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AOL Real Estate - Blog

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    Alleged squatter Andre Barbosa purportedly lived in this Boca Raton, Fla., home

    We knew it wouldn't last: Andre Barbosa, the 23-year-old alleged squatter who has been living in a $2.5 million foreclosed Boca Raton, Fla., McMansion for months, is finally getting evicted. But when police moved in to evict Barbosa from the mansion on Thursday, he was nowhere to be found, NBC 6 South Florida reported.

    Barbosa had reportedly been living rent-free in the Bank of America-owned foreclosure since around July of last year, under what's known as a deed of adverse possession, which can allow people to take over an abandoned property and claim it after living there and maintaining it for an extended period of time. According to The Daily Mail, Barbosa was using the five-bedroom gated mansion, which he dubbed "Templo de Kamisamar," to entertain friends.

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    Nonetheless, Bank of America proceeded to sue Barbosa, and on Thursday, Boca Raton police conducted a trespassing investigation. But by then, it appeared that Barbosa had cleared out of his temporary home. Police said that they did not have a warrant for Barbosa's arrest, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports, but that he could face other criminal charges,



    See also:
    Squatters Living Under the House?

    Homeless Man Allegedly Rents Out Vacant Home to Tenants

    Squatters Refuse to Vacate Despite Judge's Ruling

    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    Craigslist ad for disciplinarian

    Want to live rent-free in New York City? You could either squat in a home that's not yours (at the risk of eviction and, you know, arrest), or you could help this "interracial gay couple" do some squats in exchange for a free place to stay in Brooklyn. In order to pay $0 a month to live in a borough of one of the world's most expensive cities, all you have to do is be the couple's on-call health and fitness guru. Take them to the gym, figure out a "walking schedule for the park, maybe some calisthenics" and help them make healthy daily eating choices (i.e. some strict meal planning).

    That all kind of sounds acceptable, if you're desperate for a place to crash and have your own fitness in check. But then there's this one line that throws us into suspicion mode: "As an aside, one of the guys needs 'discipline' approximately once a week (we can discuss that in more detail if you are interested in pursuing the conversation)." Um, OK. According to New York magazine, this might mean some light spanking here or there. Guess we'll never know: The ad, only a month old, has since been taken down. Guess the guy got punished for it.

    Enjoy this post? Check out all our listing fail articles!

    See also:
    Williston, N.D., Oil Boom Means Rents as High as New York City's
    Renters Dodged the Housing Bust but Not Buying Now Could Cost Them

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find homes for rent in your area.
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
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    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

    Renters Answer Craigslist Ad and Find Child and Dead Father

     

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    After a brutal Monday back on the grind, how many of you just want to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine, or three? (We know we do!). If you, like us, think that sounds like heaven, then you'll love this house in San Rafel, Calif.: It has its own private vineyard and wine-making room. That's right. You can make your own wine! In your own home!

    The home's vineyard boasts around 500 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines, and the grapes can be skinned, pressed and fermented right in your own house. ("Where is this wine from?" Impressed guests will ask. "Oh, just the backyard," you'll casually reply). It's enough to get us drunk... with happiness.

    Just in case your own wine-making facilities weren't enough to entertain you, the $2.745 million, tri-level home also boasts a solar-heated indoor saltwater pool and spa. And a sauna. And a media room. And a gym. And a gourmet chef's kitchen. That's it -- who's buying a lottery ticket after work?

    Renee Adelmann of Marian Modern Residential Real Estate has the listing.

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    Find more homes for sale in San Rafael, Calif., or search listings in your area.

    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email colin.croughan@teamaol.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    How romantic is your city? That depends on how many romance novels, relationship books, love songs -- and, well, sex toys -- people in your city buy. Amazon.com released its annual list of the most romantic cities in America based on sales of its romance products, and the winner might surprise you. (This is its second time on the top of the love list.)

