JUST a few months after buying a place in Carmel, a hot spot for retired Tinseltown stars, it looks like Brad Pitt could be leaving Hollywood for good.
The 58-year-old film legend has rented out his giant Los Angeles complex – made up of five houses – where he has lived for 28 years.
In July, Pitt spent $40 million on American author DL James’ former home, known as “Seaward”, in Carmel, a luxury coastal town in California.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a favorite for aging stars like the late Doris Day, Joan Fontaine and Betty White. Clint Eastwood also calls it home.
Moving also makes it much harder for Pitt to see his six children while living five hours away on the West Coast.
The surprise decision by Pitt, who used to share the compound with Jolie and the kids while they were together, was discovered through a publicly available mortgage deal.
Its management concluded the agreement with the Canadian bank, City National Bank (CNB), nicknamed the “bank of the stars”.
In June, longtime Pitt manager Cynthia Pett-Dante signed a “deed of trust and rent assignment” with CNB.
“Assignment of rents” is a special type of mortgage only for rental properties, allowing the bank to collect rent directly from a tenant if Pitt fails to keep up with loan repayments.
As part of the deal, Pitt also agreed to a $17.5 million line of credit with CNB – called the “home equity line of credit agreement.”
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This means that he is allowed to borrow any amount from the bank up to the agreed amount.
Realtor Billy Rose is a former real estate attorney and celebrity agent, co-founder of The Agency, who buys and sells high-end properties around the world.
Rose explains that such a line of credit is not uncommon for the rich and famous, especially if it’s secured at a low interest rate.
This is because it can be used to purchase assets or property, which will increase in value at a higher rate than the interest charged.
It is unclear whether Pitt financed the purchase of Carmel with this line of credit.
He said, “You have property which you use as collateral for a loan, and during the days of two or one percent [interest]then you have a line of credit where they don’t really charge you interest.
“For some people, it’s a way of making money – I can withdraw the money that I pay a percent on, and then I can use it to buy something, an asset or property.”
Forbes put Pitt’s net worth at around $300 million, but that doesn’t always mean a celebrity has tens of millions in readily available cash, Rose said.
Rose, who is not linked to the Pitt deal, added: “Banks take pretty high risks, they will appraise your house and give you a percentage of its value.
“A lot of wealth is tied together, but maybe that’s where it’s [a famous person] think, ‘I want a line, I’ll take it, if I ever want it or need it.'”
Like most celebrities, Pitt purchased his properties through trusts.
Its Los Feliz complex is owned by the Briarcliff Trust and Pett-Dante is its trustee.
Pitt began building his resort in July 1994 when he purchased a six-bedroom Craftsman-style home for $1.7 million.
Two years later, he bought a small house for $380,000 at the back of his land and, in 1998, acquired another neighboring house for $475,000.
While with Jolie, Pitt bought another small property in 2008 for nearly $1.3 million.
Finally, he bought a huge barn with a secret cave and its own bar for $1.1 million in 2009.
In 2014, Pitt and Jolie installed a skate park next to their main villa, which now wraps around one side.
There are three swimming pools and Pitt has also purchased land across the road for a tennis court.
Pitt, who has always had an interest in architecture, wanted to create a flowing complex, in harmony with the original houses in the area, dating from 1915.
His friend, director Andrew Dominik, says: “You go to most movie stars and they look like very, very nice hotel rooms. Brad lives in works of art.
“There’s a breeze blowing through every window. As soon as you walk through the door, you feel stoned.”