For those of us who have grown weary of scrolling through Zillow listings, ogling dream homes we could never afford, there is a corner of the internet dedicated to the ones we’d never want.
There’s the $2.5 million listing for a house in British Columbia with amateur biblical frescos on the vaulted ceilings — the Last Supper, Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve. You get the idea. Jessica More lampooned it on her TikTok account, Zillowtastrophes, telling her 331,000 followers, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t find a paying job as a mediocre artist.” Over on It’s That Real Estate Chick, Lauren Matera, a TikToker and real estate broker, mocked a listing for a $15 million mansion in California, asking “What in the Barbie Dream House is this?” when she happened across photos of a purple glass chandelier that looked like “a gigantic upside-down Christmas tree.” And at Zillow Gone Wild, on Instagram, Samir Mezrahi lamented that his 1.3 million followers had missed their chance to bid on a burned-out house in Melrose, Mass., listed for $399,000. “This home is already pending, so it may be too late to buy,” he wrote in the caption alongside the blackened facade.
Where Zillow offers us a window into what is possible, the social media accounts that troll it provide us the chance to scoff at what never should have been. With absurdist humor, this small band of influencers sifts through hundreds of listings so we don’t have to, delivering the gems — the faux Texas castle with a requisite faux drawbridge; the Florida house of infinite closets that looks like someone’s personal Manhattan Mini Storage, and an entire house outfitted like a shrine to Coca-Cola.
Lose enough bidding wars, and eventually you realize you’re just clicking through images of a fantasy life that will never be yours. Or, as a “Saturday Night Live” sketch from last February put it, “The pleasure you once got from sex now comes from looking at other people’s houses.”
The Best of Zillow on Twitter in November 2020. “There have been plenty of guillotine jokes.”
The influencers insist it’s not all meanspirited. It may be fun to poke fun at someone’s carnival-slash-disco-themed Jersey Shore beach house, but there are also the homes that are time capsules, preserved relics reminding us that there was a moment in recent history (I’m talking to you, the ’90s) when ivy vines were completely acceptable kitchen décor.
“People do love carpet, like a ’70s home that hasn’t been touched. Those are like gold. I get really excited when I see one of those,” said Mr. Mezrahi, 39, the deputy director of social media at Buzzfeed, who launched Zillow Gone Wild in December 2020.