Doomsday Preppers are now selling timeshares, too

 

NPR has a bizarrely fascinating new piece about Drew Miller, the owner and founder of Fortitude Ranch, which is essentially a timeshare opportunity for Doomsday Preppers. Unlike the Survival Condos that start at $1.5 million, Fortitude Ranch "seeks to capture a solidly middle-class market." The annual membership fee is $1,000, which gives you access to 10 days at any of their locations.

Right now, there's only one Fortitude Ranch in West Virginia. But the company is already building another one in Colorado, and ultimately plans for a nationwide network of 12 locations, which will each have different recreational offerings, and be conveniently placed so there's always one location within a day's drive.

It's not luxurious; spartan may be a more accurate term. Yet, the properties are in secluded, wild and scenic places that Miller hopes will make the fee worth it for the right customers.

[…]

If the structures of society crumble, Miller envisions each Fortitude Ranch location as a protected community of about 50 people, up to a maximum of 500. Initially, there will be supplies and food on-site to last a full year. However, once members fall into a routine of gardening, hunting and fishing in the adjacent national forest, Miller said, it should be sustainable in the long term.

I'm not exactly sure how large each of these properties is going to be, but 50 to 500 is a very wide range of people, which would require very different accommodations in an apocalyptic scenario.  Read the rest

Seattle: Bidding war for $330,000+ home that was too filthy and hazardous for anyone to even tour

A Bothell, Seattle house -- so filled with garbage, water damaged, and hazardous that the real estate agent didn't allow anyone inside -- just sold in a bidding war for more than its $330,000 list price. Only one photo, of the exterior, was provided in the listing. There were 17 offers; the buyer and final price haven't yet been revealed. From the Seattle Times:

Despite the fierce pace of offers on the Bothell home, the sale pales in comparison to the all-out bidding war that ensued in 2016 after a derelict West Seattle home was listed for $200,000.

That home, with five feet of standing water and toxic air not safe to breathe, ultimately sold in 10 days for $427,000, more than double the asking price, after receiving a jaw-dropping 41 offers. It was razed and redeveloped, then sold for $1.19 million in 2017...

The offers (on the newly-sold Bothel property) were almost entirely from investors and home flippers, according to agents familiar with the sale.

Other homes in the same zip code sell for a median $620,700, up nearly 50% since 2015, according to Zillow.

“A whole lot of potential awaits,” the listing promised.

(via Fark) Read the rest

For sale: Decommissioned underground missile complex in Arizona

This decommissioned underground missile complex near Tucson, Arizona can be yours for just $400,000. The property sits on (under) 12 acres of land. A true fixer-upper, this unique piece of real estate would make an excellent starter lair for a supervillain family. Titan II missile not included. Here is the listing on Zillow.

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This $3.5 million mansion includes a replica of Bruce Wayne's study and so much more

Former Pittsburgh radio personality T.J. Lubinsky is selling his home, about a half-hour outside the city in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

I'll be honest, I've never heard of this guy. But apparently he has quite a resume. Which I guess is how he and his wife Wenday were able to build this absurdly palatial estate with 14 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a "waterfall poolside oasis" with a custom Lilliput playhouse for the kids, and—oh yeah, a two-story replica of the Heinz Chapel as well as a replica of the private study from the 1966 "Batman" show, complete with sliding bookcases, a red phone, and Batpoles.

It also contains replica rooms based on "the Queen’s residence next to the Ritz London" and "the Hotel Del Coronado in California." Did I mention that the whole design is based on Newport's Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion, which was used as the exterior shots for Collinwood Manor in the classic vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows?"

While I personally couldn't afford the $3.5 million it would cost to buy this place, but all things considered, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable price for it.

724 Bristlecone Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044, via Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate

Image via Batman '66, duh Read the rest

Guillotine watch: Louis XVI's final chateau, never occupied by royalty, is for sale, just in time for the next revolution

If you have €7,000,000 you want to spend before capitalism collapses, you can scoop up Château du Bouilh, built for Louis XVI on the eve of the French Revolution, never occupied by royalty, and lovingly preserved to this day, with period interiors to match. Read the rest

Building that looks like a basket to become luxury hotel

This is the former Newark, Ohio headquarters of The Longaberger Company, a basket manufacturer that went under last year. This week, the developers who bought the property announced that it will become a luxury hotel. According to WCPO, "project officials say the exterior look of a basket will remain intact." Well duh.

