The Inside Scoop on Luxury Living with Neal Leitereg of the L.A. Times


Neal Leitereg

Redfin is teaming up with the Los Angeles Times to delve deeper into the world of luxurious, unique and celebrity-filled abodes. Lauren Beale and Neal Leitereg collaborate on the widely read Hot Property section at the Times. They cover everything luxe, from the sale of Tim Lincecum’s spring training home to fabulous listings with one-of-a-kind features. We’ll be publishing a series of Q&As with Lauren and Neal to learn more about all of the hot properties they report on.

For our inaugural Q&A, we asked Neal to put the real-estalking on hold for a minute and to chat with us about the Hot Property section and the L.A. Times Home of the Day, and to share some of his favorite top-tier properties.

The iconic Hot Property blog recently got a facelift we understand there will be some added real estate eye candy for readers. What was the motivation behind this expansion and what can we expect?

Just as they are with their food and sports teams, Angelenos are very passionate about their homes and neighborhoods. The expansion of Hot Property is all about diving deeper into L.A.’s robust real estate profile — not only architecturally significant or celebrity-owned homes, but the incredible range of properties found across the city.

Because there is no shortage of great homes in Los Angeles, we now have the Home of the Day feature that complements the popular Home of the Week. Lauren and I are also digging into The Times historical archives to find historical nuggets for a new Throwback Thursday feature. In addition to our celebrity coverage, we are also keying in on the homes of local sports figures and primetime athletes.

How does a property qualify to be an L.A. Times Home of the Day? How do you decide when a home is luxurious enough?

For the Home of the Day, I look at homes that have a great story behind them, such as Errol Flynn’s former Hollywood Hills Ranch. This property was formerly known as Mulholland Farm and the estate was designed by Phillip Jon Brown, the same architect who created Dick Clark’s famous cave-like home in Malibu. Thankfully there seems to be no shortage of homes with stories that relate to a unique or unusual feature or to a star architect or a slice of Hollywood history.

What is the coolest luxury home you’ve seen since you started writing the column and why? Any insane features?

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The coolest luxury home we have profiled to date was probably our first Home of the Day, John Lautner’s Foster Carling house. It doesn’t get much better than a retractable wall that swivels onto a deck overlooking Cahuenga pass. As for the most insane feature, that would probably be a Spanish Revival-style home in Altadena, which has an aviary previously used to train hunting falcons.

What’s the hottest Los Angeles neighborhood for luxury living right now?

In terms of luxury living, homes in the Platinum Triangle — Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills — continue to be highly desirable. Mar Vista is another attractive area that is seeing quite a bit of growth and new development of luxury properties.

You’ve been covering unique and luxurious homes for quite a while now. What do you think is America’s fascination with luxury real estate?

Beyond the eye-candy — glass walls, infinity edge pools and multimillion-dollar price tags — I think think there’s something to be said about the property voyeur aspect. Whether it’s a celebrity listing or peeking in on a neighbor’s open house, people like knowing what’s inside, what is behind the front door.

About Neal
Neal J. Leitereg covers celebrity real estate for the Los Angeles Times’ Business section. He’s found a way to connect his two passions: real estate and sports. Neal is regular contributor to the Hot Property blog, keeping tabs on the luxury digs of L.A. sports figures.  Leitereg graduated from Arizona State and covered real estate news for before joining The Times.

Note: This is the first in a series of posts in collaboration with the Hot Property blog from the L.A. Times. Check back for more!