight to Washington D.C., and easy access to many east coast cities.

For more information and pictures on this property, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/27/2011 at 2:06 PM
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Personal & Company Branding: The Futility of Competing on Features - Soul vs. Sole

The essence of a personal or company brand in luxury real estate marketing could be considered the soul of your brand. It is the meaning and the emotion that the brand evokes in the minds of your target market. A feature can be imitated. Searching the MLS on your website is a feature that your competition can easily duplicate. But, they cannot duplicate the soul of your brand.

Christian Louboutin, whose trademarked red-soled shoes made its mark in the popular show "Sex and The City," is now suing two other companies who have had the audacity to color their soles red. The red sole is just a feature - it is not the soul of the brand.

The first is Yves Saint Laurent whose 2011 spring shoe collection has suede shoes with matching soles (red shoes with red soles, green shoes with green soles, etc.). Yves Saint Laurent responded with its own lawsuit claiming, "Red outsoles are a commonly-red ornamental design feature in footwear, dating as far back as the red shoes worn by King Louis XIV in the 1600s, and the ruby red shoes that carried Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz. YSL also alleges that Mr. Louboutin was  fraudulent in his trademark application claim that he had 'exclusive' use of the red sole."

The second is Brazilian shoe company, Carmen Steffens, who is willing to provide evidence that their shoes had red soles before 1992, when Louboutin filed for the trademark. The company finds it "surprising that another brand is trying to reserve the rights to any color."

What this example clearly illustrates is the futility of competing "solely" on features. In this case, competing on color alone is ridiculous.

An authentic market leading brand cannot be copied or imitated. It has an unfair competitive advantage by virtue of the fact that it occupies the top-of-mind position in the mind of the buyer. A great brand possesses an emotional differentiator, which creates an added value that often escapes the confines of logic. Do you remember, the famous long-running cigarette brand slogan for Tareyton, "I would rather fight than switch"?

Tiffany & Company as a brand has very strong added emotional value. Tiffany sells diamonds as do many other retailers, such as Macy's, Costco, and a myriad of jewelry stores. We can assumed that all the stores buy from a reputable dealer, and we know that all diamonds are graded by the standards of the Gemological Institute. Upon sale, a certificate is issued to validate the diamond's quality. Logically, any retailer can sell the same size stone, with the same clarity (features). However, some recipients will feel that a diamond from Tiffany's inherently has more value than a diamond from Costco or Macy's. Is it the Tiffany blue box?

The famous robin's egg blue color has been copyrighted by Tiffany. In our travels, we have seen many imitators, but no lawsuits, to the best of our knowledge have involved the imitation of the use of their signature color. Although, Tiffany's blue gift box is just a feature that can be imitated, it has tremendous meaning to the recipient. And, that meaning is the soul of the brand, not the box itself.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/27/2011 at 8:33 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: Are You Looking for Your Soul Mates?

(C) Udra11

Luxury real estate marketing professionals should spend zero time selling and much more time looking for soul mates. If this sounds odd to you, take a lesson from one of the greatest retail brands in the world, IKEA - a brand with a soul.

Are you a Frikadellers fan? Frikadellers are flat pan-fried dumplings of minced meat - the Danish version of meatballs. If you do not have a Danish restaurant nearby, you can find Frikadellers at most of the 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries. IKEA is a privately held international home products company that originated in Sweden. It designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories. The company is the world's largest furniture retailer.

What does the IKEA brand stand for? Or, put another way, what is the soul of IKEA's brand?

IKEA has taken the lead in adopting environmentally friendly manufacturing processes which extends to the unassembled product solution in shipping and packaging. They are a pioneering force in taking a sustainable approach to the "mass consumer culture". An example is their extensive use of particle board. On February 17, 2011, IKEA announced its plans for a wind farm in Sweden, furthering the furniture giant's goal of running on 100 percent renewable energy.

IKEA's charitable foundation is officially dedicated to promoting "innovation in architecture and interior design". With a net worth of approximately $36 billion, the foundation is unofficially the world's largest charitable organization. It eclipses the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is worth approximately $33 billion, although the Gates donate much more in charitable gifts.

If the soul of IKEA's brand is: 1) environmental sustainability in manufacturing, and; 2) innovation in architecture and design, who are IKEA's ideal customers? An even better question is who are IKEA's soul mates?

The answer is customers who have identical values! Are you an IKEA soul mate? If you prefer not to assemble your own furniture, of if you object to the idea that investing in innovation in architecture and design vs. giving to the world health causes (like the Gates often do) you might not be a soul mate for IKEA.

When you understand that effective branding and marketing is really the art of matchmaking, and a member of your ideal target market is actually a soul mate, then the subject takes on a completely new and fresh perspective. The discipline of branding then becomes one of sharply defining who you are and clearly expressing it in such a way that your soul mates can quickly recognize that you are a match made in heaven.

