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Virginia home with a SQUATTER living in the basement is SOLD for $805,000

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A Fairfax, Virginia home with a squatter living in the basement has sold for $805,000 after its bizarre real estate listing warning of a ‘person(s) living in lower level with no lease’ went viral.

In 2019, Thomas Burke, 79, allowed a housekeeper to move into the basement of his five-bedroom, four-bathroom house because she needed a place to stay — but she never paid rent and has refused to leave.

Now hospitalized and likely needing hospice care in the future, Burke listed his home for sale earlier this month with a surprising caveat: that a future buyer accept a squatter living in the basement indefinitely. 

Perhaps more shocking than the fact that a buyer would accept these terms is that they did so for $5,000 above the asking price — and if they met the seller’s requirements, it was paid in cash.

A Fairfax, Virginia home with a squatter living in the basement has sold for $805,000 after its bizarre real estate listing warning of a 'person(s) living in lower level with no lease' went viral

A Fairfax, Virginia home with a squatter living in the basement has sold for $805,000 after its bizarre real estate listing warning of a ‘person(s) living in lower level with no lease’ went viral 

The listing warned any buyer would have 'NO ACCESS' to the home's basement, and would have to agree to have someone live there with no lease

The listing warned any buyer would have ‘NO ACCESS’ to the home’s basement, and would have to agree to have someone live there with no lease

The listing went viral earlier this month almost immedaitely after it went up thanks to its unusual description, and went into contract just three days later.

‘CASH OFFERS ONLY,’ New Jersey-based realty company RE/MAX Gateway wrote, stating the specific clause in the $800,000 purchase price — roughly $56,348 less than it’s valued.  

The ad warned: ‘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.’ 

According to property records, Burke has owned the 3,500-square-foot colonial just outside Washington, DC, since 1997, when he purchased it for $319,000 — roughly $576,000 today.

However, according to the listing agent for the property, in 2019 the senior allowed the unidentified woman whom he had hired to clean the home to stay at the residence after she told him she was homeless.

‘Three years ago, a woman was cleaning the senior owner’s house and she convinced him that she needed a place to stay,’ Zinta Rodger-Rickert, who works for RE/MAX Gateway, told the New York Post. ‘So he offered her the basement.’ 

In 2019, Thomas Burke, 79, allowed a housekeeper to move into the basement of his house because she needed a place to stay - but she never paid rent and has refused to leave

In 2019, Thomas Burke, 79, allowed a housekeeper to move into the basement of his house because she needed a place to stay – but she never paid rent and has refused to leave 

Burke's family is now rushing to sell the property before Burke, who is hospitalized and does not have a will, inevitably passes

Burke’s family is now rushing to sell the property before Burke, who is hospitalized and does not have a will, inevitably passes

Rodger-Rickert revealed that the act of kindness from Burke, who is currently hospitalized with an unidentified illness, soon backfired when the maid refused to leave.   

‘But then she never left,’ the realtor said. ‘And she does not pay rent.’ 

‘It is essentially an individual taking advantage of a senior who is ill and currently in the hospital,’ Rodger-Rickert said, adding that Burke’s prognosis is grim. ‘He will likely end up in hospice.’ 

A neigborn told Fox 5 DC that it is a mother and daughter living together in the basement of the home, while other neighbors told WUSA9 that the mother runs a leaning service and parks a her cleaning service car in front of the house.

Burke’s family aimed to sell the property before Burke, who does not have a will, inevitably passes, the agent said. She added that he family does not have the means to hire a lawyer to oversee the squatter’s eviction — which could take years in court to pull off.

Virginia law currently prohibits that family from barring the woman from the home or turning off its utilities, until a proper court order is issued. 

The listing showed photos of the property's basement - where the squatter is reportedly currently living - completely shuttered. The lower level is described as a 'walk-out basement with legal bedroom, full bath, storage, and large living area'

The listing showed photos of the property’s basement – where the squatter is reportedly currently living – completely shuttered. The lower level is described as a ‘walk-out basement with legal bedroom, full bath, storage, and large living area’

The family is now pressured to make the sale before Burke passes, taking a sum markedly less than other properties in the sought-after cul-de-sac locale

The family is now pressured to make the sale before Burke passes, taking a sum markedly less than other properties in the sought-after cul-de-sac locale 

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

The family is now pressured to make the sale before Burke passes, taking a sum markedly less than other properties in the sought-after cul-de-sac locale.

One listing for another five-bedroom colonial block’s away from Burke’s home asks for $999,900 for the 3,224 square-foot residence, which is smaller than the senior’s home. The property, like Burke’s, boasts four bathrooms.

Another ad asks $939,900 for a five-bed, four-bath estate in the neighborhood, while another post asked for $975,0005 for another five-bedroom home — this one even smaller, at 3,192 square-feet with three bathrooms.

