While working on the story about Eve Plumb's Malibu beach house coming on the market for $4.95 million, listing agent Brian Linder mentioned a fact that left us speechless: Plumb, with her parents, bought the place for under $60,000 in 1969, when she was just 11 years old.
Already in the acting biz plying her trade on TV commercials when she snagged that plum role as middle sister Jan on the iconic TV series "The Brady Bunch," the young actress was an early earner -- and as it turns out, a savvy investor, too.
The actress and artist, now 57 (whom you may have caught as the scene-stealing garage owner Mrs. Murdock on Fox's " Grease Live!"), graciously agreed to speak with us about her first experience in real estate, as well as give us some tips she has learned along the way.
I'm told you bought your Malibu house in 1969, when you were only about 11 years old. is that right?
My parents and I bought it together. Because I was working, and working on a series, my parents always wanted to make sure that I had time off, that I wasn't always working and wasn't always doing personal appearances.
So they looked around, and found this great place. And we bought it together and enjoyed it together for years as a weekend house. It was so close to where we lived in Los Angeles. It was only a half-hour away.
How did you decide it was the one?
My mom saw an ad for it in Variety magazine. We had been looking up and down the coast for awhile. We saw a couple of those places that were right on the PCH [Pacific Coast Highway], where you open the door, and you're on the highway. But this one was the one that was right.
Because it was off the PCH on a private road?
And also because it had a big sandy beach and not a wet sandy beach.
What's your favorite room in the house?
The living room is pretty spectacular. It's all big huge windows looking out on the ocean.
Has Malibu changed a lot since you were a kid?
It has. I think it's a lot more glamorous. I remember it being a little more down-home, a little more sleepy town, with an edge of glamour. But now it's definitely very high-end and glamorous.
Did the cost of the house seem like a lot at the time?
The house cost, what -- $57,000? That was a lot of money. And it wasn't as if I were making the down payment. Salaries were commensurate with what things cost. It was just that my parents wanted to invest my money in real estate.
A very smart move. You tried to sell it two years ago. Do you think the design plan by Meis Architects for new construction in that space is more of a selling point than the current cabin?
It depends on the buyer. It does stand on its own as a sweet cabin, but we'd also like to show the opportunity to do something else. You can live in it as-is right now, or continue to have it as a rental, or you can make this other beautiful design.
You were so savvy as a real estate investor at a young age. Any tips you want to pass along to real estate buyers?
I've actually bought and sold a fair amount of real estate over the years. It's always been single-family residences, maybe a condo here and there. But I would say, set up your parameters. Know what you're looking for. Do your research, know what part of town you want to live in. Know what kind of property you want.
Make a checklist of 8 to 10 things that are really important to you. Then that property will appear, and you will know it when you see it. Rather than being confused with all the choices that are out there, know what you want.
What's the favorite house you've ever owned?
Actually, it was a rental. When I first moved to New York, I found this great rental up on 87th Street and Amsterdam Avenue that had an amazing view of Central Park, and it had a grandfathered parking space underneath. Renting is great, but it's not the kind of investment we're looking for. I think that was probably one of my favorites.
If you're living in New York, this is a crazy time to buy.
It's always a good time to buy in New York. And it's always a good time to buy in Malibu.