Drama and backstabbing! Shopping sprees! Lavish events and parties! Cat fights! But, on a more serious note, there has also been a rash of headlines involving bankruptcy, foreclosures and short sales.
We’re talking about the cast of characters involved in Bravo’s hit reality TV series The Real Housewives, who have been mimicking the housing woes of real life more often than not. For example, a wife from nearly every season has faced a short sale, foreclosure or is selling, or has sold their home at a significantly reduced price.
As Bravo ramps up for the premier of Season 2 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Sept. 5, here’s a look at the real estate trials and tribulations of the Real Housewives over the years.
One of the original Housewives, former Playboy Playmate Jeana Keough controlled four homes during the first season. However, in 2009, she admitted to the OC Register that all four properties, three of them rentals, had notices of default on them. She decided to stop making payments so that she could get loan modifications on them.
The self-proclaimed “hottest housewife” Tamra Barney listed her home for $1.6 million as an attempt to beat the bank in November 2009. When it didn’t sell, Barney, who was a real estate agent, was forced to reduce the price 30 percent to $1.149 million as a short sale. Luckily for Barney, the Ladera Ranch home went into escrow before it was sent to the foreclosure auction.
Alexis Bellino and her husband Jim reportedly defaulted on more than $84,000 in debt and fees on their Newport Beach home. They attempted to sell it in 2008 for $7,999,000, dropping the price all the way down to $5,775,000 in July 2009, before removing the listing. In August 2010, the 6-bedroom, 8-bath home was scheduled for a foreclosure auction when the Bellinos were able to snag a loan modification from their lender. They stuck the home back on the Newport Beach real estate market where it sold it in a short sale for $3 million.
One of the newest members of the Orange County cast, Peggy Tanous made her debut flaunting her Bentley and plastic surgery work. Unfortunately, she’s followed in the footsteps of housewives before her with a foreclosure notice on her Irvine home. Rather than pay the mortgage, Peggy went to court, accusing her lender of “conspiring to take the house.” No word if that argument has worked. Peggy — have you checked mortgage rates lately? How about trying to refinance?
Lynne Curtin had her own housing issues — not in owning, but in renting homes. In 2009, she and her husband, Frank, faced eviction from their Laguna Beach rental. The couple owed their landlord more than $12,000 for the security deposit, utilities and other fees. The Curtins moved out of that home in September 2009 and moved into a new home in Aliso Viejo, CA. In January 2010, it was reported the Curtins received an eviction notice on that property — their fourth eviction notice in several years. Lynne’s notable line on Bravo’s opening credits is, “It’s not how much money you have, it’s how good you look spending it.” Obviously, Lynne is not spending it on rent.
There is one traditional real estate story out of Orange County: Vicki Gunvalson is selling her home the old-fashioned way — no bank involved. However, even the longest lasting housewife is not immune to home woes. Her slice of Coto de Caza real estate was listed nearly half a year ago and has been chopped in price by $100,000. Gunvalson’s home is now listed for $2,395,000.
Although The Real Housewives in Orange County take the cake for real estate woes, the ladies in Atlanta have racked up a few of their own issues.
Lisa Wu Hartwell:
While plenty of O.C. Housewives flirted with foreclosure, Lisa and her husband, former Oakland Raiders linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, actually lost their home to the bank. The couple purchased the Duluth, GA home for $2.9 million; their lender resold the property in August 2009 for $1.9 million.
Technically, Real Housewife Sheree Whitfield isn’t to blame for her home going into foreclosure. She lost her home to her husband via divorce and he slipped on payments. The home was first listed with an asking price of $2,850,000, then cut to $2,400,000 by the time the bank seized it. The bank turned around and listed the property for a much more Atlanta real estate-appropriate price of $959,000 and it sold in 9 days.
Fiesty NeNe Leakes and her estranged husband Gregg Leakes were reportedly evicted from their rental home in 2008 after failing to pay rent. The notice, filed with the court of Gwinnett County, stated that the couple owed $6,240 in back rent. The Leakes’ moved into the 5-bedroom home in 2006.
It’s not a short sale or foreclosure, but DeShawn and Eric Snow’s home did just have a major price cut to the tune of $2 million. They finished building their dream home in 2008 — a 10,000-square-foot estate that sits next door to The Manor Golf and Country Club. When the two announced their divorce in 2010, their home hit the Milton real estate market for $4,998,000. The home is now priced at $2,998,000.
Although this city had the least longevity, it produced some interesting characters, most significantly Michaele and Tareq Salahi who infamously crashed a White House state dinner. While the Salahis have faced other issues like the failure of their winery, they haven’t foreclosed on a home. They are, however, renting a home in Beverly Hills in hopes of becoming newsmakers again.
Mary Schmidt Amons:
Real Housewives of DC’s Mary Schmidt Amons and her husband, Rich, first listed their McLean home for sale a year ago. Priced at $2.35 million, the home didn’t have any offers and the price was dropped to $1.995 million. The home was recently re-listed with another price chop and is currently on the market for $1.799 million. Although McLean is a high-end area in Virginia, it may take a little more time before the Amons can sell the colonial in today’s real estate market.
Last but not least, a Real Housewife from New Jersey with the priciest real estate tale of woe.
Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe were nearly $11 million in debt when their Towaco, NJ home underwent foreclosure. The couple filed for bankruptcy and fortunately, are facing their money problems in credit counseling, something some of the other Housewives could benefit from.