1. Outpouring of support for Cayce’s ‘Nightmare House’ tenant
There has been an outpouring of support for struggling artist Randall McKissick, tenant of what had been called the “creepy” or “nightmare” house in Cayce.
McKissick’s story went viral last week, after the owner of the house posted an ad on the online listing service Zillow. The ad said the house’s upstairs apartment “cannot be shown under any circumstances.” It said the occupant “has never paid, and no security deposit is being held, but there is a lease in place. (Yes, it does not make sense, please don’t bother asking.)”
The State met with McKissick, 70, after the ad ran, and found him anything but creepy. He is a once world-renowned painter and illustrator who fell on hard times after a divorce, health issues and other setbacks.
After the profile ran, McKissick’s daughter, Amber Albert, and Michael Schumpert Jr., the son of the ailing homeowner, received dozens of offers of help, mostly people wanting to commission paintings or repair and clean the house.
For instance, Cayce Mayor Elise Partin is rallying support in the small town of 13,000 people.
The mayor said she is “reaching out to churches and neighborhood associations to see if they can fix up the house so Randall can stay and the owners can have some much-needed rental income while keeping the house in the family.”
There have also been inquiries from across the country, including from a representative of A&E’s television series “Hoarders.”
“However, we want to protect dad’s privacy and the A&E gig, especially, may be very invasive,” Albert said.
Schumpert said the house was built by his grandfather in 1950. His father, Michael Schumpert Sr., bought it from a sister for $52,000 in 1997.
The elder Schumpert, a Baptist minister living in Mount Pleasant, is a life-long friend of McKissick. The house is divided into three apartments. About a decade ago, when McKissick was facing eviction from his river-side studio, Schumpert Sr. let him live in the upstairs apartment for free.
In December, Schumpert Sr. was in a car wreck and hospitalized for five months. His wife is disabled, and the Schumperts need income from the home to offset the family’s expenses. But the house has fallen into disrepair and the family can’t rent out the other two apartments.
That’s how the Zillow ad to sell the house “as is” with the mystery tenant intact came to be.
“I’ve had people offering to help fix it up, which we are trying to sort out with Randy’s family but don’t have any buyers,” Schumpert Jr. said Thursday.
McKissick’s two daughter and their husband are huddling with Schumpert to weigh their options, Albert said. But their main concern, as it has been all along, is taking care of McKissick.
“The biggest help we need right now is someone to help us help dad just manage his life: meds, doctors’ appointments, money, grocery shopping, eating well, cleaning up,” she said. “That’s what we spend most of our time on.”
But the family also wants to renew McKissick’s “spark,” as he puts it, to paint. About a dozen people have inquired about buying paintings or offering commissions. But he has no studio to paint in.
“For so long he’s been out of practice, so to speak, in handling these things,” Albert said. “But we want to see dad get back to what he loves to do.”
Artist Randall McKissick became the center of a viral story after the home he inhabits went on the market with an unusual listing.
2. Racist or just honest? Real estate ad tells prospective home buyers the suburb is '50% White and 30% Asian' - and says Middle Easterners seen shopping in the area are 'not locals'
A real estate agency has come under fire after a listing ensured prospective buyers not to worry about 'middle easterners around shopping' because 'they are not local'.
The controversial description for a three-bedroom house in Regents Park, western Sydney, was listed by online real estate agency service PropertyNow.
'This is a most convenient, supreme exclusive peaceful safe quiet friendly neighborhood location,' the adjective-laden description began.
'Most are high paid intellectual professionals and businesses (sic) owners are living on this street, and well respected neighborhoods. What you saw many middle-easterners around shopping, they are doing businesses here but they are not local.'
The advertisement, which was posted on popular site realestate, went on to tell 'bargain hunters' and 'roaches' not to bother calling the seller.
Further down in the property listing description, a demographic breakdown of: '50% Whites, 30% Asians and 8% Sri Lankan/Sub Continents,' was included.
The controversial listing was spotted by 2GB radio presenter Ben Fordham and posted to his Twitter account.
'Legit Sydney real estate advertisment - "Middle-easterners ..they are doing businesses here but they are not local",' he wrote to his 86,000 followers.
Shortly after it began doing the rounds on social media, the listing description was altered to exclude the line about Middle Eastern people.
'The Best of the Bests, Best address on Best Street in the Best Suburb,' the new listing proclaimed bizarrely.