The law currently assumes that a person who occupies the land of another does so with the latter’s consent — meaning it’s up to the trespasser to prove their claim to the home. And while it’s current unclear whether any sort of contract was drawn up between the two parties, Burke did give the squatter consent to live there, meaning whoever takes the home could be subject to a fierce legal battle. 

The home, built in 1964, sits on .46 acres and measures 3,548 square feet. 

The house also needs some serious work, with the listing admitting there are 'original windows, some with rot,' a broken dishwasher, and a sliding door that needs replacement

The house also needs some serious work, with the listing admitting there are 'original windows, some with rot,' a broken dishwasher, and a sliding door that needs replacement

The house also needs some serious work, with the listing admitting there are ‘original windows, some with rot,’ a broken dishwasher, and a sliding door that needs replacement

Agents made no effort to tidy up the home before taking photos for the listing, with recycling piled on the counter in the kitchen

Agents made no effort to tidy up the home before taking photos for the listing, with recycling piled on the counter in the kitchen

Zinta Rodger-Rickert, who works for realty company RE/MAX Gateway, says Burke's family does not have the means to hire a lawyer to oversee the squatter's eviction - which could take years in court to pull off

Zinta Rodger-Rickert, who works for realty company RE/MAX Gateway, says Burke’s family does not have the means to hire a lawyer to oversee the squatter’s eviction – which could take years in court to pull off

The house needs serious work, with the listing admitting there are ‘original windows, some with rot,’ a broken dishwasher, and a sliding door that needs replacement.

‘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,’ the listing continues.

The lower level — the one that is off-limits — is described as a ‘walk-out basement with legal bedroom, full bath, storage, and large living area.’

‘Home is livable but needs some TLC,’ the listing says, noting that in addition to fixing the window rot, sliding door, and deck surface, the carpet needs to be replaced on the main level, the exterior needs to be painted, and all three toilets need to be replaced.

While the current owner is not doing any of this before selling, they say they received one estimate that the work would cost about $25,000.

They also made no effort to tidy up the home before taking photos for the listing, with recycling piled on the counter in the kitchen and two bathrooms piled with toiletries and even dirty jeans.

'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,' the listing continues

‘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,’ the listing continues

'Home is livable but needs some TLC,' the listing says, noting that in addition to fixing the window rot, sliding door, and deck surface, the carpet needs to be replaced on the main level, the exterior needs to be painted, and all three toilets need to be replaced

‘Home is livable but needs some TLC,’ the listing says, noting that in addition to fixing the window rot, sliding door, and deck surface, the carpet needs to be replaced on the main level, the exterior needs to be painted, and all three toilets need to be replaced

While the current owner is not doing any of this before selling, they say they received one estimate that the work would cost about $25,000

While the current owner is not doing any of this before selling, they say they received one estimate that the work would cost about $25,000

While the current owner is not doing any of this before selling, they say they received one estimate that the work would cost about $25,000

Despite all of that, they insist it’s a ‘great opportunity to own in Mantua! Large spacious colonial on cul de sac street.’ 

Social media users think otherwise. The listing was shared by the Instagram account Zillow Gone Wild, where commenters expressed shock and horror.

‘There’s a squatter in the basement who won’t leave so they’ve decided to just flee,’ one speculated — correctly, it turns out.

‘Is the basement haunted? Feels like the basement is haunted,’ wrote another.

‘They really said Mystery Basement Goblin ™️ NOT sold separately,’ wrote a third, while a fourth quipped: ‘This is how they finally get rid of their 32yo deadbeat son.’ 

‘It’s like you’re buying a house and getting a person for free,’ one more joked.

Another commenter compared it to the Oscar-winning movie Parasite, while another pitched a possible Netflix show called Mystery Tenant.



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Bluewater grows its entertainment offer (GB)

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Landsec has announced the opening of a third ‘UK first’ attraction at Bluewater, Kent as the destination expands its partnership with Hangloose Adventures. Skydive, a free-fall experience not found anywhere else in Europe, and the UK’s only outdoor skydive machine has opened at the centre. It follows on from Europe’s biggest purpose-built giant swing, standing at 46-metre tall, which opened at Bluewater earlier this month.  

 

The announcement builds on a successful first year for Hangloose’s initial attraction Skywire, the longest zip wire in England, which has welcomed 30,000 guests since launching at Bluewater last June. Landsec will continue to work with Hangloose to expand its offering, with up to five more experiences set to open at the centre by 2024: a bungee tower, giant slide, clip and climb, waterdrop boulding wall, and Via Ferrata, a route-marked climb using metal rails and rungs embedded in Bluewater’s cliff walls.

 

Mark Warne, Brand Account Director F&B and Leisure at Landsec commented: “Delivering new experiences which are unique to Bluewater is central to our overall offer for guests. Hangloose’s innovative concept raises the bar when it comes to leisure attractions and draws guests from across the UK to Kent. By partnering with Hangloose to grow their business and create shared value, we’ll be able to give guests even more exciting experiences every time they visit.”

