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AOL Real Estate - Blog

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    Nothing beats a great view. To be more specific, nothing beats that great view above. It's what drove voters in this week's #housepornthurs contest crazy, sending this North Carolina abode with breathtaking mountain views to the top. It trumped a sprawling estate in
    Santa Monica, Calif., even with it's large, resort-style pool.

    Here's what's so great about the home in the western part of the state, near Asheville (aside from the view, of course): It's a stately home in one of the most popular enclaves in Arden. Sweeping, open rooms fill the home, and as a bonus, the second bedroom doubles as an office. "Attention to detail abounds. Casual elegance at its best," the listing says.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find more homes for sale in Arden, N.C., 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.

    %Gallery-186767%
    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
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

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


    WSJ's House of the Week from Top Real Estate

     

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    Maybe there's nothing wrong with a little Photoshop: some lighting enhancement, adjusting the brightness and contrast, even some very subtle airbrushing here and there. But when it comes to online real estate listings, going over-the-top with Photoshop isn't just laughable -- in some cases, it's downright deceptive. From airbrushing out utility lines to superimposing views that simply aren't there, those Photoshop listing fails might get house hunters interested, but they won't be impressed once they see the real thing -- and realize they've been duped!

    See the gallery below for our pick of disastrous (and hilarious) Photoshop listing fails that are unlikely to fool anybody.

    %Gallery-186693%

    See more on real estate listing photos:
    Real Estate Broker Warms Up Cold Listings With Hot Models
    Avoid Ugly Real Estate Listing Photos
    Real Estate Photographer Speeds Home Sales

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

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

    iPhone Powered Drone Captures High-End Aerials

     

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    Imagine your own home making you sick. When mold -- and we mean more than that stuff growing on your month-old sandwich in the fridge -- starts taking over your apartment, it can cause serious health problems, such as nausea, fatigue, rashes, hemorrhaging and asthma. So if you've got a mold problem in your apartment, what do you do?

    mold in apartment of Paul BloomClick2Houston.com recently fielded several questions from viewers complaining about mold in their apartments and asking what to do about it. One such viewer was Paul Bloom, who says that he was getting sick from all the mold inside the walls of his apartment. He had black mold growing up the apartment's walls and on the floor. "I've had the fatigue, joint pain," Bloom told Click2Houston.com of the effects of the mold.

    Unfortunately, there are no federal guidelines outlining acceptable levels of mold in apartments. And only a few states have rules on the books pertaining to such a problem. California, for example, allows tenants to pay outside professionals to remove mold from their apartments and deduct the cost of services from their rent. However, in most cases, landlords protect themselves by providing tenants with information on how to remove mold with soap, water and a little bit of scrubbing, Click2Houston reported.

    Here's what landlords are responsible for: maintaining habitable conditions for tenants. If the mold in an apartment has occurred because of a landlord's failure to fix leaks, for example, then you may be able to hold the landlord liable for the mold problem, according to legal site NOLO.com. But if the mold grew because of something you, as the tenant, did, then you could be held liable for the costs of damage. See what else you can do to battle mold in your apartment in the video above.

    See more about mold:
    More Than 100 Tenants Evicted Due to Mold
    Mold: Where It Can Hide in Your House
    Dealing With Mold in a Rental Apartment

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

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

     

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    Cat, most renters have pets

    Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of renters have pets, the hassle of trying to find a pet-friendly building doesn't have tenants purring. According to a new Apartments.com survey, 75 percent of renters said they own pets (mainly cats and dogs), which is a significant spike from only 43 percent who said so a year ago. But despite that large percentage, most are still finding it difficult to find buildings with pet-friendly options, the survey shows.

    The majority of the 1,100 renters surveyed by Apartments.com have encountered strict restrictions as to the types of pets that they're allowed to have in their apartments -- if they're even allowed them at all. More than 60 percent of respondents revealed that they struggled to find pet-friendly accommodations. Of those who did, 63 percent said that they had to pay a one-time "pet deposit" or expensive monthly fees in order to keep their furry friends.

    "Clearly, pets are a deal-breaker for many, and apartment buildings with more flexible pet policies will be the ones to attract this growing group of pet-owning renters -- and possibly keep them for a longer period of time," said Tammy Kotula, a spokesperson for Apartments.com. "Nearly all pet owners surveyed said pet policies play a major role in their decision of where to live."