    Amazon said it determined the results by "compiling sales data of romance novels and relationship books (Kindle books and print books); romantic comedy movies (digital and DVDs); a collection of romantic music from Dean Martin, Barry White, Luther Vandross, Maxwell and Miguel (CDs and MP3s); along with sexual wellness products, from Jan. 1, 2012 to Jan. 23, 2013 on a per capita basis in cities with over 100,000 residents." OK, so all this raises the question: Which is the least romantic city in America? That would be Boise, Idaho.

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    See more:
    10 Most Expensive Cities in the World
    15 Greatest Cities in History
    Best Cities to Buy Foreclosures in 2013

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    Annoying Craiglist apartment ad

    We thought New York listings were bad, but this San Francisco Craigslist ad has taken "annoying" to a whole new unprecedented level. We can understand vegetarians seeking non-meat-eating roommates (though that's still annoying). We can understand the call for "young professionals" to share space with. Heck, we can even give a pass to offering free rent to individuals who can help whip you into shape. But writing an entire short story on Craigslist describing -- in excruciating detail -- the daily actions and activities of your "perfect roommate"? We're cringing already.

    Winning descriptions from this Craigslist roommate ad include: "It's time to shower and you head into the bathroom. Smiling and sighing to yourself as you look in the mirror, you whisper, "Today is going to be a beautiful day!" That's just like you. Always so positive."

    Then there's: "You've brushed your hair and your teeth, and now it is time to catch the bus. Getting to work will be a breeze! You wave to Fred across the street, and walk over to Piccino's for a quick cappuccino before heading to the bus stop."

    Here's the clincher: "[Craigslist poster] Marina asks if you would like to taste some of the kale smoothie she just made ... it is surprisingly delicious. You sip the delicious smoothie and look out onto the garden where a hummingbird is gracefully sipping it's [sic] own breakfast from a flower."

    Listen, Mister Rogers, this is some creepy, axe-murderer stuff! If you're advertising for roommates who whisper to themselves in the mirror, among other totally not-cute things, you're just looking for some company in the asylum. We will warn potential roomies now: Living there is nearly guaranteed to not be a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

    UPDATE -- 5:55 p.m. -- San Francisco blog UPROXX said it spoke to a source close to the listing who said the author "meant it to be more than a little bit sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek." Well, we certainly hope so!

    Thanks to our pals at Curbed for this Listing Fail.

    Enjoy this post? Check out all our listing fail articles!

    See also:
    Williston, N.D., Oil Boom Means Rents as High as New York City's
    Renters Dodged the Housing Bust but Not Buying Now Could Cost Them

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find homes for rent in your area.
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.



    How to Write a Craigslist Ad

     

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    People find some seriously weird things in their homes: dozens of exotic animals, stashes of marijuana, $7 million worth of gold bars, for example. But something significantly scarier -- and more dangerous -- was found inside Charlotte Donahue's home in Prince George, Va., on Sunday morning: four inmates who had recently escaped from a youth prison. "One was found in my attic," Donahue told WWBT-TV in Richmond. "The other was found in one of my closets, and the last two were found in my bedroom."

    The inmates -- 17-year-old Alvin Rogers, 15-year-old Yusef Collier, 17-year-old Shelvy Edwards and 15-year-old Raekwon Brown -- had escaped from Crater Juvenile Detention Center after a riot had broken out, WWBT reported. The escaped inmates trekked a mile in the woods and swamp before they broke into Donahue's home to hide. Police had been searching for 10 hours before they spotted Donahue's broken front door window.

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    Thankfully, Donahue was out of town when the inmates broke in. She was summoned home by police at 7:30 am on Sunday morning. "How in the world would I have dealt with four men who were trying to get away from the law?" Donahue said. She added that this is not the first time Crater Juvenile Detention Center inmates had broken into her home. She said that a decade ago, two inmates hid in her shed but were later caught in the neighboring town of Hopewell. The four inmates in the recent incident have been returned to Crater Juvenile Detention Center and charged with felony escape.

