News & Politics  |  Real Estate

This $800K House in Fairfax Will Go Quickly. It Comes With a Person in the Basement.

Despite an "Ozark"-like scenario, there's already one offer, says the listing agent.

Photo courtesy Zinta K. Rodgers-Rickert.

The five-bedroom house on Prado Place in Fairfax’s Mantua area has a great location—a Trader Joe’s and a Home Depot are close by—and a tempting price, especially for someone with a healthy budget for reno: It’s listed for only $800,000 in an area where many sales top the $1M mark.

The owners want only cash offers, and the home, which needs some work, is sold as is. That’s not uncommon in the still-hot Washington market, but there is one major quirk, per the listing, which has landed the home on popular Instagram account Zillow Gone Wild: “home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.” You can’t see the lower level, the listing says.

Reached by phone, listing agent Zinta K. Rodgers-Rickert of Zinta & Rob and the Red Truck Realty Group Re/Max Gateway says the basement resident is someone who “weaseled her way in” and has been there for about three years, with perhaps another person living with her. The tenants, for lack of a better word, have no lease and aren’t paying rent. The current owners are just not “the type that can financially afford or emotionally deal with the eviction,” Rodgers-Rickert says.

Nevertheless, the house already has one offer, and Rodgers-Rickert expects two more by the end of Tuesday. It’s actually quite a good opportunity—$100K in renovation to replace a leaking toilet and some window frame rot, plus a questionable deck, rip out some carpet to expose the hardwood floors underneath, update the kitchen, and you’re adding considerably more value before you move in.

Of course, Rodgers-Rickert says, you’ll also require the “patience to deal with an eviction.” Rodgers-Rickert has drawn a picture of the basement for one interested party. It’s “really in no worse shape than what they’ve seen upstairs,” she says. 

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Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.