Exactly what makes a house “big”? That’s a judgement call, for sure. 

In St. Cloud, houses that are 4,000 square feet or larger would certainly be considered “big,” “spacious,” “ample,” “accommodating,” etc. Most families can get along quite nicely with the U.S. average of 2,600—so even St. Cloud houses with 3,000 square feet can be thought of as providing a little extra elbow room. But are they “big”?

The reason the subject comes up has to do with the all-important listing language. It’s Job One for a new St. Cloud listing that the descriptive language be as accurate as possible. It’s vital that prospective buyers come away with an accurate feeling for the property. Readers need to be drawn to the houses that should attract them—and, equally important, not be disappointed by the actual property when they tour in person.  

In other words, exaggerations are out. So when Forbes magazine recently ran an article about a listing for “The World’s Largest House,” it deserved scrutiny. Some of the specifics are mysterious—but overall, the details do make it likely that prospects would not be disappointed by many features of the actual property. 

For instance, house hunters looking for a spacious backyard would view the included 1600-acre forest as more than adequate. For those worried about having accommodations for out-of-town relatives at Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t even come up: there are 110 bedrooms. If hygiene is an issue, that’s also no problem: there are nearly as many baths as bedrooms, plus “many vintage outbuildings.”

This is where the listing language comes into focus. That adjective “vintage” might turn out to be important, since the actual house was apparently built in the 12th century. “House” isn’t quite right, either. “Castello” is better (Italian for “castle”). In fact, Forbes’ World’s Largest House is a castle—but a “rare” one. It includes, for instance, a “large, whole, crenellated towered 12th-century fort” (so security-minded St. Cloud house hunters shouldn’t be disappointed). The commute, on the other hand, would be an issue. 

But that’s also where the mystery comes in, because the listing agent does describe the 150,000 square feet (actually, “it’s 150,000-plus square feet”)—but not exactly where any of them are located. And since the most obvious point of interest—the property’s undoubtedly noble history—isn’t provided, Forbes understandably calls the listing “hilariously terse.” The privacy of the current owners is clearly being protected, but futilely so, since an aerial photo of the castle is provided. It’s understandably “quite famous” to everyone in the region, which is somewhere “east of Siena.”

Even those St. Cloud house hunters with their hearts set on the right Italian castle will probably keep looking, though—although price wouldn’t be the obstacle (it’s “a steal” at $32 million). The fact is, it’s somewhere “in the heart of Chianti”—yet no vineyard is mentioned! Sometimes what’s not in a listing can be telling.

But putting that disappointment aside, fortunately—and much closer to home—there are many appealing St. Cloud houses available on today’s market. Call me anytime to arrange a tour of the ones that meet your requirements!