If you’re buying or selling a home or investing in real estate, there is quite a bit of very important information you certainly need to have.
But there are also a lot of fun facts you might just enjoy knowing about – real estate trivia. In fact, you can find entire websites devoted to this (www.lightersideofrealestate.com is one of many).
Here are a few fun facts about real estate to brighten your day:
• International law decries that nations have the right to claim any territory that falls within 12 miles of their shore.
Han Island, a barren, uninhabited island that is only about one-half square mile, lies midway between the far northern reach of Greenland, which is a Danish territory, and Canada, and within the 12-mile limit of each shore.
The two countries have been “waging war” over the island since the 1930s. Instead of battling with bombs and guns, each side will periodically send “troops” in to remove the other country’s flag. When they do, they leave a bottle of signature alcohol – Danish Schnapps or Canadian Whiskey -- to signal they have been there.
• An even smaller island located in Alexandria Bay, New York, is named Just Enough Room. The island boasts one house and one tree and not much else. No word on its assessed value.
• In more “island facts,” development is underway on Treasure Island, in the waters between San Francisco and Oakland, to transform the former military base into an urban area.
The project is estimated to cost $5 billion, will take 15 years to complete, and will include 8,000 homes, 500 hotel rooms, 300 acres of parks, 140,000 square feet of retail and 100,000 square feet of office space.
• Most of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip is actually in the unincorporated town of Paradise, which is entirely surrounded by the city of Las Vegas.
Paradise has a population of nearly one-quarter million people, and includes McCarren Airport and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in addition to most of the biggest tourist attractions in the area.
In 1950, the mayor of Las Vegas sought to annex what was then a much more modest Strip in order to expand the city’s tax base.
His plan would have raised taxes on the businesses in the Strip, so a group of casino executives lobbied the county commissioner to give the area town status, thereby preventing annexation without county approval.
• There is enough water in Lake Superior to flood all of North and South America to a depth of one foot.
• Houses in Japan decrease in value over time and there is virtually no residential resale market.
In fact, about half of all houses there are demolished less than 40 years after they are built.
• Most people know that Warren Buffett, who is worth more than $78 billion, still lives in the same house he purchased in 1958 for $31,500 ($250,000 in today’s dollars).
But you might not know that that home, located in a quiet neighborhood of Omaha, has 5 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 6,570 sq.ft. and is now worth an estimated $652,619.
Real estate values are obviously very different in Nebraska than in the Tri-Valley, where a home that size would be worth about $2.5 million-3.5 million, depending on location, condition and amenities. In other parts of the Bay Area it could sell for much, much more.
Still, Buffett’s home is very modest by the standards of most of the world’s other billionaires.
• India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, for example, spent $1 billion building his home south of Mumbai
It has 27 habitable floors, including 6 parking floors that hold 168 vehicles. A staff of 600 people works round the clock to maintain it.
• You can purchase an acre of the moon for $20, on the lunarregistry.com “Nothing can be greater than to own your own crater!”
It will be interesting to see how well those “deeds” hold up once humans really do start developing the moon.
• In Orlando, a housing development was built on top of a World War II bombing range. Residents have been finding bombs in the area since 1998.
• Real estate can be a real roller coaster ride. A few years ago, a Dutch bank, eager to sell a home that had been on the market for six months, installed a roller coaster that took prospective buyers right through it! No word on how well that worked.
• Did you know that there are “best” days to list and sell your home?
Homes listed on Sundays get the most online views. Those listed on Thursdays or Fridays generate more tours by prospective buyers and have been shown to sell faster and for a higher price.
According to analysis by Attom Data Solutions, we’re in the best season overall for sellers to close on a home sale. The closing dates that net the highest prices over asking nationally are June 28, Feb. 15, May 31, May 29 and June 21.
• In an effort to conserve water, Waldron, Washington, a town of 104 people, restricts homes to just two toilets.
• In a recent survey of prospective homebuyers, 62 percent said they would be willing to purchase a home that was believed to be haunted by a ghost.
For the other one-third of buyers, New York might be a good place to settle. Sellers there are required to disclose any known hauntings, ghosts or spirits to prospective buyers.
• And finally … You think the Bay Area real estate market is expensive.
Hong Kong, with a population of 6,690 people per square kilometer, has one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world and was named the most expensive housing market internationally for the seventh year in a row, according to the 13th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2017.
Homes in Hong Kong sell for an average of more than $1,600 per square foot, compared to about $1,100 per square foot in San Francisco and about $500 per square foot in Livermore.
If you want the real facts about real estate, contact your local Realtor today.
Cher Wollard is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties in Livermore.