Meet the man buying a $1.5 million charred Tennessee mansion

Mike Thakur plans to document the home’s restoration on YouTube.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 3:39 PM EST
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) – An entrepreneur and content creator living in Houston, Texas, has purchased a Middle Tennessee mansion that was considered a total loss by fire officials after it went up in flames in September.

Mike Thakur, who is originally from the United Kingdom, signed a contract this week to purchase the mansion for an undisclosed amount of money, he said.

“We’re comfortable with what we paid,” Thakur said. “Of course, you always want it for less, right?”

The asking price on Zillow for the charred mansion was a shocking $1.5 million. The viral Zillow listing, which advertised the mansion and includes pictures of the home while it was ablaze in September, was not a marketing stunt, according to Paula Duvall, of Benchmark Realty, LLC.

The mansion, located on Winslow Road in Franklin, was heavily damaged in a fire in September.
The mansion, located on Winslow Road in Franklin, was heavily damaged in a fire in September.(Mike Thakur)

The listing reads: “TRAGIC TOTAL LOSS by FIRE, of a CLASSIC MANSION !!! Sold As is !! Rare opportunity to own approx 5 acres with 2 existing homes on this one site in Williamson County.”

The listing racked up millions of views and tens of thousands of likes, with news outlets from as far as England contacting the agent to learn more.

“It’s actually not a joke,” Duvall said last week, adding she wept as she took the photos of mansion on fire several months ago. “We wanted to be transparent about the history of the home. We wanted to show how grand it was and how grand it could be.”

The Williamson County Rescue Squad said in September the 25-year-old mansion on Winslow Road may have caught fire due to a small explosion. At least one person was hurt in the fire. Fire officials said then the home was likely considered a total loss.

However, Thakur said he was surprised the home didn’t have more damage.

How did Thakur find out about it?

Thakur said he and his wife were in the market for a new home before hearing about the fire-damaged mansion.

He said his wife was sent the Zillow listing early in the morning, and with an upcoming trip to Nashville planned, the couple decided they would check out the property. Thakur said they had no idea the home and its Zillow listing had gone viral.

“I was looking for a fixer-upper,” he said. “We knew it was severely damaged. I mean, if you see the pictures, you know.”

Mike Thakur and his family pose in front of what could be their new home.
Mike Thakur and his family pose in front of what could be their new home.(Mike Thakur)

But he saw potential in the home. So, he forwarded the listing to Sam Miller, a real estate agent and friend, and scheduled a viewing. When he arrived, Thakur said he was shocked at how much of the home wasn’t damaged.

“I was expecting the house to be a total loss, but that’s not the case at all,” he said. “The fire itself didn’t burn through the entire house … it’s more water damage than fire damage, and we’re looking to salvage it.”

What’s next?

The Thakur family plans to start documenting the mansion’s restoration on its YouTube channel. The plan is to renovate what’s left of the current 25-year-old home, rather than bulldoze it and start over.

“We’re going to make it more 2023 rather than 1997,” Thakur said, adding he wants the home to have a more open concept.

Restoration videos are expected to start being uploaded to YouTube in March. Thakur said he wants to show people the “good, the bad and the ugly” of home restoration.

“I want people to come along for the ride,” he said.

As far as what people can expect, Thakur isn’t quite sure yet, but he presumes the videos may go something like this: “Here’s how I get my smoke-covered chandelier clean.”

WSMV4 asked if the home actually has a smoke-covered chandelier.

Thakur confirmed. The smoky chandelier hangs over one of the home’s bathtubs.

“As I walked through the home with my wife and kids, we just knew this had the potential to be restored into something amazing for our family,” Thakur said. “We’ve dreamed of being able to live in a home where our kids could grow up and even stay on the property with us as they get married and start their own families. A house like this gives us the opportunity to build in a way that makes this possible, and the idea of salvaging what we can and reusing those pieces to rebuild something so beautiful just felt like the right thing to do.”