Are you looking for some crazy real estate trivia you can use at the next office party, little league game social or neighborhood block party? Here are 16 of the weirdest, wackiest and, in some cases, awe-inspiring real estate facts you’ve ever heard.
1. In 2010, Apple Inc., the famous and iconic hardware and software developer, purchased 1 acre of land for a shocking $1.7 million from an elderly couple in North Carolina. Why? The firm needed the land to build a data server. The elderly couple had bought the land 34 years prior for only $6,000.
2. In an effort to build the tallest building in the world, the architect responsible for the art-deco Chrysler Building, on New York’s east side, secretly added a built-in spire that is 125 feet. When the building was done and all other skyscrapers reached their completion, the architect instructed the builders to push the secret spire up, raising the height of the Chrysler Building to the tallest building in the world, only to be overtaken 11 months later by the Empire State Building, which held that crown for nearly 40 years.
3. Adolf Hitler once owned a Hollywood mansion. It’s true. While he never stepped a foot onto the sprawling estate, he did own the home and the land located in the Pacific Palisades.
4. The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for a mere $7.2 million — or the equivalent of more than $185 million today. Still a paltry sum for the northernmost and westernmost state in the U.S.
5. In 2007, real estate magnate and hotelier Leona Helmsley left $12 million in her will to her dog, Trouble, making it the richest dog in the world, at that time.
6. If Lake Superior, located on the border of the U.S. and Canada, were to ever flood, there would be enough water to submerge all of North America and South America — to a depth of 1 foot!
7. In 1945, a B-25 bomber pilot crashed into the Empire State Building, causing the main cable of the elevator shaft to snap. By the time the carriage reached the bottom, enough cable piled up beneath it (thousands of feet), to act as a spring and allow the only person in the elevator to survive (although she did sustain some injuries).
8. A study revealed that homes described using the words “gorgeous” or “beautiful” statistically sold 15 percent faster than other properties. But wait, that doesn’t mean luxury homesellers should pad out their descriptions with synonyms of “stunning.” While “beautiful” appeals to the average homebuyer, the wealthy ones seem to be more attracted to homes listed as “private.”
9. Do you think you can buy a home for just a paper clip? One red paperclip is a website created by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paper clip to a house in a series of 14 online trades over the course of a year. Apparently, MacDonald was inspired by the childhood game Bigger, Better.
10. Tired of looking for the right home on this planet? You can purchase an acre of land on the moon or on Mars for as little as $30. Apparently, over 250 celebrities have already bought land on the moon, including William Shatner, Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Harrison Ford, John Travolta and Clint Eastwood.
11. More than half of the privately-owned land in Scotland is owned by a tight circle of less than 500 people. While some, like the Macpherson-Fletchers, are selling up and cashing in, many of these sporting estates still exist and have been in the same family for hundreds of years.
12. Anshe Chung is the avatar (and online personality) of Ailin Graef in the online world Second Life. Graef, acting as Chung, built an online business that engages in the development, brokerage and arbitrage of virtual land, chattels and currency. The real surprise, however, was that Graef was able to trade in her in-game currency, known as Linden Dollars (L$), for real money. As such, she has become the first millionaire real estate investor who made her money on virtual land.
13. There is a Bavarian town called Nördlingen that’s over 1,100 years old and was built on top of a 15-million-year-old meteor. The result is a town that radiates out from the crater, which is in the center. As a result of the asteroid, the town and surrounding area has an estimated 72,000 tons of tiny diamonds.
14. In Japan, it is almost impossible to buy a pre-owned, resale house. Most of the houses depreciate in value and more than half of them are demolished after about 3o years. There are four times more architects and two times more construction workers per capita in Japan than there are in the U.S.