Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm Back ... But Only For A Short Time

I've returned from my cruise and am trying to get caught up on everything. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is critically ill and probably will be passing any day, so I expect to be taking off again sometime soon for her funeral.

The cruise was fantastic! We went to several cities in Italy, Barcelona, Monaco, and Tunisia. This was my first cruise and now that is the only way I want to vacation! It's awesome! Fantastic food, relaxing accommodations. I couldn't ask for anything else.

Of course, being interested in real estate, I quizzed some of our tour guides about local real estate prices in the various countries we visited. In Monaco and Monte Carlo, housing prices start at 30,000 Euro per square meter. At exchange rates as of this writing, that works out to about $500,000 per square foot. But the good news is, if you make Monaco your residence, you won't have to pay income tax or inheritance tax, so if you have a high income (and if you are looking to live in Monaco, you do have a high income), you'll recoup your investment pretty quickly. We were in Monte Carlo a week after the Formula One Grand Prix, so we got to see the grandstands and pit garages, which were still set up, and drove on part of the course. In Rome, prices for buying an apartment in the city run around 1.5 to 2 million Euro. On the Isle of Capri, prices are even higher. (On a side note, we saw the Capri residence of Italian designer Versace. The house itself is modest, but the location makes it worth a fortune. It's the white house directly above the orange cactus flower in the picture. Click to enlarge.)

We also visited the Coliseum, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, Sorrento, Carthage, Florence, the Blue Grotto, saw Michelangelo's David, went to the Uffizi Gallery (where we saw works of art by all of the Ninja Turtles), Barcelona, and so much more. I took over 800 pictures! (Thank goodness for digital cameras!) There is so much more to talk about from the cruise, but this is a real estate blog, so I will try to refrain.

Back here at home, things are moving along. Rental #1 has had the repairs completed and is now listed for sale. It's listed at $58,000, which is much less than I paid for it, but this is what my agent thinks it can sell for.

Multi #1 finally closed escrow at the end of May. The previous owner had started the process of raising rents and we will continue that process as lease come up for renewal. The capital improvements we planned are now starting to be implemented. The initial focus will be on touching up the paint, changing the sign (we had to change the name of the complex as a term of the sale), and installing a water feature. I look forward to seeing the first financial statement at the end of the month.

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