True Horror: How Much Would ‘The Exorcist’ House Be Worth?

Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes

Paolo Cipriani/Getty

Ever wonder how much the home from “Poltergeist” or “The Amityville Horror” would set you back? We did the research to find out what these classic horror homes are worth.

Love ’em or loathe ’em, horror movies take center stage leading up to Halloween. But how much attention have you really paid to the horror movie homes behind the on-screen supernatural events?

In honor of the scariest season of the year, Trulia dug up the locations where some classic horror movies were filmed or where the events that inspired the scary scripts took place. Then we looked at home prices (including lots of Los Angeles real estate) for similarly sized homes in the same city, neighborhood, or ZIP code. From the instantly recognizable house in “Insidious” to the unassuming suburban home from “Poltergeist,” each of these horror movie homes has a (terrifying) story to tell — and a corresponding real estate value.

Are the prices as shocking as the horror movies themselves? You be the judge.

Trulia

 

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Holy Cow! Teardown Near Wrigley Field Lists for $9.8 Million

Filed under: Selling

Kristen Norman via ZillowThe Wrigleyville home sits about 536 feet from home plate. An area parking lot sold for $20 million in 2011.

By Melissa Allison

The Chicago Cubs have a special shine to them these days, and the longtime owner of a home near Wrigley Field hopes it rubs off on her property — to the tune of $9.8 million.

“The seller strongly feels that this is the price,” said real estate agent Amy Duong Kim of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, who’s marketing the listing as about 536 feet from home plate.

It’s hard to find comparable prices, she explained, because most Wrigleyville properties with special zoning rights were sold long ago — and some went quite high. In 2011, the family that owns the Cubs paid $20 million for a nearby McDonald’s parking lot, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The seller, who has lived in the home since the 1970s, has watched the country’s second-oldest ballpark (behind Boston’s Fenway Park) become a venue for more night games and concerts, while the neighborhood around it morphs into an ever-livelier entertainment scene. There are plans for a hotel, open-air plaza and street fair next to Wrigley Field.

The owner has listed the home before, including in 2012 for $9.9 million, Kim said.

Hat tip to Curbed Chicago for finding the listing.

 

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The Next Property Rights Frontier

REALTOR® associations are working to keep up with a flood of new local regulations on home owners’ ability to rent part or all of their property. It has become a fight for home owners’ rights and property value on both sides, with many associations feeling caught in the middle.

The new rental norm

Home owners are flocking to sign up at websites such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner, which match people seeking short-term accommodation with property owners. These sites make renting homes easier and more popular and home owners are finding out how… Read More

Fall Project: Get Ready to Lower Your Heating Bill

Filed under: Home Improvement

ShutterstockCaulking around windows can help prevent cold outside air from entering your home, and keep the warm air inside.

By Teresa Mears

It’s officially fall, which means winter is not far behind. The good news is that winter weather in much of the country is expected to be milder than last year’s frigid conditions, and heating costs are also projected to be lower, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But the cost of heating one’s home still is likely to be a considerable expense in most parts of the country.

Heating is expensive enough already, so you don’t want to pay for heat that escapes out windows, doors and cracks instead of staying inside to keep you warm.

“A lot of time we’re generating energy that we’re sending out into the air,” says Marianne Cusato, the housing advisor for HomeAdvisor.com and an associate professional specialist at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture.

Fall is an ideal time to make repairs that will make your home more energy efficient, both saving you money and keeping you warmer. Even if you can’t afford major repairs such as a new furnace or new windows, there are small things you can do to save big bucks on heating costs — and you can handle most of them yourself.

“Homes can lose heat in a lot of different areas,” says Anne Reagan, editor-in-chief of Porch.com. “I think that there’s a lot of things that can be fixed in someone’s home.”

Here are 13 hacks to winterize your home while also trimming your heating bill.

Caulk around windows. Warm air can escape and cold air can enter your house if the area around your windows has cracks. Caulking needs to be replaced periodically, and you should check every fall for holes that need to be patched, as well as holes anywhere outside your house. “You want to make sure your [home’s] envelope is secure,” Cusato says.

Replace weatherstripping around doors. If you can see light around the edges of your doors, you need new weatherstripping. “A small weatherstripping costs you five or six dollars, and it will save you hundreds of dollars in electrical bills,” says J.B. Sassano, president of the Mr. Handyman franchise company.

Close up your fireplace. Make sure your flue closes all the way, and check whether you can feel air coming in when it’s closed. Glass doors around your fireplace opening are another way to keep warm air in and cold air out of your house.

Put up storm windows and doors. If you have older windows and doors, adding storm windows and doors can help considerably. Window insulation film is another option to provide a layer of protection. “It really insulates the window,” Sassano says.

