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, here are 40 verifiable real estate facts that will shock, amaze and entertain you!
1. The world’s largest treehouse has over 80 rooms, 10 floors and took the builder over 14 years to build.
2. 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. 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.”
4. 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!”
5. The primary purpose of a Castle’s moat was to prevent attackers from digging tunnels under the walls.
6. Adolf Hitler once owned a mansion in Hollywood that he never stepped foot in.
7. There are castles for sale in France that cost less than a two bedroom apartment in Australia.
8. 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.
9. From 1908 – 1940, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold about 70,000 – 75,000 mail-order houses. They arrived as a kit and came with most modern conveniences. Some of them still exist today.
10. The makers of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” had to downsize their makeovers due to families not being able to afford utility bills.
11. In 1997, Pepsi held a contest to win a life-size replica of the Simpsons house or $75,000. The contest winner chose the cash. The house was then renovated to look like a normal home and re-sold.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. The needle at the top of the Empire State Building was originally intended as an anchor for blimps.
15. Monica’s apartment from the hit TV show Friends is estimated to be worth $3.5 million.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.”
19. Built in 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building included an elevator shaft in anticipation of elevators someday being invented.
20. The biggest pyramid on earth is not in Egypt, but in Mexico — and it's hidden under a mountain.
21. MS The World is the largest privately owned residential yacht on earth. It has 165 private residences and is constantly traveling around the world.
22. From 1949 – 1952, the white house was completely gutted and rebuilt with concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.
23. 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.
24. In Tunisia, Africa, you can book an overnight stay in Luke Skywalker’s boyhood home for only $10.
25. 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).
26. 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.
27. 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.
28. In 2013, 300 teenagers broke into a home while the owner was away and caused $20,000 in damages. Some of the parents threatened to sue the owner for outing them on Twitter.
29. 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.
30. 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.
31. Most traditional Chinese temples were designed with curved roofs to ward off evil spirits, which are thought to only move in straight lines.
32. The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C. has 365 steps to represent each day of the year.
33. 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.
34. 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.
35. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world.
36. When the Eiffel Tower was constructed, the designer included a secret apartment for himself at the very top.
37. The Empire State Building makes more money from ticket sales for its observation decks than it does from renting office space.
38. There are legal, soundproofed oil rigs hidden as office buildings in some Californian cities.
39. 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.
40. The U.S. Supreme Court building has a basketball court on the top floor known as “The Highest Court in the Land”.