- Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank Via Getty Images
It's only natural, when watching a movie or TV show, to check out the real estate in the background and wonder: "What would it take to live there?"
Sound familiar? Then it's time for a reality check!
Let's face it—what we see on the screen is often way different from the real estate reality. As proof, look no further than this sampling of famous homes from movies and TV shows below, as well as estimates of how much it would cost to actually purchase these properties today.
Many of these numbers come from a not-quite-scientific new study by flooring company Empire Today, which estimated the cost of each property based on comparable home listings in the area. From there, Empire Today crunched the numbers on the minimum income a home buyer would need to afford these digs (presuming a 20% down payment on a 30-year mortgage at a 4% interest rate, and housing payments that would not exceed 28% of one's monthly income).
Ready for a jarring wake-up call about some famous abodes? Read on.
'Friends' TV show: Monica and Rachel's NYC apartment
Estimated value: $1,995,000
Annual income needed: $326,571
Fans of the long-running series may fondly recall that roomies Monica and Rachel split a remarkably spacious two-bedroom apartment, where the gang often gathered. While their home's interior was a studio set, the exterior shots were taken of a real building at 90 Bedford St. in New York City's West Village—a pricey area where even a shoebox-size studio can run in the millions.
In fact, according to estimates by Empire Today, the price to kick back at Monica and Rachel's crib today would cost just shy of $2 million, and require a salary upward of $300,000.
Which begs the question: How could Monica (an aspiring chef) and Rachel (a waitress) afford such a place? As the story goes, they'd inherited a rent-controlled lease from Monica's grandmother and paid only $200 per month. Given that rent-controlled apartments represent less than 2% of New York rentals, these gals really lucked out, and would have never been able to afford this place without grandma's help.
'Full House': The Tanners' quaint Victorian
Estimated value: $1,995,000
Annual income needed: $319,200
The gorgeous Victorian that graces the opening credits to "Full House" doesn't come cheap. According to Empire Today's estimates, this three-bedroom, four-bath beauty would sell today for just shy of $2 million.
In this case, we'd argue that the estimated value is way off—since just this May, the place went on the market for three times as much, at $6 million. Perhaps Empire Today's calculations didn't factor in that this property underwent a major renovation, or the fact that it's the "Full House" house. Fame comes at a premium!
Whether $2 million or $6 million, the question remains: Could the cast originally living there—Jesse, Danny, Joey, and Rebecca—afford such payments?
Their professional situations were a bit complicated over the seasons. But in general, Danny had somewhat solid work as a TV host, and Rebecca a legitimate job in TV news. Joey's career as a comedian and Jesse's as a musician were somewhat tenuous. So it's unlikely the family could afford to pay for this pricey property and raise the kids at the same time.
'Home Alone': The McCallisters' stately Colonial
Estimated value: $589,900
Annual income needed: $96,557
This stately Colonial, which Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) booby-traps to keep burglars at bay, is located in the tony Chicago suburb of Winnetka, IL. While Empire Today estimates the value of this five-bedroom, four-bath home at just under $600,000, our own figures beg to differ, since back in 2012, the place was sold for $1,585,000.
In either case, have you ever wondered how the McCallisters could afford this massive mansion, plus that family trip during peak holiday season to Paris? According to the film's paperback tie-in, dad is a "businessman" and mom is a fashion designer (which explains all of the mannequins Kevin poses for his party scene).
'The Great Gatsby' novel: The mansion that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald
Estimated value: $13,888,000
Annual income needed: $2,273,271
Yep, the dreamy palace that served as the backdrop for F. Scott Fitzgerald's iconic novel actually exists. Originally built in 1926 in Sands Point, NY, it has 14 bedrooms and 8.5 baths, and sits on 5.3 acres with 391 feet of sandy beach.
Empire Today estimates its value at $13,888,000, which is pretty much on the money given that it's currently on the market for that price. And that's probably a mere drop in the bucket for an investor at Gatsby's level today. And since the home has been listed over the past several years for as much as $19,800,000, this home buyer could be scoring quite a deal.
'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' movie: Cameron's house
Estimated value: $1,029,000
Annual income needed: $168,429
Who could forget when Ferris Bueller visits his friend Cameron—and accidentally launches Cameron's dad's beloved Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder through the gorgeous glass-walled garage? This four-bedroom, four-bath minimalist midcentury modern house, located in Highland Park, IL, is estimated by Empire Today to be worth just over a million. And we'd say that sounds about right, since it was last sold in 2014 for $1.06 million.
While no one knows what Cameron's dad does for a living (he never shows up in the movie), let's just say that if you ever manage to drum up the money to purchase a home or car like this, make sure to get great insurance (on both).