Think you know everything about real estate?
I'm about to prove you wrong.
There are some pretty bizarre, funny, ridiculous and interesting things that have happened in the real estate world.
If you're looking for something fun to talk about around the dinner table, water cooler, or anywhere else where fascinating conversations happen, I'm going to show you 40 verifiable real estate facts that will shock, entertain and amaze you!
1. The World's Largest Treehouse
The world’s largest treehouse has over 80 rooms and 10 floors. It took the builder over 14 years to build.
2. The Five-Storied Pagoda, Horyu-ji Temple
The five-story pagoda building in Horyuji, Japan, is the oldest wooden building on earth. It was built with timber from trees that were harvested in 600 A.D.
3. The “Empty State Building”
Since the Empire State Building was opened during the Great Depression, much of its space initially went unrented. As a result, many New Yorkers referred to the building as the “Empty State Building.”
Fact: Wikipedia via BiggerPockets | Image: Mark Asthoff
4. Japan's Tsunami Stones
There are hundreds of ancient stones along the coast of Japan's tsunami-affected areas that say, “Do not build your homes below this point!”
Fact: NYTimes via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Aleks Dahlberg
5. A Moat Point
The primary purpose of a castle’s moat was to prevent attackers from digging tunnels under the walls.
Fact: AllThingsMedieval via Inman | Image: Kees Streefkerk
6. Hitler's Hollywood Mansion
Adolf Hitler once owned a mansion in Hollywood that he never stepped foot in.
Fact: CBS Los Angeles via BiggerPockets
7. Not a Castle in the Sky
There are castles for sale in France that cost less than a two-bedroom apartment in Australia.
Fact: news.com.au via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Nirzar Pangarkar
8. A Wholesome War
Canada and Denmark have disputed their claim to Hans Island for decades. Both countries will periodically visit the island to remove the other country’s flag and leave a bottle of Danish schnapps or Canadian whiskey. This is how friendly nations wage war.
Fact: BusinessInsider via Inman | Image: Toubletap
9. The Sears Mail-Order Houses
From 1908 to 1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000 to 75,000 mail-order houses. They arrived as a kit and came with most modern conveniences. Some of them still exist today.
Fact: SearsArchives via BiggerPockets | Image: Pixabay
10. Not So Extreme After All
The makers of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” had to downsize their makeovers due to families not being able to afford utility bills.
Fact: WSJ via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Mike Yukhtenko
11. Not a The Simpsons Fan
In 1997, Pepsi held a contest to win a life-size replica of the Simpsons house for $75,000. The contest winner chose the cash. The house was then renovated to look like a normal home and re-sold.
Fact: Gizmodo via Inman | Image: Pixabay
12. Fake Buildings
In several major cities like London, Toronto, New York, and elsewhere around the world, there are entire buildings and developments that exist solely for the purpose of hiding vent shafts, utilities, cell phone towers, railways, and simply to give off the illusion of occupation.
Fact: WebUrbanist via BiggerPockets | Image: Adam Birkett
13. Sliced or Unsliced?
Fans of the hit TV show “Breaking Bad” continue to drive by and throw pizzas onto the roof of the building featured as Walter White’s house.
Fact: HuffPost via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Andreas Weiland
14. Drop the Anchor
The needle at the top of the Empire State Building was originally intended as an anchor for blimps.
Fact: SnappleFact via Inman | Image: Marc Ruaix
15. Is Monica Actually Rich?
Monica’s apartment from the hit TV show Friends is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.
Fact: friends.wika.com via BiggerPockets | Image: Daryan Shamkhali
16. DIY Lego Houses
There is a machine that transforms concrete rubble into Lego-like building blocks. The blocks allow victims of war or natural disasters to construct their own new, earthquake-resistant houses.
Fact: Engineering via LighterSideofRealEstate
17. A Name to be Remembered
Amazon named a building after its first customer, who spent $27.95 to buy one book. The purchase was made in 1995, and the book was about artificial intelligence.
Fact: MarketWatch via Inman
18. Next Door to Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg purchased four houses next to his home in Palo Alto and leased them back to the families that lived there. He did it to avoid the houses from being marketed as “next door to Mark Zuckerberg.”
Fact: MercuryNews via BiggerPockets | Image: Alessio Jacona
19. Future-Proof Building
Built in 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building included an elevator shaft in anticipation of elevators someday being invented.
