Inception

It’s no dream when floodwaters come rushing into the expansive house of a business tycoon during the opening scenes of this summer’s blockbuster Inception—it’s a nightmare. That’s because it takes only an inch of floodwater to produce an average of $7,800 in damages; and the average residential flood claim is nearly five times that. Fortunately, a mere $540 worth of annual flood insurance coverage should give you peace of mind and keep your dream house intact.

Damage:  An entire section of the house gets flooded. Check out minute 1:58 of the trailer.

  • Average cost of one inch of floodwater: $7,800
  • Average residential flood claim: $33,000
  • Average cost of flood insurance: $540/year

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HBO’s True Blood

We couldn’t help noticing that a generous amount of the bloody action in one of cable’s hottest shows occurs at Sookie Stackhouse’s quaint home (inherited from her beloved Gran). Gran herself met her end in the kitchen. So Sookie keeps pretty busy scrubbing that kitchen floor of blood, vampires, and werewolves. Has she considered making her own non-toxic green cleaning products? That’ll save her a lot on brand name cleansers.

Project: Green-clean floors using homemade non-toxic cleaner

  • Cost of homemade cleaner, equal parts vinegar and water: $4 for a 64-ounce bottle of white vinegar

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Mr. & Mrs. Smith

A benignly married couple played by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get crazy-violent when they discover they both lead secret lives as hired assassins, and that they have hit contracts out on each other. Taking the real brunt of this ultimate marital dispute is their kitchen, which is totally trashed in prolonged hand-to-hand combat.

Of course, nothing reconciles a married couple like a renovation project, and Brad and Angelina are facing one of the most expensive: An upscale redo of their kitchen will likely cost about $110,000.

The good news is that they’ll be getting top-of-the-line custom cherry cabinets, stone countertops with an imported ceramic-tile backsplash, a built-in refrigerator, and a 36-inch commercial grade range with vent hood. Plus, they’ll get new general and task lighting, low-voltage undercabinet lights, and beautiful cork flooring that can take a real beating.

Disaster: Total kitchen destruction

Repair and replacement costs:

  • Gut existing 200 sq. ft. kitchen: $1,500
  • Remove trash or dumpster service: $300
  • Average cost of major upscale kitchen remodel: $109,935
  • TOTAL: $111,735

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The Money Pit

In this 1986 comedy, Walter and Anna (Tom Hanks and Shelley Long) cope with all manner of (dilapidated) dream house disasters: faulty electrical wiring, a gas leak that launches a turkey from the oven, a collapsing staircase, and a bathtub that falls through the floor. Their nightmare starts, however, at the front door: It simply falls out of its framing.

Replacing that door will be pricey ($1,162 for a steel exterior door; $2,753 for fiberglass), but a good investment. According to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a steel entry door replacement project gives the best return on your remodeling investment dollar — 107% of the initial cost.

Disaster: The front door (and jambs) fall out of the house

  • Cost of new replacement steel door (w/ labor): $1,162
  • Cost of new replacement fiberglass door: $2,753

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

It’s a car aficionado’s nightmare and one of the best scenes in this classic John Hughes comedy: Cameron crashes his dad’s Ferrari through a plate-glass window while his buddy Ferris Bueller tries to roll back the odometer after a day of joyriding. What’s dad going to shell out for a new window? Two to five grand. Guess what a new Ferrari costs?

Damage: 1961 250 GT Ferrari through 6x10-foot plate glass window

  • Replacement of 6x10-foot plate glass window: $2,000 to $5,000, installed
  • Replacement of 1961 Ferrari 250 GT: $250,000 to $10 million

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Furry Vengeance

Brendan Fraser plays an ill-fated real estate developer tasked with razing a forest to build a shopping mall. Needless to say, the woodland critters don’t cotton to the idea. Instead of going quietly, they take their revenge on him and his home. Investing in a nice deer fence might have saved Fraser’s character some hassle.
 
Project: Construct deer-proof fence

  • Cost of 300 lineal ft. DIY deer fence kit: $600 to $1,300 (heavy-duty)
  • Cost of deer fence installed: $6 to $10 per lineal foot
  • 3-foot wide access gate, installed: $425
  • 10-ft. wide driveway access gate: $1,000 (manual) to $5,000 (automated)

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Duplex

Ersatz landlords Drew Barrymore and Ben Stiller should have known that the plumbing pipes in their vintage Brooklyn duplex were nearly 100 years old and due for replacement. No doubt the newlyweds wouldn’t have been able to come up with the $4,000 to $10,000 needed for a complete plumbing redo of a multistory home.

And when the plumbing pipes in the upstairs apartment of their elderly tenant start going bang bang bangity bang bang, Drew and Ben shouldn’t have been shocked to see a bill from a plumber for $471 for three hours’ work—a licensed plumber typically charges $45 to $135 per hour.

Damage: Failing plumbing leads to an expensive tear-out of vintage tile and leaks that drip through to the apartment below, jeopardizing structural members.

  • Plumber cost: $45 to $135/hour
  • Clean out a clogged drain: $80 to $400                
  • Complete re-do of existing plumbing: $4,000 to $10,000    

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While your spouse isn’t likely a secret agent and vampires aren’t going to wreak havoc on your home, extreme weather, freak accidents, and wear and tear are a homeownership reality. With HouseLogic’s extensive articles on everything from home repair and remodeling to tips on finding a contractor and choosing the right insurance, you have a go-to resource to prevent and deal with the unexpected.