From Wikipedia:

The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997. The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage. Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death.

(Thanks, Charles Pescovitz!)

image: Derek Jensen (public domain) Read the rest

Nazi bunker in Germany to become "design and lifestyle" hotel

A developer plans to transform the massive Nazi-era St. Pauli anti-aircraft and air raid bunker in Hamburg, Germany into a "design and lifestyle hotel," as described by a spokesperson for the Spanish hotel chain NS Hotel Group designing the property. The structure is currently used as a concert venue and art/music studio space. According to the spokesperson, there are plans for the rebuilt facility, seen in the rendering above, to also hold a World War II memorial. The bunker hotel project comes on the heels of other Nazi-era structures that have been redeveloped. From the New York Times:

In 2018, the former Gestapo headquarters in Hamburg, where Jews, gay people, Roma and other people targeted by the Nazis were tortured and murdered, a cluster of high-end apartments, luxury boutiques and offices opened for business. Protests ensued.

A never-completed holiday resort that Hitler had intended to be used for workers through his “Strength Through Joy” project has been converted to luxury apartments.

The challenge when integrating these sites into modern-day landscapes is “how to reconcile commemoration and consumption or consumerism,” said Thomas L. Doughton, a senior lecturer at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts who takes students on tours of Holocaust sites across Europe to explore the politics of memory.

Dr. Doughton said there were parallels to places in the United States, including plantations where African-Americans were once enslaved and the sites of atrocities against Native Americans, that have been commercialized at the expense of a blunt reckoning with historical oppression.

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Whistleblowers out Falwell's Liberty University as a grifty, multibillion-dollar personality cult

Jerry Falwell, Sr founded the Moral Majority, brought evangelicals into the voting booth, elected Ronald Reagan, and changed the face of American politics forever; his son, Jerry Jr now commands the Falwell empire, including Liberty University, which now has $3b in assets. Read the rest

For Sale: Offshore fortress and gun tower built in 1851

This incredible offshore fortress and defense gun tower at Pembroke Dock, South West Wales, UK is for sale. Read the rest

Island from Fyre Festival promo video is now for sale

Saddleback Cay, the private island seen in the Fyre Festival promotional videos, is for sale. Only accessible by boat, the 35-acre Bahamian island features seven beaches, a main house, and multiple cottages. It's yours for just $11.8 million, FEMA tents and cheese sandwiches not included.

(CNN)

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Real estate title insurance company exposed 885,000,000 customers' records, going back 16 years: bank statements, drivers' licenses, SSNs, and tax records

First American Financial Corp is a Fortune 500 company that insures titles on peoples' property; their insecure website exposed 885,000,000 records for property titles, going back 16 years, including bank accounts (with scanned statements), Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, scanned drivers' licenses, tax records, mortgage records, etc -- when notified of the error, the company (which employs 18,000 people and grossed more than $5.7B last year) closed the misconfiguration. Read the rest

After double lot sold to separate owners, one of them erects fence through pool and garage

An Orlando homeowner owned a second lot next to the house. He added a pool that straddled the property lines. Then, following foreclosure, the two lots were sold to different owners, one of whom erected a fence. Over the pool. Through the garage.

When you're just dipping your toe in the real estate market

It's all so very "Florida"! Cities that don't enforce setback rules. Cities that tolerate structures spanning multiple residential lots. Sales that split combined lots into multiple lots without consideration of what is on the lots. Inspectors, appraisers and mortgage lenders saying "this is fine!". People building fences over pools and through garages. Read the rest

You could own this zoo complete with menagerie

York's Wild Kingdom Zoo & Fun Park in York, Maine is up for sale. For just $14.2 million, you could be the proprietor of this beachside attraction complete with the likes of lions, monkeys, lemurs, camels, pigs, deer, kangaroos, a butterfly kingdom, paddle boats, miniature golf, bumper cars, and a haunted house. No lowball offers though.

