Are Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez suffering from a case of coronavirus-related home buyer’s remorse? It sure seems like it, since the celebrity power couple have decided to sell the beachfront property they bought less than two years ago in Malibu, CA.
Lopez and Rodriguez have just listed the home for sale for $7.99 million—a mere 18 months after buying it for $6.6 million from “Entourage” actor Jeremy Piven.
The 2,424-square-foot home, which was built in 1949, has been “reworked for a masterful redesign,” according to the listing. Though details about the home’s interior are scarce, the listing mentions that it has numerous terraces and walls of glass, and it sits on 50 feet of sandy beach.
It’s not clear exactly how much renovation work has been completed on the home, as the listing includes only exterior photos, and Carl Gambino, the home’s listing agent with Compass, declined to be interviewed for this story.
However, in the past, Lopez spoke openly about wanting to fix up the home—with the help of a very well-known home designer.
Did Joanna Gaines help J. Lo renovate this house?
During an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last year, Lopez described the house as a “fixer-upper next to the water” and explained how Rodriguez surprised her on their two-year anniversary by commissioning Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” to renovate the home.
“It’s a house that needs work,” Lopez told DeGeneres.
A few weeks later, Lopez and Gaines (along with baby Crew) were photographed standing on the beach in front of the home, with TV film crews in the background.
So, after investing all that effort to fine-tune the home, why did the couple decide to drop it like a hot potato?
Has COVID-19 turned this beach house into a potential money pit—or a cash cow?
Some real estate experts speculate that the celebrity couple’s decision to sell may have been motivated by the coronavirus pandemic, since the home is very close to neighboring properties.
Even with direct beach access, other beachgoers may have been too close for comfort for Lopez and Rodriguez.
“While the beachfront is nice and convenient, the home is sandwiched between two other properties,” says Cedric Stewart, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC.
“This setup doesn’t exactly lend itself well to social distancing. As soon as stay-at-home orders were lifted, people began flooding beach destinations and waterfront bookings soared,” says Stewart. “A crowded beach is not the best way to protect yourself during a pandemic.”
The pair is reportedly part of a group of investors trying to buy the New York Mets, so it’s also possible they’re thinning out their real estate portfolio to free up some cash for that deal. But they may also be acting strategically in case the recession drags on, says Odest Riley Jr., president of WLM Financial, a real estate brokerage firm in Inglewood, CA.
“They seem to be reading the tea leaves and the financial markets, and moving on from a property that could turn into a money pit in the middle of a national crisis,” he says. “By putting the property back on the market and hopefully making a nice profit, it allows them to free up cash and not be stuck with a possible investment that could likely be very hard for the next buyer to finance. And if the market takes a tumble in 2021, it allows them to have cash available to pick up different properties at a lower price point.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may be affecting Lopez and Rodriguez in yet another way: With everyone working from home because of the pandemic, beachfront properties are a hot commodity right now, says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in California and Florida.
“They scored a deal on this home when they purchased it and may want to take advantage of the hot market, particularly with second homes due to COVID-19,” she says. “Everyone is looking for that getaway property, and there is no better time to buy a beach house.”
And despite Lopez’s very public gushing about Rodriguez’s sweet surprise, more than likely, the Malibu home is no more or less special to the couple than any of their other properties. After all, this isn’t their first joint foray into real estate. They’ve owned multimillion-dollar homes in Los Angeles; New York City; the Hamptons; Encino, CA; and Coral Gables, FL, among others.
“Owning multiple properties is a business in and of itself, and given the number of real estate transactions this power couple is continually involved in, the decision to buy or sell is often nonemotional at this level and more about what makes sense business- and lifestyle-wise,” Ameer says.
Gaines’ apparent involvement adds another layer of celebrity sheen to the home, which could ultimately boost the sale price.
“The pricing strategy seems right on,” Ameer says. “Going just under $8 million is an aggressive approach and perhaps may create a multiple-offer situation.”