A staff member from PropertyNow told Daily Mail Australia that listing descriptions were 'written by users not staff'.
PropertyNow is an agent-assisted private sales business which allows homeowners to sell their properties on their own without a physical real estate agent.
3. How a Panda Suit Can Help Sell a Home
Just ask Jessica Arnett, a Realtor® who recently donned the cuter-than-cute furry costume to bring more eyeballs to her listing in Spring, TX. The weird tactic has been met with rave reviews.
The home—a brick four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom asking for $199,900—had been listed three weeks earlier, but had drummed up little interest and only two showings. Around this time, Arnett had read about a real estate agent in England who'd donned a giant bear suit to sell a home.
“I posted the story on my Facebook page and joked that I'd do that for my next listing,” Arnett recalls. Apparently her clients saw her post—and decided it wasn't such a bad idea. Might Arnett be willing to put on a panda suit and pose for some new listing pics? Do bears relieve themselves in the woods? (It's a rhetorical question.)
“At first I thought it was crazy,” Arnett admits. “I told the sellers, ‘I don't know. It'll make it seem like I'm not serious as a real estate agent. It might draw negative attention.' But the seller had a sense of humor. He said, 'we've had our house on the market for three weeks already; we need something different.’”
So Arnett decided to give it a try, renting a panda suit from a costume store and posing for photos throughout the house.
“At first it tripped me out to be in a panda suit,” Arnett recalls. “It was also hot. It was a sweaty panda suit.” Delightful!
But her hard work appears to be generating the exposure the home needs: Ever since the new photos went live, Arnett has been flooded with requests to see the home, with 12 showings in the first two days.
“I don't know if it's drawing in people who are just crazy or if we're getting real buyers, but so far it's been good,” she says.
So what's next for Arnett? A chicken suit?
“No, to be honest,” she says. “These sellers had a sense of humor. But I don't think there are a lot of sellers out there that will want me to do that. And I wouldn't do it again, either, because if it gets overused it would be stupid.” Well put.
Nonetheless, this stunt just goes to show that when it comes to selling a home, there are no bad ideas—and home sellers (and agents) should keep an open mind to what might work, just as Arnett did.
“I'm just one of those people who will do anything to sell a house,” she says. “As long as it's legal, of course.”
4. We Found Out What The Hell Is Going On With This House Full of Clowns
The 748-square-foot home is described as a "charming brick bungalow on quiet street close to schools and parks." But that sentence takes a somewhat sinister turn when you peruse the interior photos and see that the rooms are filled nearly floor-to-ceiling with toy clowns and other clown-related paraphernalia—clown rugs, clown photos, even a goddamn clown statue.
VICE reached Michael McMannis, son of the owners (who've lived in the house for 30 years) and confirmed that the family is not in fact related to It or any other deranged clowns. No, they're actually a cute elderly couple in their 80s who started buying the clowns in an effort to keep McMannis' stepfather from boozing.
"My stepdad had a drinking issue as perceived by my mother," McMannis told VICE. "Every clown represents a bottle of beer that he would have bought."
McMannis said his stepdad would go out dancing and would "drink a little bit too much" so his mom suggested that instead of spending his money on alcohol, they would buy a clown every time they went out. Did they look for vintage clowns? No, McMannis said. They didn't give a crap.
"There's no fancy clowns, there's nothing worth any value. They didn't go looking for a particular artist," he said. "You'll find there's a lot of McDonald's stuff... You can pick those up for a dime or a quarter."
McMannis said people have told his parents they're "crazy" for doing this, but it worked. Though he noted the clowns are "kinda useless."
He said the couple has been doing this for around 25 years and have accumulated roughly 1,500 clowns.
Over the years, "there are some people that love them and some people that will walk into the house and run away."
McMannis said the plan is for his parents to sell the house—likely this week—and move in with him and his wife. As for the fate of the clowns?
"A lot of them are going to be boxed up into our crawl space."
Realtor Kyle Jansink who is in charge of the listing told VICE the clowns don't seem to have deterred potential buyers.
5. Ramshackle Home Isn't Selling? Maybe Put Up a 'Not Haunted' Sign
You get weirdly creative with your marketing efforts and hope they become an internet sensation.
