‘House of Cards’ Home for Sale: How Much Is It Worth?


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“House of Cards” fans now have a chance to own a monumental memento from this hit Netflix series: The home that Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) lived in before his presidency will go up for auction on July 27.

Before conniving his way into the White House, Frank and his wife, Claire, lived in a stately Victorian near the corridors of power in Washington, DC. In reality, the home is much farther from the Capital Beltway, at 1609 Park Ave. in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore. The exterior of this 1880 home was featured frequently on the show (typically at night, when various clandestine operators came calling, but also for a few press ops like the one below).

But while scenes inside the home were shot on a set, the interior of this 3,840-square-foot, four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home were used as inspiration. For instance, the Underwoods’ foyer bears a striking resemblance to the home’s actual entrance hall, although the real one is much lighter and brighter.

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The Underwoods in front of their first home in Washington, DC


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In reality, the home attributed to the Underwoods is located at 1609 Park Ave. in Baltimore.


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The Underwoods’ foyer


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The home’s actual foyer


The Underwoods’ sitting room is also a spitting image of the original—particularly the fireplace, which the set designers re-created.

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The Underwoods’ sitting room and fireplace


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The home’s actual sitting room and fireplace


All in all, the Underwood vibes run strong in this home, which bodes well for the upcoming auction with Alex Cooper Auctioneers. The bidding starts at $500,000—and like Underwood’s career, who knows how high it will rise?

How much is the ‘House of Cards’ home worth?

The timing of this auction couldn’t be better.

“Marketers are betting on the brand equity that the show has built, which is still fresh in the minds of potential buyers, so it is certainly a good time to sell,” says Darrin Duber-Smith, senior lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver’s College of Business. “Many fans feel a deep connection to the show, what we call ‘affinity’ in marketing, and this will certainly factor into the final price.”

Indeed, news of this home’s pending sale certainly has fans talking, including real estate agents who view this property as much more than just a home.

“Rather than a home to live in, this is a collectible item,” says Atlanta Realtor® Bruce Ailion. “I view it like the classic cars you see auctioned in the hundreds of thousands of dollars that will sit in a garage and be used a couple of times a year. Perhaps there is a lobbyist that would be interested where the value of the item is more in its rarity or entertainment than its value as a house. I am a little surprised [the starting bid] is that low.”

But not everyone agrees that this home’s celebrity card can be played for that much.

“It’s a great property, and there may be a collector or lover of movies that would love to live in a house like this,” says Baltimore-based Realtor Bob Wiley, with The Wiley Group. “However, I don’t think it will go for more than 10% to 15% over market value. My best guess is the property will sell in the neighborhood of $710,000, or around $185 per square foot.”

The reason for this modest prediction? “Although Bolton Hill is one of Baltimore’s better neighborhoods, I don’t think we have the buyers in our area that are willing to overpay for properties that have histories like this,” Wiley explains. “It’s not like this is Hollywood or New York City.”

In addition to the fact that Baltimore isn’t bustling with millionaires, this home doesn’t actually appear all that often in the show.

“Unlike, say, the ‘Full House‘ Victorian in San Francisco or the mansion used in ‘The Royal Tennenbaums,’ there were almost no memorable scenes from ‘House of Cards’ shot in this home,” says Emile L’Eplattenier, a New York City real estate and market analyst at Fit Small Business. L’Eplattenier expects the home to sell in the lower to mid-$500,000 range.

“As an avid fan of the show, when I think of Frank Underwood at home I think of two things: him playing ‘Call of Duty’ in his study, or sharing an illicit cigarette with Claire on their lovely windowsills with built-in shutters,” he says. “Frankly, I highly doubt that even die-hard fans would be able to pick the exterior of this house out of a lineup of Baltimore townhouses. Worse, none of the interior scenes were shot in this house, so that means no re-creating famous scenes on social media for your friends. … Isn’t that the whole point of buying a famous home?”

The one wild card: the auction

Yet the one wild card that could overturn everything is the fact that this home is up for auction.

“An auction lends itself to generating a higher price point than a traditional selling situation would, because buyers bid up the price in a competitive and emotionally charged environment set up for such escalation,” Duber-Smith explains. “This is why expensive art is auctioned off rather than just sold at a set price point. It often starts far under what the seller expects, but then ends up being quite high.”

Another benefit? Speed.

“With an auction, the process will be completed in one day,” says Allen Shayanfekr, CEO of Sharestates, adding that many other famous homes that were listed the traditional way—on a multiple listing service—languished on the market, particularly when the asking price “was based solely on the home’s notoriety rather than its actual value.”

In other words, watch out, “House of Cards” fans! If you get caught up in a frenzy of bidding, you could end up paying a lot more than you’d planned, so be sure to ask yourself: What is living like Frank Underwood worth?

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Source: Realtor.com