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What is your favrite real estate movie

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Posted 05-25-2012 at 03:06 PM by Roy Sanborn
Updated 06-08-2012 at 12:03 PM by Roy Sanborn

Hey, it is the holiday weekend! Get out there and enjoy all the Lakes Region has to offer! So, what is your favorite real estate movie? When you stop and think about it, there are more movies dealing with real estate than you might have originally guessed. Early westerns were about settlers trying to make new homes in the Old West, war movies are really about countries fighting over real estate, and horror movies are often about haunted houses. Excluding those types of movies narrows the field a bit.

One of my favorites is “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home” which was a hilarious comedy about home ownership filmed in 1948. Jim Blandings, played by Cary Grant, is an account executive in the advertising business who lives with his wife Muriel, played by Mryna Loy, and two daughters in a tiny New York apartment. Muriel is scheming to remodel their apartment, but Jim comes across an ad for a home in Connecticut which he feels would be a great investment. He contacts a real estate agent, who unloads "The Old Hackett Place" on them. It is a dilapidated, two hundred-year-old farmhouse. Blandings purchases the run down old farm house (without a home inspection, by the way) for way more than it is worth and finds that it is so bad it has to be torn down in order to build a new one. I think the home inspection business was actually started as a result of this movie. The project became a virtual money pit with one problem after another including doors and windows that don’t fit, malfunctioning plumbing, and workers that don’t work. It really is a funny movie and one that I would recommend to any first time buyer thinking of purchasing a fixer-upper.

Mr. Blandings’ adventure spawned a remake called the Money Pit featuring Tom Hanks and Shelley Long which was filmed in 1986. Here the young unmarried couple (this may be the 1st problem,) Walter and Anna, have to get out of their apartment in the city. Through their friend (2nd problem?), who is an unscrupulous real estate agent, they find a million dollar home that is a distressed sale. They meet with the owner who claims she must sell the home quickly as her husband has been captured by the Israeli’s who claim her husband was Adolf Hitler’s pool boy. She shows them the home by candle light insisting that she needs to save money to pay the bloodsucking lawyer (3rd problem.) Anna thinks the showing was romantic, but Walter thinks it is a bit strange. Anyway, they decide to buy the home and Anna insists on putting up half the money which she gets from her ex-husband (4th problem.) Everything goes hilariously downhill from the second they take ownership of the home. Stairways collapse, doors fall off, the electrical system catches on fire, and even the bath tub falls through the floor. Contractors are called in to make necessary repairs which are supposed to take “two weeks” but instead take four months and brings the couple to near blows. But love prevails over all and the couple end up getting married in front of their new, but very, very expensive new home.

I recently watched a rather quirky movie called “Closing Escrow” which sheds some rather humorous light on the different types of real estate agents as well as home buyers. The movie is about three very different real estate agents and three couples who are looking for their dream home and in the end wind up bidding on the same property. One agent is a bit shady and uses some underhanded tactics to lower the price of the properties for his buyers (i.e. like taking a hammer to the walls). His buyers are also a bit off-kilter with the wife acting just a tad deranged when it comes to finding the right property. Another agent is a brash and pushy blonde who doesn’t hesitate to share her forceful opinions on everything from women’s lib to racism. Her buyers are attorneys who are more about appearances than anything and want to make sure the home they buy makes them look good. The agent gets really upset when the wife becomes pregnant forcing the couple to change their home search to less expensive homes which, unfortunately, pay a much smaller commission. One set of buyers are sweet, but the husband just can never decide which property he wants and the indecision drives their rather normal agent crazy. The movie is filmed in kind of a documentary style and you need to stick with it for a bit before it gets interesting., but in the end it is fun. I’d recommend it for any buyer or real estate agent. Take a good look in the mirror.

Other great real estate flicks include Glengarry Glen Ross with an all star cast including Ed Harris, Alec Baldwin, Jack Lemmon, and Al Pacino. Also, buyers should see the Duplex with Ben Stiller and Pacific Heights with Michael Keaton if they are thinking about becoming landlords. These flicks might just change your mind.

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