Examples of Selling Highly Famous Homes
In July 2018, the second-most-photographed house in America (after The White House) went on the market — for the first time in 45 years. The famous Brady Bunch house was filmed only for the exterior shots; as a result, it became one of the most recognized houses in the world.
The sitcom ran on ABC from 1969-1974, and forever in reruns and reincarnations. The facade, located in Studio City, California, had become iconic and beloved over the course of decades, and is a major tourist attraction (at least from the outside).
The home itself is actually ranch-style (despite the staircase depicted in the series); it was built in 1959 and its 2,477 square feet include three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Violet and George McCallister bought the house in 1973 for $61,000, while the show was still in its original network run. This year, their children decided to sell it. The asking price: $1,885,000. The current median listing price in the area is $552 a square foot; for the Brady Bunch house, that number rises to $761.
Multiple offers were sure to come, including one by pop singer Lance Bass. The idea, of course, was to preserve it, since it’s a national treasure. Meanwhile, a nation prayed and waited as the property awaited a buyer.
“We’re not going to accept the first big offer from a developer who wants to tear it down,” listing agent Ernie Carswell told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to wait a few days, in case there are others who want to purchase it as an investment to preserve it.”
Realtor.com reported that the Brady Bunch home could have potential as a vacation rental. Area homes are going for as much as $500 a night on Airbnb, because they are close to the Hollywood studios.
“An owner could easily get $1,000 per night for the Brady Bunch house,” says Michelle Schwartz, founder and managing partner of The Agency’s Sherman Oaks branch. “Twenty nights at that rate and you’ve covered your property tax.”
Before long, the winning bid came from HGTV, the home-and-garden cable channel. The company forked up $3.5 million, which is almost double the listing price. The house most likely will be preserved (we hope) and used for various programming.
Recently, the Clampett mansion — the house that was featured as the setting for The Beverly Hillbillies — went up for sale, and its price tag was the most expensive in the country: $350 million. The property’s real name is Chartwell, which was built in the 1930s and is located on 750 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles (not in Beverly Hills). The estate consists of 10.3 acres, with a 25,000-square-foot main house and a 5,700-square-foot guest house. It was owned by Jerry Perenchio, a media tycoon who sold Univision in 2007.
The estate features gardens, a lighted tennis court, and an underground parking garage that can house 40 cars. The swimming pool (referred to in the series as a “cement pond”) is 75-feet long.
As of this posting, the house is still on the market, so you still have a chance.
Neighbors of famous houses can suffer from endless tourism. In San Francisco, a proposed amendment to the city’s transportation code could prevent hundreds of tour buses from driving by the Full House house (1709 Broderick), which they do in droves. In 2016, the show’s creator, Jeff Franklin, bought the Victorian property for a little less than $4 million, telling the Hollywood Reporter that he was “sentimental about the old house.”
When Ponzi scheme conductor Bernie Madoff’s Upper East Side New York penthouse hit the market, it was not going to be a discrete, quiet transaction. The property itself may not be nearly as famous — or infamous — as its owner.
Sotheby’s International Realty’s Nikki Field reps luxury buildings in Manhattan. She told Inman News about her experience selling the Madoff property:
“The Madoff co-op was very well-known. He was photographed and filmed standing right outside, and everyone knew the address. That desirable home didn’t sell for three years and then for only half of the value. When they finally found their buyer, it was because to this individual, the stigma meant little compared to the deal. The board had to approve the undervalue sale, which they were happy to do to get rid of the publicity, the scandal, and get it sold.”
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