FRANKLIN, Tennessee (WSMV) – A Houston, Texas-based entrepreneur and content creator has purchased a Middle Tennessee mansion that fire officials have declared a total loss after it burst into flames in September.
Mike Thakur, originally from Britain, signed a deal this week to buy the mansion for an undisclosed sum of money, he said.
“We are happy with what we paid,” said Thakur. “Of course you always want it for less, right?”
The price Zillow asked for the charred mansion was a shocking $1.5 million. According to Paula Duvall of Benchmark Realty, LLC, the viral Zillow listing, which promotes the mansion and includes images of the home while it was on fire in September, was not a marketing stunt.
The listing reads: “TRAGIC TOTAL LOSS BY FIRE of CLASSIC VILLA !!! So is sold !! Rare opportunity to own 12 acres with 2 existing homes on this one lot in Williamson County.”
The list had millions of views and tens of thousands likes, and news outlets from across England contacted the agent to find out more.
“Actually, it’s not a joke,” Duvall said last week, adding that she cried when she took the photos of the burning mansion a few months ago. “We wanted to make the history of the house transparent. We wanted to show how great it was and how great it could be.”
The Williamson County Rescue Squad said in September the 25-year-old mansion on Winslow Road may have caught fire from a small explosion. At least one person was injured in the fire. The fire department said at the time that the house was likely to be considered a total loss.
However, Thakur said he was surprised the house wasn’t more damaged.
How did Thakur find out about this?
Thakur said he and his wife were looking for a new home before hearing about the fire-damaged mansion.
He said his wife received the Zillow list early that morning, and with an upcoming trip to Nashville planned, the couple decided to tour the property. Thakur said they had no idea the house and its Zillow post had gone viral.
“It was looking for a fixer-upper,” he said. “We knew it was badly damaged. I mean, if you see the pictures, you’ll know.”
But he saw potential at home. So he forwarded the listing to Sam Miller, a real estate agent and friend, and arranged a viewing. When he arrived, Thakur said he was shocked at how much of the house was undamaged.
“I was expecting the house to be totaled, but that’s not the case at all,” he said. “The fire itself didn’t burn through the whole house … it’s more water damage than fire damage and we’re trying to salvage it.”
The Thakur family plans to document the restoration of the mansion on their YouTube channel. The plan is to renovate what’s left of the current 25-year-old home, rather than tear it down and start over.
“We’re going to make it in 2023 rather than 1997,” Thakur said, adding that he would like the house to be more open in concept.
Restoration videos are expected to be uploaded to YouTube in March. Thakur said he wants to show people the “good, the bad and the ugly” of home restoration.
“I want people to ride,” he says.
Thakur isn’t quite sure what people can expect just yet, but he suspects the videos read something like, “This is how I clean my smoky chandelier.”
WSMV4 asked if the house actually had a smoky chandelier.
Thakur confirmed. The $12,000 smoky chandelier hangs over one of the home’s bathtubs.
“Walking through the house with my wife and kids, we just knew this had the potential to be restored into something amazing for our family,” Thakur said. “We have dreamed of living in a house where our children can grow up and even stay with us on the property if they get married and start their own families. A house like this gives us the opportunity to build in a way that makes that possible, and the idea of salvaging what we can and reusing those parts to rebuild something so beautiful just felt right.”
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