1. Sweden and Denmark Heat Homes with Dead Bodies
Why waste perfectly good heat, when winters reach -50 degrees? Crematoriums burn at 2,000 degrees, which some Scandinavian countries figured was perfectly good heat and might as well be used for, well, heating nearby homes! Keep your morbid jokes to yourself though; they are probably not welcome among neighbors of the recently deceased.
2. Brass Doorknobs Self-Disinfect
Brass is actually anti-microbial, and naturally kills bacteria. While it is the strongest antimicrobial metal, it is not the only one, and silver, lead, copper, iron and aluminum also kill germs. (It doesn't seem likely that silver will suddenly become a popular doorknob material for anyone outside the top .1% however.)
3. Horror House of Spiders
Remember “Arachnophobia”? Homebuyers Brian and Susan Trost bought a $450,000 house on a golf course and moved in, only to find that they had 4,500-6,000 roommates: a massive infestation of deadly brown recluse spiders. The ensuing legal nightmare is still unresolved, as the Trosts have sued the sellers, filed insurance claims and stopped paying the mortgage, which led to Fannie Mae recovering possession of the property. The horror stories range from Susan Trost having spiders fall on her while in the shower, to the couple hearing their four-year old son screaming downstairs and finding spiders crawling all around him.
4. Unlucky Number 4 Costs Sellers $8,000 in Vancouver
In Chinese, the word “death” is pronounced almost identically to the number “four”, resulting in many Chinese regarding the number four as unlucky. There is a substantial Chinese population in Vancouver, and in Chinese neighborhoods homes with the number four in their addresses sell for $8,000 less on average than their neighbors.
5. Tallest Building in the World Provides Two Full Sunsets 3 Minutes Apart
The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is so tall that one can watch a full sunset at its base, then hop in the elevator to the top and watch another full sunset. It is over a half-mile tall at 2,722 feet, a full 163 floors… and of course it's in Dubai, the poster child du jour of extravagance and one-upmanship.
6. Ghosts Must Be Legally Disclosed in Home Sales
Some states are so heavily regulated that lawmakers require sellers to disclose the existence of ghosts (New York is one example) and deaths that occurred inside the property. In California, sellers must disclose all deaths in the property over the last three years… except those caused by AIDS, because apparently that would be “discriminatory”. (These laws fortunately don’t require landlords to disclose deaths to new tenants before signing a lease agreement however.)
7. 100,000 People Live in 6×2 “Cage Homes” & “Coffin Homes” in Hong Kong
Real estate is so expensive in Hong Kong that reportedly 100,000 residents live in lockers (think body lockers at the morgue) that are only six feet by two feet. Showers, toilets and kitchens are at best communal, and at worst non-existent. Regulators and landlords of such establishments are increasingly under fire in Hong Kong, as the wealth disparity continues to grow at an unsustainable pace.
8. One Answer to Earthquakes: Levitating Houses
In Japan, one engineering firm has invented a levitation system that uses heavily compressed air to lift homes off of their foundations, by up to three centimeters. When the earthquake ends, the air slowly releases, gently setting the home back down on its foundation. If you have to ask the price tag for installing such a system, you probably can’t afford it.
Have any outrageous real estate tales that the rest of us need to hear about?