Sunday, April 29, 2012 5:31 PM EDT
My grandmother was a real estate agent. As a child, I would go to open houses with her on the weekend and help with the set-up, and then when clients came through, it was my "job" to be very cute and charming — easy peasy. (Child labour laws not withstanding, I was paid — in Baskin Robbins Ice Cream cones.) So, of course, this vast, early experience makes me a bona fide real estate expert, non? Gather round, and benefit from my incredible observational expertise!
Dracula’s Castle: For real! A mere $80 million bucks will nab you this DIY’ers dream gut-and-reno property. I don’t think bed bugs are going to be the big worry with this one. I’d open with an offering bid of, say, $500,000; if they actually acknowledge your offer, you’ve got them hooked — unless they’ve got you. Mwa-ha-ha... [Image via International Property Investment]
Cliffside California: Castle Drac too rich for your, ahem, blood? Maybe this comparably affordable — certainly beautiful — cliffsider is more up your alley (or, staircase). Note that the more reasonable ticket price of $10 million does not include Windex; consider buying stock in a window cleaning agent. If you are afraid of heights like I am... well, you may want to skip this listing. Seriously, the gorgeous architecture notwithstanding, this house is my worst nightmare. [Image via The Street]
Cracking Down: Real estate hunting is tiring work. If you are familiar with the current market in, say, Toronto, you know that bidding wars are common and nerves of steel are required. It’s not uncommon for buyers to make many attempts to buy a house — and fail every time. That’s a lot of disappointment, and copious bottles of wine (another lesson I learned from my grandmother). While the Toronto market is ridiculous enough, it doesn’t hold a candle to Vancouver. Desperate denizens of those cities can take comfort in a web game with the unforgettable name Crack Shack or Mansion? (Seriously — and it's seriously fun to play.) What you are about to see will either totally make your day or drive you to drink, or both. I’ll pour a glass, too, so you don’t have to drink alone.
Take a guess at the price tag on this one. I’ll give you a hint: seven figures. (Low sevens. Still!) [Image via Crack Shack or Mansion?]
Now, for this one, we’re going to forget the wine and go straight to the moonshine: The list price is almost $2 million. [Image via Crack Shack or Mansion?]
Disheartened after that pair? Here’s a palatial residence for $429,000 U.S. No, I didn’t leave off a zero — that’s the list price. In Toronto and Vancouver, that would be an intentional strategy to incite a bidding war — but this house isn’t for sale in Toronto or Vancouver. You could hire me to help you with it, for sure. For an additional investment of $350,000, give or take, it could be a stunner. BUT: You’d have to live in Detroit. [Image via Real Estate One]
Rent to “Oh!”: OK, so, maybe you can’t afford to buy in the current market. Well, no shame in renting. Here are some fun properties to consider...
Necker Island: The Beckhams chose it for their honeymoon. There was a bit of a fire over the holidays, so I’m certain this will make their rates more negotiable. Be warned: They do have some rather unusual beach attire here (yep, that’s the island’s owner, madman kabilliojillionaire Richard Branson). [Images via Luxuo]
Hibiscus Hill: I’m a huge fan of David Hicks, the celebrated English interior decorator and designer. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting Allegra Hicks, ex-wife of David’s son, Ashley, who is herself a stunning artist. Located on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, Hibiscus Hill was designed by David’s daughter, India. Um, ya — I’m totally ready to move there. And how! The Cricket Pavilion [shown] is $5,400/week; I have to admit, I was expecting it to cost more. [Image via Hibiscus Hill Harbour Island]
Trailer Park Heaven: Here's a destination that, apparently, includes the transportation (well, kind of). Hmm. If you’ve got a large family, I guess... “A” for effort. Sigh — there probably is a market for this. [Image via Call Hart Crazy]
In the Comments, send us your own links to Real Estate Dreams and Nightmares (with pictures)! No price is too high, no facade is too frightful!!