WHO: Alexis and Jim Bellino
WHAT: New house in Dana Point, CA
SIZE: 7,146 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen here my little property-lovin’ ponies. Iffin yer too high fallutin’ for or simply uninterested in the (sometimes schadenfreude-ian) real estate doings of one or any of those boobtastic, blinged-out beehawtchas from The Real Housewives of Orange County then spare yourselves the agony of such quasi-celebrity real estate drivel and git along little doggies. Your Mama will be back at y’all with the real estate activities of someone y’all might deem more deservedly famous soon enough.
Many of the high-on-the-hog living housewives–and “housewives”–from Orange County have suffered through very public real estate issues and woes. Bentley- and Hummer-driving housewife Peggy Tanous, who will not return for the 7th season of the flash-and-trash must see reality program, reportedly stared into the gaping maw of foreclosure earlier this year; Tamara Barney and her tightly-wound ex-husband Simon had to short sell their mock-Med mcmansion in some planned development in some planned community in inland Orange County where all the houses look suspiciously alike; Jewelry designing former housewife Lynn Curtin, the too tan wee lamb, has been evicted from not one but several rented homes in Orange County.
Like many highly-leveraged real estate entrepreneurs in Orange County whose new-found fortunes declined drastically and/or were entirely reversed due to the existence and eventual meltdown of the sub-prime mortgage market, man jewelry-wearing metrosexual Jim Bellino and his sexy-dressing subordinate Christian real housewife Alexis Bellino found themselves between a rock and a financial hard place too and, as a result, dealt with their own very public real estate traumas and melodramas. As with some of their cast mates in Orange County and elsewhere, their (alleged) money troubles and ugly real estate matters played out as part of her/their storyline on the sixth season of the mega-hit show.
Deeds and documents Your Mama dug up out of the interweb reveal that by the fall 2010 Mister and Missus Bellino had failed to make the payments on a four and some million dollar mortgage secured by their Newport Beach mansion. Their lender initiated but did not complete foreclosure proceedings on a couple of occasions.
In early May, while the sixth season aired and they grappled with rampant rumors of their real estate demise, Missus Bellino told the peeps at Radar Online that she and the Mister had identified but not yet secured their next “dream home.” She is quoted as saying, “We’re going to be buying it” and described it as “amazing” with “a huge long driveway,” and “one of those houses that I feel I will never grow out of.”
During the June (2011) season 6 reunion show for The Real Housewives of Orange County cross-eyed host Andy Cohen asked Missus Bellino about the rumored and much reported foreclosure of her Newport Beach mansion and she was (understandably) adamant about setting the record straight that she and her man did not lose their home to foreclosure but unloaded it as a short sale.
Missus Bellino later broke it all down for the fans (or whomever) on her blog on Bravo–and we paraphrase–that she and the mister bought their big house in Newport Beach at the tip-top of the recent real estate bubble and like so many others, due to the crap economy, found themselves so significantly upside down on the the value of their home they thought they’d never again see the day it was worth what they paid for it. She goes on to explain they attempted to get a loan modification but eventually sold it as a short sale. She wrote, “we definitely lost a lot of money.”
Sure enough, online documentation shows the 6,400 square foot, gray-shingled pile had been sold in mid-March (2011) for $3,000,000. To be honest puppies, we’re not sure exactly how much Mister and Missus Bellino shelled out for the house in August 2007 but records do indicate they carried a $4,500,000-plus mortgage on the property and online listing information from the time they sold it stated they had sunk a total of “more than $6 Million” into the property.
Back on the reunion show Missus Bellino went on to declare that her money matters are no body’s bizness–and, really, they aren’t–but then none-the less went on to make it our beeswax when she announced on national television that she and the mister planned to pay cash–cash!–for their next home. Now, children, how exactly it is that a person who (allegedly) can not afford to keep one multi-million dollar high-maintenance mansion and lose an ass-load of money–maybe even millions–on the short sale of said multi-million dollar high-maintenance mansion but still acquire their next home with cold hard cash is a perplexing puzzle we do not even pretend to know how to begin to comprehend.
