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Realtor, former major leaguer’s homes among 2020 top sales

Former Major League Baseball player Aaron Rowand sold his Summerlin home he built in 2011 in The Ridges for $5.5 million, but a Chinese investor led the way in the second quarter paying $5.88 million for the Queensridge estate of Realtor Tom Love, who served as his own agent.

The Love home sale closed May 21, and Rowand’s sale was completed June 30.

The sales come as the luxury market continues its strong showing despite the COVID-19 crisis with an even greater influx of buyers from California, according to Realtors.

Rowand, a former center fielder with the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, bought the vacant lot that’s one-third of an acre for $574,845 in January 2009. He sold it to LBS Trust in an all-cash deal.

Rowand built a three-story home at 34 Meadowhawk Lane in 2011 that featured an indoor batting cage. It measures 10,948 square feet with five bedrooms and seven bath, four of which are full. It has a four-car garage. It has a home theater, game room, wine cellar, basement, elevator, pool with a swim-up bar, outdoor kitchen and fire pit.

Julie Baecker, a Realtor with Simply Vegas, was Rowand’s agent. Nichole Teter of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties represented the buyer.

“I have shown a lot of homes in The Ridges, but there is nothing like it as far as the decor and entertaining spaces,” Baecker said. “Everything in that house is custom. It has marbled ceilings and a top-notch house.”

Rowand said he sold the home after recently getting remarried to someone he graduated with from high school in Glendora, California. The house was too big for the two of them, and he and his wife, Heather, always wanted to live at the beach. He said he’s renting a 3,500-square-foot home with a pool along the golf course in Red Rock Country Club where he is a member to have a presence in Las Vegas where his son, McKay, will be a sophomore at Bishop Gorman High School and plays sports, including baseball and basketball.

“I’m in escrow for a house right now on the beach in San Clemente,” Rowand said. “It’s being rented out, and I plan to move in three years from now.”

Rowand’s home in The Ridges matched the third-highest sale of any single-family home on the Multiple Listing Service during the first half of 2020.

Rowand, who said he donated the batting cage and pitching machine to UNLV, worked as an instructor for the Chicago White Sox but stepped away after last season to watch his son play sports until COVID-19 impacted that.

“I love Vegas,” Rowand said. “I’ve been here for 21 years. My ex-wife went to Gorman and her mom and sisters live up here. And it’s a lot less expensive than Southern California. When we moved here in 1999 property values were low, and I was looking to invest some money. The offer on the house was a little less than I wanted but it was fair enough for me to get the ball rolling doing other things.”

Rowand said he keeps busy these days by partnering with a chemist friend in forming a company, Rocker Bat Co., making wood baseball bats specially treated and difficult to break with a high exit speed.

“It’s a fun project, and you will see a lot of the bats out there shortly (in retail stores),” Rowand said.

Tom Love sells his estate

The No. 1 sale during the first six months was closed May 21 at a price of $5.88 million. Love’s two-story home with a basement at 9828 Winter Palace Drive in Queensridge on a 1.16-acre lot measures 15,000 square feet and six-car garage. It was built in 1998 by the Peccole family, the developers of Queensridge, and has eight bedrooms and 11 baths.

Originally a Victornian home that was made to look more modern, it was featured in Real Estate Millions three years ago.

The buyers were Chinese investors Shi Yuan Zhu and Ting He. Wei Chen of Investpro Realty was the buyer’s agent.

“It’s spectacular,” Love said about his former home remodeled by his wife, Shannon. “That’s why it’s the most expensive sold so far this year. It had a multimillion-dollar remodel completed a few short years ago where no expense was spared thanks to the good fortune of me having some great clients that have helped me build my business and selling some of the most expensive properties in Las Vegas over the years.”

The gated home has a Koi pond and trees of 50 to 60 feet high.

“My favorite thing about the home was the backyard,” Love said. “I have been told it’s the nicest backyard in Las Vegas. When you were sitting in that backyard, you didn’t feel like you were even in Las Vegas with the mature trees. We mosaiced the whole pool, which is rare with a completely tiled pool and one of the largest residential pools in all of Las Vegas.”

The basement has a theater, bar, gym, game room and wine cellar.

“It had every amenity that anybody could want and as we are seeing with COVID-19 people want better space because they’re being stuck at home more,” Love said. “That is one of the things that drew this buyer to the property. It not only had a tremendous amount of indoor living, but the outdoor living was important to them.”

There’s a two-bedroom detached home on the estate as well, Love said.

Love said it was time to move and he and his family are looking at their options and viewing properties. They have an interim home in Summerlin.

“We’re still in the market to find a replacement home,” Love said. “This was a very quick sale with two-week close of escrow in cash. When these buyers come along, they’re rare so we made sure we were very accommodating.”

Other top sales

Following the sale of Rowand’s home, the No. 3 sale was 43 Morning Glow Lane in The Ridges for $4.5 million. The two-story home measures 7,048 square feet and has five bedrooms, two baths and a three-car garage. It has an eight-seat movie theater and gym.

Robert Herdzik was the buyer and James and Stephanie Hurtado were the sellers.

Gavin Ernstone of Simply Vegas was the listing agent and Lindy Meranto of Urban Nest Realty was the buyer’s agent.

