What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Bonus Room - A Bomb Shelter!

Yesterday while inspecting a little bungalow in Northern Virginia, I ran across a bonus room - a bomb shelter!

Pulling up to this little bungalow, highly fenced, electronic gate with camera, speaker and key pad, and cameras all over the house and property, I was impressed by many things!

First, you aren't anywhere near this house without being watched by at least three cameras!

Second, it looks like a house right out of Versailles!  Or there abouts.

On the disappointing side, there was only garage space for 8 cars, but I digress.

You know the seller and my client, the buyer.  You know of them anyway.  Both are prominent people who are very much into security and self preservation.

The house has all the bells and whistles, and is quite large.

One thing I liked very much was the small media room because they have it decorated, intentionally, with Washington Redskin colors!

It only has three levels and individual seating for twelve, but still, I liked the colors!  It's probably fun to watch a game there!

There are two closets in the front.

Usually that means one is for DVD storage and the other for the electronic equipment.

The closet on the left is for storage, and LOTS of it!  But the electronics are elsewhere.

The closet on the right was most interesting.  You can see into it on the top photo.  Here I opened the door slightly to give you a tease.

It is, in fact, a bomb shelter!  And more!

I have never before run into such an elaborate place! 

It is essentially a big safe.  But it can be opened from outside or in.

And it is self contained.  It is loaded with beds, food, water, medical supplies, hygiene stuff, clothing - it is ready at a moment's notice.

There is special ventilation, communication and the ability to hear what is going on inside the house.  It is surrounded with very re-inforced, 4' thick concrete all around.

In the event of a war or disastrous bomb, it would house people for some time!  And probably safely!

It also provides a place for the family to run and hide, and be protected, if the house was invaded or under siege for any reason.  Closing the closet door might actually hide the fact that the room is there.

They even had the builder present for my inspection in case I had any questions.  And I had a bunch about this room!  Counting the ceramic floor tiles the room looks to be 22'x16'.  So it's not a small space!

My recommendation:  sometimes on inspections you run into things you have never seen before.  Ask questions!  And have some fun!  And given where I live and many of the clients I serve, you have to know this isn't the only house with this rare feature!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 35 commentsJay Markanich • May 12 2012 04:00AM

Comments

I would love to see this house. i have never seen a bomb shelter except in movies.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 6 years ago

Jay - cool! Thanks for posting the pix!

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) about 6 years ago

Thanks, Jay for sharing your very interesting experience.

 It would be interesting to see the appraisal on this property.  How much of the cost will actually add value?

Have a great weekend.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) about 6 years ago

Well, Gita, this was a great first example of one for me!  Pretty amazing.

I thought so too Carol.  I thought AR would enjoy it!

They are buying it for $5.2 mil, Roy, and in cash...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Wow, that sounds like a cool house and one I'd love to explore.  How fun to decorate.  I bet they have cool floors in that house.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 6 years ago

The entry way, Smithsonianesque in every regard, has marble on the floor and both sweeping staircases Debbie!  And things go uphill from there.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Absolutly over the top. How much did you charge for that inspection? Did you price by the square fooot or by the hour?

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 6 years ago

was it for sale? and for how much, you can't really put a price on surving a disaster...

Posted by Mark Loewenberg, KW 561-214-0370 (KW of the Palm Beaches) about 6 years ago

Hey Robert!  How you been boy!?  On those by the time, and that includes the time it takes to put together a report.  They didn't balk.  I would have NO idea what the square footage is!  The entry is about the size of my house!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Mark - yes!  With a sign and everything!  I agree about the surviving thing.  What can be more important?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

What fun to do an inspection on that house!  I am sure that the bomb shelter was only one of the "oohs" and "ahhhs" present in that house!

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) about 6 years ago
If the room with the bank lock was not subterranean, it was more likely a safe room. Safe as in protecting against intruders you go into that room. Bomb shelters are built underground and have special methods of bringinging in ventilation, etc. perhaps you are too young to remember getting under your school dek after the black shades were pulled down to await the atomic bomb.
Posted by Erv Fleishman, Luxury Prop Specialist Realty Associates (Realty Associates) about 6 years ago

Good morning Jay,

What, a bomb shelter is not the norm?...LOL

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) about 6 years ago

Ahhhh. it's ok but the screen is too small... :-)

Looks like it was owned by the mob... You could call that a safe room too right? Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 6 years ago

Jay, how cool is that!?! The things you see. I hope I never get so famaous that I need a panic room installed in my mansion's home theatre... :D

Posted by Peg Barcelo, The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC (Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369) about 6 years ago

Jay -- I've seen bomb shelters before but nothing so elaborate -- I think it was interesting that the seller or listing agent thought the builder should be there --- probably was a good idea to explain some of those things that were not as easily seen or known.   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 6 years ago

Jay, what a cool media room... You know I want one!

