SELLERS: Alexis and Jim Bellino
LOCATION: Newport Beach, CA
SIZE: 6,400 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5.75 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Buckle up your safety belts butter beans because despite our better but boozy judgment Your Mama is going to dis and discuss yet another of the over-processed housewives from The Real Housewives of... franchise. This time it's Orange County's cotton candy-fied glamazon Alexis Bellino and her be-goateed entrepreneur huzband Jim, a flashy pair who appear to be tangled and tied up with some honest to goodness real estate woes. The couple owns a fancy home in the very white and very wealthy Newport Beach, CA that they've been trying to sell for a damn ice age and is currently on the market for $3,395,000.
Now listen, puppies, we don't need y'all hollerin' about how you don't want to hear about another silly damn housewife having money drama. Iffin you don't care to know about the real estate doings of the housewives then move along little doggies. As for Your Mama we can't get enough of their real estate schadenfreude. We know we shouldn't wallow in the financial miseries of another person but we just can't help it when it comes to these housewife creatures.
These shiny, buffed and puffed people go on national television, preen like peacocks, put their lavish lifestyles on display for all the world to ogle and generally speaking act like damn fools who seem to really believe that others are envious and even green with jealousy of their profligate and ostentatious ways. Unfortunately for them, because their lives have suddenly become tabloid commodities, their financial secrets begin to surface and leak out in the gossip glossies and the internets. All too often we the scuttlebutt craving public have come to discover that the glittery and cosmetically enhanced lives of many of these "housewives" are little more than fragile houses of cards, a whole lot of smoke and mirrors that amounts to something far less and more tawdry than what they might like us to think. Your Mama is not exactly gleeful about or have anything emotionally invested in the financial demise of any the actually, allegedly and/or formerly well to do housewives. We are, however, utterly transfixed by the fireworks and melodrama of their constantly souring real estate deals. It's like driving by a fatal car crash, you know? It's ugly and rude and we shouldn't stare but we do. Much to our own chagrin and mortification we slow down to a crawl and stare and stare and stare.
Of all the housewives and "housewives" on Bravo's The Real Housewives of... series, perhaps the most financially troubled are those Botoxed beehwatchas in Orange County. Almost all of them have grappled with financial issues that have forced their real estate hands: Former Playboy model and current real estate agent Jeana Keough–who quit the show last year and recently appeared on some weight loss reality program Your Mama couldn't bear to watch–staved off foreclosure with mortgage modifications on several if not all of her properties. Although currently off the market, she's had her 8,000-ish square foot house in the gated Coto de Caza community on and off the market at least seven times since June of 2009; Tamra Barney and her über uptight and estranged huzband Simon sold their house in Ladera Ranch as a short sale in 2009; Too tan whackadoodle cuff designer Lynne Curtin doesn't even own a home of her own and over the last couple of years was evicted from at least two high-priced rentals in Laguna Beach; And heaven only knows how Gretchen Rossi pays for her weaves, waxes and high-heeled shooz but up until this point it appears she and her unemployed live-in man friend/fiancée Slade Smiley have the financial stability to make the mortgage on her house in Costa Mesa.
Rumors have swirled for months that Jim and Alexis Bellino, who joined the cast in the fifth and most recent season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, were flirting with foreclosure on a large and luxurious home they own–but apparently do not occupy–in Newport Beach, CA. Based on some information recently provided to Your Mama from a real estate insider in the Newport Beach area, Your Mama did a little digging around in the public property records where we discovered the high rolling couple are indeed on a crash course with their creditors who are attempting to force the property into the angry arms of foreclosure.
Property records show that Mister and Missus Bellino bought the 6,400 square foot house in August of 2007. The sale price of the property seems to be a secret–or at least we can't manage to find it on the interweb–but the publicly accessible documents we perused show that the Bellinos received a whopping $4,560,000 mortgage on the property.
Their long and traumatic real estate odyssey began in May of 2008 when real estate listing juggernaut Redfin shows Mister and Missus Bellino heaved the house on to the market just 8 short months after signing on the deed's dotted line in August of 2007. What price tag they slapped on their hog when they first listed it in 2008 we do not know but according to old listing information squeezed up out of the interweb, in February of 2009 the price of the Bellino's real estate ball and chain was slashed from an obviously and exceedingly optimistic $7,995,000 to an apparently still too high $5,795,000, a rather desperate seeming 28% reduction.
A few months later the price dipped to $5,775,000 and listing information from that time shows that the Bellinos had tenants in the house on a 2 year lease that ends in mid-June, 2011. Since Your Mama doesn't know a lamp post from a post office we really don't know if if the tenants are still in place but we do hear through the Newport Coast real estate grapevine that the Bellinos recently took up residence in a rented home in a gated community in Newport Beach. More on that later.
By October of 2009 those crazy Bellinos had delisted and re-listed the posh property five times before finally taking it off the market in mid-October. Here, children, is where things get really ugly, or interesting depending on your point of view. In early November of 2010 the Bellinos once again hoisted their real estate white elephant on the market, this time with an asking price of $4,995,000. Five days later the price tag plummeted by a shocking one million dollars. Twenty days after that they cleaved another three hundred thousand off the asking price and today they hacked off another three hundred thousand clams, bringing the current asking price to $3,395,000. Listing information shows the Bellino owned residence is–surprise!–offered as a short sale.
