House flippers can’t unload New York castle

Jennifer Karmon

Oh, you're going to love this.

It seems that a couple of house flippers bought a New York castle back in 2005, thinking they could make a quick buck. (Actually, the plan was to live there for two years, make a million dollars and buy a brownstone.) It had worked for them before, the New York Times reports: Susan and Manfred Phemister "had been flipping real estate in zip-zip fashion since the mid-1990s, and had made a killing each time."

So in 2005, they picked up a 36,000-square-foot castle in Amsterdam, N.Y., for $800,000. (Click here or on either photo to go to a slideshow.)

Two years and $400,000 in renovations later, they put it on the market for $2 million.

And they haven't unloaded it yet.

It's now listed at $895,000. (Click here to go to the listing on Yahoo! Homes. You can also check out the Sotheby's real estate listing at

The Phemister family includes three children, ages 12, 11 and 9, who have friends over to play dodge ball ... in the 10,000-square-foot gym.

There's a locker room, too. And two turrets, and two kitchens, and two bed-and-breakfast suites. (The Phemisters bring in $60,000 a year from the Amsterdam Castle B&B, they tell the Times.)

The home, built in 1894 as a National Guard armory, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Phemisters won a preservation award for their work on it. Each of their previous projects has likewise been "a historic renovation in a neighborhood in need, as opposed to a greedy flip," Susan Phemister told Yahoo! Homes through her agent.

The New York Times story -- headlined "Their Home Is a Castle, Like It or Not" -- contains many more details and pictures.

[Editor's note, 9:10 a.m. Pacific: It looks like the video we'd embedded earlier has been removed from YouTube. We'll put another one in if/when we get it, but in the meantime, have we mentioned the many-photo slideshow you can check out?]