When marketing and branding is done right, it takes sales completely out of the equation! Trying to convince someone that they are a soul mate when they truly are not a match annoys the prospect and is a complete waste of your time. The hard sell is only used when a professional or a company does not know exactly who they are and also when they are "clueless" as to whom their ideal match it.

Are you looking for your soul mates? You should be. The biggest secret of marketin is this: Your soul mates are also looking for you! All you have to do is help them find you.

By the way, if you are a carnivore vs. a vegan or vegetarian, you ought to try IKEA's Frikadellers sometime.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Pictures provided by Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/26/2011 at 12:29 PM
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Premier Luxury Realty Company Sees Las Vegas Rebound in High-End Home Sales

As the Southern Nevada real estate market continues to climb back, one of Las Vegas' most prominent high-end realtors says the luxury market segment may be the leading indicator that the market is rebounding.

"It has been an outstanding year and all signs are pointing to an improving market," said Jackie Bustios, Broker/Owner of Portfolio Realty Group.

Bustios points to two of her recent transactions: a Southern Highlands Estate sold for $6,000,000 ($567 per foot) and a home in The Ridges in Summerlin that is currently in escrow for $6,150,000 ($624 per foot) which is set to close this week.

Bustios said the market's continued improvement has made her investor clients switch strategies from quick turnaround buy/sell to buy-and-hold in order take advantage of rising prices.  

One investor, Lacy Harber from Texas, has bought several high-end homes in Las Vegas, paying cash for each, and then invested additional resources refurbishing and re-decorating the homes to match their high-end status. Harber has only a select few of these special homes on the market, holding some inventory back as the luxury home market starts to rise. Harber doesn't need to sell and is waiting on the right price for his high-end real estate holdings.  

"There are cycles that occur in the real estate market that dictate methods and strategies that are most useful for growing wealth through real estate ownership," said Bustios. "Now is the time that savvy real estate investors are practicing the buy-and-hold strategy to optimize their equity." Bustios added buyers for high-end homes remain active, particularly when it comes to unique Las Vegas properties.

"When you combine one of the most exciting metropolitan cities in the world, a great climate and unique, luxury real estate, few areas in the country can match Southern Nevada," she said.

Photo: once of Bustios' properties at 5100 Spanish Heights Drive in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About Portfolio Realty Group: Portfolio Realty Group offers a vast knowledge of the marketplace combined with a results-driven approach, experienced real estate professionals and personalized client services, which have proven effective when it comes to helping our valued clients meet their real estate needs. Specializing in the marketing and sale of luxury homes and international properties, Portfolio Realty Group has many state-of-the-art tools and options available to assist in buying or selling luxury properties, which includes the resources of broad national and international relationships. Visit them online at www.PortfolioRealtyGroup.com.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/26/2011 at 10:31 AM
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More Commission for Sales at Ritz-Carlton

Lionheart Capital, a private equity firm in Miami that owns 146 condos at The Ritz-Carlton on Singer Island in Riviera Beach, is offering extra commission to any agents that sell their condos. All sales of the condos will give an agent 3% commission. But on top of that, for an agent's first sale, realtors will receive a bonus of either $10,000 or a vacation package for a 3-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton Toronto. A second sale means a bonus of either $20,000 or a 4-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton LA Live, and a third sale means a bonus of $20,000 or a 7-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong.

Though agents aren't required to tell a buyer upfront about any commission they're receiving for a sale, some believe that agents should be upfront about what they're making. What do you think? [Sun-Sentinel]


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/26/2011 at 9:54 AM
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New-home Sales Rise 7.3% in April

The L.A. Times is reporting that sales for new homes rose 7.3% in April. Sales gains were not limited to one area, rather every region saw increases: 15.1% in the West, 7.7% in the Northeast, 4.9% in the Midwest and 4.3% in the South. This is great news, considering at this time last year, home sales were down 23.1%. [L.A. Times]


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/26/2011 at 9:33 AM
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Cover Property: Seaview Street in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The name Cape Cod flashes images of historic seaside homes in one's mind and evokes a longing for a simpler time. Its charm continues today, as a retreat from the hectic and stressful modern world.

"Chatham, located on the elbow of Cape Cof, has its own unique charm and as a result has fared well through the real estate downturn," says Chris Rhinesmith, broker/owner of Pine Acres Realty, Inc. "People come from all over Cape Cod to stroll the quaint village with its charming boutiques and popular restaurants."

Located just 90 minutes from Boston, Chatam does not require a ferry or plane trip. It is easily accessed by car.

Our featured property, on appropriately name Seaview Street, commands dramatic views of Chatham Harbor and prestigious Shore Road, with its world-class resort, Chatham Bars Inn. Built in the early 1900s, the home epitomizes Cape Cod architecture and distinctive character.

With seven bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and one half bathroom, the ample home sits on a 1.5-acre plot. A grand circular driveway leads up to the home, and walking paths and mature landscaping decorate the ground. A large living room and open-floor dining area fitted with two central fireplaces and stunning antique tile work make for a perfect entertaining space. An eat-in, country kitchen provides a more intimate gathering place.