The Bellino owned home, some of the children might be eager to learn, sits on a double lot in the very same 'hood where Nic Cage sold a waterfront house in 2007 for around $35,000,000 to Jerry Herbst, a gas station and slot machine mogul from Las Vegas. It appears that Mister Gasandgambling caught a case of the real estate fickle because Cage's old crib, a 10,000+ square foot beast with 6 bedrooms and 8 poopers, is back on the market with an asking price of $31,750,000.
Anyhoodles, a few more peeps and pokes around in the public property records uncovers even more sordid real estate tidbits that help to explain the recent and radical price drops. In May of 2010 a Notice of Default was filed on the property, presumably for lack of payment on the $4,560,000 mortgage the couple secured when they bought the property in August of 2007.
In early August, a Notice of Sale was recorded that called for an auction date of August 25th, 2010 with a minimum bid of $4,619,188. The Bellinos somehow managed to hang on to the house but, alas, on the 18th of November a second Notice of Sale was recorded with an upcoming auction date set for December 10, 2010 in Santa Ana, CA. The minimum bid, according to the docs we saw, is now set at $4,677,635. Now children, keep in mind that it's very possible the Bellinos will manage to get current on their mortgage and once again hold off a foreclosure sale.
The house, a large but fairly ordinary southern California mansion with contemporary interiors and the grey shingled skin of an old-school house in the Hamptons, occupies a large for the area wedge-shaped lot with views from the roof terrace of the admittedly quite scenic and bustling Newport Harbor. Listing information shows the remodeled house was originally built in 1993, measures about 6,400 square feet and includes a total of 6 bedrooms, 6.5 poopers–or 5.75 depending on where in the listing one looks–and garage space for six cars.
Since we really don't know if the furniture and day-core seen in the listing photos belongs to Mister and Missus Bellino or a tenant to whom they've leased the house, we're not going to spend much time on the less than savory decorative choices like the mind boggling and insanely bad artworks throughout the house or how the circular formal living room space at the front of the house has been outfitted like a rather fey man-cave with a pool table and built in bar.
In addition to the formal living room/man cave, the long wedge-shaped house includes a formal dining room and a large family room with fireplace, built-in entertainment center, fireplace and a bank of French doors that open out to a courtyard. There's a large gore-may eat-in kitchen with espresso colored cabinetry, sky light and high grade appliances as well as a wine cellar, and home theater done in blood red wall coverings and chocolate velvet and leather. The master suite, an entire wing at the back of the second floor, has a huge bedroom with shallow vaulted ceiling, an adjacent office, spa style pooper, walk-in closet and several sets of French doors that open to a narrow balcony cantilevered over the central courtyard.
A small roof terrace above part of the master bedroom allows for spectacular sunset views over the harbor and the central courtyard, just large enough to teach a toddler to ride a tricycle and paved almost entirely in overlapping circles of concrete and brick, has a party sized sunken spa, built in barbecue center and an outdoor fireplace.
While a four million dollar house in Newport Beach isn't remotely rare, the last few months haven't been terribly kind to the gated enclave where the Bellino owned abode is located. In the last three months, according to Redfin, there have been a handful of sales with the most expensive house going for just $2,450,000. Admittedly that house isn't nearly as large and sits on a much smaller lot than the Bellino owned home, but it still doesn't bode well for their continued quest to find a big bucks buyer for their house.
It doesn't appear that even if the Bellinos do manage to save their house from foreclosure that they'll move back into the house. A Newport Coast real estate insider we'll call Juanita Wordspiller whispered in Your Mama's ear that the Bellinos recently leased a 4 bedroom and 4.5 pooper mock-Mediterranean style residence in a gated community in Newport Beach. We can't say for sure that the Bellinos leased or moved into the house in question but information we received from Juanita about the property shows the 3,696 square foot mini-manse was leased on the 9th of October for $7,600 per month. The house includes an attached 3-car garage, a rotunda entry with sweeping staircase, wine closet, at least two fireplaces including one in the formal dining room, a second floor master bedroom with a balcony that overlooks the driveway and a courtyard style backyard surrounded by thick foliage with built-in barbecue, large tile terrace, accent lighting, and a fountain that gurgles up out of a fake Etruscan-style urn.
Eventually the Bellinos and the rest of the Orange County housewives will get their financial boats back on an even keel. It may, however, mean they'll have to give up their fancy foreign cars, frequent shopping sprees for bedazzled sandals, and their over-sized residences. Eventually they'll figure out they need to sell their Versace jeans at the local consignment store and start seeing what king of glamour they can eek out of low-budget retailers like Target and Kohls. Until they figure that out, it's going to be a rough damn road because whether they like it or not, the real estate salad days for Orange County are long gone and not soon to reappear.
listing photos: HOM Real Estate Group