Detroit house swapped for an iPhone 6
Other sellers in Detroit pick up on barter idea
When the wife of Austrian resident Nik Gindelhuber heard he was planning to trade a home they owned more than 7,000 kilometres away in east Detroit for an iPhone 6, she wasn't convinced it was a good idea.
"When she heard she said, 'Are you stupid?'" said Gindelhuber. "In Austria, you know, it would never happen."
He said he bought the house as part of a U.S. government program intended to help those who lost their homes to foreclosures.
Gindelhuber, who has never been to Detroit, thought it would be a good investment as a rental property.
The home ended up not making any money, and he accumulated more than $6,000 in back taxes, something a new owner would have to pay off.
When his tenants left a year ago, the house was taken over by squatters.
All the doors and windows are gone and the inside has suffered major fire damage.
"I didn't want to invest more money in another renovation, and another renovation, and another renovation," said Gindelhuber.
He listed the house through real estate broker Larry Else for $5,000 (all figures US) about four months ago, but got no offers. He dropped the asking price to $3,000 and still had no bidders.
"Last week I told Larry, I want to get rid of the house," he said. "Let's make a kind of exchange, if someone is giving me an iPhone 6 you will get my house."
That's when the bids started pouring in, said Else, who thought the plan was a good idea.
"I've heard from hundreds of people now the listing has gone viral," said Else.
He's now getting calls from other sellers who are willing to make similar trades.
"There is somebody who reached out to me now, one of my sellers, who wants to trade a car for their house," Else said.
Meanwhile, Gindelhuber has accepted an offer for the price of the phone, and is waiting for the deal to close.
He said he's happy if the buyers live there for a long time.
"Whenever I'm close to Detroit, I'll drive there and tell the new owner, 'I'm the iPhone 6 guy,'" he said.