Couple Accidentally Build $680,000 Dream Home on Lot Owned by Someone Else

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You can’t help but feel sorry for this Florida couple – their newly constructed dream home is now turning out to be a mega-nightmare. Although Mark Voss and his wife own eighteen residential lots in the gated Ocean Hammock community, their house was accidentally built on one that doesn’t belong to them!

“We’re in total disbelief,” said Mark, who is the owner of a property management and real estate company in Missouri. “We may have moved someday. But, with this headache and grief, we’re not so sure. The Midwest is looking pretty good now.”

The couple said that they purchased the lot – with the address of 23 Ocean Ridge Blvd. – in 2012. Then they hired a company called Keystone Homes to build the three-story, five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot vacation rental that cost them a whopping $680,000. Six months after the custom house was built, however, a survey crew working nearby realized the error – that the house actually stands on the lot next door to the Vosses’ – 21 Ocean Ridge Blvd. North. This one belongs to a North Carolina couple who bought it way back in 2003.

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Man Wants to Swap His Detroit Home for an iPhone 6

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A homeowner in Detroit, Michigan, recently put his property up on the market – and when he failed to make a sale, he decided settle for a trade. He is now after Apple’s latest product offering – the iPhone 6. And if he can’t have that, he’s willing to settle for a 32-gigabyte iPad or an Android in exchange for the house.

Understandably, the three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom brick house isn’t exactly in the best condition. It does have a finished basement and a plush garden, but neighbors strongly believe that it needs to be torn down. The bungalow was initially listed for $5,000, but there weren’t any takers. So the current price is down to $3,000 or an iPhone 6.

“It’s a real listing,” insisted realtor Larry Else. “My client is overseas and he told me he would be willing to trade the property for an iPhone 6. It sounds to me like he wants the Plus version, but I think he’s willing to negotiate.”

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Man Spends Two Years Covering Every Inch of His House with Seashells

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Xiao Yongsheng is the owner of a small beach and a traditional Chinese house on Lingshan Island, off the coast of Qingdao city in eastern China’s Shandong province. When he decided to renovate his large home, he wondered if it was worth spending money on expensive designers and architects. Ultimately, he decided to save up and do it for free – he spent two whole years covering every inch of his 1,500-square meter house with seashells that he collected from his own beach.

“I’d always liked shells but it never struck me to use them until I was walking on a beach one morning and came across a very unusually colored clam shell and then it hit me,” said the 58-year-old. “I realised I was sitting next to a huge, free supply of beautiful building material – so why not use it?” So he began collecting every kind of shell he could find – right from tiny 3-millimeter ones to giant conches that weighed over four kilograms.

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‘Human Props’ Live in Luxury Houses but Must Be Ready to Move at All Times

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The Mueller family have a unique living arrangement – they are, in fact, part of an ‘elite’ group of middle-class nomads who have agreed to a very peculiar lease agreement. They get to live in for-sale luxury homes at dirt cheap prices, but of course, there’s a catch – the house must always be in squeaky clean, in case it gets bought, and they have to be ready to move out immediately.

So while the Muellers get to enjoy the very best of houses, they need to keep things meticulously clean and maintain a precisely pleasant temperature. The mirrors have to be crystal clear at all times, and the bed needs to look like it’s never been slept in. They need special approval if they want to have more than 10 people over. When a prospective buyer wants to view the house, the family needs to disappear. And when the property is sold, they’ve got to pack and move to the next luxury destination.

It seems like a bizarre way to live, but there’s a very specific reason for it – according to real estate companies, houses sell better when they’re being lived in. Families like the Muellers lend an unmistakable energy to an otherwise empty home. The effect of their presence is so great that home-staging firms say they’re able to sell homes faster and for more money. The Muellers pay the firm about $1,200 for rent and household bills, and the firm reimburses costs every time they need to move.

