Home sells for $1.4 million – with a stranger living in the basement

·News Reporter
·3-min read

An ordinary looking real estate listing has bemused the masses thanks to a unique feature, but the quirky attribute has left some feeling a little spooked.

Many were shocked when the home in Fairfax, in the US state of Virginia, sold above asking price for a massive US$805,000 (A$1.4 million) — because it comes with a stranger living in the basement rent-free and they have no plans to leave.

The five-bedroom, four-bathroom property was purchased by an unnamed buyer on April 15, just three days after it was listed, according to local reports.

Only cash offers would be accepted, the listing said, but that wasn't the only condition.

The home in Virginia, USA, sold over the asking price and in addition to the unwanted tenant, it also needs a lot of work. Source: Zillow
The home in Virginia, USA, sold over the asking price and in addition to the unwanted tenant, it also needs a lot of work. Source: Zillow

Buying the home required "acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place".

What's more, potential buyers had "NO ACCESS to see lower level" ahead of buying the home.

Despite this, the 3,500-square-foot home, which was built in 1964, was snapped up in a matter of days.

Property agent Zinta K. Rodgers-Rickert said she received five cash offers on the home, and the quick sale was all thanks to "the strong market," NBC News reports.

While it might be good news for some, others weren't convinced.

The unusual listing was shared on the Instagram account Zillow Gone Wild where it garnered thousands of likes and comments — many of which questioned the unwanted tenant.

"800k for 5 bd, 4 ba and your own serial killer," one user commented.

"It’s like you’re buying a house and getting a person for free," another quipped.

"$800K, the toilet is broken, and there is a stranger in the basement. What a deal!!" someone else mocked

A fourth asked if the basement was haunted.

Busy living room with timber kitchen inside US home
The home boasts five bedrooms and four bathrooms, but people couldn't look past the stranger in the basement. Source: Zillow

Squatter 'taking advantage' of elderly owner

A neighbour reportedly told FOX5 news that the long-term squatter is a woman who lives in the basement with her young daughter.

The woman worked as a cleaner for the man who owns the home, the New York Post revealed.

Ms Rodgers-Rickert told the publication that she convinced him "she needed a place to stay".

He offered up his basement but she never left. This was three years ago.

"It is essentially an individual taking advantage of a senior who is ill and currently in the hospital. He will likely end up in hospice," Ms Rodger-Rickert said.

The owner of the house has been in hospital and no longer resides at the property, according to the New York Post.

Mouldy house and rotten deck with old furniture
The deck is rotten and the home is covered in mould. Source: Zillow

The man's family were hoping to sell the house before his passing.

According to Virginia law, it’s illegal to turn off utilities or deny a squatter access until a proper court order is issued. So the family resorted to selling the property with her still in it.

Property is 'liveable' but needs work, says agent

Luckily for her, the basement is a "walk-out with a bedroom, a full bathroom, storage and a living area" - so it's understandable why she'd want to stay.

As for the rest of the home, it's estimated to need roughly A$33,600 worth of renovations, although it's still "liveable", the property listing states.

The new owner will have to replace the rotting deck, which is not up to code, the mouldy windows, the broken dishwasher as well as carpet throughout the home.

The whole house also needs a lick of paint and the toilet in the powder room is currently "shut off'.

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