Mariah Carey reportedly has snapped up a $5 million retreat on a chic island in the Bahamas. The butterfly-obsessed, style-metamorphosizing pop singer bought an ocean-side compound on exclusive Windermere Island, sources told the celebrity real estate blog The Real Estalker.
The artist formerly known as Mimi, one of the most successful performers in pop music history, shouldn’t have any trouble paying for the 4,000-square-foot pad. Her new single “Touch My Body” just made its radio debut and an album, titled “E=MC2”, a reference to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, is due out in April. The house purchase was supposedly a gift to herself to celebrate the album.
Looking to buy your own home, but lack Mariah’s pile of platinum records? First-time homebuyers don’t need Einstein’s brain to navigate this tricky time in the real estate market, but they should keep their eyes open about how the subprime mortgage crisis has changed the game.
On one hand, experts say, it a great time for many new buyers to take the real estate plunge. Interest rates are lower than Mariah in her unseemly-breakdown-on-“TRL” days, but the market is as wide open as her five-octave vocal range.“It’s a buyer’s market because there are so many REOs (real-estate owned properties) and foreclosures happening. That means you have the opportunity to lowball on offers,” says Gabe del Rio, the vice-president of lending and home ownership at the San Diego nonprofit Community HousingWorks.
But on the other hand, first-time buyers should expect more scrutiny than Mariah’s red carpet wardrobe choices get on E! Lenders who lost billions on risky loans to people without strong financial track records are demanding extensive proof of an applicant’s assets and credit history.
So-called “liars loans” or “no-doc” mortgages where lenders simply accepted an applicant’s word are a thing of the past, says Cathy Pareto, a financial advisor in Coral Gables, Fla. (Editors note: They really did that! Even though these loans would result in a higher interest rate and a larger required down-payment, loans were given out on one’s word of assets held and past/current job history. Crazy.) “They got pretty lax with it, but now the banks are really starting to crack down,” she says.