Add heavy drapes and rugs. Changing light summer drapes for heavy winter drapes was common in earlier times, and it’s still helpful, Reagan says. Drapes can keep the room warmer, while putting down rugs provides a layer of insulation above the floor.

Improve your insulation. Insulation deteriorates over time, so you may want to add more material in your attic. Other places to add insulation are in crawl spaces and exposed areas of decks. Sassano also recommends creating a false ceiling in unfinished basements and insulating between that ceiling and the living area. An insulating cover over your attic opening also helps trap in the heat.

Cover your water heater. You can buy a water heater blanket for around $20 at the hardware store that will keep the tank from losing heat as quickly, saving you money on your heating bill.

Get an energy audit. Many utility companies will provide a free energy audit and give you suggestions on improvements you can make to your home. You can also pay for a more extensive energy audit. “They’ll look at all the places you’re losing energy,” Cusato says.

Change your furnace filters. If the filters are dirty, your furnace has to work harder. In most homes, filters should be changed monthly in the heating season. You should also have your furnace serviced periodically to make sure it is working properly. “It’s easy to overlook but it can mean your system isn’t working efficiently,” Cusato says.

Get a programmable thermostat. The newest thermostats can learn your family’s habits and set themselves to keep the house cooler when no one is there and warmer when the home is occupied. You can also purchase a more basic programmable thermostat. Prices vary considerably, depending on how sophisticated you want your thermostat to be.

Lower your water heater temperature. You can lower it from 140 degrees to 120 with no ill effect, Cusato says. And 120 degrees is the temperature recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Replace less efficient windows and doors. Adding double-pane or triple-pane windows, insulated doors and insulated garage doors will significantly improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Lower the thermostat. It’s actually more comfortable to sleep in a colder home, and you can always add more blankets. When you’re awake, wear a sweater or sweatshirt to stay comfortable with a lower thermostat setting.

 

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Floods, Crimes and Disasters: Is Your Home in a Danger Zone?

Filed under: News, Buying

AFP/Getty ImagesA local resident in Charleston, S.C., surveys the water surrounding a home during the October floods.

By Blake Miller

With the recent news of catastrophic flooding in South Carolina to other stories of homes blowing up because of broken gas lines or vanishing into a massive sinkhole, you might be ready to Google your address to find out if your little abode is all that safe where it is.

“A lot of property owners wait until it’s too late [to figure out if their home is in a safe location],” says Peter Di Natale, president of Peter Di Natale & Associates Inc., a general contracting and construction management firm in Cold Spring, N.Y. “You have to think top to bottom, from the roof to the basement.” (And don’t overlook these neighborhood details, either.)

Here are the top ways to ensure your new home is out of the danger zone.

Check the Flood Map

In addition to the all-important flood zone map, which your real estate agent can provide, “keep in mind that flooding from storms or water main breaks will hit homes the hardest that are on a ground pitch angled downhill,” says Di Natale. “Check how level the ground is. It’s not difficult to have the dirt and grass regraded so it slopes gently away from the house towards the yard instead of into the house. You can imagine how preferable that would be to a flooded basement or first floor of a home.”

Check the Crime Rates

“I know it sounds silly and maybe too simple. However, knocking on the neighbors’ door is sometimes like opening the floodgates to information,” says Justin Udy, a real estate agent in Midvale, Utah. “Ask about the property, the neighborhood, and any issues they are aware of. Typically, neighbors are an open book and love to talk about their area, the good and the bad.” Including crime.

Not feeling chatty? Check out Trulia’s maps, which feature neighborhood guides that identify high-crime areas as well as flood plains and natural disaster probabilities. Adds Heather Leikin, a real estate agent in Los Angeles: “Consider the type of crimes [as in burglaries versus DUIs], rather than if there is crime.”

Check the Trees

Think that towering oak tree won’t cause your home any harm? Think again. “I once had a tree fall on a gutter that created Niagara Falls down the side of the house when the next rain came,” says Di Natale. How do you know if your trees could be a problem? Call in an arborist or tree specialist, who oftentimes will provide free consultations to homeowners and potential homebuyers.

Check for Gas

Not if the home has natural gas but, rather, where those dang gas lines are actually buried, says Leikin. “If you are concerned about proximity of the larger gas lines to your house, contact your local gas utility,” she adds. “There should be a map of your area that shows how close major gas lines are to your new home.

“This is especially important to know after numerous pipeline explosions in the United States.” Enough said.

Check for Natural Disasters

Californians aren’t the only ones who need to know if they live in an earthquake-prone area. To be in the know about just which natural disasters — tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. — could wreak havoc on your potential new home, Patty Brockman, a real estate agent in Portland, Oregon, suggests checking with your insurance carrier. “Have them investigate whether or not the property is in a flood plain, earthquake, or slide area,” she says. “It’s always best to seek out the experts, rather than rely on someone’s opinion.”