    As this story proves, you should take steps to make your home more secure in the event that someone tries to break in. There are easy, cheap ways to beef up your home's security, but if you want to go all the way, check out what an automated home can do. And here's what to do to ensure your home won't be burglarized.



    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    Sacha Baron Cohen home in Los Angeles

    Sacha Baron CohenNo word on whether Sacha Baron Cohen is eyeing a place in Borat's native Kazakhstan, but whatever the case, the actor has just thrown his Los Angeles home on the market for $2.595 million, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to the newspaper, the home previously was listed for rent for $10,995 a month. And we're rather surprised: Though the home has luxury features aplenty, it's still pretty modest compared to most Hollywood homes we see.

    The single-story 2,806-square-foot home features a river-rock fireplace, a media room, beamed ceilings as high as 22 feet, spa baths and a gourmet kitchen. Outside the four-bedroom home is a soothing oasis of a backyard, with a lagoon-style pool, fire pit, spa, outdoor gym and multi-level deck. As our friends at Estately put it: That for make purchase glorious home in Kazakhstan, no?

    See the listing for more details.

    Find homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178587%
    See also:
    John Legend's Thai-Inspired Hollywood Mansion

    Christina Aguilera, Jordan Bratman's Beverly Hills Home Close to Being Sold?
    Elvis Presley's Home a Teardown?


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find
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    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.


    Les Miserables World Premiere: Sacha Baron Cohen

     

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    Decades after his stint rescuing beautiful blondes from crocodiles and conquering Manhattan in a snakeskin vest and Akubra hat, Paul Hogan (better known as "Crocodile Dundee") and his wife and former co-star Linda Kozlowski are selling their stunning Malibu mansion for $5.25 million. The couple have only had the sprawling Victorian -- which features five bedrooms and six bathrooms -- for only six months, it appears. Boasting spectacular ocean views, a library, office spaces, private lanai and a massive chef's kitchen -- all while being decked out in pristine all-white decor -- it's about as luxurious as you can get. It's also located right on the beach in one of Malibu's most "desirable communities" (a far cry from the Aussie bush, we think).

    Monique Jelley of The Levin Group has the listing.

    Find more homes for sale in Malibu, Calif., or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178589%

    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email colin.croughan@teamaol.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See celebrity real estate.


    Crocodile Dundee's Former Mansion Set for Auction

     

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    Frank Lloyd Wright's Tonkens House in Cincinnati

    Here's your chance to own a piece of architectural history: Iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright's famed Gerald B. Tonkens House in Cincinnati has just hit the market -- for the very first time ever, Zillow reported. Built in 1955, the home is a rare Wright masterpiece, and it's asking $1.788 million. Other Wright homes have been at risk of demolition, such as the David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, which a developer planned to tear down to make way for a couple of McMansions. (Luckily, the home was saved -- at least temporarily.)

    The Tonkens House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Curbed. The home, though designed by Wright, was built by his grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home sprawls across 3,100 square feet and "fits seamlessly onto the parcel, giving the home tremendous privacy," Zillow said. It has custom-made Philippine mahogany cabinetry, gilded ceilings and a large hearth. There's a separate cottage on the property, and, as Curbed points out, the home is being sold with much of the original furniture in place.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find homes for sale in Cincinnati, or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178606%
    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
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    Find foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.


    Learn About Frank Lloyd Wright

     

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    Osbourne home, Hidden Hills, Calif.

    The rumor mill was churning late last year with news that Jessica Simpson was making an offer to buy Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's $13 million mansion in Hidden Hills, Calif. But that was tempered by disaster: The house caught fire from a candle left burning in the living room. And that incident seemed to throw the deal into chaos, with reports that Simpson was backing out because of the resulting damage to the house.

