A home in Fairfax, Virginia, sold this month above the asking price even though it comes with an unusual feature … a stranger living in the basement.
The five-bedroom, four-bathroom house sold for $805,000 to an unnamed buyer on April 15, public records show. Listing agent Zinta K. Rodgers-Rickert, of RE/MAX Gateway, said the home received five cash offers and closed less than a week after it was listed.
The listing generated headlines in noting that buying the home required “acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.”
“NO ACCESS to see lower level,” the listing added.
Two days after the home was listed, the Instagram account Zillow Gone Wild posted about it, noting that it came with “a specific clause in the purchase price.” The post garnered 35,000 likes and comments from users speculating about the identity of the basement tenant and poking fun at the unusual circumstances of the sale.
“800k for 5 bd, 4 ba and your own serial killer,” a user commented.
“Is the basement haunted? Feels like the basement is haunted,” another wrote.
Before the sale closed, Rodgers-Rickert told the New York Post that the seller was an elderly man who was ill in the hospital and who had offered the basement dweller a place to stay three years ago after she cleaned his home and “convinced him that she needed a place to stay.”
“So he offered her the basement, but then she never left. And she does not pay rent,” Rodgers-Rickert added.
The agent told the Post that the man’s family was hoping to sell the home before he died because he didn’t have a will and that they didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer to work on the eviction.
Rodgers-Rickert declined to comment to NBC News on the circumstances of the seller or the basement dweller.
A neighbor told WTTG-TV that a woman and her daughter live in the basement. The listing describes the lower level as a “walk out basement” with a “legal bedroom, full bath, storage and large living area.”
The 3,500-square-foot home was built in 1964 and sold for $319,000 in 1997, public records show.
The listing notes that the home needs work, estimating that required repairs and replacements would cost $25,000.
“Home is livable but needs some TLC,” it reads.
Photos show the kitchen counter strewn with empty bottles, deteriorating outdoor furniture on the deck and rotting window frames.
To claim squatter’s rights in Virginia, a person has to live in a place for 15 years and not hide the fact that they’re living there, according to WUSA-TV.
Rodgers-Rickert told NBC News she attributes the quick sale to “the strong market.”
“The limited inventory of homes in N. VA continues to fuel the market and makes all sales possible when priced right,” she wrote in a text.