According to owner Joe Barberi, a realtor called and “asked if we would consider selling the park. Not getting any younger and everything having to do with its price, I told him he was free to pursue the idea.he could find someone who would like to buy it and would be willing to pay the price without any negotiations then, fine, it’s a deal,” he said.

Barberi's a patient man.

“For now, it’s business as usual,” he said last week. “71 days until opening.”

(Seacoast Online)

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Unique business opportunity: Nudist park for sale

You could be the new proprietor of Katikati Naturist Park, a popular nudist resort in Bay of Plenty, New Zealand! The 5.7 hectares (approx. 14 acres) features motel units, cabins, tent sites, a swimming pool, mini-golf, saunas, and, of course, hot tubs. It's listed at NZ$380,000. From Stuff.co.nz:

The park is surrounded by gardens, a secluded bush drop and a river. Guests are able to partake in mini golf, pétanque and swimming, provided they abide by the "compulsory nudity" rule.

Of the park, (Coffeys property broker Matt) D'Anvers says "there are no sexual overtones whatsoever" and that guests are "simply people who love to run around with no clothes on".

"There are quite a lot of families that go there."

Interested parties may want to visit the property on New Year's Eve for the annual "World Famous Nudeoke" event.

Naturist Park - A Unique Business Opportunity" (Coffeys)

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Cheap Old Houses Instagram becomes too popular, creates home-buying wars

Cheap Old Houses is one of my favorite Instagram accounts. The folks behind it scour real estate listings around the U.S. to find and showcase cool old homes being sold at ridiculously inexpensive prices, i.e. real estate pR0n. Sure, most of the houses are in places I'd never move to or they are "major fixers" but they're all under $100K. Well, it seems that the feed is becoming too popular, as evidenced by this PSA they released on Friday:

View this post on Instagram

I have a public service announcement to make! (haha and no, I’m not going to stop posting 😉) I started this feed as a service to gather together a community of people who love and respect older homes that have been neglected and need TLC. I’m super proud of all the homes I’ve helped land in the hands of people who truly love them. That said, the feed has gotten more wildly popular than I could ever have imagined! Although (at least to my knowledge), no one has yet gotten into a bidding war because a house was posted on this feed, I do fear that it could happen. Please, PLEASE do me a favor: If you are planning to look at a house that is for sale for under $100,000 and have serious intentions to buy it, and if I haven’t already posted it, PLEASE send me a message and let me know and I will NOT post it! 💛💛💛 Thank you!!!!

A post shared by Cheap Old Houses (@cheapoldhouses) on Dec 14, 2018 at 12:31pm PST

Here are some examples of these cheap old homes:

View this post on Instagram

402 E Jefferson St, Mount Pulaski, IL — Lotsa work.

Read the rest

Amazon employees snapped up NYC real estate before headquarters announcement

Like the billions in public money destined for Amazon's benefit and that of the world's richest man, it's all perfectly legal.

The two employees decided to the buy units just before the first press reports surfaced that Amazon was likely to choose Long Island City for its new headquarters, Mr. Aguayo said. The buyers now live in New Jersey and Queens, he added.

While employees aren’t permitted to buy and sell stocks based on nonpublic information, several real estate lawyers said they were aware of no such prohibition for real-estate transactions.

The WSJ reports no "reliable figures" on sales in the area since Amazon's announcement (and immediately before it, evidently) but it's explosive. One brokerage says it sold 150 condos in the last four days, 15 times its normal volume. Read the rest

Discover if someone has died in your house

Have you ever wondered if someone died in your house, or worse?

Enter DiedInHouse.com. A simple $11.99 search through them will tell you everything you (probably don't) want to know.

A query on this website will uncover if a specific address is "stigmatized," meaning that it's got issues beyond its physical condition. Sellers are generally not under legal obligation to share if something horrible -- like a murder, suicide, or, say, a meth lab -- has happened on a property. And they certainly aren't required to disclose "paranormal" activity.

Software engineer Roy Condrey founded the site in 2013 after getting a strange text.

Forbes:

The website’s creation begins like a ghost story. ...Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but not finding, an easy way to determine if his property had indeed seen a gruesome crime or fatality.

“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything, but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” says Condrey, who rents out several properties. He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.

Read the rest

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