As a residential real estate investor, you’ll likely agree that it’s the more the merrier when it comes to attracting buyer or renter interest in a property. Homes that have been used as filming locations are sure to stand out among the rest of the real estate listings. But is buying the most famous home on the block the right move for you?
The pros and cons of investing in famous real estate
Before you cast a home used as a TV or movie set for a role in your investment portfolio, here are some things to consider first.
You’ll be a hit on rental sites
Superfans will be flocking to book getaways in the same places their favorite films or TV shows were made. While luxury homes like the Italian-style villa seen in Entourage might normally command top dollar on vacation rental sites in their own right, rental prices could soar if there are some bragging rights that go along with the property.
But even more modest homes can also result in a fully booked calendar. For example, Ralphie’s house from A Christmas Story can be rented out for overnight stays, plus there’s a museum full of movie nostalgia right across the street. If your property isn’t sexy enough by its own merit, you could include pictures, items from the set, and other memorabilia to make the stay more of an overall experience.
There will always be lookie-loos
The bane of real estate agents will also become your problem as the owner of a famous property. Just ask the owners of the West Village brownstone on Perry Street in Manhattan that was used as the exterior of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment on Sex and the City. While one might argue that any block in New York City will get its fair share of foot traffic anyway, imagine if that famous stoop were in a quieter part of the world.
Location still matters
Selling or renting a famous property might garner a lot of interest, but location still matters. For example, a lake house featured in the latest rom-com might be a little too romantic and secluded for buyers to bite, though it could be a lure for vacationers.
In the end, no matter how cool the movie or show was, if the home isn’t located where buyers desire to live, they’ll change the channel on your listing.
You still need to consider the comps
No matter how famous the house, it won’t command a blockbuster price if the comps don’t call for it. When the Hollywood glitz fades away, the house is all that’s left. A more modest property will likely only be judged — not to mention appraised — in relation to its next-door neighbors, not its Hollywood pedigree. If its starring role is the only thing that differentiates it from the house next door, the price might not be what you’re hoping for.
The bottom line
A movie or TV show has the potential to make everyone in it a star — including the location it was filmed in. But a Hollywood blockbuster might turn out to be a bust for your portfolio unless the property itself can attract interest from buyers and renters — not just fans hoping for a peek.