Virginia listing sabotaged by squatter living in basement

Thomas Burke’s home came with a surprise, and buyers weren’t thrilled

National Weekend Edition /
Apr.April 30, 2022 12:00 PM
Virginia (Google Earth) Squatter, Basement

Virginia (Google Earth)

Nobody likes unexpected house guests, especially ones who refuse to leave.

One Fairfax, Virginia, homeowner is learning that the hard way, WUSA9 reports. After Thomas Burke listed his 3,500-square-foot home in mid-April asking $805,000, he was forced to take the property off the market because buyers discovered a squatter living in the basement.

“NO ACCESS to see lower level and Home sold AS IS, ONLY with acknowledgment that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place,” the unusual Zillow listing said.

Burke, perhaps overestimating his leverage in a hot housing market, also wrote he would only accept all-cash offers. He called the basement “partially finished.”

Burke, described by his real estate agent as an ill 79-year-old man, purchased the home for $319,000 in 1997. The squatter, identified just by the name Nelly, apparently moved in three years ago when she was cleaning the house and persuaded Burke to let her stay. She neither left nor paid rent.

Nelly told WUSA9 that she “helped rescue the house from a mess,” a claim corroborated to some extent by neighbors who said the lawn was mowed for the first time in ages after she moved in.

The brick and wood home is fronted by a modest porch with four two-story columns. For now, the squatter squats alone.

[WUSA9] — Joe Lovinger 





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