    Jessica SimpsonBut now it seems that last part wasn't true. The listing for the home has been taken down, and the rumor now is that pregnant-again Simpson plans to marry fiance Eric Johnson at the home. And then there's this: Us Weekly magazine reports that Simpson already is planning to turn Sharon Osbourne's closet into a nursery for her baby-on-the-way. Online listings site Redfin shows that the home was sold for $12.388 million.

    Just last August, the Osbournes were looking to rent out the home for $50,000 a month, Trulia said. But it seems that the couple can't resist selling to blonde bubble-gum pop stars. Remember: They sold their Beverly Hills home -- featured in "The Osbournes" -- to Christina Aguilera back in 2007. (And by the way, recent events make us wonder whether Aguilera has found a buyer for that home.) Anyway, we're sure Simpson and her new family will LOVE living in the Osbournes' Hidden Hills home. Take a look through the gallery below to see how fabulous it is.

    Find homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178691%
    See also:
    Christina Aguilera, Jordan Bratman's Beverly Hills Home Close to Being Sold?
    Ozzy Osbourne Re-Lists Malibu Home, Again and Again


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

    Ozzy Osbourne Injured in House Fire

     

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    Grammy-winning country superstar Brad Paisley and his TV-star wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisely, seem more like they're the down-home types. After all, they own a farm just outside Nashville, Tenn. So we can all agree that pretentious Los Angeles is no place for a cowboy: Must be why the duo has just put their Pacific Palisades, Calif., home on the market for $2.995 million, Trulia reported.

    It would make perfect sense for the couple to consolidate their time in Nashville. Brad is recording his upcoming album "Wheelhouse" at their farm home, according to Detroit country music station 99.5 WYCD, and Kimberly's hit television show "Nashville" is filmed there, naturally. The couple is eyeing a nice profit with their recent listing because they bought the L.A. mansion for $1.644 million in 2004, according to the Daily Mail.

    Their home in the playground of the Hollywood elite even exudes country style. It has a grand two-story living room with stained glass windows, beamed ceilings and a fireplace. The 3,394-square-foot three-bedroom, three-bathroom home also features a large gourmet kitchen and master suite with fireplace and separate tub and shower. The best part, though, is the private deck off the master with the some of the most gorgeous ocean views you've ever seen. Whoever lassos this real estate stallion is one lucky dog.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find more homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178714%
    See more Houses of the Day on AOL Real Estate.

    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email colin.croughan@teamaol.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    Find homes for rent in your area.

    See celebrity real estate.

     

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  • 02/15/13--13:11: 10 Best Cities to Own a Home
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    Though the rate of homeownership in the U.S. has dipped to a 16-year low, owning a home is clearly still very important to most Americans. Even though home prices are on the incline, it's still a market full of deals to be had. If you're thinking now's the time to buy a home, where should you start looking?

    NerdWallet.com took a look at the 10 best cities to own a home. Their criteria in choosing the cities was simple (well, sort of): They looked at cities where homes are available (higher for-sale inventory), where homes are affordable and where there is high-growth opportunity (meaning low unemployment and growing population). Click through the gallery below to see the 10 best cities to own a home.

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    See also:
    6 Must-Have Mobile Tools and Apps for House Hunters
    Homes for Sale for $400,000: What You Can Get for the Money

    Neighborhood Hunting Made Easy


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find homes for rent in your area.
    Find homes for sale in your area.
    Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.

     

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    Cher's Los Angeles condo

    CherWant a Valentine's Day-worthy pad that's "spicy and romantic," with a dash of star power? We got you (babe). Cher has reportedly put her infamous Los Angeles condo on the market for $5.5 million. TMZ has said that the singer "quietly listed" the 4,000-square-foot pad just last week, after turning it into what she calls a "mini Indian palace." (That's aside from her other homes, which you can see from Architectural Digest.)