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 6 years ago

Jay,

I had found a bunker in a house once it was in the master bedroom floor. Not nearly as elaborate as yours.

That is fun though. Wish I was there on that inspection with you that would of been way too much fun.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Good afternoon Jay. Nice digs. I have always wanted a home theatre room for the grand kids but probably could get by with a little less glitter. lol. I have never had the pleasure of seeing a house like that inside. Nice...

Posted by Randy Ostrander, Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI (Lake and Lodge Realty LLC ) about 6 years ago

What a blast.  I'm sure you were "vetted" before you were hired.

Built in bomb shelters were popular back during the 50s.  Nothing like that one though.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 6 years ago

Jay - I was contracted to complete a home in the 70's that had been begun with a bomb shelter. The shelter was underground, outside the home and the entry was through a door in the concrete foundation. The entire home was built of granite and concrete with walls 16" thick. It is interesting to see such homes and I enjoyed my involvement with the one I completed. But it sounds as if yours was much more grand.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) about 6 years ago

You got that right Kathryn.  It was fun, but there sure was a lot to look at!

Erv - this room was WAY underground.  It was surrounded with 4-6' of very reinforced concrete all around.  That's why the builder was there.  The owner wanted me to understand some of what went into this house. 

And in school we had regular atomic bomb practices.  I look back on that today and think how naive we were.  I was born in 1953, so I remember the Cuban Missle Crisis vividly.

There were other things about this house, including another safe room, and more things I did not mention in the post!

You could Fred!  In more ways than one!  Boink in the eyes...

Peg - probably the last place invaders would look.  But it was there for another reason too, having to do with yard topography.

 

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Exactly right Michael.  And to let me know how well constructed this place is.  There are four water heaters - all 80 gallons!

The best part was it is Redskin colors Chris!  I made light about how small it was, but it was probably 35x25' or so.

Don - it was way fun!  They did not allow me to take pictures of the house, only small shots of problems so nothing could be distinguished on line.

Randy - you should have seen the popcorn maker in the media room!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Lenn - I was referred by the listing agent.  And probably vetted.  I don't even have traffic tickets, so they probably found me pretty clean!  And this little baby was built in 2008.

John - 800 amps, assisted by solar with two inverters, four 80 gallon water heaters and 6 furnaces.  This shelter was connected, but not inside the house.  And way underground.  And under something else.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Jay -  that must have been a nice inspection, looks like a lot of expensive items in the house too. You're right, there's no shame with asking questions when doing an inspection.

Posted by Eric Middleton, Professional Property Inspector (Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.) about 6 years ago

There was nothing small in this house Eric!  Two Sub Zero fridges each larger than my kitchen!  I asked a lot of questions during the inspection and by the time we were done the builder liked me a lot.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

That is an amazing photo, thank you for sharing it will all of us. I love our free enterprize system. This is what makes out country so great.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) about 6 years ago

This was a pretty spectacular room Joe.  And ready to use!  I bet they never have used it, but it is ready!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Morning Jay what a neat place.  It's a wonder they let you take pictures of the place.  Must be some important people enjoy the day

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 6 years ago

No James.  I had to only take close ups of problem spots, nothing that shows the house.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

I was in a home a few weeks a go with a similar home theater, but no bomb shelter. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 6 years ago

Sort of forgotten about this "blast from the past" architechtural feature.....a trip back in time....and history repeats itself.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 6 years ago

Jim - some people take those media rooms really seriously!  I am sure they add some feature value to the home.  By the way, I received a very nice letter from R.  She wants me to write back, which I will.  I got me a pen pal!

S&D - not a blast from the past!  This home was built in 2008.  These people are serious, seller and buyer, and perhaps in a position to know things you and I don't...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

Jay -- thank you for a peak into how the "other" folks live their lives.  I knew some folks who had converted the 1960's era bomb as a "root cellar" for their canned goods.  Sure made for more space to store food they put up.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 6 years ago

Steven - this room was stocked and laid out professionally.  They are ready for whatever!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 6 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments