Mansion sells for $119K -- after 'bizarre' questions, bids from everywhere

A 5,500-squarefoot home is for sale for $137,900 in South Dakota. But there's a catch, check it out. USA TODAY

Rick Shippy is really glad to get that mansion off his hands.

After five months on the market, hundreds of phone calls from all over the U.S. and around the globe, sight-unseen cash offers, bizarre questions and nearly daily emails that just won't stop, It's gone.

The mansion in Winner, S.D., population 2,900, just sold to a local buyer. David and Tessa Howard, managers of the Winner airport, bought it for about $119,000 after deals with two previous buyers fell through. That's thousands of dollars less than the listing price of $137,900.

"It was five crazy months," Shippy said.

PHOTOS: Massive home on market for $137K

Shippy owns Shippy Realty in Winner with his wife, Lin. They listed the century-old, five-bedroom, four-bathroom house on an unremarkable weekday in January.

By that Saturday, it had taken over their lives.

"We had more activity on that house than we‘ve had in the nine years we've been in business, of all of our properties put together," Shippy said.

More: Mansion in Winner priced to sell at $137,900.

And those questions about Winner and South Dakota? Shippy is tired of them.

"I could absolutely write a book with the stupid comments people made. It was just bizarre," he said.

A small sample:

  • "Do they have gravel on the streets in winter, or do they have dirt trails?" (No, Winner has paved roads.)
  • "Do we have to bus our children to Rapid City, Sioux Falls or Pierre to get to school?" (No, Winner has schools.)
  • "Do you still worry about Indians raiding?" (No, and they're called Native Americans now, Shippy informed them.)
  • "Do you have cops and law enforcement in winter?" (Yes, but they ride on horses and carry six-shooters, said an exasperated Shippy. The caller believed him.)

"I’m like, 'Where are you people from exactly?' " Shippy said. "We’re not at the end of the earth."

Shippy started telling people who offered cash for the mansion, sight unseen, that they'd have to visit the place first before he'd consider their offer.

Offers from two potential buyers fell through. But then a local buyer stepped up. A week later, the deal was done.

Shippy couldn't be more pleased the much ballyhooed mansion is sold.

"It’s a quite a relief," he said. "It’s like any house, it’s fun in the beginning."

The buyer

David and Tessa Howard didn't think they'd get a chance to buy what is now the most famous house in Winner.

The two live in a modular house at the Winner airport, which they manage. David Howard is a flight instructor.

It didn't take long after the mansion was put on the market for it to become intertwined with what people know about Winner, Howard said.

Everyone from a supplier in Minnesota to a paint seller in Rapid City brought up the mansion when Howard mentioned Winner.

"Everybody's heard about this house," he said. "It's an interesting phenomenon. I'm not quite sure what to attribute everything to."

He said the couple kept tabs on the house through Shippy and heard the saga of global interest, people seeking to buy the place, but genuine offers falling through.

"We really thought it was sold, for sure to the last buyer he had, and even the previous buyers he had," Howard said.

Then they got their chance.

Howard said he plans to update the plumbing, some windows and do some painting. But at the moment, the couple plan to keep living at their modular home at the airport. They have no plans to move to the mansion.

"At this point, we don't know what we're going to do with it," he said. "Hopefully it's going to be something that benefits the community in some way, either as a rental or as a nicer house back on the market. We don't even know that yet."

The Winner mansion going back on the market? Look out, Howards. Get ready for the phone calls.

On the other end of the spectrum:

PHOTOS: Inside the most expensive home in America

Buckhead mega-mansion used in movies, TV shows can be yours for $4.75M

This Georgia mansion was built for $40 million, but sold for $8.8 million last year:

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