'Real Housewife' Lisa Hochstein: Why My Miami Mansion Should Be Demolished

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Lisa, Leonard Hochstein at home

From the outside, the home of "Real Housewives of Miami" star Lisa Hochstein and her plastic surgeon husband, Leonard (both pictured above), looks nothing short of idyllic. The ivory mansion -- designed by Florida's first registered architect, Walter DeGarmo -- just outside Miami on Star Island, boasts elegant arched windows, grand columns and balconies with intricate wrought-iron railings. But all that glitters is not gold, according to the Hochsteins: The couple say that their dream home turned out to be a complete nightmare.

The celebrity couple claim that the entire home is "falling apart," The Miami Herald reports. They say the entire structure is sinking and has slid 30 inches below the floodplain. Furthermore, the Hochsteins allege that the home is dangerous -- the roof is rotting and the supports on its balconies are so rusted that they could collapse.

Lisa, Leonard Hochstein point to cracked plaster in home.According to the Hochsteins: The grounds are also in desperate need of attention -- cockroaches have infested the property, the backyard is overrun with knee-high grass, and the swimming pool is like a "swamp," swarming with bugs. The couple further alleges in a report submitted to the City of Miami that the home's life expectancy was only "about 40 years" and should have been demolished decades ago.

"We bought this house with the intention of building our dream home," Lisa Hochstein told The Miami Herald. "If we knew this was going to happen, we would have never purchased this home."

The Hochsteins' plan is to tear down the existing structure and replace it with a new 14,000-square-foot mansion -- complete with a wine cellar and five-car garage. But not if the Miami Design Preservation League has anything to do with it: The organization has filed an application with the City of Miami to declare the home "historic" and thus prevent the Hochsteins from demolishing it.

Miami Beach's Historic Preservation Board has thrown its support behind the appeal for historic designation, saying the home is not as bad as the Hochsteins allege. "To my trained, professional eye ... I didn't find the structure of the house to be in terribly poor shape," architect and board member Ira Giller said at a board meeting. "I didn't find it to be irreparable. I didn't see significant evidence of significant structural deterioration."

The Miami Beach's Design Review Board will consider the Hochstein's petition for demolition on March 5, and the application for historic designation continues. According to the Herald, whichever side gets approval first will win. Even if the city does rule in favor of the Design Preservation League, the couple certainly won't be forced to live there. The Hochsteins still have another sprawling Miami McMansion to stay in: Their $10.75 million "Palacio del Eden" has still yet to find a buyer.



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Home Inspections: What to Expect


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26 PHOTOS
Scary Home-Inspection Surprises
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'Real Housewife' Lisa Hochstein: Why My Miami Mansion Should Be Demolished (VIDEO)

Homeowners do the damnedest things, and thank goodness for home inspectors -- they're there to catch all the fun on camera! Here, we bring you some of the craziest things home inspectors have seen on the job. Please don't try this at home!

“You can’t see me, you can’t see me.” I found this raccoon in a chimney when I opened the outside clean-out door. Yes, I lost the staring competition.

William Vicaire
Discovery Home Inspection
Leominster, Mass.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Most people use a piece of wood or metal pipe to help secure the sliding glass doors, but this was a first for me. Yes, those are Bud Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans. I think a thief breaking in would stop and drink these or take them with him.

Rick A. Harrington
Patch Independent Home Inspections, LLC
Pickerington, Ohio


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

I call this one “plumbers and electricians should just learn to get along.” This drain-pipe fitting prevented full opening of the fuse box. Apparently, the plumber decided that no one would ever need to access these fuses, though they were connected to the water heater and were in use.

Matthew Steger
WIN Home Inspection -- Elizabethtown
Elizabethtown, Pa.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This is not Photoshopped. I wasn’t sure which code applied to this scenario. Do you use the 2000 code since the house was built in 2002, or the 1955 code since the car was a 1957 or 1958?