    But, according to Kotula, many landlords and animal-free neighbors are increasingly recognizing that pet owners are, for the most part, "responsible and respectful neighbors." Our take is that owning a pet while renting shouldn't be too much of a problem, as long you're willing to cough up the fees -- and refrain from turning your apartment into a pet's wonderland.

    See more about pets in apartments:
    California Law Bans Landlords From Requiring Declawed, 'Devoiced' Pets

    Condo Owner in Dog Fight to Keep 'Prescription Pet'
    Snakes, Alligators and Other Exotic Animals Found Inside Brooklyn Apartment

    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.

    Apartment Home Living Pet Tip - Keep Pets Leashed

     

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    chinese couples divorcing

    While more and more young couples in the United States are sealing their commitments to one another by buying a home before marriage, thousands of "happily married" couples in China are rushing to get divorced -- before buying a home together. Why the seemingly backwards move? According to Time, it's a direct result of soon-to-be-enacted government regulations in China that will hike taxes on the sale of second homes for married homeowners.

    The regulations are part of a package of measures that will require couples to pay a capital gains tax of up to 20 percent on the sale of second homes -- a huge hike from the current tax of 1 percent to 2 percent. According to Reuters, the tax on gains from selling second homes has actually been in place for almost two decades -- but it hasn't been strictly enforced until now. According to TIME, determined investors won't let that get in the way of a good bargain: the 20 percent tax won't apply if the second home was bought after the couple was divorced.

    Which, for many Chinese couples, isn't such a big deal: Divorce in China, after all, is not the lengthy and expensive ordeal that it is in the United States. In fact, Chinese couples are able to get a "quickie" divorce by simply presenting themselves, together, at the marriage and divorce registration center and paying a fee of only $1.50. (Some centers have reported as many as 53 divorces processed in just one day). Once the sales are complete, the couple is free to remarry.

    "It's a practical attitude," managing director of realty consulting firm International Strategic Group Li Li told Reuters. "It's strange, but policy forces people to do it."

    Even the officials at the registration offices agree it's a smart move. "I told all of them to come here again for remarriage registration as soon as their transaction is finished," one official told the Shanghai Daily.

    See more on first-time homebuyers:
    Millennials Forge Fresh Trends in Homebuying
    Should Young People Buy Homes? Weighing the Pros and Cons

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

    See celebrity homes.

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

    Chinese Buyers Hunt for the Perfect Second Home

     

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    Twenty to 25 homes in a Nashville, Tenn., neighborhood were evacuated after a Realtor who was prepping a home on the market for a viewing reportedly had quite a shock. The real estate agent discovered explosives in the crawl space of the home on Catspaw Court, according to Nashville TV station WSMV reported. According to the TV station, the devices were determined to be pipe bombs and a bomb squad was called in to remove the explosives. Another local TV station, WTVF, said authorities believed the devices were simulators, but WSMV reported that police later determined that they were hazardous.

    http://www.wsmv.com/story/22103642/real-estate-agent-finds-explosives-inside-home-for-saleAccording to WSMV, the previous owner of the home died suddenly and the house had been up for sale for more than a year. The TV station reported that the owner used to be a member of Nashville's Metro Bomb Squad, which could explain why there were explosives at the home. It was not clear, though, why the owner would have been allowed to transport explosive devices to his house.

    Police reportedly kept surrounding neighbors out of their homes for five hours on Sunday night while authorities removed the explosives and concluded their on-scene investigation. Residents weren't allowed to return to their homes until 12:30 a.m. Monday morning, WSMV reported. The identity of the Realtor who found the explosives was not disclosed. WSMV reported that a person who had inspected the home just a month ago saw the devices but did not report them to police because that person didn't think there was a threat to public safety.

    A similar stir occurred in 2011 when an irate Seattle homeowner facing eviction reportedly "booby-trapped" a home that was in foreclosure -- though in that incident, no actual explosives were found connected to an apparent tripwire. For other scary and odd discoveries in homes, see the gallery below.

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    See more on explosives in homes:
    Alleged Mass Shooter Evicted for 'Substantial Violation of His Lease'
    George W. Bush's Home Targeted by Alleged Terrorist
    Apartment Guru: My Neighbor Thinks I'm a Terrorist!


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

    See celebrity homes.

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

     

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    winning Sonoma County home

    We thought this week's #housepornthurs competition was a no-brainer, but we were pleasantly surprised: The majority of you voted for an earthy, nature-flanked home in California's Sonoma County over a swanky $16.5 million New York City townhouse!

