Katy Perry Lights Up Housing Market With a $14.2M Montecito Mansion 

The pop singer Katy Perry and the actor Orlando Bloom have found a place to settle down together. The A-list couple plunked down $14.2 million for a jaw-dropping, oceanview estate in the seaside town of Montecito, CA, according to Variety.

Although the couple purchased the home last fall, they’ve spent the last five months moving in to their new coastal retreat, possibly adding their own custom touches, the New York Post notes. The home seems to have been impeccably maintained, but no doubt they preferred to update the interiors to their taste.

The property initially appeared on the market in 2019, for almost $20 million, and then slowly came down in price until it landed at $16.25 million last June. Perry and Bloom managed to score an even better deal with their offer.

The spread is a perfect place to enjoy family time. The two welcomed a daughter last summer, and the “California Gurl” is a Santa Barbara native who appears to be returning to her roots.

The area is popular with celebrities, such as Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Storied estate

The couple apparently bought the home from the former CEO of Chrysler, C. Robert Kidder. He and his wife, Mary, held the property for over two decades, according to Variety.

Set on 9 acres, the circa 1928 build includes six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. Originally designed by the Santa Barbara architects Edwards & Plunkett, it was notably renovated by Lutah Maria Riggs.

Riggs was the first woman to become a licensed architect in Santa Barbara, and the first woman in California to be named a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Spanning four parcels, the spread maintains “much of the same spirit as it did when it was conceived,” according to the listing. The locale affords both ocean and mountain views. A long, oak-lined drive leads to the main residence.

The three-story Mediterranean villa opens up to the main level, with a living room, formal dining room, and open kitchen and breakfast room, which leads to an outdoor dining space. The cooking area includes a large island and butler’s pantry.

Other rooms include a glassed-in sunroom and a family room, and a lower level leads to a wood-paneled office and conference room. On the top level, you’ll find the bedrooms, including the massive master suite, with sitting area, fireplace, dual baths, walk-in closet, dressing room, and a private balcony.

The layout offers access to multiple terraces that look out to the grassy lawns and grounds.

On its expansive acreage, the property also includes a guesthouse, detached office, pool, cabana, and tennis court.

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom's Montecito estate
Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom’s Montecito estate

realtor.com

Living room
Living room

realtor.com

Sunroom
Sunroom

realtor.com

Eat-in kitchen
Eat-in kitchen

realtor.com

Bedroom
Bedroom

realtor.com

Patio
Patio

realtor.com

Pool
Pool

realtor.com

Real estate roar

The couple both maintain ties with nearby Los Angeles. In fact, Perry has bought and sold multiple properties in the area—and even attempted to purchase a monastery.

The singer currently owns a harmonious $18 million Beverly Hills residence that she picked up in 2017 in an off-market deal. In a style described as “Hamptons modern,” the ultra-private, gated estate features five bedrooms, walls of glass, and woodsy acreage.

And the “Firework” singer has been attempting to light up the market with a home that she used as a guesthouse adjacent to her main house.

That place, completely suitable as most people’s idea of a primary residence, is still available for $7.85 million. She bought it in 2018 for $7.4 million.

The 4,400-square-foot space includes four bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen, a living room with fireplace, and a formal dining room. The spaces lead out to terraces, a garden and pool. The master suite is upstairs, with a separate bedroom wing that includes an office and a gym.

Perry's Beverly Hills guesthouse
Perry’s Beverly Hills guesthouse

realtor.com

Bloom, known for his role as Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies, has also been releasing real estate. The English actor’s renovated bachelor pad, which he offered for $9 million in 2019, is currently off market, after its price was chopped to $8 million last year. The single-level contemporary features walls of glass, ipe-wood decking, and an infinity-edge pool.

Orlando Bloom's bachelor pad
Orlando Bloom’s bachelor pad

realtor.com

Source: realtor.com

4 Ways to Get Help If You Don’t Have Flood Insurance

If a flood wrecks your house and belongings, and you don’t have flood insurance, you may feel as though you’ve lost everything. But once the floodwaters recede, help is available to get you back on your feet.

Your first step: Check your insurance. Although your homeowners policy likely won’t cover flood damage, your auto policy might. If a flood damages or destroys your vehicle, it’ll likely be covered — minus your deductible — as long as you have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy.

Some homeowners policies will cover expenses associated with mandatory evacuation orders, so if you had to pay for a hotel or meals while away from home, save your receipts and see if your insurer will reimburse you.

For assistance beyond what your insurer provides, turn to the following sources.

FEMA grants

You can apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency once the president declares your state a major disaster area and your county is named for individual assistance.