 

Brian Phelps, MD of Hangloose Adventure, said: “Since the beginning, we’ve worked closely with Landsec to grow our leisure concept and drive performance, putting us in a unique position where we’re able to expand our offer after only a year. We’ve enjoyed great success at Bluewater so far and are already thinking about how we can provide even bigger and better experiences in the future.”

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Author with immaculate house offers ten tips for a clean home

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Is this the secret to NEVER having to clean? Houseproud author claims she saves hours by sticking to a ten-step mantra – including banning chairs in bedrooms, wiping as you cook and only ironing shirts and dresses

  • UK writer Natali Juste Simmonds says she’s cracked keeping a home clean, by sticking to a few simple ground rules – and making sure family members comply
  • She shared top ten tips for keeping a home spotless with her 20,000 followers
  • Among them are ditching a toilet brush in the bathroom, not having a chair in the bedroom and cleaning  the kitchen while you cook

A houseproud author has revealed her ten essential tips for keeping a house spotless – saying simple ground rules for family members and cleaning as you go means never wasting time on dull chores. 

Writer Natali Juste Simmonds, who was born in the UK but now lives in the Netherlands, penned her top ways to keep on top of cleaning on Twitter, saying she has time to focus on her writing because she follows her own advice about dodging ‘thankless’ cleaning tasks. 

The author of a series of paranormal romance novels told her 20,000 followers on Twitter: ‘I know so many people who spend hours cleaning up after their family every day, but I refuse to. 

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UK writer Natali Juste Simmonds says she's cracked keeping a home clean, by sticking to a few simple ground rules - and making sure family members comply

UK writer Natali Juste Simmonds says she’s cracked keeping a home clean, by sticking to a few simple ground rules – and making sure family members comply

‘It’s boring and thankless. I prefer to write. Yet my house is spotless. Here are 10 ways to keep on top of s*** so you don’t have to clean for hours.’ 

Sharing her ‘tough love’ mantra, she said that the key to keeping a home clean is making sure every family member is engaged, saying learning how to tidy is a lifeskill that everyone needs – and no-one should get away with not doing it. 

Natali wrote: ‘Train everyone in the house to do the following (cats are the exception). After a while these habits will become routine, but you MUST stick to them and make sure no one is let off the hook.’ 

Among the tips are filling a bag with things that are in the wrong place at the end of every day and placing them back where they belong. 

Tidy home, tidy mind: The Netherlands-based writer shared her top ten tips for keeping a home spotless with her 20,000 followers on Twitter - saying that making sure everyone in the house pulls their weight is key (Pictured: An office area in Simmonds' home)

Tidy home, tidy mind: The Netherlands-based writer shared her top ten tips for keeping a home spotless with her 20,000 followers on Twitter – saying that making sure everyone in the house pulls their weight is key (Pictured: An office area in Simmonds’ home)

The writer also claims having a toilet brush doesn’t help keep a loo clean and dousing it with bleach instead is a more reliable way to ensure it’s sparkling. 

And getting used to wiping down mirrors after using a sink also helps, she claims, writing: ‘Keep a dry cloth next to the bathroom sink. Every time someone uses the taps or brushes their teeth, wipe down the counter and mirror. Takes literally 2 seconds. No cleaning toothpaste stains off counters.’

Teaching kids to pull their weight around the house is key to success, and equality reigns supreme in the Simmonds house. 

Among her top tips are ditching a toilet brush in the bathroom - using just bleach instead; not having a chair in the bedroom - to prevent people leaving clothes on them - and cleaning the kitchen while you cook (Pictured: Simmonds' very tidy office)

Among her top tips are ditching a toilet brush in the bathroom – using just bleach instead; not having a chair in the bedroom – to prevent people leaving clothes on them – and cleaning the kitchen while you cook (Pictured: Simmonds’ very tidy office)

‘If one kid lays the table, the other clears. If one hangs out the washing, the other collects. I don’t say “I need help with dinner” I say “who will chop the veg and who will wash up?” Its called a presumed close. I have no option, why should others in my house?’

The author, who has written books including the Indigo Chronicles trilogy and the Blood Web series, admits that having a cleaner is still useful…because they can help keep on top of areas where grime quickly builds, including fridges and ovens – but she suggests ditching a takeaway a week to cover the cost. 

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DIA Group closes 25 Minipreco stores in Portugal

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DIA Group has closed 25 Minipreco stores in Portugal, resulting in the loss of approximately 159 jobs. The retailer said the closures are the result of ‘the effort to adapt, modernise and balance the operations of DIA Portugal, with the aim of better preparing the company for current and future challenges arising from the current economic situation in the country,’ according to media reports. In the last two years, the multinational company operating in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina, accumulated losses of over €620m.

 

In Portugal, net sales reached €283.1m in the first half, 4.5% below the €296.3m generated in the same period last year, due to the reduction of stores and mobility restrictions. DIA Group confirmed its intention to continue to invest in Portugal. The company hopes to adjust its operation to the current reality in order to ensure the future success of the company.

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