The $0 NYC Apartment and 4 Other Unbelievable Real Estate Deals

Central Park and upper east side in Manhattan.
cristianl / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Anyone who has lived in a major city like New York knows how expensive it can be. With the way the real estate market has changed in the last few years, you don’t hear many stories of unbelievable deals being found. Land prices and rental rates are higher than ever, so any savings could significantly impact your decision making regarding where you live.

However, there have been some unbelievable real estate deals made over the years and there’s a chance that opportunities still exist today. Could you imagine finding a $0 NYC apartment? We will look at this speculator deal and share some of the most unbelievable real estate deals of all time. 

Also see great places to find real estate deals this year.

The $0 NYC Apartment

Roy Fox lives inside King Manor in Jamaica, Queens, not too far from Manhattan. Fox has the entire third floor to himself, aside from the stuff that the manor needs to stash away. Fox hasn’t paid any rent in the 34 years he has worked as the caretaker for King Manor. He was recently featured on Cash Jordan’s YouTube channel, where he shared the unique story of how he found a free place to live. 

There are 23 houses in the historic house system, and someone decided to create private apartments in them instead of hiring 24-hour security to create visibility, according to Fox. Fox is listed on the official website as a “Rufus King Scholar” since he has become an expert on the subject of the man who originally resided in the home. Fox is known for welcoming guests and providing walking tours for those who are interested in the subject of Rufus King or the history of the home. 

Investing for Everyone

The Purchase of Manhattan Island

Historians often have dubbed this one of the most confusing real estate deals. Many have claimed that Manhattan was sold for $24 worth of beads (which is more like $1,000 in today’s currency), but this isn’t precisely accurate. The confusion isn’t over the amount paid for Manhattan; it’s about who had the right to sell it. 

In 1626, Peter Minuit of the Dutch West India Company purchased the island from natives who he thought owned the land. But, according to an updated account, they were a tribe (the Canarsees) from the area that later became known as Brooklyn; they merely hunted in part of Manhattan and were mistaken by Minuit as the owners of the entire area. The apparent real residents of the majority of the island were the Weckquaesgeeks (also known as the Manhattoes), who later fought the Dutch settlers over the island. So this deal was paid for in blood (on both sides) as well.

Seward’s Folly: The Purchase of Alaska

When Russian Tzar Alexander II realized that defending Alaska would be difficult in future battles, it led to the eventual sale. Not long after the Civil War concluded, U.S. Secretary of State William Seward and Russian minister Eduard de Stoeckl negotiated the purchase. In the States, it was referred to as Seward’s Folly by those who did not see the value in adding a frozen territory to America. Despite the backlash, the Senate ratified the treaty on April 9, 1867, and Alaska became an American territory. 

Alaska was acquired for $7.2 million, equivalent to about $145 million today. The United States was able to add 586,412 square miles to its land. Seward’s Folly soon paid off, with the start of the Alaska gold rush in 1898.

Investing for Everyone

126-Acre Raw Land Deal

On an episode of the “Bigger Pockets Best Deal Ever Show,” Brett Snodgrass came on to discuss the purchase of 126 acres in Southern Indiana back in 2007. The seller wanted $252,000 for this recreational Indiana property, and Snodgrass offered $151,000. Even though the original price was $2,000 per acre, the offer made was for $1,200 per acre, which doesn’t seem like much of a deal, but it led to colossal savings. 

What made this deal enticing? It was an estate sale with six children involved, and Snodgrass discovered that the deal came with more land than originally anticipated. Snodgrass had about $26,000 to put down on this property, but he didn’t have the total amount needed, so he contacted private lenders in his network. 

The original plan was to split the land and sell based on acres due to the way the road was split on the land. After surveying the land, it was discovered that the property came with bonus acres due to a previous error. This led to a $10,000 bonus upon closing. Then, the land was resold two months later, and Snodgrass made over $80,000 on this deal after expenses.

The Gadsden Purchase

The Gadsden Purchase was a deal made between the U.S. and Mexico in 1854. The U.S. paid $10 million to purchase around 30,000 square miles in the land that’s currently Arizona and New Mexico.

The U.S. wanted to build a southern rail network from El Paso, Texas, up to San Diego. However, the major issue was that the route would go through Mexican land.

Investing for Everyone

James Gadsden, who was the U.S. minister to Mexico, was able to negotiate with Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who was open to negotiations because he needed the resources to rebuild the Mexican army.

Closing Thoughts

With real estate prices through the roof, it would be great for anyone to stumble on deals as unbelievable as these. While some of these transactions are quite historic and involve large land masses, they are perhaps reminders that you can always find a good deal if you look hard enough.

More From GOBankingRates


See Today's Best
Banking Offers