Check the Sellers’ Disclosure Carefully

Legally, sellers have to disclose if their home’s basement, for example, tends to flood. Which means that sellers’ disclosure form can be a valuable tool in detecting what hazards may await you when you purchase your new home.

“If there is any area of question, consider going back and asking more questions,” suggests Udy. “It’s routine for me to ask, ‘Tell me more about that’ or ‘What did you mean when you mentioned XYZ?'”

Check with the City

Some of the most valuable information about your home’s danger probability can be found with the city government. “I always recommend owners be involved with their city planning office and code enforcement,” says Udy. “Depending on the size of your city, a seasoned planner or code enforcement officer may be able to tell you what projects people are doing, what is in process, and things to be aware of [such as planned neighborhoods, which could cause potential flooding to your backyard].”

 

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3 Home Improvements You Can Make With $5,000

Filed under: Design, How To

Courtesy of White Buffalo Styling Co.via Zillow

By Lindsay Jackman

For a renovation budget of $5,000, you can add some serious functional upgrades to your home. Kitchens and bathrooms are smart places to focus your dollars. They are hardworking rooms that you’ll enjoy using, but also among the first rooms a future buyer will want to see.

Another practical way to increase the function of your house is by adding living space. While you can’t do an actual home addition for $5,000, you can create a functional outdoor living space that increases your usable square footage.

Here’s how to complete each of these three renovation projects on a $5,000 budget. (If you have a little more to spend, consider what you can do for $10,000.)

Upgrading to Custom Kitchen Cabinets

​Creating a more functional and beautiful kitchen is a win-win, and one way to achieve that goal is by upgrading your cabinetry. For this price-point, you could design cabinets that work for you, the way you use your kitchen, and your kitchen layout. Custom cabinets allow you to maximize storage for the space that you have.

Installing a Tile Shower

Nothing says luxury in a master bath like a standing tiled shower with glass door. For $5,000, you could remove the standard bath insert and surround and put in a custom tiled shower. For additional function, tile in a corner bench and soap shelf. You’ll feel like you’re visiting a luxurious resort in the comfort of your own home.

Courtesy of White Buffalo Styling Co.via Zillow

Create an Outdoor Living Area

Boosting square footage is a great idea for you and future buyers, but additions are expensive. Adding a fabulous outdoor patio can drastically increase your usable living space for a much smaller price tag.

The options for patio material include chipped granite, pavers or flagstone. Adding mulch in beds surrounding the patio will really make a visual statement, and keep the patio from looking like it’s floating in your backyard.

Courtesy of White Buffalo Styling Co.via Zillow

Build a pergola or covered seating area to create more visual appeal and boost the space’s usability. You can hang lights or fans overhead in the structure — and if it’s covered, you’ll have a spot to escape the weather.

While this upgrade benefits you, it’s also a big selling feature. Most homes don’t have an attractive outdoor living area, and adding this amenity will make buyers flock to your listing.

Any of these three updates will make you love your home in a whole new way. You can’t go wrong with improving kitchen storage, upgrading your current bathroom, or increasing your potential living space by taking to the outdoors.

See more home design inspiration.

 

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Birkenstocks Strengthen, Help and Revitalize – And They are Trendy Too

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Money Maven Suze Orman Selling Apartment at Plaza

Filed under: Celebrity Homes, Investing, Selling

Corcoran via StreetEasy/ZillowThe Plaza Hotel at 1 Central Park South features residences in addition to a hotel known for its old-fashioned luxury.

By Melissa Allison

Financial maven Suze Orman is set to turn a tidy profit on a small apartment in the Plaza, New York’s famed hotel and residences.

Orman is asking $4.5 million for the 1,279-square-foot unit, as Curbed New York first reported.

Orman got a deal on it in 2007, when she paid $3.68 million. A similar apartment with Central Park views was going for $3 million more, the talk-show host told The Wall Street Journal.

ShutterstockSuze Orman

Real estate investing isn’t her thing, Orman said, adding that she pays cash for homes. “If I can’t write a check for it, I can’t afford it,” she said.

Like a grown-up version of Eloise, the 1950s children’s book character who lived in the Plaza, Orman enjoys the apartment’s location and perks, including room service, housekeeping and an upscale food court, she told the Journal.

She and her wife, Kathy Travis, considered the white-gloved butlers a little over the top, and their unit needed a year-long remodel to pull it out of Motel 6 territory.

Now it’s a luxurious one-bedroom, two-bath apartment with herringbone hardwood floors, silver-leaf crown moldings and a chandelier in the bedroom. It comes furnished with designer furniture and window treatments.

Living at the Plaza also means in-building access to some of New York’s storied hangouts, including the Palm Court, the Oak Room, the Champagne Bar, the Rose Club, and the Grand Ballroom.

The listing agent is Corcoran‘s Charlie Attias.

 

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