Sofia Coppola Addicted to Real Estate Listings

sofia coppolaBrowsing online real estate listings can be the best at-home escape, says director Sofia Coppola, whose latest movie is Somewhere, starring Stephen Dorff. "My friends and I say it's like online porn for women," she tells O, The Oprah Magazine in the January issue. But it's not just women who can find home sale listings to be addictive.

Seth Ginsberg, co-founder and president of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a nonprofit patient advocacy organization based in Upper Nyack, N.Y., says he browse listings at least once a day for 30 minutes at a time. The 29-year-old says he got hooked at age 16 watching Michael J. Fox's TV character Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties rattle on about business and real estate.

"I like to browse listings at night after a long day, over a glass of wine, while watching TV," he says. "On weekends, like most people, I browse the Sunday real estate section in the bathroom."

Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, says, "People are instinctively interested in others' living environments and how they may compare or relate to their own surroundings. As sellers take a particular interest in the appearance of their home when it is on the market for public view, this provides an opportunity for others to see what might work for their own living spaces someday. This could be as simple as décor color combinations or getting ideas for particular fixtures, furniture arrangement or landscaping."

That's why Ginsberg says he also likes going to open houses. "They give me a sense of how I'm doing, ideas for decoration, and the direction of the real estate market. It's what to do on a Sunday in the Big Apple!"

Ginsberg, who purchased a New York City co-op in Spring 2008, says one decorating idea he took away from an open house is how to display his cookware. "I really liked how someone hung all of their pots and pans on a stainless steel rack on the kitchen wall. I went to Home Depot that afternoon and hung one up in my apartment. It's the first thing that people notice [or] compliment me on when they walk through my apartment."

He adds that "I usually choose the open houses that are either newest, largest, or most resemble my apartment in my neighborhood. The New York Timesreal estate section has the best listings for me, but I'm also entertained by the Craigslist ads."

For those who don't want to be limited to checking out homes just down the block, AOL Real Estate'shomes for sale section is a way to browse listings across the country. Some people also like
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browsing Internet listings, like this writer, of those homes that one just never will be able to afford on freelance pay.

For those who are like me, Ginsberg and Coppola, below is a 6-bedroom, 9-bath 2-story home in Plymouth, Minn., listed for $2.295 million by former Apprentice cast member Wade Hanson of Re/Max Results, that I recently toured with awe. As the largest and most expensive listing in that suburban Minneapolis town, it is a 2004-built 11,717-square-footer with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, an elevator, theater room, exercise room, walk-out lower level with its own kitchen, tray-vaulted ceilings, and tile imported from Italy that was hand-picked by the then architect-homeowner. This same home in a different neighborhood would be millions more.

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