    A handsome choice, we think. The gorgeously peaceful, earth-tone home is nestled among 1.6 sprawling acres of beautiful gardens and towering trees. The two-bedroom house (holding its own at $1.8 million) boasts a large gallery with nature views, a "warm and inviting" library, a large gourmet kitchen and a guest cottage. The home, though spacious at over 2,000 square feet, has a charmingly cozy feel about it. Nice choice, y'all.

    See the listing for more details.

    Find more homes for sale in Sonoma County, Calif., 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.

    %Gallery-187334%
    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
    homes for sale in your area.
    Find
    foreclosures in your area.
    See celebrity real estate.

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

     

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    Despite a $3.6 billion foreclosure settlement that had banks sending checks (some of which bounced) to wronged homeowners, many saw the payouts as a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. According to Salon, 679 homeowners who faced foreclosure -- even though they were never once in default -- got checks for just $5,000, while individuals who had loan modifications approved -- but were still foreclosed upon --were offered a mere $300. More than 80 percent of those receiving checks, Marketplace.org reports, will get between $300 and $1,000.

    Some were so shocked by the "laughable" settlement checks that they took the Internet to voice their anger. Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street vice president and current Occupy Wall Street activist, went so far as to create a self-explanatory Tumblr page titled: "What You Can Buy For Having Your House Stolen." On the site, she listed the various items that wrongly foreclosed-upon individuals could buy with their "egregiously low" settlement checks. We've compiled some of our favorites in the gallery below. (All text and images belong to "What You Can Buy For Having Your House Stolen" unless stated otherwise.)

    %Gallery-187322%
    See more on the foreclosure settlement:
    Robo-Signing Scandal: Hundreds More Military Members Were Victims
    Do Banks or Homeowners Win in Mortgage Settlement?
    Foreclosure Settlement Money: Are States Using It the Right Way?

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

    Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.
    Foreclosure Settlement Checks Much Smaller Than Regulators Forecasted

     

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    With all this talk of home prices rising, you might start to wonder: How much longer will buying be affordable? The luxury market is going a little crazy these days, what with $125 million penthouses and all. So where does one go for a good deal these days? Argentina -- Buenos Aires, to be more precise.

    There, The Wall Street Journal reports, the economy is in a bit of turmoil. (Like there's a place where it's not?) Inflation in Buenos Aires is skyrocketing, and the U.S. dollar is in high demand because of the exchange rate. And for people who have U.S. dollars to spend, prime real estate can be yours for a song.

    Take, for example, a 500-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment in trendy downtown Buenos Aires with a 100-square-foot terrace. It's in a building with a rooftop pool, gym, sauna and concierge. The going rate: $130,000. A place with all those amenities in the middle of NYC would likely cost 10 times as much. Oh, there's plenty more eye-popping deals to get a load of in the video above.

    More on foreign real estate:
    Smart Overseas Real Estate Investments
    German Castles at Bargain Prices
    Renting Abroad: Easier Than Here?

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

    Find homes for rent.

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

     

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    happy looking home

    Do you live in a happy home? Well, to answer that question, just look at it's expression. We've found a number of home and other buildings that appear to mimic "smiley" and "frowny" faces -- and some that are a little in-between. If you're lucky enough to have strategically placed windows and garage doors, you might see if you look hard enough that the facade of your home looks like a face. Maybe it looks like one of these faces below. Click through the gallery to see 30 places with faces, some that will make you laugh and others that will make you cry. :(

    %Gallery-187415%

    See more about curb appeal:
    5 Low-Cost Easy Landscaping Tips
    Before and After Craftsman
    The Seller's Edge in Today's Market


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

    Find homes for rent.

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

     

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    Not only did Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI return to the Vatican for the first time since he resigned in February -- the former pontiff also returned to his new home, the newly-renovated Mater Ecclesiae, a converted monastery on the edge of the Vatican gardens. (Pictured above).

    The Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church) features a substantial four-story modern home within it, complete with a chapel, garden and roof terrace. Fox News reports the home also has a small library and study, in addition to a guest room for when his brother Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, comes to visit.

    "It is certainly small but well-equipped," Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi told The Associated Press. As NBC News reports, the moving of the Pope Emeritus to a residence so close to the current reigning pope, Pope Francis, is an "unprecedented arrangement." In a further twist, the Vatican also announced that the pope emeritus will live in the home with his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein and the four consecrated women who look after him and will prepare his meals.

