Would You Pay MORE For A Celebrity’s House?

Houses | August 25, 2014

Celebrity, famous person, infamous person – whatever you want to call it, and however you want to phrase it, would you consider adding a premium if you knew that the house or condo listed for sale belonged to somebody special?

Personally, I wouldn’t.  I don’t really believe in the idea of “celebrity,” especially when you consider what passes for a “celebrity” these days is some unemployed housewife who spends money all day and gets her own TV show.  Oh yeah – I want to read about that person in a magazine!

But my own bias aside, the way some properties are marketed, it seems that buyers really do add a premium based on the owner.  Take Michael Jordan’s house, for example…


Yes, that is Michael Jordan’s house.

And I say “is” Michael Jordan’s house and not “was” Michael Jordan’s house, because as far as I can tell, the house didn’t sell.

A friend once asked me if I consider it a “perk” that I get to visit dozens of houses and condos each and every week, and that once in a while, I’ll be in a famous person’s house.

My short answer: no.

Call me old, or boring, but I really don’t care if a house is owned by somebody “famous.”

What passes for “famous” anyways?

Professional athletes in Toronto have their properties on the market all the time.  But are they “famous?”  Would you tell me that it was a treat to see, oh, I dunno, say – Aaron Hill’s condo a few years back?

If you have no idea who he is, that’s fine, you probably shouldn’t.  He’s just another person, like the rest of us.

If some 20-something Toronto Maple Leaf sells a $2,000,000 condo, is it any more special than one of the 300 other $2,000,000 condos on the market at the same time?  I think, not.

What about a b-list actor or actress?

I’ve seen dozens of those.  You know that girl, from that show, about that thing?  Yep – I saw her house when it sold in 2012!

So be honest – would you assign a premium to a property because it belonged to a celebrity?

Or would that help push you over the top/

Well all know at least one person who made a major expenditure because the item belonged to an Oscar-award-winning actor, and that person is none other than George Costanza:

Ah yes, but the car didn’t belong to Jon Voigt after all!

So back to Michael Jordan’s house, for a moment.

Below is the entire video from Concierge Auctions, who put together a really snazzy presentation, but failed to sell the property in the end.

The property was on the market for as much as $29,000,000 in 2012, and was for sale at auction in January of 2014, with a reserve price which is believed to be about $13,000,000.

The house didn’t sell.

Maybe it’s me, but I get weirded out by looking at this video.

To be honest, the only person who would watch this video and identify with the property, and decide to purchase it, would be a very rich serial killer who is obsessed with Michael Jordan:

For one thing, the shots of the actual house itself are interjected with shots of Michael Jordan playing basketball.  So are you buying the house, or are you buying Michael Jordan’s fame?

Secondly, the very first thing we see in the video is the massive “23” on the front gate of the house!  Isn’t this a bit personal?  My favourite number is “7” so how would the 23 appeal to me as a buyer?

They say, “This house was lived in by Michael Jordan for nineteen years!”

And that’s supposed to make me want to buy it?

“Look at this seating area; can you imagine who probably sat here?”

Ummm……well are they sitting here now?  Do they come with the house?  I mean, if Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were going to serve as butlers, then I suppose the house could be worth more.

“Michael Jordan played pool right here at this pool table!”

Okay, well that’s probably what I would do with a pool table, although when I was a kid I used to sit on it and fill each pocket with popcorn, which my dad didn’t like.  But what does that have to do with the house?

“This is where Michael Jordan goes pee, right here in this toilet!”

Okay, fine, I made that one up.

But my favourite part, as a cynic, has to be at the very end when they bring the salesperson into the video, and he completely hangs himself with these three lines:

“The property is going to sell to the high bidder.”

“He’s taking control of the market.”

“For anybody with any interest, it’s now or never.”

Well, considering the house didn’t sell at auction, clearly it didn’t sell to the highest bidder, Mr. Jordan didn’t take control of the market, and for anybody with any interest, they have all the leverage in the world for a house that hasn’t sold in over two years on the market.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s cool to see a house with a basketball court inside, but is somebody really going to purchase it simply because it belonged to Michael Jordan?

The way this house was marketed, it seems the people involved think so…

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  1. Chroscklh

    at 9:50 am

    Sports star building 50,000 sf highly-customized house in second-tier rural market is asking for to lose money. See Shaq, Deon Sanders, Mike Tyson, LeBrand…etc etc Also, Jordan house is 90’s style – glass brick everywhere! In my country, celebrity house set record – man who met Andy Griffith sold farm for 465,500,000,000 Kuzo ($87,000 US) – buyer think for to become historic property but I doubt

  2. joel

    at 7:01 pm

    I think a celebrity house has more value if the celebrity is the architect who designed it or a designer that is leaving the furniture with the house. As you mentioned no one really cares if a celebrity lived in their house. At best it is an anecdote for parties, certainly not worth overpaying for.

  3. Zainab @ RazaRealEstate.ca

    at 3:50 pm

    Some people might pay more for a celebrity home but if you are purchasing as an investment it is not wise. You tend to pay far more over market value just because someone lived there. Doesn’t really make financial sense.

  4. CC

    at 12:55 pm

    I would pay less. You never know what weirdo didn’t get the memo that the celebrity they liked to steal underwear from moved. I don’t want to have to deal with those people!

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