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program provides up to $36,000 per household for temporary housing, repairs and construction, plus up to an additional $36,000 for other post-disaster needs. The money can’t duplicate what insurance provides, but it can supplement it, and you don’t need to pay it back.

You can apply for FEMA grants to:

  • Rent a place to live if your home is uninhabitable. If no rental units are available, you can apply for temporary housing. The help is for up to three months initially, with a maximum of 18 months.

  • Repair damage or replace belongings not covered by insurance.

  • Help to pay other disaster-related expenses, such as funerals, medical and dental help, and child care.

In rare cases, FEMA may pay to build permanent or semi-permanent housing in locations where other alternatives aren’t feasible.

Federal grants are available only for your primary home, not for second homes. At least one person in your household must be a U.S. citizen or meet certain requirements for noncitizens.

To check eligibility and apply for a grant, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.

SBA disaster loans

If you need more assistance than FEMA grants can provide, consider applying for a low-cost loan through the Small Business Administration. SBA loans are the most common form of federal disaster assistance. You don’t have to own a business to qualify.

The loans are only for uninsured damage to your primary residence. Terms are for up to 30 years, with a maximum interest rate of 4% if you can’t get credit from another lender and 8% if you can. Here are the loans available, along with some of the restrictions:

  • Up to $200,000 to repair or replace your primary home. You can’t use the loan to make upgrades or additions unless they’re required by building codes.

  • Up to $200,000 to refinance a mortgage. This is available only if you can’t get credit elsewhere, suffered uncovered damage and plan to make repairs.

  • Up to $40,000 to replace damaged belongings, such as clothing, furniture and appliances. These loans are available to both renters and homeowners.

State, county and local government services

If you need help, don’t limit yourself to federal aid. FEMA recommends that survivors reach out to their local emergency management departments to find more information about available resources.

Local governments may be able to point you to free meals, provide disaster unemployment assistance and help with applications for federal aid.

Nonprofit organizations

Nonprofit organizations spring into action in the aftermath of a flood. One of the best-known is the American Red Cross, which offers shelter, meals, cleanup supplies and sometimes one-on-one assistance with recovery planning.

“In some situations, the Red Cross may provide financial support directly to people who need extra help,” Greta Gustafson, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, wrote in an email. “This assistance can help pay for a deposit on a new apartment, replace lost clothing or other belongings, cover transportation expenses or [pay for] any other urgent need.” Such support is generally directed toward the most vulnerable victims of each disaster.

Local chapters of United Way may be able to assist with cleanup, repairs to your home and even mortgage or rent payments if you’ve lost your source of income in the disaster.

If you’re not sure where to turn for help, call 211 or visit 211.org to find services in your area.

Source: nerdwallet.com

5 things to know about IATA’s Travel Pass app right now

4 things to know about IATA’s Travel Pass app



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Solid entry point into the Hilton credit card portfolio: Hilton Honors Amex Card review

Credit card review: Hilton Honors Card from American Express


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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

For These Retirees, Short-Term Rental Bans Aren’t Just a Perk—They’re a Must>

When Wes Swenson sold his data center company in 2017, he was able to buy the retirement homes of his dreams in Utah. He purchased a $1.5 million house in Woodland Hills and a $1.2 million house in St. George. Both homes are in resort-like communities that tourists love; the former for skiing and the latter for access to Zion National Park, hiking and golf. Both are also in cities where homeowners can make high fees from short-term renting their houses.

But Mr. Swenson won’t make a penny that way. He sought out communities with homeowner association rules, known as Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, or CC&Rs, that forbid short-term rentals and have histories of strong enforcement.

Real-estate agents around the country say that it is far more common for a buyer preparing for retirement to seek out a property where they can generate revenue by short-term renting until they are ready to occupy the house themselves.

But for a minority of buyers, making sure they will spend retirement in a community of neighbors, not a rotating cast of visitors, is essential. This is especially true for retirees who want the same deserts, mountains and coastlines as short-term renters. By a long shot, buyers over 65 in the NAR study identified a “desire to be closer to family/friends/relatives” as their top reason for buying a new home, indicating how important community and relationships are to this age group.

Ensuring a short-term-rental-free neighborhood has gotten harder in the last few years. From the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2020, U.S. units rented short term on both Airbnb and Vrbo grew from about 450,000 to 1 million; revenue grew by 150% in that same period, according to Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA, an analyst for the short-term rental industry. Though the pandemic caused travel, bookings, and revenue to nosedive, a recovery is already under way, Mr. Lane said.