    Currently, reigning Pope Francis continues to live in a simple hotel suite at the Casa Santa Marta hotel while his official home at Palazzo Apostolico is being renovated.



    See more about the popes:
    Pope Francis Chooses Hotel Suite Over Vatican's Papal Residence
    Pope Benedict's New Home (VIDEO)
    Inside Pope's Summer Home at Castel Gandolfo

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

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

     

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    Residents of one of the New York City communities most devastated by Hurricane Sandy can't get their rebuilding efforts off the ground, and the finger is being pointed at the city. The neighborhood of Breezy Point in the borough of Queens was leveled during Sandy, with a fire that broke out during the height of the storm's winds and flooding destroying 135 homes. Now residents are being denied building permits to rebuild their homes because officials are basing their requests on an old map of the city dating back to 1948, TV station WPIX-11 in New York reported.

    Breezy Point hurricane damageSome streets in Breezy Point are not mapped on the outdated one that the city is using to determine who gets a building permit, Breezy Point General Manager Arthur Lighthall told WPIX. "We are standing here -- the homes that were in this whole section of this whole community were fronting a walkway, not a NYC mapped street," he said, pointing out one of the devastated areas on the old map.

    The glitch is delaying rebuilding, and Breezy Point now has to get a waiver from the city's Board of Standards and Appeals to get residents' building permits granted. That could take an additional six months, according to WPIX. The NYC Department of Buildings told the station in a statement that it is working with Breezy Point residents to rebuild, "including seeking approvals from the Board of Standards and Appeals."

    Read the full story at the WPIX-11 website.

    The Daily News also found that six months after Sandy, much of Breezy Point remains a ghost town. According to the paper, 2,400 of the neighborhood's 2,800 homes remain unoccupied. "Seven homes on my block are either gone or red-tagged for demolition," resident Michael Sullivan told the newspaper. "I only moved my family back in full time two weekends ago. They were gonna shut off all power and water on my block for a week to take down the other homes. I had to stop them because this is such a ghost town now that nobody knew we were even back."

    %Gallery-170134%
    See also:
    Should You Buy a Standby Generator for Your Home?
    How To Protect Your Home From Damage in a 'Perfect Storm'
    Homeowners Insurance 101: What You Need to Know

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

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

     

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    Thanks to existence of adverse possession laws in some states -- which in rare cases allows a person to claim title to an abandoned property after occupying it for an extended time -- Cherie Fields, 25, and her husband Owen Fields, 27, apparently thought they could live at a vacant home in Lakeland, Fla., for free. On March 27, the couple moved into a foreclosed home valued at $160,000 (pictured above), changed the home's locks, turned on the electricity and brought in furniture.

    "Besides having the cable guy come out, and the meter guy come out, and the water guy come out to turn everything on, it looked like normal people moving in," Lakeland resident and neighbor Darin Pratt told ABC Action News in Tampa. Only the home on Echo Lane still belonged to a woman in California, who confirmed that it had been foreclosed on. Despite filing for "adverse possession," the squatters were soon kicked out, and charged with burglary of a residence, grand theft and scheming to defraud, according to WESH 2 News in Orlando.

    "I knew a little bit about adverse possession just from doing some research," homeowners' association president Danny Rodriguez told the Tampa TV station. (Rodriguez had alerted the case to the authorities.) "You need to be in the home for seven years. I knew they weren't here for seven years."

    Florida's law of adverse possession dates back over a century -- to allow someone who cared for an unclaimed or abandoned piece of farmland for seven years or more to own it, but lately it's been used as an excuse for squatting in foreclosed homes -- and according to Tampa's ABC station those incidents appears to be rising. In Boca Raton, 23-year-old Andre Barbosa claimed adverse possession in defending his seven-month "residency" in a $2.5 million luxury home in the millionaire's enclave. The foreclosed home (see below gallery) rightfully belonged to Bank of America -- but that didn't stop Barbosa from living in the home, which he dubbed "Templo de Kamisamar," for free and throwing parties there for his friends.

    %Gallery-177185%
    Similarly in Texas, 51-year-old Kenneth Robinson cited that state's adverse possession law as allowing him to live in a $340,000 Dallas-area home. While residing there for eight months, Robinson claimed to have kept the two-story, 3,200-square-foot home "fully maintained," keeping the front lawn mowed and the house clean, and even claiming to have "bought rights" to the home at a Denton County courthouse for just $16. (In both Barbosa's and Robinson's case, neighbors alerted authorities and the men were eventually evicted.)

