The Money Pit – the sequel

Remember “The Money Pit”? You know, the 1986 movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long, who purchase a supposed bargain of a mansion, which proceeds to collapse under their feet? Well, it turns out that the real-life house from the film has officially lived up to its reputation, selling for a huge loss, according to this article:The Money Pit

The Money Pit

The house was purchased by a couple in 2002 for $2.15 million, but they were in for a surprise. “We didn’t realize how bad it was. The house was falling apart when you went from room to room. We definitely could have done the sequel.”

Undismayed, the new owners set out on an expensive renovation – $5.9 million, taking their total investment to $8 million, before listing the house in 2014 for $12.5 million.

That would have been a reasonable return on the $8 million investment – had it sold. But it didn’t. Until recently. For $3.5 million, or a $4.5 million loss. Ouch.OUCH!

According to a local broker: “’The Money Pit’ house selling at a loss has to do with both the size and styling of the house. Buyers are looking for more casual homes and aren’t as interested in large, formal properties. While the house is certainly beautiful, it’s just not the look that many buyers are shopping for.”

And that story has been repeated elsewhere.

“What a beautiful, old-style property,”commented one buyer recently about a 19th Century house. Before going on to buy a modern property; modern both in terms of design – more open concept, fewer formal rooms – and amenities – a smart home, sleek and shiny.

Perhaps the lesson from the Money Pit sequel is that just because you fall in love with an old house and are happy to invest millions in it does not mean that others will share your taste. Or if they do, most likely they are of an age where they are sellers, not buyers of such properties.

Caveat emptor applies to old properties.

Andrew Oliver
Market Analyst | Team Harborside |

Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty
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