Private quarters are plentiful as well. In-laws or visitors will enjoy a suite above the garage. Secluded guest quarters in the main house include three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and a cozy studio.

Oversized windows in the sunroom take advantage of the harbor views. Interior details throughout the house, such as coffered ceilings and wood-paneled walls, call to mind the maritime surroundings.

The beautiful 3,421-square-foot home has an asking price of $5.7 million.

For more information on this property, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/25/2011 at 10:01 AM
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The House on the Vale in Toronto

Just a short drive from downtown Toronto, Ontario - one of the most cosmopolitan, livable cities in the world - is King Township, a place that, in the words of Royal LePage real estate representative Brian Marshall, "is analogous to Kentucky horse country, with wooded lands, big pastures and horse farms."

Right in the heart of King Township, surrounded by more than 500 acres of horse farms, sits the House on the Vale, a truly extraordinary home on elevn bucolic acres.

Facts and figures - nearly 8,000 square feet, six bedrooms - do not do the House on the Vale justice. "Every once in a while, a good architect will get into a zone and create something truly extraordinary," says Brian of the home's designer, Vytautas Petrulis. "That's what we did here."

The home's interior is separated in the design between public and private space. In the public areas, use of floor elevations, open staircases and light creates intuitive room separation while preserving the open nature of the home. In the private space, the bedrooms, loft, study and the design studio are delineated by variable ceiling height, alcoved hallways, and distinct elevations. The beautiful vistas of the Vale are accessed through a multitude of windows. Natural light floods the home.

Each of the home's five balconies offers a different perspective of the property. Whether overlooking the stone-terraced in-ground pool, the tennic courts, the natural woodland, horse paddocks or the river, the beauty of this estate property continually presents itself anew.

Because, as Brian says, "Toronto remains one of the most affordable major cities in the world," the House on the Vale is being offered at $2.5 million. "This home, in a similar proximity to any other major urban center in the U.S. or Europe," Brian says, "would easily start at twice the price."

For more information on the House on the Vale, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/24/2011 at 4:51 PM
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Monaco's €1.7 Billion Property Market

With the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, the French Riviera and Monaco is at its absolute busiest. These events draw the rich and famous to the region, and, with them, the desire to buy a holiday home. This marks the start of the high-season for luxury property sales. The increased demand for event and seasonal property rentals sees the return of the buy-to-let property investors, pushing the sales figures up by 2.45% since April.

A few other highlights:

  • The average price for a luxury property is up by 0.11% since April and is widely expected to continue to grow over the summer.
  • Property sales in Monaco are up by 2.45% since April.
  • Monaco's 177 properties for sale has collected value of over €1.7 billion, with an average price of €9.7 million.

Click here to read the official press release from EstateNetFrance.com Research.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/24/2011 at 4:19 PM
Categories: Luxury Real Estate
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Sarah Palin's Campaign Headquarters?

Sarah Palin allegedly bought this mansion near Scottsdale, Arizona to serve as her campaign headquarters for a presidential or Senate run, even though she hasn't announced a bid for the presidency or for Senate. One thing we do know is that Bristol lives about an hour away from Phoenix, so maybe Sarah wanted to escape the cold weather of Alaska and spend time with her daughter... if she even did buy this house. [StateBrief.com]


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/24/2011 at 3:55 PM
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Categories: duPont REGISTRY Celebrity Properties
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Cover Property: Resort Living in Los Gatos, California

Fifty acres, a gorgeous contemporary estate, bird's eye views of the entire Silicon Valley - located only five minutes from downtown Los Gatos - this is the property to own for those who love to entertain and cover theit privacy. Set at the end of a cul-de-sac, the gated entrance opens to a mile-long drive that leads to breathtaking views and a spectacular lifestyle. Never before offered on the market, this property was developed by its current owner and is now available for purchase.

"This is a very, very rare property because of its size and proximity to the downtown. Normally, to get this much acreage, you'd have to drive up into the back kills for at least half an hour. Here you have total privacy and convenience - which means you can escape to your own world, entertain lavishly and no one will know you're here. At the same time, you can be in Los Gatos in five minutes," says Pierre Buljan, broker/owner of the Pierre Buljan Group at Coldwell Banker in Burlingame, California. Pierre Buljan is named a Top Ten Power Broker in northern California by San Francisco Business Times and has sold more than 1 billion in sales.

The home features 10,00 square feet of modern, architectural design sure to please the eye and the senses. Spectacular window placement throughout ensures long-distance views of Silicon Valley, two lakes, vineyards and San Francisco. The property includes a pool with luxurious waterfalls, tennis court/sports court, designated helicopter landing area, 4-car garage, 50+ car parking and a 2,200-square-foot guest house.

The property is exquisitely landscapred and may be sub-divided. Silicon Valley founders, entrepreneurs as well as celebrities neighbor the property.

"This property offers security and unparalleled views of gorgeous California landscape. It's truly a rare gem," Buljan says.

For more information on this listing, click here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 5/24/2011 at 2:05 PM
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