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Who's House Was It? It's All in the Name

Would you buy a house because a famous person once lived in it or owned it?

You know the Senfield episode where George thinks he’s buying Jon Voight the actor’s car but it turns out to be John Voight the dentist’s car.

Well, this might even happen in real estate, you’ve got to be careful why you're buying a property, whether you’re trying to buy the residence of a famous actor or just a home that appears perfect, but when you take a closer look, actually needs a lot of work. As they say, don't judge a book by it's cover.

There are those who are willing to buy into fame. I'm sure there are even some who are willing to pay more to say their living in Jon Voight's house. Or even better, say they’re living in the house of the father of Angelina Jolie.

However, celebrity is a double edged sword, with fame comes more attention and exposure, but also negative press can be a detriment to a property or development. What if the actor makes a bad film, what if he puts out a bad album that doesn't sell. Then the property isn't worth as much.

No, all kidding aside, you don't buy property based on whether or not it was owned by an actor. And, the house you think is Jon Voight's might be a different Voight, the accountant or dentist.

But a famous name associated with a property does create a buzz. The truth is, if a property has been touched by fame, the price goes up quite a bit in some buyer’s books.

This from a NY Times article:

Celebrities trying to sell their current homes usually avoid publicity out of fear that their listing will attract curious fans rather than serious homebuyers. But it’s a different story for properties one or more generations removed from the famous person.

Owners of those types of listings tend to be proud of their home’s history, and their brokers will not hesitate to use the famous previous owner’s name in brochures and listing sheets. In some cases, a celebrity’s name may be invoked even if he or she merely lived in the same building and not the very apartment that is for sale.

The connections can be tenuous sometimes, but bringing up the history of a property doesn’t hurt unless there are some negative connotations. No one wants ghost stories associated with the property. Well maybe some might, say fans of M Night Shyamalan for example.

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