Lamar Rase
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Missoula, Mont.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

The inside of the car was set to be used as part of a home theater. I’ve seen this in Disney World, but never in a house.

Lamar Rase
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Missoula, Mont.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This is a functioning door on the second story of a home with no staircase. Do you need a handrail if there is only one (20-foot) step?

Wally Shank
Mid Penn Home Inspections
Carlisle, Pa.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Why would anyone want a new-construction inspection? Because, evidently, plumbers and carpenters don’t communicate! This photo shows the basement rough-in for the toilet -- IN the stairwell.

Charlie Yates
WIN Home Inspection Crown Point
Crown Point, Ind.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This one, I suppose, is for the basement wet-bar sink drain -- UNDER the stairwell!

Charlie Yates
WIN Home Inspection - Crown Point
Crown Point, Ind.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Dryer ventilation: sexy AND functional.

Charles “Chap” Fichera
Ceilings 2 Cellars Home Inspections, LLC
Green Lane, Pa.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Aren’t you supposed to take the instructions out of the furnace before starting it up?

Bruce Barker
Dream Home Consultants
Peoria, Ariz.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

It’s good that we don’t use furnaces too often in Phoenix.

Bruce Barker
Dream Home Consultants
Peoria, Ariz.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

I found this recently in Houston. I guess the owners were more worried about being ready for a hurricane (see the generator) than about blowing up the house.

Robert J.P. Goodspeed
Goodspeed Inspection Services, Inc.
Missouri City, Texas


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Talk about water hammer.

David Grudzinski
Advantage Home Inspections
Cranston, R.I.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

“Honey, I took care of that pesky leak before the home inspector showed up!”

Mario Lucciola
All Spec Building Inspections
St. Catharines, Ontario


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This wiring controls a vanity light. The switch box is a Cain’s mayonnaise lid. Maybe he used mayo instead of shaving cream?

Tim Rooney
Homeview Property Inspections
Exeter, N.H.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

The water meter’s last words: “Help, I think I fell in quicksand.”

David Grudzinski
Advantage Home Inspections
Cranston, R.I.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Just a minor water leak or a Roman candle? You decide! I was told by the real estate agent prior to the inspection that there was some water on the floor in the basement. The water was actually home-heating oil. Notice the red sheen of the “water!”

Michael J. Ashburn
Ashburn Inspections
Murrysville, Pa.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This is a 4-inch drain pipe running through an air return duct. I don’t know who got there first, the plumber or the HVAC guy.

Frank Turner
Turner Home Inspection Services
Beaufort, S.C.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This rat ate so much while in the main fuse box that when it came time to get out, he needed help by placing his feet on the terminals. OUCH! Be careful opening electrical panels for many reasons other than the obvious!

Duane Serrano
Tri-Star Inspection Services
Campbell, Calif.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

This 5-foot black snake was rather upset about being disturbed. He is a perfect example of why all openings in an electrical panel should be sealed. The snake was removed and released unharmed.

Bob Sisson
Inspections by Bob
Boyds, Md.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

Paris has the Louvre, Washington has the Smithsonian and now home inspectors have the Crawlspace. This “creative” pier may win a modern art design, but not a structural engineering award.

David Haught
Certified Home Inspectors
Huntington, W.V.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

I found this old sandal wedged between the leaking oil tank and a car jack used as a plug. Sand was across the floor to absorb the oil. The odor of oil extended up into the house. Not a good sign. Carjacking takes on a different meaning.

JD Grewell
J.D. Grewell & Associates, Inc.
Silver Spring, Md.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

When recommending that bathroom vent fans be connected to an exterior vent, perhaps we should be clear that the exterior vent should actually be installed on the exterior.

Robert Wittenberg
HomeFront Inspection
Renton, Wash.


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

I think this water heater needs replacing.

Joe Lengel
Advantage Home Services, Inc.
Garrettsville, Ohio


Photo: Courtesy of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI)

See even worse home inspection nightmares here.

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