Meet the “Zillionaires” Who Bought Homes Off Zillow Gone Wild


For many millennials, surfing listings on Zillow is now a sort of pastime—this even includes celebrities like Vanessa Carlton. The turning point occurred in 2020, when browsing real estate online became a great escape from lockdown-induced cabin fever. This also happened to be what Samir Mezrahi, founder of Zillow Gone Wild, was doing back in December 2020. “It was prime pandemic time when every company said you could work from home,” he recalls. “There were a lot of people moving or thinking about moving.”

In his searches, Samir dredged the corners of Zillow, looking for one-of-a-kind houses: think grandiose mansions but also, bizarrely, American castles complete with drawbridges and moats, or houses with an indoor putting green on the first floor. The properties were eccentric, imaginative, or possibly just absurd. It got him thinking, why not show off Zillow’s wilder side?

Fast forward to the present and Zillow Gone Wild continues to boom with Samir posting once a day, which gains around one million views. Now, he doesn’t even have to comb Zillow anymore because fans will send him dozens of weird house listings every day. To meet demand across all of his channels (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook), he now does themed weekly posts, like Mansion Mondays, Midcentury Modern Wednesdays, and Castle Fridays.

The most viral posts include a home in Gilbert, Arizona, previously owned by former LA Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier, which came with a built-in aquarium, go-cart track, pool, spa, a hot tub, cold plunge, and more. Others include a home with a hockey rink, a property where future owners can swim with manatees, and this home that might as well straight out of Dune.

All the houses boast very specific design decisions. And yet most reactions have been celebratory, according to Samir. “People will leave comments like, ‘Who’s going to help me move into this house? Because this is my dream home,’” he says. Which is all well and good. But has anyone actually bought a home they found on a Zillow Gone Wild page? Apparently, many.

Meant to show off their store’s unique tiles, the original owners of this mid-mod home decked out every inch in tile, from each section of the fireplace to the columns, floors, and many of the home’s walls.

Photo: Drew Anthony Smith

Last year, Ashley Spencer was visiting family in Nebraska when she saw her dream home on Zillow Gone Wild. It was a two-story midcentury-modern in Minneapolis that was giving James Bond hideaway vibes. As lovers of mid-mod homes, she and her husband sprang into action, driving the five hours to see it in person. They put in a bid shortly after, and a month later they closed on the house.

“The house is the most unique midcentury home I’ve ever seen,” Ashley insists. It had originally been built for the architect’s sister and brother-in-law and was supposed to be a showroom for their business, a tile shop, so there’s tile everywhere, including a floor-to-ceiling mosaic. “The downstairs fireplace is completely checkerboard tile, but it’s all different shades of blues and pinks. It’s pretty wild-looking,” she says. One of the hallways has a built-in shuffleboard court. When friends and family visit, Ashley has no problem telling them the home was featured on Zillow Gone Wild. “It is a fun conversation starter,” she adds.


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