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Woman Sick of Mowing the Lawn Turns Her Yard into a Giant Sandbox

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66-year-old Georgianna Reid, a resident of Kansas City, got so fed up of mowing her lawn that she converted it into a giant sandbox. She actually replaced her green lawn with 80 tons of sand, after contractors tore up her yard. The conversion cost her $4,000, including a low fence all around the perimeter of the sand-covered lawn.

“Now, being over 60, I’ve decided that I’ve owned the house for 33 years and that I wasn’t going to mow anymore or water,” she said. Georgianna’s corner house at East Meyer Boulevard and Walnut Street is so conspicuous now, passersby just cannot miss it. Unfortunately, not all the reactions are positive. A lot of her neighbors don’t think the house ‘fits in’ to the Brookside area.

Some of them have actually filed complaints with the city officials. A few went as far as stealing her volleyball net, lawn ornaments and a life-sized chest. “I think the house looks revolting with all that is out there,” said neighbor Edwin Bisby. “I’m sure it’s going to hurt the property values in this neighborhood.”

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Costa Rican ‘Mole Man’ Spends 10 Years Digging Large Underground Home by Hand

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Manuel Barrantes, fondly known as ‘El Hombre Topo’ or ‘The Mole Man’, has spent the last 10 years building himself a unique underground home. The 62-year-old Costa Rican did it all by hand, using only picks and shovels for tools. He now uses the large tunnel as a residence and a museum, welcoming tourists and teaching children about archeology and geography.

The underground dwelling is located in Perez Zeledon, a canton of San José Province in Costa Rica. Popularly known as ‘Topolandia’, the unique dwelling features over 400 square meters of tunnels. The walls and corridors of the caves are adorned with a variety of hand-carved sculptures of turtles, dinosaurs and even TV characters like the Flintstones. The largest tunnel inside the house is at least 16 meters deep, with a comfortable lounge to welcome visitors.

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Kindhearted Artist Turns Trash into Tiny Mobile Homes for the Homeless

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Gregory Kloehn is an artist who uses his skills for a really worthy cause – building homes for the homeless. Making use of recycled and reclaimed materials found on the street, he creates small mobile homes, each about the size of a sofa. These homes come with pitched roofs to keep out the rain and wheels at the bottom, for mobility. So far, he’s built about 10 shelters through the ‘Homeless Homes Project’, and hopes to create more in the future.

Although they’re not made of much, the tiny homes are more than enough for someone with no other place to sleep. They are painted in bright colors and have a few quirky elements – like washing machine doors for windows and minivan tops for roofs. Gregory, 43, is a sculptor by profession, but he went on a construction spree after building his five-unit live-work condominium from scratch. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Oakland, California, where he carries out his philanthropic construction project.

“Before, I was all about sculpture, but I realized it just sits there,” he said. “And you’re just peddling it to rich people. I kind of think if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it did something.” So with his new-found fascination for architecture, Gregory began to study homeless shanties in his neighborhood. He wrote a book called ‘Homeless Architecture’ at the time, admiring how they were able to recycle all day and make homes out of almost nothing.

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Colombia’s Flintstone House Is Made Entirely from Baked Clay

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64-year-old architect Octavio Mendoza literally baked the house that he lives in. He calls the 5,400 square foot house ‘the biggest piece of pottery in the world’. Casa Terracotta, or Casa Barro in Spanish, was built exclusively by hand using clay and baked in the sun. Located in Villa de Leyva, a colonial mountain village in Colombia, it is also known to locals as the ‘Casa de Flintstone’ or Flintstone House.

From the outside, Casa Terracotta looks like a huge mound of clay, loosely fashioned to resemble a cottage. It is surrounded by lush green farmland, set against a breathtaking backdrop of the mountains. Inside, the rooms curve and flow into each other, as though the entire house was cast in a single mold. Rustic as it seems, the clay cottage does offer a few modern conveniences – solar panels for hot water, toilets and sinks covered in colorful mosaic tiles, two floors with lounge and sleeping areas, and a fully functional kitchen. Of course, the kitchen table and all the utensils are all fashioned out of the same material – clay. The beer mugs that adorn the kitchen are made of recycled glass and the lighting fixtures from scrap metal.