    A pretty apt description, we think: Decked out in marble, stone, gold and brass with glittering Indian decor, elephant statues and 18th century archways from a Rajasthan palace, the home looks like some kind of blinged-out Hindu temple. Decor aside, the sprawling duplex also boasts stunning panoramic views of Los Angeles from a seriously luxe terrace, and is the same condo building where Courtney Cox, Elton John and Joan Collins also own. If it were up to us, we'd probably never leave this place, but clearly, our Cher believes in life after L.A.

    Cher's Los Angeles condo

    Find homes for sale in Los Angeles, or search listings in your area.

    See also: Former Cher Estate Gets a 40% Haircut
    John Legend's Thai-Inspired Hollywood Mansion

    Elvis Presley's Home a Teardown?


    More on AOL Real Estate:
    Find out how to
    calculate mortgage payments.
    Find foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.


    Cher - Interview (Sessions)

     

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    Park City, Utah, condo

    The folks at @MontageDV and @discovercrc really outdid themselves this week, and they were the clear favorite among our Facebook fans to take this week's #housepornthurs crown. Who wouldn't vote for this beautifully rustic condo in Park City, Utah, to be the champion? (With that said, we'd like to give a shout-out to runner-up @WhereRealEstate for giving a good fight with this waterfront home dripping in luxury in Portland, Ore.)

    But back to our winner. "Weaving chic with eclectic," as the listing states, this drop-dead gorgeous 2,683-square-foot home is so warm and inviting. We imagine our friends and family sitting around the the living room sipping wine and swapping stories while we boast about the rich wood floor. (That wood!) The three-bedroom, four-bathroom condo overlooks "a sparkling alpine pool and hot tubs," which you can admire from the private balcony of the huge master bedroom. See more photos below.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find more homes for sale in Park City, Utah, or search listings in your area.

    The #housepornthurs contest is a weekly Twitter conversation hosted by @aolrealestate. Tweet listings every Thursday to AOL Real Estate with the hashtag #housepornthurs for a chance to have one of your submissions featured as a House of the Day the following week.

    Park City, Utah, condo

    Park City, Utah, condo

    Park City, Utah, condo

    Park City, Utah, condo

     

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    Valentine's Day home

    In honor of Valentine's Day, we present to you a House of the Day that'll certainly put you in the mood for some loving. That's because there's no place to better woo your sweetheart than in a home decked out from head to toe in the color of love! Yes, that's right: This four-bedroom home in Newton, Mass., boasts all-pink interiors. And it seems that the owners are betting that plenty of people will pay a pretty penny for pink: It's priced at $799,000.

    From the bedroom and bathroom to the kitchen and dining room (which, by the way, is decked out in pastel-pink florals), the inside of this otherwise quite-average-looking home looks like an explosion of cotton candy. Whether that's a good thing, we're not sure, but it sure screams Valentine's Day to us. But if we're talking in more general terms about everyday pink homes, we'd sort of prefer Barbie's Malibu Dreamhouse.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find more homes for sale in Newton, Mass., or search listings in your area.

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    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    Find foreclosures in your area.
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    New Map Gives Singles Best Chance For Love On Valentine's Day

     

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    Hell's Kitchen steam

    Talk about a situation that stinks (literally)! Residents in New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood are fuming over a cloud of stinky steam rising from a grate on the corner of West 56th Street and Eighth Avenue.

    DNAinfo reports that the smelly gas started seeping out Saturday outside of the Otarian restaurant. According to utilities company Consolidated Edison, the stench probably stemmed from a sewer problem -- but the city's Department of Environmental Protection, the body responsible for sewage issues, did not respond for comment.

    Hell's Kitchen steam and Con Edison traffic conesResidents reported seeing an oily substance in the sewer underneath the grate (currently blocked off by Con Edison traffic cones, pictured at left). Even when the grate stopped steaming, the stench was still noticeable, neighbors complained.

    "It smells like fecal matter," one resident told DNAinfo. "It is truly a rank, putrid odor."