    It doesn't end there, either: Entire communities have been taken over by squatters who claim they're acting under rights of adverse possession. In Tarrant County, Texas, squatters have been claiming and looting vacant homes in Fort Worth and nearby suburbs -- properties with a total value exceeding $8 million. The properties that have been left by owners who recently died, or by owners absent because of job duties or illness, appear to be most at risk of squatters, and some property owners have returned home to find their houses trashed or looted.

    "It's not healthy for anybody -- for the neighborhood, for the county," Fort Worth resident Joe Bruner, who lived next door to a home that had been occupied by squatters, told The Associated Press. "You don't come in and steal somebody's home."

    According to Miami-Dade Property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the abuse of adverse possession is turning into a nightmare for homeowners and law enforcement. In Miami-Dade County alone, adverse-possession claims rose from 30 in 2011 to 70 in 2012, CBS Miami reported. Just in the first three months of 2013, a whopping 52 applications were filed. "[It's] a new frontier in fraudulent activity," Lopez-Cantera told CBS Miami.

    See more on squatters:
    Squatter Puts Faith-Based Claim on Lavish Mansion
    Squatters Living Under the House?
    Homeless Man Allegedly Rents Out Vacant Home to Tenants

    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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    Land's End in Sands Point, N.Y., might have inspired Daisy Buchanan's house

    With the new film version of "The Great Gatsby" due to open May 10, we're taking a look back at some remarkable American homes associated with the author of that classic novel -- F. Scott Fitzgerald -- including one that might have been a setting for the book. A famous Sands Point, N.Y., mansion (pictured above) is said to have been the inspiration for Daisy Buchanan's house in "The Great Gatsby." Built in 1902, the once-stunning Colonial revival has since been razed: But in the spirit of nostalgia we like to remember how it looked in its glory days. As you can see from the gallery below, the estate dubbed "Land's End" was the epitome of opulence and grandeur, filled with Baccarat crystal, and plush drapes and linens.

    %Gallery-118929%
    Though Fitzgerald set many of his stories in the homes of the rich, the Baltimore townhouse in which he penned some of his later works was humble by comparison. It's still a beauty though: The four-bedroom, four-bath, 3,600-square foot townhouse boasts ornate fireplaces, tall windows, French doors and a back porch overlooking a quant private garden. Best of all, the home still contains many of the original details from over a century ago! See the home below, which was recently on the market at a modest $450,000 and which Zillow lists as having sold last month for $464,000.

    %Gallery-177631%
    A recent article by Gabrielle Lipton in Slate about the homes that Gatsby's mansion might have been based on -- among them Oheka Castle and Beacon Towers -- concludes that no one may ever know that for sure, since Fitzgerald "drew from many sources." But Lipton adds: "Perhaps it's not so much which mansion was Gatsby's; it's which one is destined to be the next." Well, we have one or two in mind....

    See more homes with literary associations:
    Fifty Shades of Grey' Penthouse in Seattle Sells For $6.2 Million
    J.K. Rowling Lists Scottish Farmhouse


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

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

    'The Great Gatsby' New Cover Under Fire

     

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    Former meth lab at 2380 Crock Road in Loudon, Tenn.

    The newly listed home at 2380 Crock Road in Loudon, Tenn., seems like a steal: Four bedrooms, two bathrooms and selling for only $8,500. But maybe not, if you consider that the home is a former meth lab.

    In 2010, three men were arrested and sent to prison for using the house to produce methamphetamine. The men left the home a "hazardous environment," authorities told Knoxville TV station WATE-Channel 6, and it was quarantined by the Loudon County narcotics team.

    "We categorized this property as Level 3 of contamination. Level 3 out of 4," Lt. Paul Curtis, narcotics director at the Loudon County Sheriff's Office, told WATE.

    Unfortunately the Crock Road home is hardly a unique case: In 2012, Jonathan and Beth Hankins purchased a $36,000 "fixer upper" in Klamath Falls, Ore. that also turned out to be a former meth lab. After the family had already moved in, a test kit showed that the home carried meth residue at about 80 times the state's legal limit for acceptable levels -- after it had been cleaned. In a similar case in Suquamish, Wash., John and Jessie Bates discovered that the home they'd bought was completely saturated with toxic chemicals used for making meth and was "not fit" to live in.