Mendoza, who spent most of his career designing homes, commercial buildings and churches, calls the clay house his ‘project for life’. He started to work on it over 14 years ago – his goal was to demonstrate how soil can be transformed into habitable architecture by simply using the natural resources at hand. So Casa Terracotta doesn’t contain an ounce of cement or steel. Mendoza, who is also an environmental activist, said: “Think of it this way. In desert places (which exist all across the planet), soil is perfect for this type of architecture. This means that for all those regions, a system like this could bring housing to millions of families.”

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Take a Look inside a $11.5 Million Doomsday-Proof House

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If I had a house like this, maybe I wouldn’t mind an end-of-the-world type scenario at all. I’m talking about a 4,200 sq. ft. mansion located in Yellow Jacket, a deserted town in Colorado, U.S. I call it a mansion only for its interiors. From the outside, it looks every bit like the disaster-ready, Armageddon-proof house that it’s supposed to be.

The walls of this house are made of reinforced concrete and are lined with thick steel. This makes the structure so strong that it has been declared ‘nuclear rated’ by its online listing on Curbed.com. From the outside, it seems like a desolate and boring building in the middle of nowhere, but on the inside it’s a luxury home, complete with designer furniture and beautiful interiors. The only proof that the house is a ‘luxury survival bunker’ are the overhead metal air ducts that traverse almost every room. The ducts are meant to close off in the case of emergencies, like if the air gets contaminated from a gas leak.

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English Farmer Builds Incredible Hobbit House for Just 150 Pounds

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At a time when housing rates are hitting the roof, an English farmer has gone and built a house for almost nothing. 59-year-old Michael Buck spent a measly £150( $250) to construct a small, yet cozy house in the garden of his Oxfordshire home.

The former art teacher drew plans for the house on the back of an envelope. He didn’t need any special planning permissions since it was classified as a summer home. Buck spent two years gathering natural and reclaimed materials for construction. It took him an additional eight months to construct it with his bare hands; he didn’t use any power tools at all.

To make the base, he learned the ancient technique of cob from a book. The technique comes from prehistoric times and involves a mixture of sand, clay, water and earth. Clay based subsoil is mixed with sand, straw and water and then ladled onto a stone foundation. Workers and oxen then trample upon the mixture – a process known as cobbing. The layers of cob gradually build up and harden over time.

For the 300 sq. ft. floor space, Buck rescued the floorboards from a neighbor’s unused skip. He retrieved the windscreen of an old lorry and converted the glass into windows. The walls are painted with a mixture of chalk and plant resin. The roof is a simple wooden frame thatched with straw from nearby fields.

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Israeli Women Convert Old Public Transportation Bus into Beautiful Living Space

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Two women from Even Yehuda, Israel, seem to have found a practical solution to the country’s growing housing problem. They have taken a beat-down public transportation bus and turned it into a luxury home anyone would be lucky to live in.

Tali Shaul, a psychotherapist, and Hagit Morevski, an ecological pond water treatment specialist, became friends after their two sons started playing together. Sharing similar views, the two looked for a creative project and joint business idea for a long time, before finding their inspiration in the pages of a women’s style magazine. “I read an article about alternative housing solutions, such as containers and tents,” Shaul told Xnet, “and suggested Hagit and I turn an old bus into a living space.” That same week, they went to a scrapyard and bought an old public transportation bus. After stripping away all the seats and clearing up the space for the big transformation, Tali and Hagit found themselves wondering whether to keep the original outlay of the bus or turn it into a container-like space. Unable to make a decision on heir own, they reached out to their designer friend, Vered Sofer Drori, who ultimately found a way to keep the bus’ general layout and design the living space around it.

