WASHINGTON -- A Virginia house described in marketing materials as having "White House Flare" has sold for $580,000 less than it was listed for in March. You could send put three kids almost all the way through law school for that amount!
The house has more than 15,000 square feet with six bedrooms and seven full baths. It's described in real estate listings as being a "fixer-upper" with "rehab potential."
The actual White House has 16 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms. Earlier this year, the real estate site Movoto.com found the house to be worth an estimated $110 million.
Other White House look-alikes dot the American landscape. Those houses seemingly don't always have the easiest time selling, too. A short sale in Las Vegas was listed on Craigslist for $225,000. Atlanta's White House replica had such a hard time selling that CNN profiled the sad situation. Chicago's blue version of the White House also had a rough time on the market.
Virginia's other White House look-alike, in McLean, was listed for over $4.5 million more than a year ago. Curbed notes its price was lowered by $400,000, then was taken off the market in March -- there was speculation that the house might soon be relisted again with an even lower price.
The homes face more than just a problematic resale market. They also sometimes face hostile neighbors.
All of which raises the question: Why would someone want to live in a replica of the White House?
The McLean house's owner, a Vietnamese refugee, told The Washington Post through his realtor that he built his White House "because 'he wanted to pay tribute to America’s history and culture.'"
In 1997, a family living in a White House replica built by an oil baron in the 1920s in Wichita Falls, Texas, told The New York Times that they enjoyed their house's novelty value and much more:
Mrs. Patrick, 48, a former nurse and now a homemaker, and Mr. Patrick, 58, a pharmacist and investor, live in a 22-room, 68-year-old home that boasts a similar design to that of the East Wing of the White House.
Guided by a passion for old buildings and local history, an appreciation for the home's style and a desire to live near family in the area, the Patricks bought the 11,000-square-foot home in 1995.
For the Patricks and others who buy or build replica homes, factors beyond investment potential often give them inspiration. ''The fact that people say the house looks like the White House is certainly a source of conversation with our kids,'' said Mrs. Patrick, whose two youngest children, ages 7 and 9, enjoy bringing their friends over for slumber parties. ''But the decision to buy this home came from our love for restoring old buildings and an appreciation for the real beauty of the home.''
Virginia White House knockoff enthusiasts take note: Your neighbors and other buyers may not share your taste now, but validation may come in time. In 2003, the Wichita Falls White House replica itself became adesignated landmark.
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