Source: wsj.com

Best points hotels in the Caribbean

The best points hotel in the Caribbean



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Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com

How to Track Your Spending on the Chase Freedom Flex 5% Cap

One of the key benefits of the Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card is a rotating 5% earning category. Every quarter, cardholders will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in select categories. That’s up to $300 cash back each year.

The catch? Once you pass the $1,500 spending threshold, you’ll only earn 1% cash back on further purchases in these categories. So, it’s important to know how much you’ve spent toward the limit. That way you can switch to using a credit card that provides a higher return on spending once you hit the cap.

Here’s how to track your spending on the Chase Freedom Flex℠.

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ 5% earning categories

Between January and March 2021, Chase Freedom Flex℠ cardholders earn 5% on:

  • Wholesale club purchases.

  • Internet, cable and phone services.

  • Select streaming services.

However, the rest of the 2021 bonus categories won’t be announced until less than three weeks before the start of the quarter.

This makes it hard to plan your credit card strategy for the year. However, it allows Chase to remain flexible and offer categories that are especially relevant for the time — from department stores around the holidays to select streaming services during the pandemic.

For reference, recent bonus categories have included:

  • Q4 2020: Walmart and purchases through PayPal.

  • Q3 2020: Amazon and Whole Foods.

  • Q2 2020: Grocery stores, fitness club and gym memberships, and select streaming services.

  • Q1 2020: Gas stations; internet, cable and phone services; and select streaming services.

3 steps to monitoring your category spending

1. First, check if you’ve activated cash-back earnings for the quarter

LOG IN AND HEAD TO CHASE ULTIMATE REWARDS®

First, log in to your Chase account and navigate to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® landing page. If you have multiple Chase Ultimate Rewards®-earning Chase cards, you’ll need to select your Chase Freedom Flex℠ from the list.

NAVIGATE TO THE 5% CATEGORIES SECTION

Once logged in, click the menu button (represented by three lines) at the top left corner of the page. Then select “5% Categories” from the menu list.

CONFIRM ACTIVATION

On this page, Chase shows whether or not you’ve activated your 5% cash back for the quarter and the following quarter if registration is open. Do so if you haven’t already. Right below the activation button for the current quarter, you’ll find that quarter’s spending tracker.

This bar will give you a visual approximation of how close you are to the spending cap for the quarter. However, it doesn’t give details on your exact progress. Instead, you’ll need to check another page.

There’s only one place we’ve found that Chase provides an exact figure of how much you’ve spent toward the quarterly $1,500 spending cap.

2. Find the Rewards Activity page

Navigate to the Rewards Activity page. Then, click the “5% cash back” tab on the top menu to scroll down to the tracker.

Here, you’ll find details on how much cash back you’ve earned toward the $75 cap. However, the figures can be a bit confusing. The values listed for each merchant represent the 4% cash-back bonus for the quarter, and the 1% base earning is listed separately.

You don’t have to add up these values to see your bonus category cash-back earnings, though. In the example above, the cardholder has earned $58.48 of their $75 maximum cash back for the quarter.

3. Figure out how much you can still spend toward the cap

It takes a few calculations to determine how much you can still spend before hitting the spending cap.

Nerd tip: Subtract the amount of cash-back earnings so far from $75; you’ll need to divide this amount by 5% (0.05) to find out how much more you can spend before hitting the cap.

In the example above, we need to subtract $58.48 from $75. Then, we divide the $16.52 result by 5%, which gets us $330.40. This is the amount the cardholder can spend in bonus categories this quarter to maximize their cash-back return.

Other bonus categories of the Chase Freedom Flex℠

While the two cards share similar names, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a substantial improvement over the Chase Freedom®.

The Chase Freedom® also earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in select categories, but only 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Chase Freedom Flex℠, however, improves on this by offering the following earning categories:

  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.

  • 3% on drugstore purchases.

Even if you opt to swap this card for one with a higher return after you reach the $1,500 spending cap in a quarter, it is wise to keep it handy for any of the above purchases.

The bottom line

To get the most out of your Chase Freedom Flex℠, you’ll want to max out your 5% cash-back earnings each quarter. But, there are plenty of cards that earn better than 1% cash back on spending. So, you’ll want to switch to using another card once you hit the $1,500 limit.

To improve your chances of maximizing your cash-back earnings, continually monitor your progress toward hitting the spending cap each quarter from your Chase account.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

Some JetBlue passengers will face $65 fee for trying to bring a carry-on bag

JetBlue’s latest basic economy restriction means no more carry-on bags



Advertiser Disclosure


Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Source: thepointsguy.com