Weird Real Estate Facts You (Probably) Never Knew: Google's Goats and More

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weird real estate facts goats google

By Courtney Craig

We bet some of this trivia about home and habitat will stun you:

1. Google rents goats to do its mowing.


Rather than use gasoline-guzzling, noisy mowers at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters - the Googleplex -- Google has been known to keep its lawn coiffed with rent-a-goats.

weird real estate facts goats google

Google rents goats from a cool company called California Grazing, which swears it can maneuver a herd of goats through crowded city streets. It's an eco-friendly approach to landscaping -- and you can't beat the cute factor.

2. Swedes and Danes use dead bodies to heat their homes.

It's an idea that makes a lot of sense when you think it through. Crematoriums heat up to 2,000 degrees, which can be a lot of energy going to waste -- until someone got the bright idea to pump that heat into local energy companies, where it's used to warm homes.

3. In parts of Germany and Poland, when a couple marries, guests break a whole lot of porcelain.

And leave it to the couple to clean up. They do this right in front of the bride's home, usually the night before the wedding. It's called "Polterabend" and it's meant to symbolize the struggles the new couple will face as they build a home together, with an emphasis on working together through those struggles.

If you're invited to participate, make sure you break only porcelain (old toilets welcome) and not glass, which stands for happiness, and therefore should never be broken.

4. Brass doorknobs disinfect themselves.

It's called the oligodynamic effect: The ions in the metal have a toxic effect on spores, fungi, viruses, and other germs -- eliminating the nasties within eight hours.

5. The original housewarming party was -- literally -- a housewarming.

Guests brought firewood as gifts and lit fires in all the fireplaces in the home. Obviously this warmed up the place for the family, but it was also believed to ward off evil spirits. Uninhabited homes were thought to attract roaming ghosts, so a new home would have to be rid of that bad energy before it could become a happy abode.

6. A man started with one red paper clip and traded his way to a home.

Kyle MacDonald made his first trade -- one red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen -- in July of 2005. Less than a year and several trades later, he finally traded a film role for a two-story farmhouse in Saskatchewan. Who knew that bartering could be so lucrative?

weird real estate facts red doors

7. In Scotland, homeowners paint their front door red when they pay off their mortgage.

Throughout history, a red front door has symbolized many things - the ancient Hebrews believed it would protect firstborn children from the angel of death; in the early days of America, it meant the home was a safe place for travelers to stop for the night. And according to feng shui, a red front door invites positive energy into a home.

weird real estate facts missile silo home

8. You can buy a missile silo.

The most popular use is to turn the old silo into a home. It might be an ugly home, but a little nonconformity never hurt anyone. (P.S. AOL Real Estate was on this one long ago. See our video of the home here.)

weird real estate facts toilet restaurant

9. There's a chain of bathroom-themed restaurants.


At Modern Toilet, a restaurant chain based in Taiwan, patrons sit on toilets, sip soup from sinks, and wipe their mouths with toilet paper. While the latrines aren't functional (except in the actual bathroom, we hope), you'll certainly have something to talk about until the food comes.

10. Here's a house you wish you grew up in: The slide house.

The slide goes down one side of the 3-story Nakameguro house, while a staircase on the other side lets you climb back up. If that's not enough of a dream-come-true for kids, the house also features a ball pit! (P.S. AOL Real Estate knows of another slide home. See it here.)

weird real estate facts poison garden

11. There's a garden in England dedicated entirely to plants that can kill you.


And apparently, it's kid-inspired, too. Alnwick Garden's founder, the Duchess of Northumberland, said:

"I wondered why so many gardens around the world focused on the healing power of plants rather than their ability to kill.... I felt that most children I knew would be more interested in hearing how a plant killed, how long it would take you to die if you ate it, and how gruesome and painful the death might be."

No wonder it's nicknamed "The Poison Garden." It features 100 famous killers such as hemlock (which killed Socrates), strychnine, and nightshade.

12. According to an old superstition, if a bird flies into a home, death is soon to follow.

Long before "put a bird on it" became hipster decor, birds were thought to symbolize imminent death for the home's occupants. People have long connected birds to the spirit world, and it's evident in our culture -- just think of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" and Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds."

13. There's a house that levitates.

A Japanese company has developed a residential earthquake-proofing system that raises a house off of its foundation as far as 3 centimeters using just air pressure.

When an earthquake hits, compressors activate, forcing an immense amount of air under the home. The house will levitate there until the earthquake ends, then be placed gently back on the foundation.

14. The people of Easter Island have a word, "tingo," which literally means "to take objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them until there's nothing left."

We suspect they may not stay friends for long.

This story originally appeared on HouseLogic.

See more on HouseLogic:
A Change Thief Steals a Neighborhood's Peace of Mind
5 Maintenance Tasks to Ignore at Your Peril
World's Easiest-to-Build House

20 PHOTOS
Homes With Crazy Paint Jobs
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Weird Real Estate Facts You (Probably) Never Knew: Google's Goats and More

If your house matches your handbag, the fashion police need to arrest you on charges of visual assault.

And how on earth do you sell this place? This is not a paint color that will help you sell your home.

Photo: Flickr/Sterin

And zebras are living there, apparently.

Photo: Flickr/Cat Rocketship

This house sure did taste the rainbow. (But it's probably not one of the colors that sell best.)

Photo: Flickr/Whole Wheat Toast

Actually, you live in Burberry. Wonder what the inside looks like.

Photo: Flickr/mrjorgen

This is one way to tell your house from your neighbors'.

Photo: Flickr/exfordy

I am siding, hear me roar.

Photo: Flickr/ChicagoGeek

The "Hello, Kitty" theme just makes us want to say goodbye.

Photo: Flickr/joanneteh_32

Is it a house or is it a gumball machine?

Photo: Flickr/nodigio

The inadvisable salmon-and-chartreuse combo aside, what on earth is that thing on the garage door?

Photo: Flickr/chadmiller

Though the hot-pink exterior of this brownstone is kinda cute, it does stick out like a sore thumb.

Photo: Flickr/underwhelmer

It's like tie-dye for houses!

Photo: Flickr/m.a.r.c.

This place is so shocking, you can't stop looking at it -- and that's exactly the point. In exchange for turning your home into a billboard for the company, marketing firm Brainiacs from Mars will pay your mortgage. Looks like the owners of this home took the deal. Maybe the place looks better from Mars. 

Photo: Brainiacs From Mars

Hmmm, looks like a bank-owned property now.

Photo: Flickr/ell brown

From an airplane, this Mexican village probably looks like a giant Gay Pride flag.

Photo: Flickr/GOC53

Let's just say we're not envious of this green.

Photo: Flickr/roger jones

We hope the princess living in this house is lovelier than the house itself.

Photo: Flickr/Kyknoord

We actually dig these digs. Just make sure not to look directly at it in the daytime.

Photo: Flickr/boxchain

Does the maker of Skittles live here?

Photo: Flickr/Dystopos

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