That's what real estate agent Jeff Mason did with the ramshackle home in Coeur d'Alene, ID, he was trying to sell. Mason decided a tongue-in-cheek sign acknowledging the home's dilapidated state—including peeling paint and deteriorating porch—might be just the thing to finally close the sale. Or at least get people talking about the place.
So he got the owner's blessing and slapped a plastic $10 sign with the words "Not Haunted" onto the "For Sale" sign outside the house.
"I went to the homeowner and said, 'You've been doing the same thing for 10 years. Let me take a little bit of a different angle on it,'" Mason tells realtor. "The house is so run-down, I knew I had to make it stand out."
The result? "Two days after I put up the sign, it went absolutely viral," he says. Photos of it were shared widely on Facebook.
So Mason went further. He rewrote the house's listing description. Instead of trying to mask the home's flaws with real estate euphemisms like "cozy" and "great bones" (that's Realtor® speak for "small" and "needs TLC"), Mason wrote about the "sprawling front porch that can barely hold itself up, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath without a bath, kitchen has been fully removed for your convenience as there are enough restaurants downtown."
All things considered, the 1,000-square-foot house is priced shockingly high at $300,000, so he poked fun at that, too: "You will be hard pressed to find a home in this condition at this price!"
"We wanted to mock those stereotypical real estate listings from Realtors who like to embellish," he explains. That brutal honesty seems to have worked, because Mason says his phone has been ringing with inquiries about the house ever since he made the changes.
This is a gimmick that has worked before to generate buzz.
Three years ago, real estate agents in Clarksville, TN, posted a "Not Haunted" sign on the 1930s four-bedroom brick house they were selling.
"We were trying to come up with some creative slogans for signs to draw attention to some houses," they told clarksvillenow. "That was one that seemed fitting for that house." The house has since sold.
A Washington, DC, real estate agent also told the Huffington Post she affixed a "Not Haunted" sign to her property to get people talking, not necessarily to quash any rumors of ghosts.
Oh, and in the category of weird selling tricks: Remember the real estate agent who donned a panda suit in the listing photos and was then inundated with requests to tour the home?
So is the house in Coeur d'Alene really haunted? "I don't know for sure," Mason says with a laugh. "Buyer beware, I guess."
6. This might be the funniest real estate listing we've ever read
Immediately described as "the perfect starter home to show your parents and friends that you have it together," this home boasts two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Never fear -- the master suite is big enough in case you want to "avoid your guests" by hiding out in there.
In the event that you do feel like socializing and entertaining, take a walk down to the kitchen complete with granite countertops and "a large pantry which is perfect for storing your gluten-free Bisquick." Score.
Location is everything in real estate, which this home has locked down. For starters, the seller ensures that "you will have no problem getting your fit bit steps in each day."
The property is walking distance from all of the downtown shops, restaurants and trendy workout joints (where you can "throw on your Lululemon and work it off," of course).
And if Birmingham itself didn't already seem appealing, the seller promises that the home provides ample outdoor space so that you'll be able to enjoy at least "one of Birmingham's three spring days."
We'll take three over zero any day!
If kids are a part of your family, you're in luck, as getting them to school will become infinitely easier as you'll be within walking distance of it.
This means that you'll be able to "just toss [your kids] over the fence in the backyard to get them there quicker because you are running behind because getting a kid ready in a timely fashion is difficult."
It should also be noted that the seller includes the disclaimer to not throw kids. Good move.
The home also has a giant basement for storage or finishing, so feel free to "tell your mom the home has a basement 'in case of storms' and she will almost certainly nod in approval." You're welcome, mom.
The house is on the market for $299,999.
7. What Is Happening in This Ridiculous ‘Movie Trailer’ for a $100 Million Mansion?
The vision board for this particular cinematic experience is “Cribs episode in hell.” You see a woman pleasuring herself while wearing a VR headset. You see a flash of someone’s obvious sexual fantasy about a Son of the Harpy come to life. You see nearly naked women in gold body paint follow the protagonist around the house, writhing seductively on cars and on the roof, but also sitting down for a nice dinner in the spacious living room. (It’s unclear if they’re hanging out or just haunting the house.)
8. Can you spot the spooky, haunted guest in this real estate listing?
The gorgeous studio located in the historic Hamilton building in San Francisco, California, offers charm, spaciousness and '20s feel.
Oh, and a dead guy. His name is Skully.
Skully is a skeleton prop used by the realtor in order to distinguish this listing from other similar listings in the area.