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How a TikToker traded her way from a bobby pin to her dream house

Demi Skipper, 30, made her 28th and final exchange: a solar-powered trailer worth $40,000 for a house near Nashville, Tennessee.
A woman in jeans and a brown sweater stands in front of a small teal ranch home with brown shutters.
Demi Skipper in front of her new house.Courtesy Demi Skipper
/ Source: NBC News

It began with a bobby pin.

In May of 2020, Demi Skipper, offered up a lone hair accessory for trade on Craigslist. Then, eventually, the trades got bigger, ranging from a small diamond necklace to a car.

It was all part of the 30-year-old TikToker’s “Trade Me Project,” which ultimately led to trading her way into a new home. At the end of November, she made her 28th and final exchange: a solar-powered trailer for a house near Nashville, Tennessee.

Skipper, who lives in San Francisco, California, documented her entire journey on her TikTok account @Trademeproject, which has since amassed about 5 million followers.

“It’s been so surreal,” Skipper told NBC News. “Working towards something every day for more than a year and half, and now I wake up and think, ‘Is this actually real? Is this actually my house?’”

Skipper’s mission was modeled after Kyle MacDonald, who in 2006 traded a red paperclip all the way to a house.

During her last exchange before the house, Skipper drew criticism from her followers for trading three tractors for a Chipotle celebrity card.

Many of her followers deemed it the worst trade she has made — with some noting that it would be unlikely for her to find a potential suitor who wanted the card. As luck would have it, Skipper did find someone.

In May, a woman who Skipper describes as “Chipotle’s biggest fan” emailed the TikToker, saying she wanted to trade an off-the-grid trailer worth about $40,000 for the card, she said.

It took about six months to settle some issues to get the trailer over the border, Skipper said. But in early November, she finally made the drive from San Francisco to the U.S.-Canada border to pick it up.

By late November, Skipper received a message from a house flipper in Tennessee who had been following her journey and was interested in trading a house for the trailer.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Skipper finally received the keys to her dream house.

In a TikTok video documenting the big reveal, Skipper is seen running up to her brand new house and breaking out in tears in her front yard.

“Oh my god,” she says in the video. “I can’t believe this. A year and a half of trading a single bobby pin until I get a house, and I’ve done it.”

“And look at it, this just shows you — it’s possible!”

According to Skipper, the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“People really have doubted me, and I certainly did at times during the journey too,” she said. “But I learned a lot about myself in the process, and I was really amazed by my ability to stick with it.”What’s next? In January 2022, Skipper and her husband are planning to move from California to Tennessee to renovate their new home — and go through the entire journey, once again.

“I want to donate the next house I trade to a person who needs it, no mortgage, no rental,” she said. “There’s been a couple of people who have done this once, but no one’s crazy enough to do it twice.”