As soon as Missus Bellino’s meticulously made-up mug was off the air, Your Mama promptly forgot all about her and her husband Whatshisface who struts his stuff for the tee-vee cameras like he thinks he’s working with stuff to strut. Then, yesterday, we got an unexpected email from a gal we’ll call Layona Davenport, a tipster with a proven track record for knowing a thing or two about the real estate whereabouts of various Bravolebrities such as Missus Bellino.
Our Miss Davenport whispered that Mister and Missus Bellino had recently settled into a substantial mock-Med mansion with an ocean view in Dana Point, CA. It does not, y’all will note, have a “huge long driveway” and, according to Miss Davenport, the big-talking Bellinos have not purchased the 7,146 square foot mansion but rather leased it for an unknown amount of money for an an unspecified amount of time.
Interestingly, in a short profile in the November/December 2011 issue of Ocean Home Magazine Missus Bellino, mother of three youngins who fancies herself a bit of a clothing designer, was asked, “What drew you to buy a house on the beach?” Miss Bellino went on about ocean breezes and blah blah blah. She did not speak to or clarify if she actually bought the house or not.
Ultimately, we freely admit, we don’t know for sure whether she and the mister bought or leased the big house in Dana Point. What we do know is that property records available online–which may or may not be fully updated–show the property in question, located in the ritzy, guard-gated Ritz Cove enclave, last changed hands in April of 2009 for $4,650,000 when it was snatched up by an obviously very successful Orange County-based gynecologist.
Whether they bought it or leased it, there isn’t much question that Mister and Missus Bellino and their three baby Bellinos occupy the Dana Point mansion in question. Not only does the Ocean Home Magazine include a photo of the Pacific taken from one of the upper level balconies, Missus Bellino’s own Facebook page includes a photograph of one of her children snapped in the master bathroom of the mansion in question.
We did not readily find any evidence online that the house was on the rental market–which isn’t that surprising since many high-end rental properties never appear in online listings–but we did turn up a number of sales listings that show the three story, 5 bedroom and 5.5 bathroom mansion listed with asking prices as high as $5,400,000 and as low as $4,999,000.
Listing information and various photographs from the various (expired) listings depict a rotunda entrance hall, formal living area plus an open plan living/family/dining area with fireplace and French doors to ocean view terrace. The adjacent eat-in kitchen sports a Suburu-sized center island, granite counter tops, custom cabinetry, walk-in pantry, high-grade stainless steel appliances and a breakfast nook tucked into an ocean view bay. The kitchen installation probably cost far more than Your Mama earns in a whole year but it looks like about a zillion other expensively equipped but oddly generic kitchens in newly built mock-Med mcmansions all across the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Other living and entertaining areas include a wood-paneled library with fireplace, and and office with built in desk and book cases. On the full finished lower level there’s a windowless media room with rounded wall and a massive subterranean parking garage capable of holding 8 or more cars. An elevator serves all three levels of the house, a luxury Your Mama often finds a little unnerving a private home–is it really such a physical burden to haul one’s fat ass up a flight or two of stairs every now and then?–but makes our rough-talking and stair-hating house gurl Svetlana purr with desire and envy.
There are, as per listing information we espied, dual master suites including one that offers home owners (or tenants) a private ocean view balcony with stone balustrade and a walk-in closet with simple, built-in shelves and hanging racks. A large but very beige attached master bathroom has a separate all-glass shower stall and jetted tub that juts out like a peninsula between the his and her sinks and vanities.
In addition to the private balcony off the master suite, there are several additional balconies and patios plus a sizable roof terrace with stone balustrade and ocean views over the mostly tiled roof tops of the neighboring mansions. A broad, tiled terrace extends off the rear main living level and provides plenty of room for grillin’ and chillin’ by the built-in circular fire pit but nary a patch of grass or safe spot for a swing set. Residents of Ritz Cove whose cheek-to-jowl mansion do not sit directly above and have direct access to the (public) beach below can easily reach the beach by a private walk way and locked gate that opens on to the (public) pathway that runs along the beach.
listing photos: Ivy Realty Company via Movoto