    A similar case happened in the NYC borough of the Bronx five years ago, when residents complained that similarly "putrid odors" emanating from two nearby sewage facilities were "ruining their lives." The smell was so bad it was as if someone was constantly "passing gas," angry neighbors said.

    The Bronx residents successfully sued the privately-run New York Organic Fertilizer Co., which transformed city sewage into fertilizer pellets nearby and whose operation was responsible for the stench. (NYOFCo was forced to shut its factory down in 2010.)

    More on AOL Real Estate:
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    Dave Matthews, Malibu home

    When these musicians aren't busy making music, seems like they're busy playing musical houses! Despite owning a gorgeous home in Charlottesville, Va., and another in Seattle, it appears that Dave Matthews, frontman of the Dave Matthews Band, has just scooped up yet another to add to his collection -- a 7,000-square-foot stunner in Malibu, no less.

    The Real Estalker reports that the singer-songwriter just dropped $6.575 million on this grand home, set on 1.7 acres. The European country-style mansion features French doors, hardwood floors, and ceilings with beams of rural white oak. It features six bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, an additional 900-square-foot guesthouse and, oh, an apple orchard. (You know -- the usual.) If that's not enough, Matthews also has beach access. ("Essentially a private sliver of sand ... where late last year a dead and decomposing 40,000 pound whale washed ashore," reports The Real Estalker). So damn lucky ... we think?

    Find homes for sale in Malibu, or search listings in your area.

    %Gallery-178854%
    See the listing here.

    See also: John Legend's Thai-Inspired Hollywood Mansion
    Elvis Presley's Home a Teardown?


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    Dave Matthews Band - Sessions at AOL Interview

     

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    We never imagined that Bruce Willis and U2 bassist Adam Clayton would ever have anything in common. But it turns out they do: this stunning co-op on Manhattan's exclusive Central Park West. The New York Post first reported that Willis was in contract to buy the home, but Zillow and other reports followed up, saying that it was originally listed by Clayton back in October for $8.695 million. Willis scored the three-bedroom, four-bathroom home for $8 million.

    Best known for playing John McClane in the "Die Hard" movies, Willis is currently on theater screens in the fifth installment of the film series, "A Good Day to Die Hard." So we're guessing Willis took that big fat paycheck to splurge on the fabulous apartment. And fabulous it is: It's a pre-war "art deco gem," the listing said, with a gourmet kitchen (high-end appliances included, naturally) that has slate countertops and terrazzo floors. There are huge spaces, including a living room, formal dining room and gallery hallway. There's plenty of space: When Clayton owned it, the space was originally two separate units that he converted into one, according to Zillow.

    Willis' new place is in his old stomping grounds, as he used to live on Central Park West with ex-wife Demi Moore. But not to worry, he's still in his usual celebrity environment. This pad is in the famous El Dorado building, which has been home to U2 lead singer Bono and Alec Baldwin. Oh, how we are the company we keep. (If you missed out on this dream home, Madonna's Upper West Side apartment is still on the market -- and the price has come down!)

    Find homes for sale in New York, N.Y., or search listings in your area.

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    Got a tip for House of the Day? Know of an exceptional or unusual property currently listed for sale? Please email colin.croughan@teamaol.com with your suggestions and be sure to include links to listing details and photos. (Due to the volume of response, we unfortunately are unable to reply to each submission.)

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    Brothel next door: 3011 S. Millard Avenue, Chicago

    3011 S. Millard Avenue in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village looks from the outside like a regular family home. It's located on a block that, statistically, is one of the safest police beats in the city. But looks can be deceiving: The home turned out to be a neighborhood brothel run by 40-year-old "madam" Rubicela Montero (pictured below left).

    Rubicela Montero ran a brothel in Chicago.As WBBM-TV in Chicago reported, Montero used the home to pimp young women and girls for years. The purported prostitution operation was only unveiled after one of the girls called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center to report illegal activity occurring inside Montero's nondescript home.

