Jimmy Bradley’s party house was a bit bogged down in the market. Then Zillow Gone Wild discovered it.
Now fans of unusual houses on the market are trying to figure out what it reminds them of. The home at 1809 Carl St. in Fort Worth is listed on Zillow and went viral in social media posts late last week from an account called Zillow Gone Wild. The property is almost as unique and indescribable as the owner himself.
“I didn’t really know how big the business was,” Bradley said. “I knew the house was something special, but I never thought about the world knowing about it.”
The highlight of the 7,000 square foot three bedroom home with attached studio is that more than 4,000 square feet of its space is devoted to an enclosed entertainment area. It features a heated pool with a slide and a diving board surrounded by an artificial grass area with an outdoor kitchen and table tennis, billiards and air hockey tables.
“I’ve had a lot of really nice clients who have been very successful in life and have traveled all over the world, and their reaction to that is they have this big ole smile on their face and they’re like, ‘Jimmy, I’ve been to a lot of nice ones , fabulous and palatial houses, but I’ve never seen anything like it.’”
Zillow Gone Wild shares interesting real estate listings found on Zillow like: For example, a three-bedroom house in South Carolina that looks like a large teapot and a “Butterfly House” in California.
The Fort Worth house has been occupied since Tuesday 105,000 likes on Twitter and nearly 31,000 likes on Instagram. The post received 8,600 reactions and 4,300 comments on Facebook.
“Part Dave and Buster, part 1980s drug lord. I LOVE IT,” said one Facebook user, Jamee Smith Gomez, in a Facebook comment. Another, Amber Dillon, tweeted: “This is the party house you wish you could have access to in the winter as a kid.”
On Thursday, Dave Perry Miller Real Estate listing agent Lance Blann received a screenshot of the home on Facebook while vacationing in Mexico.
“When I signed up there, there were already 3,500 comments,” Blann said. “I could not believe it.”
He then received calls from friends, other agents, and media outlets, followed by messages from investors and their agents. He even heard about a film location scouting company.
“Whoever runs this Zillow Gone Wild site doesn’t realize the power they have,” Blann said.
The big tour
The home is the creation of Bradley, 76, who owns the Bradley Insurance Agency in Fort Worth and whom Blann describes as “your eclectic Fort Worth cowboy.” Bradley bought the house as a side project about three years ago, the first time he’s bought a house to remodel.
“My God, I saw what this house could be,” he said. “It was just something I thought would be a lot of fun.”
Bradley gave The Dallas Morning News home visit on Monday. He has a systematic method of showing it to the guests, leading to a big reveal. It starts with the bedrooms near the front of the house, one of which has an access door that leads directly onto the terrace.
He then ushers guests into a dimly lit office he’s converted from a bedroom furnished with antiques like animal-print chairs, sculptures, and a mother-of-pearl mirror. He bought much of the decor from Habitat for Humanity.
“I wanted this thing to impress you wherever you look,” Bradley said. “I put my mind into this deal.”
Once his guests reach the master bedroom—complete with a couch, fireplace, and bathtub—he keeps the curtains on the windows closed. At this point guests can already be sold.
As he quotes the late radio host Paul Harvey: “Well, are you ready for the rest of the story?” He opens the curtains to reveal the pool and huge enclosed entertainment area.
The walls are adorned with huge beer ads, which he got from a liquor store in a building he owned that dates back to the 1940s.
The entire entertainment area and even the front yard is covered with artificial turf, which he also purchased from Habitat from Humanity. He was told it came from the Texas Christian University football field. Many people on the internet mistakenly thought the lawn was carpet.
Bradley has hosted around 30 birthday parties at the house, three weddings, family reunions and Super Bowl parties.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re 3 or 83, they’re freaking out,” Bradley said. “The kids just enjoy it.
“I realize that whoever buys this will do what they want with it,” Bradley said. “But I had fun and wasn’t afraid to stay in the pits. I pretty much went over the edge with it.”
The Battle of Selling
Blann, the real estate agent, was introduced to the house by his friend Clint, Bradley’s son. Blann envisions the home going to a Fort Worth Playboy-type buyer, someone who wants a home solely for entertaining and hosting great parties.
“It kind of gives me the Kennedy-era old-school Jack Ruby vibes,” Blann said. “When we first walked in there, I looked at Clint and said, ‘Why the hell didn’t we have a party here?'”
It would also be great for a large family, he said, as the attached studio could be ideal for a teenager or the in-laws.
Blann first listed the house for $795,000 in July, but interest from serious buyers was scant and only five or six showings were garnered. He lowered the price to $745,000 last week.
Now that the house has gotten so much attention, will it sell faster?
“People just don’t know what to do with the house, honestly,” Blann said. “It’s a big house in a neighborhood of smaller houses, and not everyone needs 4,000 square feet of recreational space and an indoor pool.”
The house was garnering attention on social media even before Zillow Gone Wild. Some agents would visit the house just to advertise themselves in TikTok videos, Blann said.
“Every young, media-savvy agent in the Metroplex was trying to go into this house to do their promotional videos,” he said. “It was too much of a hassle to coordinate to get the owner out and set up the house; it just got too much.”
The man behind the house’s viral spread is Samir Mezrahi, 40, a New York-based social media director for Buzzfeed, who launched the Zillow Gone Wild Instagram account in December 2020 out of a personal interest in house listings on listing site Zillow to browse.
“I felt like a lot of people out there were doing the same thing, maybe they’re working from home, maybe they’re dying to move, maybe they’re actually considering it,” Mezrahi said. “I opened the account and it really blew up from the start.”
He launched Zillow Gone Wild on Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok, as well as a newsletter with nearly 100,000 subscribers. The Instagram account now has 1.7 million followers.
Mezrahi said the Fort Worth home has become one of the most popular homes he’s ever posted.
“In many houses you can’t see from the outside what is unique inside it’s going on,” he said. “And the [house] just had the ultimate indoor pool chill space. It was really fun.”
Bradley says the home reflects his personality, which focuses on welcoming everyone.
“I wanted to do it my way, like old Frank Sinatra says,” he said. “I want this house to say this when they come in there, ‘Come in. Let’s have some fun.”