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News: How to buy a house with a single paperclip

A canny Canadian has made his dream of home ownership a reality by harnessing the awesome power of trading.  In just 14 moves made in a 12 month period, Kyle MacDonald from Montreal has managed to convert a red paper clip which sat on his desk next to his computer into the ownership of a three-bedroom house in the hamlet of Kipling, Saskatchewan.

MacDonald, 26, started out on July 12, 2005 by making on online offer to swap the oversized paper clip for something a little bigger and better.  Two women from Vancouver jumped at the chance, exchanging a wooden fish pen one of them had found during a camping trip.

This fish-shaped pen was apparently of value to a US sculptor in Seattle who snapped it up in return for a hand-made ceramic doorknob with an odd-looking face on it.

The doorknob was then traded for an outdoor camping stove which took the fancy of a US marine sergeant in California who offered MacDonald a 1,000-watt portable electric generator in exchange.

Several trades later and shrewd MacDonald had got himself an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper.

Not just any snow globe...

Fans of MacDonald's online blog thought he'd finally lost his marbles when he chose to swap the rock star's invitation for a tiny snow globe.

One fan described it as "the worst trade that I have ever heard of, bar none", on MacDonald's website.  Another fan wrote "I think a little piece of me just died inside".

However, this was not just any snow globe and was a piece of vintage memorabilia of the 80s rock group Kiss.  Acquiring this item proved to be a smart move when Hollywood director Corbin Bernsen exchanged it for a paid role in his new film 'Donna on Demand' which will begin filming in September.  Macdonald said that the director just happens to be "one of the biggest snow globe collectors on the planet", owning 6,500 of them.

That tricky first rung of the property ladder

Today, a year after his quest began, MacDonald will finally sign the deeds to his first home - an unfurnished, two-storey house in the agricultural hamlet of Kipling in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan.  The town's mayor agreed to swap the home for MacDonald's movie role in the hope that holding auditions for the part will boost the town's profile.

MacDonald said: "The idea was based on a child's game called 'Bigger and Better'.  You start with something small and trade around the neighbourhood, knocking on doors.  I think I may be the first to try it online."

MacDonald added: "My girlfriend and I paid rent for an apartment in Montreal and I'd always wanted to own my own house and this is how I decided to go about it."

MacDonald says he and his girlfriend will move in next month and hold "the biggest house party ever" on the first weekend in September, to which everyone is invited.

All goes to show, one man's junk is another man's treasure...

14 trades to home ownership

  1. An oversized red paper clip
  2. A fish-shaped wooden pen
  3. A novelty door knob
  4. A camping stove
  5. A generator
  6. A keg of beer and a neon sign
  7. A snowmobile
  8. A trip to Yahk, Canada
  9. A van
  10. A recording contract
  11. A year in a house in Phoenix, Arizona rent-free
  12. An afternoon with Alice Cooper
  13. A Kiss snow globe
  14. A 3-bed house in Saskatchewan

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