The Man with the $16 House

A house in the ’burbs, a swimming pool and something for nothing: squatter Ken Robinson’s living the dream.

  1. In late July, the untended, bean-shaped swimming pool at Ken Robinson's Flower Mound home — that is, the house in which he lives — was a stew pot of viscous green slime. On a stifling midsummer evening, when he walked out the back door to vacuum one of many layers of filth, the water level was nearly at the lip of the concrete. If someone were to jump in, algae-filled slop would have spilled onto the patio. He ran to the hose spigot at the side of the house and cut off the water. This was his first time caring for a pool; he had a lot to learn.

    As Robinson prepared to clean, a young couple knocked on the fence's weathered gate. They had driven more than an hour to see him after watching him on a Channel 8 news report a week earlier. His story had since gone viral: "A $330,000 home for $16? This is not a normal process," read Channel 8's headline. "How to Get a McMansion for $16" ABC News' said. Soon, Robinson was opening fan mail from as far away as China and Thailand.

    The week after...

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