1. Sears used to sell mail-order houses.
Available by catalogue order from 1908 to 1940, Sears Modern Homes took DIY to a whole new level. As many as 75,000 home kits were sold in hundreds of different styles, some of which are still in existence.
2. A creaking house is related to temperature—not age.
When it comes to houses, creaking and groaning isn’t necessarily a sign of old age. House noises are usually caused by fluctuating humidity and temperature (also called thermal expansion and contraction).
3. Homes with black front doors sell for the highest price.
A black front door is usually associated with the highest asking price, a recent Zillow survey noted. A home with a black front door might sell for up to $6,449 more, while a slate blue front door comes in close second.
4. Brass doorknobs can disinfect themselves.
The reason many doorknobs are made of brass is because of something known as the oligodynamic effect. Unvarnished brass objects can self-disinfect, proving especially useful on frequently touched surfaces.
5. The typical homeowner stays in their house for 13.2 years.
The number of years the typical homeowner in the U.S. spends in their house is now 13.2. Today’s homeowner tenure has risen from 10.1 years in 2012 and dropped from its highest recorded point of 13.5 years in 2020.
6. A seller must disclose if a house is haunted.
A 1991 Supreme Court decision—also referred to as the “Ghostbusters ruling”—helped drastically decrease the odds of accidentally buying a haunted house. Lack of disclosure could result in contract rescission.
7. A castle in France may cost less than a teardown in Los Angeles.
You could become the proud owner of an 18th century French castle for a little over $1 million. For the same amount, you might not get much more than a home in need of an overhaul in L.A., depending on the market.
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8. Property tax started in ancient times.
It’s one of life’s not-so-fun facts: Taxation has always been a part of civilization. As for property taxes, there’s no one person to blame. Land taxes can be traced as far back as 5,000 B.C. in ancient Egypt.
9. The world’s biggest house is 400,000 square feet.
The biggest house in the world is owned by Mukesh Ambani and located in Antilia in Mumbai, India, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It has 27 stories, multiple swimming pools, and 168 parking spaces.
10. The world’s smallest house is 25 square feet.
The smallest house in the world manages to fit a sink, stove, and shower within its miniscule square footage. The tiny house, created by Glen Bunsen, is transportable and can fit inside a van.
11. The most homes sold in one year is 6,438.
The record for selling the most homes in one year goes to Ben Caballero, a real estate agent in Dallas, Texas. Caballero sold more than 6,000 homes throughout 2020.
12. Mark Zuckerberg bought four houses surrounding his house.
Why would Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg spend over $40 million to buy the four homes bordering his primary Palo Alto residence? Reportedly, for privacy—with the intention of creating his own compound.
13. The first real estate agents were called “curbstoners.”
A curbstoner typically refers to an unlicensed dealer, and in the early 1900s, this included real estate agents. At that time, curbstoners were said to be unregulated house flippers, hoping to quickly sell a property for cash.
14. Homeowners used to burn their mortgage documents after paying off their house.
While Scottish homeowners might paint their front door red after making the last payment on their mortgage, homeowners in the early 20th century may have had a mortgage burning party instead.