House Sells for a Near-Million Dollars, Comes With a Stranger Who Refuses to Leave

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The housing market’s insane, so you have to get something whenever the getting’s good.

Maybe that’s why a home in Fairfax, Virginia recently sold despite a potentially transaction-killing quirk.


As reported by NBC News, the 3,500-square-foot five-bedroom, four-bath abode was built in 1964.

Thirty-three years later, it sold for $319,000.

And on April 15th, it went for a whopping $805,000.

After the deed was done, five more cash offers followed.

Most notable about the house: It comes with someone already living in it.

A stranger, in the basement.

The “Home Details” on sound sufficiently fine. Sort of:

Great opportunity to own in Mantua! Large, spacious colonial on cul de sac street. Big kitchen with door to deck area — renovated years back with 42-inch cabinets, vinyl floor, and Formica countertops. Original windows, some with rot. Sliding door from family room would require replacement. Dishwasher not working. Powder room toilet is shut off, and it leaks in lower level. Deck supports appear to be in good shape, not to today’s code, and upper decking boards are in poor shape. Lower level is a walk-out basement with legal bedroom, full bath, storage, and large living area. Paint is neutral throughout and in good condition. One estimate to replace existing carpet on main level (bedrooms in [upper level] have wood floors), improve deck surface, replace sliding door, fix wood rot around windows, paint exterior trim as needed, replace three toilets and one light came in around $25K.

In short: “Home is livable but needs some TLC.”

But then:

CASH OFFERS ONLY NO ACCESS to see lower level and Home sold AS IS ONLY with acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.



The listing made its way onto the Zillow Gone Wild Instagram account, spawning 35,000 likes.

Among the comments:

“Is the basement haunted? Feels like the basement is haunted.”


“800k for five-bedroom, four-bath and your own serial killer.”

One user looked on the bright side:

“It’s like you’re buying a house and getting a person for free.”

Who in the world would sell a house with a human being still stuck inside?

In a piece written before any contract was signed, the New York Post offered insight:

Zinta Rodger-Rickert, the listing agent with RE/MAX Gateway, told The Post this was a case of a squatter who refuses to leave — and is taking advantage of an elderly sick man.

“Three years ago, a woman was cleaning the senior owner’s house and she convinced him that she needed a place to stay,” Rodger-Rickert said. “So he offered her the basement, but then she never left. And she does not pay rent.”

“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,” Rodger-Rickert added.

The complimentary roommate refuses to retreat:

[Seller Thomas Burke], now 79, does not have a will, and Rodger-Rickert told The Post that his family is hoping to sell the home before he passes away. (They don’t have the resources to hire a lawyer to work on the squatter’s eviction.)

Does that entice you to the tune of three-quarters+ of a million dollars?


Here’s more:

Virginia law states that it’s illegal to turn off utilities or deny her access until a proper court order is issued.

“We are hoping the next owner will want to deal with that process,” Rodger-Rickert added.

Sounds like a dream deal.

The home was put under contract a mere three days after hitting the market.



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