“The home backs onto the mountain at The Ridges and has great views,” Ernstone said. “It’s a beautiful modern house. It sold very easily and right when the pandemic first hit.”

No. 4 during the second quarter was a two-story home at 2673 Boboli Court in Seven Hills in Henderson for $4.26 million. The home measures 8,452 square feet with five bedrooms and six baths and a six-car garage. It has a theater, wine room and casita in the front of the home. There’s a covered pool pavilion that offers shade and privacy with the pool and spa.

The buyers were Joshua and MaryJean Sparks, the owner of a roofing contracting company in Wisconsin. The sellers were Jerry and Patricia Mall.

Ivan Sher with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties was the listing agent. Zach Walkerlieb with Coldwell Banker Premier was the buyer’s agent.

“It’s one of the finest homes in Seven Hills,” Sher said. “There’s a lot of steel throughout the house, and this incredible motor court where you drive in and you have fire features and water all around you.”

The home’s decor is “sensational” with wood floors and pocket doors that open and views of the Strip and overlooking the Rio Secco golf course, Sher said.

“The entire upstairs is a master and kind of a sitting room,” Sher said. “It’s a stylish, sexy house.”

The fifth highest selling home during the second quarter at $4.1 million was a two-story home at 9940 Orient Express Court in Queensridge. The Tuscan and Santa Barbara-designed home measures 9,982 square feet with six bedrooms, nine baths, home theater and a four-car garage. There’s a casita on the nearly 1-acre lot that has meandering gardens, a pool, spa, waterfall and other water features, covered patio and outdoor barbecue area. There’s a stone walkway through the front gate and a flagstone courtyard. There’s stone and hardwood flooring, imported marble and mosaics.

The buyer was Las Vegas attorney Richard Schonfeld.

Ken Lowman of Luxury Homes of Las Vegas was the listing agent and Love was the buyer’s agent.

Lowman said the Queensridge home sold for less than the $6.3 million previously paid for it because of its architecture and closure of the Badlands golf course.

“It has been an issue with potential buyers,” Love said. “On my house because of the amount of mature trees planted by the previous owner, it didn’t affect mine as much.”

Luxury market

Compared to the real estate market overall, the luxury market with sales of $1 million or more as depicted on the Multiple Listing Service is holding its own.

Realtor Forrest Barbee with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services who tracks the luxury market, reported there were 262 sales of homes and condos of $1 million or more on the MLS between Jan. 1 and June 30.

That is 7 percent fewer than the 282 during the first six months of 2019 but better than the 13 percent for the market as a whole.

But when including pending sales of those $1 million and more, there were 110 at the end of June compared to 89 on June 30, 2019. That means when combining closings and pending, the luxury market has one more sale in the pipeline in 2020.

“I’ve talked to a lot of brokers around town, and we’re seeing a lot of properties six to eight months ago that were not getting offers that are now getting back-up offers,” said Bob Barnhart of Luxurious Real Estate. “We’re seeing a high level of sales pending, and there’s a lot of buzz around town about the activity and buying frenzy the last 60 days.”

That’s driven by Californians who are looking to escape state income taxes and politics, Barnhart said.

The MLS data for the luxury market in June showed the median price per sale was $1.37 million and the average price sold was $1.7 million.

“The luxury real estate market has done a V-shaped recovery just like the stock market has done,” Lowman said. “The economic and business shutdown affects the lower-end (income) person than someone who is wealthy.”

Lowman said the trend of luxury California buyers has increased and estimates that clientele is 50 percent rather than one-third, and there’s not a big supply of modern luxury homes and they’re gobbled up quickly.

“I still see a lot of locals doing upgrading from a smaller or older home and moving to one of the new planned communities like The Ridges and MacDonald Highlands. If anything causes our sales to slow down, it will be a lack of inventory. It’s not going to be a lack of buyers.”

Sher said he hasn’t been able to stop and catch his breath even with the onset of COVID-19. He said the luxury market has the “same feeling of how crazy it was in the early 2000s.”

“There are more buyers from California than I have ever seen. People have made the decision they are done with California and are moving out here.”

Sher said California’s tax rate and the lockdown over COVID-19 has luxury homeowners frustrated and ready to move.”

Ernstone said he has a buyer, a Northern California business owner with commercial real estate investment, who in August will close on the biggest sale in Henderson in McDonald Highlands in more than a decade at $11.25 million. It’s 17,500 square feet on 2.5 acres. He said he expects the third quarter to be strong for the luxury market.

“We have been so busy,” Ernstone said. “I have sold a luxury home every single week since the pandemic hit. It’s very low-interest rates and an element of people sitting in their houses on lockdown wanting a better bigger house because they spent too much time in their homes and realized their deficiencies.”

Simply Vegas’ Baecker credits low mortgage rates are helping the luxury market and people’s realization that they “don’t want to be stuck in the same house” if there’s another COVID-19 lockdown in the future.

“They may want a bigger home or yard or look at their life and want to downsize,” Baecker said. The owner who bought Rowand’s home wanted a change after living in a high-rise unit.

“They said they can’t stand to be close to all of those people anymore and wanted land and space and family neighborhood,” Baecker said.