Here at Realtor.com® we see many real estate advertisements. And when you scroll through the houses all day, every day, you know something special is needed to stand out from the crowd. Lucky for us – and for you – we can safely say that 2021 has delivered when it comes to really quirky homes – with some weird photos to match.
We’ve rounded up our nine favorite photos of the year, and we’d love to have you join us on a journey in pictures. We weren’t the only onlookers on many of these real estate listings; they went viral and were shared on the internet (whether it was the seller’s intention or not).
Whether it’s dolls with dead eyes or a spooky basement pool, there’s something for everyone. Take a look at this year’s wildest and weirdest houses.
Louisiana house decorated with spooky dolls
Welcome to the dollhouse. An abandoned, garbage-strewn house in Metairie, LA, was otherwise unremarkable and, frankly, in a sorry state. But vacant-looking dolls brightened up the list for this tiny three-bedroom abode.
Placed throughout the wreckage, they forced people to share the list photos in the distance.
Thanks to a listing agent looking into the situation, the dollhouse bet worked. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of clicks and a quick sale.
Here’s our take: this quirky house is just plain cool. If you’ve had enough of square houses, a slanted house in Marshfield, Vermont might be your style.
Built in the 1970s, this oddly sloping mansion has virtually no vertical exterior walls. From the outside, the two bedroom house looks like it has landed on its side and could tip over at any time. (This is not the case.)
Inside, the woodwork of the walls points in all kinds of directions. The somewhat dizzying effect, combined with the absence of traditional engineering, could scared off buyers. Instead, when the tilted house hit the market, it received five offers in just a few days and ultimately sold for more than asking price.
When you put your house on the market with all your stuff in it, you had better be prepared to be judged.
And that’s what happened when a dated duplex was listed in South Lake Tahoe, California. The photos, which showed the owner’s extensive collection of mannequins, caused collective hiccups in horror across the web.
The 2,100 square foot home felt a bit claustrophobic, with wall-to-wall emerald green carpet, dated decor, and clutter throughout. As a showcase for the owner’s menagerie of gusseted, jeweled, and evening gowns mannequins, it created a shocking spectacle.
The accidental sideshow has gained attention online, apparently surprising both the listing agent and the owner. The house was eventually sold as is. As for the models, they apparently left with the seller.
“Slice of hell”
After a foreclosed tenant ransacked a Colorado Springs, CO home, the landlord marketed the vandalized space.
No rotation would work here: this place was a wreck. Photos of the five bedroom home showed interior damage throughout.
The rooms had been damaged by spray paint on the walls, carpet, windows and doors. Pieces of wall had been destroyed. Even the kitchen appliances did not come out unscathed. So, rather than watering down the situation, the description spoke its truth and invited buyers to turn this “slice of hell” into a slice of heaven.
Well, the brutal honesty served the list well: out of sheer curiosity to see the destruction, thousands of viewers were drawn to the list and the fixer sold out within a month. It has since been remodeled and put back on the market completely redone, with a higher price tag.
35 feet under the Earth
In 2019, Nik stroiney became the proud owner of a former missile silo outside of Little Rock, AR. He launched a YouTube channel to document his work in transforming the decommissioned site from a dirt-filled underground curiosity into usable space.
While some saw mere Cold War wrecks, Stroiney saw a future vacation home and event center. The complex is very, very underground — 35 feet, to be precise, and behind 6,000 pound armored doors.
When he bought it, the bunker was filled with muddy water. When emptied, the old missile and launch control center will have approximately 5,000 square feet of usable space.
The Stroiney silo is not as rare as you might think. Many of these decommissioned properties, which often include acres of land, were sold after the Cold War.
Some elevator sites are privately owned and some are owned by local governments, and we have encountered a few in the market. This was our first time speaking to an owner, and the fascinating interview can be found here.
Walls of a former Arkansas prison
If the stone fortress-like exterior didn’t betray it, bars on the windows could: A former Arkansas County jail landed in the market and hoped to lock up a buyer.
The two-story structure, built from locally sourced stone in 1914, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The first floor housed the jailer’s residence, and a separate entrance and staircase led to the cell blocks.
Reminders of his past are omnipresent, with inmate graffiti and a large set of old keys. It is not known if the property has already found a buyer.
Steel house in texas
In our experience, mansions are often marketed as “works of art”. But a real sculpture? That’s the best way to describe the iconic home in Ransom Canyon, Texas.
Known as the “Steel House”, this labor of love was undertaken by the late builder Robert bruno. He created the place by hand from an astonishing 150 tons of steel.
Bruno died in 2008 and never completed the project he started in 1974. The house, which looks like a creature standing on four steel legs, still needs some finishing.
The new owners quickly put the steel house back on the market to see if they could tempt a buyer. Otherwise, they plan to repair it and offer it for short-term rental. If the stunning photos are any indication, many curious vacationers will want to plan a stay.
Listen, listen! This Woodstock, CT castle, built in 2010, returned to the market this year and has delighted a whole new audience of real estate onlookers. We cannot get enough of the sheer majesty of this mansion.
Crafted from every angle, its design is inspired by European models – with hardwood shipped from all over the world, stained glass windows and even a cloud motif on the ceiling.
The list hit the market in 2014, for a whopping $ 45 million. It was the most popular house that year.
Sadly, all of those clicks and shares have yet to result in a sale of this picturesque palace.
Basement swimming pool in mill
An old flour mill from the 1860s has arrived in the market in Bellefonte, Pa., Looking for a buyer willing to bring the place into the 21st century. As the crushing equipment is gone, a spring still flows through an opening in the basement to create a sort of “pool.”
While we love a water feature, we don’t know what kind of buyer would be willing to dive into it. (And no, we don’t think the floating swan is helping the cause.)
The mill, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is still on the market.