The meaning of luxury: What agents can learn from the Kardashian homes
By CHRISTY MURDOCK
Whatever your feelings about the Kardashian family, one of the things you’ll have to admit: They have an eye for real estate. From the iconic (almost normal-looking) family home featured in the first few seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, to the mega-luxury homes currently featured on the Hulu iteration, The Kardashians, these women have always had a taste for opulent spaces.
Below, we’ll look at some of their most spectacular homes, gather together some facts, and determine how those homes reflected their changing tastes and brands as they’ve grown their fortune and their influence. What better way to bid farewell to Luxury Month than with this roundup of Kardashian kastles.
The one that started it all: Kris Jenner’s Hidden Hills family home
Location: Jed Smith Road, Hidden Hills, California
Sold for: $3,395,000
Stats: 3,966 square feet, four bedrooms, five bathrooms
If you were watching KUWTK when it first started, you probably remember this charming home that, while luxurious, was decidedly low-key when compared to some of their more recent showplaces.
The vibe in those early days was that the Kardashians were an all-American family, except that they were living alongside the wealth and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The point of the show wasn’t, initially, to focus on wealth or fame; it was to focus on how those things could co-exist with a family that, while decidedly modern, was more or less normal.
When adding value for past clients, make sure that you’re keeping them informed about the value of their home, especially if it has risen more than expected. Ensure that they understand how they might be able to leverage that added value: a bigger home, a better market or a split into two properties.
A well-positioned, well-maintained home, even if it’s modest, can be the foundation of a real estate portfolio or a series of subsequent property upgrades.
The most famous one: Kris Jenner’s Hidden Hills mansion (the one with the black and white foyer)
Location: Hidden Hills, California
Price: $4 million (in 2010)
Stats: 8,860 square feet, six bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms
Perhaps none of the Kardashian homes has been as well-known as this one, the one that saw much of the action as the Kardashians began to grow their empires in earnest. Here, Kylie mistook a pig for a chicken. Here, Kim moved back in with Kanye to get away from the never-ending renovations at their own home.
This sprawling home and its grounds offer an interesting insight into the family’s growing wealth and power. The home is far more luxe, and there’s an effort at elegance. The black and white design is a particularly interesting one, blending restraint and minimalist style with over-the-top luxury.
Another indication of this home’s unique role in recording the development of the Kardashian mythos: While the show was shot in the home’s interiors, the exteriors were those of another house, for security reasons.
Talk to your buyers and figure out both their pain points and goals for their purchase. This is especially important if they are looking to move up to a nicer home or better neighborhood.
Although they may talk about square footage and closet size, there may be other factors at play. A better school system, a flashier street address or more security can all be involved in a move-up.
The Kardashian-West Hidden Hills home. Google Maps.
The modern mausoleum: Kim and Kanye’s massive overhauled Hidden Hills mansion
Location: Hidden Hills, California
Price: $20 million purchase, $20 million renovation
Stats: Eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms
There’s something to be said for just straight-up weirdness. If that is true, this totally renovated home, designed in large part by Axel Vervoordt and in part by Kanye West, is a fever dream of minimalism that has been scrutinized, analyzed and ridiculed — and still garners strong opinions.
Is it ugly and scary or tranquil and calm? Is it an oasis of peace for a family under constant attack or an over-the-top attempt to legitimize Kanye as an artist and Kim as the ultimate sophisticated tastemaker? (Just check out the crazy sinks.)
I think that the answer is D: All of the above. There’s no doubt that Kanye wanted the home to be a way of legitimizing his aesthetic sensibilities and artistic reputation.
Although Kim says that the neutral palette was a mutual design decision, everyone who’s been keeping up with the Kardashians knows that Kanye emptied her closet of color and chose her clothes throughout their relationship, turning her into the living embodiment of his own taste and style.
For Kim herself, the attractions of the home may lie in the same thing that appears to have brought her and Kanye together in the first place: a sense of legitimacy and elevation that comes from her association with others, especially the men in her life.
By following in her father’s legal footsteps, she seeks to position herself as an intellectual and civil rights activist. By marrying Kanye, she vaulted from the cover of People magazine to the cover of Vogue.
Buyers need options, and they’re depending on their real estate professional to help them figure out what will work best for them. Come in with an open mind and help them think through new construction versus resale, custom build versus renovation, and the wide variety of submarket options available in your area.
Even if there’s not a current listing that fits their wishlist, they may welcome the opportunity to create their dream home. Be willing and able to make referrals to great designers, architects and contractors in your area.
The wellness retreat: Kourtney Kardashian’s new Palm Springs oasis
Location: La Quinta, California
Price: $12 million
Stats: 9,000+ square feet, six bedrooms, eight bathrooms
As her sisters launched brand after brand, Kourtney Kardashian seemed to struggle to find her footing within the ever-expanding Kardashian product empire. She finally seems to have hit her stride with POOSH, her goop-knockoff lifestyle brand (goop is Gweneth Paltrow’s brand) that seeks to capitalize on the eldest sibling’s interest in health, diet and wellness.
After taking up with her now-husband, Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, Kourtney purchased this spectacular, fully furnished desert retreat with views of the mountains and a 15-tee, Fazio-designed golf course right outside the backyard.
Unlike the rest of the sisters, who all seem to stay within close proximity of the Kardashian mothership, Kourtney appears to have found happiness going further out, geographically.
For longtime fans of the show, this is aligned with her oft-proclaimed intention of distancing herself from the day-to-day with the rest of the family, including ex-boyfriend and baby daddy Scott Disick, who lives in Hidden Hills with the rest of the clan.
When marketing a listing, think beyond the number of bedrooms and baths. Think about the location, the convenience, the views and the vibe of the home. Seek to convey the things that make the home special, and lead your listing description with the wow factors the property offers.
The well-organized home: Khloe Kardashian’s scratch-built mansion
Location: Hidden Hills, California (next door to Kris)
Price: $17 million
Stats: 10,000 square feet, eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms
After the past few years of relationship woes, Khloe Kardashian may have been looking for a safe place to land when she oversaw the construction of this home at the same time as — and right next door to — Kris’s most recent residential project.
Now, she and her daughter, True, occupy this sprawling residence featuring expansive gardens, a professional-quality fitness studio and, reportedly, a panic room as well.
Known for her attention to detail and so-called “Khlo-CD,” Khloe’s home is a reflection of her dedication to neatness and organization. The home boasts an incredible walk-in pantry and meticulously curated closets, offset by the oversized cloud-like furniture this Kardashian sister always seems to favor.
Playing armchair psychologist, it’s not hard to imagine that Khloe’s desire to control and direct her physical space is a reflection of, and response to, the messiness of her relationships. In addition, as a single mom, she’s creating an oasis of calm where she can raise her daughter in (comparative) peace.
A home represents more than an aesthetic or financial choice. For those who have experienced trauma or a major change in circumstances, it can represent safety and security, order in a chaotic world and a sense of stability when life seems hopelessly complicated.
Be sensitive to the emotional component of your buyer clients’ home search or your seller clients’ home sale and understand what’s happening beneath the surface.
So what can we learn from the Kardashian homes?
Although the Kardashians are known for over-the-top excess, looking at their homes, both past and current, it’s easy to see that, in many ways, they’re just like any other client. The things that cause them to change homes — marriage, divorce, children, changes in income and lifestyle — are the same things that cause your clients to change homes.
As an agent, the more you can see the person behind the transaction, and the more you can identify and empathize with them, the better your service will be to them.