The last time I wrote about Harry Potter for Movoto Real Estate, I made it pretty clear that I am something of a fan of the books, and if you need any more proof, just note that I had to specify “the last time I wrote about Harry Potter for Movoto Real Estate.”
So when the team suggested we do a follow-up piece to my previous evaluation of The Burrow, I felt like I’d just downed a dollop of Felix Felicis. So what would the new home evaluation be? Hogwarts? No, we’ve already done that. Perhaps Hagrid’s hut? The value of the Forbidden Forest?
No, this Novelty Real Estate evaluation would be something darker—which says a lot, considering the Forbidden Forest. This evaluation would be of one of the least inviting locations in the books: 12 Grimmauld Place, the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
After much research, re-reading, curling up into a fetal position after lamenting the death of Sirius (!) and then Dumbledore (!!!!), I dried my eyes, yet again, and calculated the value of this home that, really, took the characters through so much. In dollars, 12 Grimmauld Place is worth $3,685,500, in pounds that’s 2,336,875, in Galleons, 501,429*, but in value for the stories? Priceless.
So grab your earplugs and read on to find out how I got the value (screaming portrait of Walburga Black, included.)
No Magic Necessary to Find Out this Value
While you may need magic in order actually see 12 Grimmauld Place, I didn’t need any charms or spells in order to find its value. I just needed three things:
- The location
- The size
- Comparable properties
Unlike The Burrow, which required a little more investigation and imagination, the location, size, and comparable properties for 12 Grimmauld Place were actually pretty straightforward.
In the books, this ancestral home of the Black family as well as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is located in the Borough of Islington, London, in a Muggle neighborhood.
Unlike The Burrow’s Ottery St. Catchpole address, this is a very real and very precise location in London. And with the Fidelius Charm making the home unplottable and invisible to Muggles, who’s to say 12 Grimmauld Place isn’t really there? (Please do not comment below to shatter my dream.)
So the location: Islington, London. But what about the size?
As I mentioned before, when I started working on this piece, I researched, I re-read… I re-read some more… Okay, I kind of got sucked into the book again. But once I put it down, I did a little bit of magic not mentioned in the books—I Googled: “12 Grimmauld Place layout.” And what did I find? A fan of equal nerdiness—I mean dedication—who had created a complete blueprint of 12 Grimmauld Place, much more professionally than mine for The Burrow.
Using this blueprint, along with what I’d read from the books, I decided to use the king-sized bed in the master room as a unit of measurement. A King bed measures 76 inches by 80 inches, or just over 6 feet by 6.5 feet. With this, I calculated that the second floor is approximately 21 feet by 30 feet, or 630 square feet. In the books, Grimmauld Place is described in the style of a tall, narrow, row house—similar to something you’d see in San Francisco… or Islington, London for that matter. With this style of house, each floor will have the same dimensions, and all told, Grimmauld Place has a whopping six floors (plus ten staircases, two large fireplaces, and a veritable army of defensive and concealment spells.)
So that’s 3,780 square feet, excluding the attic, which is not typically included in a house’s square feet.
The final step in finding the value of the Order of the Phoenix home base was to find comparable properties in the area. Now excluding the Fidelius Charm, the Muggle-repelling charm, its “unplottability,” the enchanted portraits, and all of the other magical creatures in the house, 12 Grimmauld Place is a rather ordinary, if large, London home. So finding something similar was as easy as finding Mundungus with a drink in his hand.
After perusing several large, older row houses in the Islington area, I found that the average cost per square foot was about $975 per square foot.
Putting it All Together
So with the cost per square foot of $975 and the house’s square footage of 3,780, the final listing cost of 12 Grimmauld Place is $3,685,500—£2,336,875 or 501,429 Galleons*—and that doesn’t even include Kreacher (though unless you have a counter for a Permanent Sticking Charm, it does come with the screaming portrait of Mrs. Black. Sorry!)
*According to Rowling, one Galleon is worth approximately $7.35!