    According to Scientific American, the chemicals used in meth production are so highly toxic that they permeate "every inch of the room where the meth was cooked and beyond." According to experts, a home's carpet, walls, furniture and even air become toxic, and ingesting some the chemicals might cause "immediate death." (Serious but non-fatal effects on the inhabitants of meth homes can also include migraines, nosebleeds, mouth sores and even cancer.)

    It's no surprise then, that the Crock Road home is being sold "interior sight unseen" -- meaning that potential buyers are prohibited from going inside the home prior to its sale. But according to Lt. Curtis, this practice is unconventional, particularly as Tennessee state law prohibits the sale of any property to the public without a proper cleaning and inspection.

    Despite that, WATE reports that the home might have been sold as early as yesterday. (The property is also currently showing as "sold" on Realtor.com). If indeed the home was sold, the new owners --if they move in -- would join the estimated "millions" of Americans living in properties that were former meth labs, according to CNN Money.




    See more about hazards in for-sale homes:
    Realtor Discovers Explosives Inside Nashville Home for Sale
    Mansion or Meth House? 'Flip Men' Want to Know

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    You might not look twice at the house at 939 Oak St. in Starke, Fla., if it weren't for the large red sign in front of the home (pictured above) that declares: "John Goodman is a convicted Sexual Predator and lives at this location."

    The sign is one of 18 that the Bradford County Sheriff's Office erected outside the residences of convicted sexual predators in the community last month, The Associated Press reports. (Neighboring Baker County started a similar program last year.) According to Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith, the purpose of the reflective red signs, pictured at left, is to ensure sex offenders are unable to hide and to keep citizens informed about sex offenders in their community.

    "If it prevents one more victim in my community, I've done my job as sheriff," Sheriff Gordon Smith told Jacksonville's First Coast News. "I have no sympathy for predators, my main goal is to protect children and senior adults."

    And though this approach has been generally well-accepted by many residents, according to The Associated Press, there is some debate over whether the signs can be considered as "harassment" against people who had already served jail terms and submitted themselves to the public registry. Counties and towns have tried sign programs with mixed success, the AP reports: In 2009, a Kansas appeals court overturned a judge's order requiring a sex offender to post signs on both his home and vehicle.

    "I've done learned my lesson," convicted sexual predator John Goodman (pictured at right) told First Coast News. "I don't do things like that anymore."

    Similarly, sex offender Brian Speer, whose home also now bears a that reminder of his past, finds the sign offensive. "I think it's a lot of bull," Speer told the AP. "I believe that anybody that has any criminal background should have a sign in front of their house if we have one in front of ours."

    Some sex offenders, however, accept and even embrace the naming and shaming: Jeffrey Mitchell of Miramar Beach, Fla., even went so far as to post his own warning sign in his front yard, reading: "Sex offender residence till the day I die." According to Mitchell, it's not that he wanted to be vilified or cast out of the community. "It's a dialogue that should be started," Mitchell told TV station WJHG.



    See more about sex offender cases:
    Landlord Dennis Alan Van Dusen's Smoke Detectors Hid Spy Cameras
    Molester Should Buy Victim's House So She Can Move, Suit Says
    Why the Brothel-Next-Door Goes Unnoticed


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    A woman meets an elderly man, moves in with him, and inherits his rent-controlled New York apartment -- except 62-year-old Pamela Becker was not 85-year-old Nicholas DeTommaso's wife or lover. Just weeks before DeTommaso died, he adopted Becker -- as his daughter.

    Nicholas DeTommaso, Pamela BeckerAccording to the New York Post, DeTommaso (pictured with Becker, left) had lived at the two-bedroom, railroad-flat apartment on 47th Road in Queens his entire life, and paid only $100 a month to live there. One of his neighbors had hired Becker as a cat-sitter, and soon after, Becker befriended the old man.

    Neighbors reported that the 62-year-old former yoga instructor would take the old man shopping, and was even gifted with a "series of cars" bought for her by DeTommaso. In 2002, she officially moved in with him (in the building pictured above).

    In 2007, after DeTomasso was diagnosed with dementia, Becker received his power of attorney. But although she had the power to make all financial and legal decisions for DeTommaso -- and even was the beneficiary of his life insurance and pension -- Becker refused to marry him.

