The lighter side of real estate

Build a Literal International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

How much would an international house of pancakes cost? Movoto set about to tackle this question and how many golden hotcakes we'd need. Syrup not included.

David Cross

Content Editor

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Build a Literal International House of Pancakes (IHOP)
How much would an actual international house of pancakes cost?

Right now you’re saying to yourself, “Self, what does that even mean?” It means exactly that: What is the cost of a house made of pancakes that sits on the border of two countries?

If you’re still with us, Movoto Real Estate tackled this hard-hitting question with all the zeal we could muster. We didn’t stop there, however. Our novelty real estate prowess led us to calculate not just the cost, but also how many hotcakes you’d need to construct this mind-boggling home.

By our best guess, a real international house of pancakes would cost $113,671, and be constructed of 139,386 delicious pancakes.

If you want to know how we did it, keep reading. If we’re making you hungry, go get some pancakes and bookmark us. We’ll be here when you get back.

What Ingredients Did We Need?

The Movoto bloggers are no strangers to novelty real estate projects. In this case, we relied on our previous experience with fictitious houses. We needed to know several things to create our hotcake masterpiece:

  • A location where homes border two countries
  • The price of land in the international area
  • A breakdown of pancake trivia, including size and cost

Once we had all these pieces, we were able to calculate the value of an international house of pancakes by placing a value on the land and the total cost of a fluffy, buttery home.

We’ll start with Beebe Plain, a tiny town with international flare.

A Street Divide

Beebe Plain, located in Vermont, sits on the US-Canada border. Situated in this town is Canusa Avenue–which is literally split down the middle; one half is in Canada, while the other half is in the US. We were told homes in this area cost somewhere between $85,000 and $120,000.

Does this seem low? It turns out that being on the border has a downside. In other words, living on the border can harm the value of a home because residents need to check in at the local border crossing. You can imagine how frustrating this could be. (If you’re interested, NPR reported on the effect of the September 9/11 attacks on the community here.)

While knowing the prices of homes in the area was intriguing, it didn’t help us figure out how much our international house of pancakes costs. In this case, unlike our past novelty real estate articles, we needed to know the value of the land.

We tackled this stumper by delving into the area’s property values. We tabulated the average acreage a home sits on and its value. The typical home sits on slightly more than .44 acres, which has a value of about $31,000.

What does this mean in the grand scheme of the project? At minimum our house costs $31,000. This, however, doesn’t include the actual pancakes.

We Need All the Syrup

How many pancakes does it take to build a house? That depends on the size of the pancakes.

For a recent company lunch, the Movoto bloggers trooped to the local IHOP with measuring tape and hungry stomachs. Here’s a recap of what happened:

Waitress: Why are you measuring your pancake?
Movoto: Important research.
Waitress: Does your important research need syrup?
Movoto: We need all the syrup.

After holding back from eating our pancakes, we calculated that a standard IHOP pancake is about .4 inches in height, which blew our mind. We had assumed it would be along the lines of a quarter of an inch. The diameter of the same pancake was 5.5 inches.

Knowing the pancake’s size allowed us to calculate how many of the golden-brown disks we needed.

Armed with this knowledge, we started to hypothetically stack our pancakes to make a typical American home.

Stack ‘em High

The typical house size we use for our projects is 2,500 square feet, which is about the size of a newly constructed home. With this size we were able to figure out the length and width of our house—essentially it’s a 50-by-50-foot square. In addition, it’s one story, or 10 feet tall.

Our first estimate indicated it would take 129,600 IHOP pancakes to build what would essentially be four fluffy, golden-brown walls. To make the home ever-so-slightly more realistic, we added space for windows and a door. This dropped the total number of pancakes needed to 127,505.

What we left off was the roof. There are two ways to construct a pancake roof. The first is counting how many pancakes would be needed to create a flat roof. In this case it would be an additional 11,881 pancakes, which comes to a grand total of 139,386 griddlecakes.

Of course, you could just go for the Guinness World Record for largest pancake and dial the ridiculous level to 11. Our sources (read: the Internet) told us the record for the largest pancake was set in 1987 by Penn Yan residents. This humongous breakfast treat measured 28 feet and 1 inch in diameter. It weighed 4,050 pounds and had a circumference of 88.2 feet.

Our pancake roof would put the world record to shame. If you were to make a giant pancake, its diameter would be about 71 feet and have a circumference of about 222 feet. Also, it would probably crush our pancake walls, but that’s the price of glory.

Speaking of price…

More Pancakes Please

How much would all those pancakes cost? That depends on how you want to go about figuring it out. Here are a couple of different ways to think about it:

  • How much do IHOP pancakes cost?
  • How much do the ingredients cost?

International House of Pancakes has some deals on the breakfast medallions, if you like pancakes anyway. The all-you-can-eat option starts at $4.99 and includes five pancakes. Once you devour those first five, your friendly wait staff will bring you another two pancakes, and so on until you are sated.

This might seem like a great way to build your house, but it’s a bad idea. The restaurant’s menu states that your server will bring you two more pancakes once your other treats are gone. There’s not much wiggle room here. They expect you to eat those pancakes.

Still, you could attempt to create some type of pancake smuggling scheme and funnel the breakfast food to a waiting box truck. But we’re guessing you’ll get busted and booted by the store manager before your machinations come to completion.

The other avenue is ingredients. The Movoto bloggers spoke with the head of public relations for IHOP about this. After he finished laughing at our idea, he told us that IHOP’s recipe is “proprietary” and rushed off the phone. (Novelty real estate bloggers just don’t get the respect we deserve.)

Without this knowledge we turned to everyone’s favorite cooking partner—Food Network. Specifically, we used this recipe. You’ll need to take a leap with us here. The recipe yields four servings. Not knowing what a serving consisted of, we assumed one pancake equaled one IHOP pancake.

If you tally up all the ingredients and then assign a price per pound, which we did after a field trip to our local grocery store, you would end up with a hefty price tag—about $93,658. This figure assumes our house’s roof was made with single pancakes, as opposed to the record breaking treat.

This means that in total a real international house of pancakes would cost $113,671. If you remember way up at the beginning of the post, that’s on the high end for a home in the Canusa Avenue. We hope you’re hungry.

The Movoto blog is a service of Movoto Real Estate. If you’re looking for a new home, keep us in mind. We have up-to-date real estate listings and local agents throughout the country. When you want to take a break from browsing homes, you can keep coming back to read awesome blog posts like this one.

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posted on: January 18, 2013
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