    In a similar case, New York madam Anna Gristina allegedly ran a $10 million prostitution operation from a cramped, $600-a-month subleased one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan's Upper East Side -- for over 15 years. (See the video below.) Like the Millard Avenue house, Apartment 2F at 304 E. 76th St, was unassuming, "humble" and nothing out of the ordinary, reported The New York Post. (The building also housed an Indian restaurant downstairs.)

    And just two weeks ago, a nondescript apartment at 2118 Shoshone Ave. in Chico, Calif., was busted as the home of yet another long-time neighborhood brothel -- and also allegedly harbored illegal immigrants. The brothel was run by Roberto Urbina-Gonzales, who was also the apartment manager of the complex, police said.

    "There was a lot of traffic, lots of in and out [of the apartment]," neighbor Jason Orlandi told local ABC affiliate KRCR. "But they kept to themselves."




    'I'll Mind My Own Business'

    You might assume that you'd know if a neighbor was running a prostitution ring from their own home -- but police say it's not as obvious as you'd think, particularly in busy, well-populated areas.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, the reason Rubicela Montero's brothel was able to operate undetected for so long was due to the abundance of foot traffic in Little Village, especially close to 26th Street. Next-door neighbors admitted that they saw men "frequently arriving at the house at 31st and Millard" but explained that it was "not unusual" for Hispanics, often with large extended families, to have numerous and frequent visitors.

    Chicago police Sgt. Traci Walker added that while officials are trained to notice unusual activity, residents are not. Even if they do pick up on criminal activity, Walker said, they may choose to look the other way. "Some figure, 'If it's not affecting me. I'll mind my own business," she told the Tribune.

    The same "mind-your-own business" mentality can be applied to the Anna Gristina case, where her neighbors in that Upper East Side apartment building noticed suspicious activity but decided to turn a blind eye.

    "She looked like a normal mom," website DNAinfo quoted a neighbor as saying of the madam. He added that attractive women could be seen constantly coming and going from Gristina's apartment for years, but the neighbor said that he simply chalked it up to "a sublet for college kids." Another neighbor told DNAinfo that the reveal was "shocking" and admitted that she "had no idea."

    According to a spokesperson for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, neighbors will rarely assume that an illegal prostitution operation is operating right next to their own house.

    "I think quite frequently that people don't know what they're seeing," spokeswoman Andrea Austin told The Baltimore Sun. "There might be suspicious behaviors, but they don't know it's a crime or who to call. It's more of a lack of understanding of what is going on."

    If you suspect there is illegal sex trafficking happening in your neighborhood, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or report a tip online.

    See also: Keep Bad Neighbors From Derailing a Home Sale

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    1,000 Pounds of Stolen Mail in Man's Apartment


    We know all about cat hoarders and doll hoarders, but stolen mail hoarders? Adam Justin Lysiak, of Port Townsend, Wa., was arrested on theft charges for allegedly hoarding other people's mail in his home. Not just a few letters here and there, either: Lysiak had hoarded over 1,000 pounds of stolen mail in his apartment.

    Seattle TV station KOMO reported police as saying that Lysiak, 38, would go through mailboxes in his community and neighboring ones at night, then use the information to create fake identities, forge identification cards and pass bad checks. The TV station said that Lysiak already was wanted on a variety of theft- and forgery-related charges, as well as for escaping police custody, when he was arrested Tuesday while hiding at a neighbor's apartment. According to officer Luke Bogues of the Port Townsend Police Department, Lysiak could be slapped with multiple felony charges in addition to identity theft and forgery.

    "Washington's postal theft law makes every 10 pieces of stolen mail a separate felony charge," Bogues told a local newspaper, the Peninsula Daily News. "With thousands of pieces of stolen mail recovered, potentially more than 100 felony charges could be filed against Lysiak."

    See also: Keep Bad Neighbors From Derailing a Home Sale
    Identity Theft Is More Likely When Moving to a New Home

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