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Eccentric Businessman Builds Mountain Villa atop Beijing Apartment Building

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Zhang Biqing, a successful Chinese businessman from Beijing, has spent the last six years building a realistic-looking two-story mountain villa atop a high apartment building right in China’s capital city.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could retreat somewhere quiet and get away from it all, without actually leaving your home? That’s probably what Zhang Biqing, a former government adviser turned successful entrepreneur, thought when he decided to build his dream mountain villa at the top of a 26-floor apartment building in Beijing’s upscale Park View estate. During the six years it took to complete, residents complained about the infernal construction noise, but after seeing the enormity of the complex covering the entire top of their building, they began to worry about structural damage. The mountain in which Biqing’s villa appears to be carved may be fake, but the materials used to make it are reportedly pretty heavy as well, and threaten to weaken the residential building’s resistance. It turns out the whole rooftop project is illegal, as Zhang never received the necessary planning permission for his extreme dwelling, yet no one ever bothered him about it until Chinese newspapers recently covered the topic sparking public outrage.

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Chinese Human Snail Carries His Home on His Back Wherever He Goes

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38-year-old Liu Lingchao is a real-life human snail who carries his 60-kg-heavy house on his back wherever he goes. Made of bamboo poles and plastic sheets, the portable home provides shelter on Liu’s long travels through China.

Liu Lingchao makes a living selling plastic bottle and metal cans he picks up from the streets of various Chinese cities. The man from Rong’an, Guangdong Province, built his first mobile home five years ago, as a way to save money on his long journeys, and for protection against rain and cold weather. Liu found life as a snail to his liking, and has since then worn out three bamboo huts. His newest one is 1.5 meters wide and and 2.2 meters tall, offering him just enough room for a modest bedding and his travel necessities. Its 60 kg weight is not exactly easy for one man to carry, so Liu really is moving at the pace of a snail along China’s roads, but it beats having to look for shelter wherever he goes, and says the fact that he can settle down virtually anywhere he wants is worth the effort. The human snail left Wuzhou City several months ago, and is now just 20 miles away from completing an epic 270-mile walk and returning to his home town.

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Ultimate Privacy – The House Built in the Middle of a River

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Have you ever dreamed of having a home in the middle of nowhere to escape to every now and then? I have. And this house built straight in the middle of the Drina River in Serbia fits the bill perfectly.

Standing on an exposed rock bang in the center of the river, near the town of Bajina Basta, this tiny house has been getting a lot of attention on the internet ever since it was captured on camera last year by Hungarian photographer Irene Becker. Her photo was published by National Geographic as one of the best ‘Photos of the Day’ in August 2012, and ever since then the mysterious and tranquil abode of Drina River has captured the imagination of millions. “I’m so glad that my picture makes this tiny house known to more and more people,” Becker said about her work. But in Serbia, the precariously placed house has been a popular tourist destination for decades, and a symbol of the picturesque Basta region. It was even nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of Serbia.

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Dark Side of Hong Kong – People Living in Metal Cages

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Hong Kong is generally known the world over for its material comforts and affluent lifestyle. But there’s a dark  it as well that not many are aware of. Parallel to the wealthy citizens of Hong Kong there exists a community that is unable to cope with skyrocketing housing prices. These people are quite literally forced to live in tiny metal cages.

What’s worse is that the cages don’t come for free either. Stacked on top of each other, the 1.5 sq m enclosuress can be rented at a price of 1,300 Hong Kong dollars (about US $167) per month. These cages are crammed into a single dilapidated apartment in a working-class neighborhood in West Kowloon. Believe it or not, these metal living quarters are home to a whopping 100,000 people, according to statistics provided by a social welfare group called the Society for Community Organization. Other types of inadequate housing include apartments subdivided into tiny cubicles or filled with coffin-sized wood and metal sleeping compartments as well as rooftop shacks. Only two toilet stalls are available in each apartment and have to be shared by hundreds of single, elderly men, who make up the majority of the cage-occupants. No kitchen as such is provided; there’s only a small room with a sink. Almost all the men wash their clothes in a bucket. Instead of using mattresses, the men use thin pads, bamboo mats or old linoleum in their cages to keep the bedbugs away.

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