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Wealthy Snap up Move-In-Ready Homes

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By Lauren Beale

For sellers, offering a fully outfitted home is a chance to leave behind decor suited to a particular home and start fresh on the next house.

Serial home remodeler Ellen DeGeneres and her spouse, Portia de Rossi, unloaded the contents of their 26-acre ranch in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in September when they sold the spread for $10.85 million. Pots, pans and potato peelers were part of the package of farmhouses and barns.

In Los Angeles, many luxury leases include furnishings. But actress Nanci Chambers and her husband, actor David James Elliott, also rely on small touches to make their 8,000-square-foot Brentwood home inviting.

Chambers, who played Lt. Loren Singer on the CBS series “JAG,” stocks linens, towels and soaps. The pantry is filled with balsamic vinegar, sparkling water, coffee and teas. There are cleaning materials, toilet paper, paper towels and laundry soap. Even Band-Aids are on hand.

At $35,000 a month for a yearlong contract, this is not a vacation home, Chambers says, but a chance for someone quickly and seamlessly to plug in to a way of life.

“Maybe a director from New York comes into town or someone needs a place to live while their own home is being built,” she says.

The five-bedroom villa has a swimming pool, a recording studio and a game room with dart boards, a foosball table and a popcorn maker.

Although adding furnishings, artwork and the like will increase a seller’s take, it also can complicate negotiations if the homeowner is unrealistic about their value, says Rick Ojeda, one of the Partners Trust agents representing Chambers’ lease house. “If the seller spent a half-million dollars on new furniture 15 years ago, for example, it could be worth only 25 cents on the dollar now.”

In a worst-case scenario, negotiating possessions before settling on a home price can scuttle the entire deal, he says. “You get into dickering and itemizing.”

©2013 Los Angeles Times
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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