A real-estate listing for a home with a stranger in the basement went viral, but the woman says the owner begged her to move in


The Google Street View of 3709 Prado Place in Fairfax, Virginia.

The Google Street View of 3709 Prado Place in Fairfax, Virginia.Google Maps

  • In April, a real-estate listing for a Virginia home that came with a basement tenant went viral.

  • The person living in the basement, known as Nelly, has shared her side of the story with WUSA9.

  • The woman said the former owner asked her to move in after she began cleaning his home.

A home that was for sale in Fairfax, Virginia, went viral in April for having a rent-free roommate living in the basement.

On Monday, the person residing in the basement of the now-sold home told her side of the story to Casey Nolen, a reporter for the local Fairfax news outlet WUSA9.

The property’s listing, posted on April 10, said the five-bedroom residence would be “sold AS IS ONLY with acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.” Potential buyers also weren’t able to tour the basement, according to the listing.

Outlets like the New York Post spoke to the listing agent and reported that the basement dweller was a squatter, who refused to leave the property. (The listing agent did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.)

But Nelly, the woman living in the basement, told WUSA9 that she isn’t a squatter.

Nelly — who asked WUSA9 to omit her last name from its report out of privacy concerns — said she met the former owner in 2017 when she began cleaning his house every other week. Shortly after, the duo formed a friendship and he asked her to move in, she said. (Insider was unable to reach Nelly and the former owner for comment, respectively.)

Nelly told WUSA9 that when she told him she couldn’t stay, he said: “No, Nelly — if you leave I’m going to die who’s going to take care of me?”

According to WUSA9, Nelly and her daughter moved in about a year later after she and her husband split. At that point, Nelly said she asked if she could move into the home with her daughter and they were welcomed.

“That day he gave me a big hug and said, ‘From today we will be a family,'” she told WUSA9, speaking about the former owner, who she said was like a father to her.

Nelly said that the former owner’s family had tried to kick her out before, but he begged her to stay.

According to WUSA9, with the owner sick and in the hospital, his family decided to sell the house. Nelly said the family didn’t give her much notice about their plans to sell, and that she, her daughter, and their dog intend to move out by Saturday.

“I want to say how much I love him. That’s all,” Nelly told WUSA9 of the former owner. “I don’t care about this mess.”

Nelly also told WUSA9 she wasn’t aware the listing had gone viral until friends let her know.

The listing got attention after being shared on Zillow Gone Wild, a popular social-media account that highlights unique real-estate listings.

Not only did the home’s listing lay out its unusual circumstances, but it also said the property needed some “TLC” and an estimated $25,000 worth of repairs.

Nevertheless, the home sold five days after hitting the market. According to WUSA9, the property was purchased for $805,000 — $5,000 over the asking price.

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