The Queen Of Versailles And The $2 House


One of our Buyers, who is traveling in the United States, bought a house with a $2 deposit this weekend. Huh? Because contract law stipulates an Agreement of Purchase and Sale is only valid with consideration (ie. Money), and listing brokers insist said consideration must be received within 24 hours of acceptance, our Buyer had me deliver a ‘Twoonie’ to the listing broker until she can arrange for her bank to wire the second, more substantial, deposit when the banks open on Monday. The receptionist at the listing broker thought I was joking when I arrived and handed her a $2 coin as a deposit. Too funny!

Writing of funny, part of my weekend fun included attending the documentary ‘The Queen Of Versailles’ at my favourite cinema – The Varsity – at Bay and Bloor (which is steps from our current ‘House In The Sky’ Listing offered for $679,000 – click HERE to see it).

The Queen of Versailles centres on the personal and professional lives of David and Jackie Siegel who, mid-way through their attempt to construct the largest house in America (a 90,000 square foot monstrosity based loosely on the real Versailles and the top three floors of a Vegas Hotel), find themselves amidst the financial maelstrom of 2008 and, during the next two years their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.

Having built their fortune developing and selling Time Shares to America’s working poor, they suddenly find themselves having to cut back drastically on their excessive lifestyle, to the point where David Siegel is  fretting over the hydro expense. As someone housing obsessed, a documentary about the largest house in America is a must-see.

Hubris and humility become intertwined with gaudy excess, horrific decor, beauty pageant boobs and shopaholicism. It’s a snapshot of capitalism gone awry, bad taste and one household’s rags-to-riches-to-designer-rags journey which, from Canada’s front row seats north of the border, was the start of the decline of the American empire.

Here’s a pic of the 90,000 square foot mansion frozen mid-construction, like their assets (photo courtesy of Vogue). Click HERE for Vogue’s amusing synopsis


If you’d like to see the movie trailer click HERE.

Favourite line “That’s not my room…. that’s my closet!” Ha!

Would you live in a 90,000 square foot house?

~ Steven

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