Fact: TheCooperUnion via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Jørgen Håland
20. The Greatest Pyramid?
The biggest pyramid on earth is not in Egypt, but in Mexico—and it's hidden under a mountain.
Fact: ScienceAlert via Inman | Image: Jezael Melgoza
21. A Literal Globe Trotter
MS The World is the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth. It has 165 private residences and is constantly traveling around the world.
Fact: Wikipedia via BiggerPockets | Image: Linval Ebanks
22. The New White House
From 1949 to 1952, the White House was completely gutted and rebuilt with concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.
Fact: Wikipedia via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Abbie Rowe
23. The Winchester Mansion
The Winchester Mansion was constructed non-stop, 24 hours a day for 38 years. Many claimed the property was haunted by the ghosts of those killed with Winchester rifles.
Fact: Slate via Inman | Image: Roxanna Salceda
24. A Galaxy Far, Far Away Is in Tunisia
In Tunisia, Africa, you can book an overnight stay in Luke Skywalker’s boyhood home for only $10.
Fact: BuzzBuzzHome via BiggerPockets | Image: Neil Rickards
25. Chambers of Secrets
There’s a company that specializes in building secret rooms and hidden passageways (one requires a chess board played in a certain combination to unlock).
Fact: HiddenDoorStore via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Michał Parzuchowski
26. A High Way
There’s a building in Japan with a highway going through its fifth, sixth, and seventh floors. The highway is listed as the tenant on all three floors.
Fact: AmusingPlanet via Inman | Image: Julina Rashid
27. Big Brother, Singapore Edition
Despite its free-market image, all the land in Singapore is owned by the government, and 85% of housing is provided by a government-owned housing corporation.
Fact: HuffPost via BiggerPockets | Image: Mike Enerio
28. Suing for Damages? Not in NY!
In 2013, 300 teenagers broke into an Albany, NY home while the owner, an ex-NFL player, was away and caused $20,000 in damages. Some of the parents threatened to sue the owner for outing them on Twitter.
Fact: NPR via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Julián Gentilezza
29. Indoor Rain at Boeing's Factory
The Boeing Everett Factory in Seattle is so large that rain clouds would form inside the facility until a state-of-the-art air circulation system was installed.
Fact: RoadTrippers via Inman | Image: Maurice King
30. Rosa Parks's Rent
Mike Ilitch (owner of Little Caesars and the Detroit Tigers) quietly paid Rosa Parks' rent for more than a decade after she was robbed in her home and forced to move to a safer, but more expensive part of Detroit.
Fact: SportsBusinessDaily via BiggerPockets | Image: USIA
Most traditional Chinese temples were designed with curved roofs to ward off evil spirits, which are thought to only move in straight lines.
Fact: Quora via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Lin Qiang
32. A Year-Round Service
The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. has 365 steps to represent each day of the year.
Fact: FactSlides via Inman
33. Japanese Depreciating Houses
In Japan, most houses depreciate in value. Half of all houses are demolished within 38 years, and there is virtually no market for pre-owned homes. Per capita, there are nearly four times as many architects and more than twice as many construction workers in Japan as the United States.
Fact: Freakonomics via BiggerPockets
34. Tony Stark's Mansion
The location of Tony Stark’s mansion in Iron Man is the same cliff from Planet of the Apes where the Statue of Liberty is sticking out from the sand.
Fact: Wikipedia via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Tyler Lastovich
35. Canada, Beaches Galore
Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world.
Fact: WorldAtlas | Image: Joshua Harris
36. The Tomorrowland Room
When the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the designer included a secret apartment for himself at the very top.
Fact: AtlasObscura via BiggerPockets
37. Tourism Sells
The Empire State Building makes more money from ticket sales for its observation decks than it does from renting office space.
Fact: Wikipedia via LighterSideofRealEstate | Image: Osman Rana
38. Fake Buildings, Redux
There are legal, soundproofed oil rigs hidden as office buildings in some Californian cities.
Fact: CurbedLosAngeles | Image: Josh Calabrese
39. Express Elevators
If other elevator safety systems failed, and you were the only person in the car, the counterweights would make the elevator ascend, or “fall up,” rather than down.
Fact: WashingtonPost via Inman | Image: Bruno Kelzer
40. The Supreme Court's Love of Puns
The U.S. Supreme Court building has a basketball court on the top floor known as “The Highest Court in the Land.”
Fact: Wikipedia | Image: Claire Anderson
Do you know of any CRAZY real estate facts not listed here? Let us know about them in the comments below!