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'Cheap Old Houses' unearths a Fonda charmer!


Iowa's Epique Realty is a familiar name throughout western Iowa and beyond. While many of their listings get plenty of inquiries, one pulled in an incredible number of calls recently—a century-old Victorian house in Fonda. The historic home suddenly became a national sensation with a surge of interest seemingly hitting overnight, leaving Holly Brink, managing broker of Epique Realty, wondering what sparked this unprecedented interest in the small-town home.

For weeks, the realtors at Epique Realty showcased the house, receiving the usual amount of interest, with a handful of inquiries about the property after the listing hit the market.

However, it wasn't long before, seemingly out of the blue, the office was inundated with hundreds of calls and inquiries about the property—nearly matching Fonda's population of just over 600 residents.


Unraveling the mystery

While Epique Realty was pleased with the interest, it began a mystery—what inspired the sudden interest in the property?

Brink notes that the mystery of the trending five-bedroom home was soon solved once agents discovered that the Fonda home had gone viral after being featured on the popular Instagram account "Cheap Old Houses." The account is partnered with the HGTV series by the same name.

The post about the Fonda house garnered over 38,000 likes and more than 700 comments, catapulting the listing into the spotlight.


Taking a chance –– but she never thought it would happen

Abby Goodell, a buyer for Brink Realty Team, says she submitted the property to various social media pages, including "Cheap Old Houses," shortly after putting the Victorian dream home on the market.

However, she never received a response or confirmation that the popular page had added the Fonda home to its account. But it did, significantly boosting the home's online visibility.


Fit for royalty ––Fonda style

The Victorian home is truly fit for royalty, with five bedrooms, two bathrooms and a butler's pantry. Much of the home includes original woodwork and features, making it a steal in this market. The house does boast updates such as stainless steel appliances. Other recent renovations include new bathroom flooring and updated plumbing.

The wrap-around porch is a favorite feature of the house, and the dual staircases are a rare find in homes on the market nowadays.

The property is described as unique for the area. The realty agents note that no other home in Fonda or the surrounding region compares.

"It's very unique for the area and even within several miles," Goodell says. "There is not a nice Victorian home with five bedrooms, a walk-up attic, a balcony—there is nothing like it nearby at all."

The house sits on an 8,400-square-foot lot and spans 2,470 square feet of living space, making it a unique and desirable property, notes the realtors.


“That porch is just so good!”

The "Cheap Old Houses" Instagram post showcased the house's undeniable charm, noting its slightly higher-than-usual listing price of $139,000. The post mentioned that the price seemed a bit much for a site called "Cheap Old Houses," but it described the house as irresistible due to its stunning porch.

The Insta post highlights the house's charm by mentioning the stockings on the staircase, even in June. The post acknowledged that the listing price was slightly higher than usual but emphasized the porch's appeal. It also described the home's spacious rooms, walk-up attic, and recent updates, such as a new furnace installed in 2020.

Many followers of the popular HGTV page note that the home looks "literally" move-in ready.

The comment section is a kick—especially for us NW Iowa residents who know the town of Fonda well.

"Why is this house so cheap?! It's literal perfection," one Insta user notes. "It looks like a tiny town," responded another follower.

"Fonda is kind of in the middle of nowhere and only has around 600 residents," responds another user. However, others had other thoughts about why such a grand home is selling for such a low price.

"Someone inevitably died there," notes one commenter. "I'll save a place at the dinner table for them for that price," responds another. However, other users knew some history of the home and were quick to share the info they knew.

"I grew up next door to that house. The town's newspaper owner and his sweet wife used to live there - Dale Garlock, an awesome small town one-man-show reporter who attended literally all of the high school sporting events," said one user. "After that several families have lived in the house. No deaths."

"Now I will spend the morning figuring out how to practice law in NJ while living in Iowa," another commenter says.

Others pulled out the classic film Beetle Juice references—a perfect fit for this home. "Ok, this attic needs a table with a miniature village and a portal to a resident spirit," one user said.

Over the years, several Iowa homes have appeared on the “Cheap Old Houses” social media, something to be seen with a quick glance at the Insta page. However, the Fonda house garnered less attention. With overwhelming interest, an offer is already pending on the property, Brink confirms.


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