    "Some people said I should marry him. I didn't want to marry him, that's gross. I don't do stuff like that," Becker told the Post. Instead, the 62-year-old was formally adopted by him as his daughter -- just weeks before his death in June 2009.

    Since then, Becker has continued to live in the apartment despite various attempts from the building's owners, Sugrim and Kowsila Outar, to evict her. But her luck might soon run out: The state Division of Housing and Community Renewal recently ruled that Becker (who changed her name to Maria DeTommaso) was not entitled to the apartment because she lived there only 22 days before her adoptive father's death.

    But Becker is adamant about staying put. "I'm legally adopted," Becker told the New York Post. "I'm going to win this battle."

    While going through an adoption to secure a rent-controlled apartment, as Becker has been accused of doing, might seem extreme, compare that to reports out of China that say thousands of "happily married" couples have rushed to get divorced in order to dodge exorbitant taxes on the sale of their second homes.

    See more on apartments:
    10 Tips for Finding Your First Apartment
    Do-It-Yourself Ideas for Small Apartments
    Apartment Guru: Make the Apartment Search Less Painful

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    A mystery water source in Northern California has completely saturated a hillside and caused some homes to sink and others to sustain damage. Eight homes in the Lakeside Heights subdivision in Lakeport already have been affected, while 10 others remain threatened by what state officials have called a "slow-moving landslide."

    While landslides are hardly rare in California, they're usually the result of rainfall or seismic activity. Sacramento TV station KCRA reports that Lake County supervisors were holding an emergency meeting Tuesday to address this unknown water source that's oozing out of the ground and causing the homes to sink. Officials were quoted by the Lake County News as saying that an irrigation line owned by the Lakeside Heights Homeowner's Association or a natural spring might be at fault.

    In late April, the county red-tagged three structures and began to conduct an investigation after a deep fissure in the earth opened up and a large section of ground sank.

    "At this time, we don't have a good answer," Kevin Ingram, a Lake County spokesperson told KCRA. Though some suspect it could be linked to leaks in municipal water pipes leading to the subdivision, Ingram said that a leak detection test carried out in March showed no leaks within that system.

    In the meantime, a request for emergency aid from Gov. Jerry Brown to deal with the still-unexplained cause of the damage is being assessed. "We're working as hard as we can," said Kelly Huston, assistant secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency.

    Lake County, Calif., home damaged by mystery water souce

    See more on landslides and other disasters:
    5 Ways to Protect Your Home From Mudslides
    Sinkhole Insurance: You Probably Don't Know You Need It
    Natural Disasters and Terror Plots: What Home Insurance Covers

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    This apartment in the Williamsburg section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn rents for $1,200.

    We've shown you everything from teeny-tiny apartments to ugly home listings to creepy home listings, but these rental listings? They're just so bad that they deserve their own Tumblr page. From leasing out closets (at $1,000/month) to renting out bunk beds (the top bunk going for $600/month and the bottom bunk going for $500/month), these New York City rentals are easily some of the worst examples of real estate we've seen, maybe ever. See for yourself in the gallery below.

    %Gallery-188320%
    More about rentals:
    Who's Responsible for Mold in Your Apartment? (VIDEO)
    Tenants' Rights in Eviction: When Do Landlords Go Too Far?
    Urban Compass Wants to Steer the Rental Industry in New Direction


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    Condo in Miami's South Beach

    Real estate is depressing in a number of ways. One, homes can be depressingly bad, ugly or cramped. (Please refer to our post on the worst listings in America). Two, they can be depressingly, heartbreakingly, unattainably, "I-could-never-afford-this-home" luxurious. And by that, we mean this home in particular.

    Priced at $4.75 million, this gorgeous 3,000-square-foot condo in Miami's South Beach is the kind of home we have dreams about. It's decked out in white glass tiles, boasts recessed color-changing lights (this is South Beach, after all), minimalist Asian-inspired decor and views over Miami Beach and downtown Miami. Sure, it's not everyone's cup of tea -- it probably won't appeal to you if you're more inclined to the outdoorsy, ranch-style way of living (in that case, we like this home) -- but if you're all about that luxe life, then this is probably the home for you. (Or your dreams, anyway.) Check it out in the gallery below.

    See more homes in the Miami area.

    Mark Zilbert of Zilbert International Realty has the listing.

    %Gallery-188346%
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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 krisanne.alcantara@huffingtonpost.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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