How to Avoid Celebrity Real Estate Blunders

Fame provides no exemption from foreclosure crisis.


CNET founder incurs net losses

Halsey Minor, founder of the CNET, sold his Bel Air, Calif., glass-and-glitz house for about $12 million just two years after buying the place for $20 million. There's been no explanation of the house's multimillion depreciation. The four-bedroom, nine-bath mansion was put on the market in June. Strikeout

The lender foreclosed on retired baseball player José Canseco's 7,344-square-foot house in Los Angeles in May after he couldn't make payments. He bought the house, which was built in 2001 and had four bedrooms, six baths, and a pool, for about $2.8 million in 2005. After a couple of multimillion-dollar divorces, Canseco was strapped for cash. He also lost "about $1 million" in equity in the house. The Wall Street Journal said Canseco could be one of the highest-profile owners to walk away from a mortgage. The house also had liens against it. Bad bet

Professional poker player Annie Duke sold her mansion in Los Angeles's Hollywood Hills in June 2007 for $2.84 million, losing $10,000 on the deal. The 42-year-old Duke bought the 3,528-square-foot house in 2005. It was built in 1928 and had four bedrooms and three baths on a quarter-acre lot. Duke bets, matches, and raises for a living, but the Columbia graduate had to fold on this one. Neverland Ranch never paid for

Michael Jackson owes more on his loan than his fantastic estate in Santa Barbara, Calif., is worth. The King of Pop owed $23,212,963 on his $23 million loan in November, causing the bank to foreclose on the property. On the same day the estate was to be auctioned in May, the loan was bought by Colony Capital LLC. Fed chairman sees housing slump firsthand

Ben Bernanke isn't selling or in foreclosure, but his Washington, D.C., home has lost value in the housing and loan crisis he so closely follows as the Federal Reserve chairman. He bought the 2,600-square-foot, four-bedroom place for $839,000 in 2004. The value went up each year until this year. The proposed 2009 assessment is $885,290—down from last year's $948,110. Hard Rock Cafe founder sells

Peter Morton, cofounder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain, sold his beachfront house in Malibu, Calif., in February for $9.8 million—though he bought the property for $10.5 million in 2007. The buyer was media mogul David Geffen, who helped form DreamWorks. Up Beverly Hills

Actress Sharon Stone attempted to sell her Beverly Hills mansion at about the price for which she bought it. When there weren't any takers, she lowered the asking price by almost $1 million in May. The price dropped from $10.95 million to $10 million on the Sotheby's listing. Stone bought the property through her Vanguard Trust in 2006 for $10.99 million. Bust in Brewster, N.Y.

Actor Harvey Fierstein will lose money on his home, which is on sale through a broker in New York. Fierstein bought the rural, 3,640-square-foot, four-bedroom house in Brewster in late 2005 for $790,000. It is now listed for $749,900. Swimming around zero

Olympic swimmer and model Amanda Beard is selling her bungalow in Venice Beach, Calif., for the same price she bought it for—$1,045,000. Beard, who purchased the 981-square-foot, 3-bedroom house in 2006, will likely lose money on the sale after dealing with closing costs.