It might come as a surprise that people advertise homes for sale with bomb shelters.
Still, the Cold War relics do show up occasionally in real estate ads, and more so recently.
This week, Estately found one in its real estate database for sale in Washington — at Wishram in Klickitat County.
Along with being an “excellent weekend getaway” and “walking distance from the Amtrak station,” the home includes “the historic Wishram bomb shelter.”
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Marketing manager Ryan Nickum said Estately sees homes with bomb shelters come on the list nationally about once a week. Six have been listed in the past couple of days.
He noted that in the past, it seemed most home sellers with bomb shelters “didn’t mention it for fear of driving off buyers because it hasn’t been a popular home feature; but will that change?”
Does it add or subtract from a home’s value?
“It’s commonly thought that bomb shelters detract from the home, make it harder to sell,” Nickum responded via email. “So maybe it’s like a pool, in that it’s also made of concrete, some people really love them, but overall they make it harder to sell a home and you’re probably not going to get a return on your investment for it.
“However, unlike a pool, it just might save your life.”
We asked Estately whether the homes nationwide for sale with these shelters were midcentury, civil defense duck-and-cover relics.
Turns out that’s not always the case, according to Nickum, who reviewed the listings for us.
“Of the 53 homes for sale right now that have bomb shelters,” Nickum wrote, “nine of the homes were built before World War II (the bomb shelters were added later into existing basements or as part of a new garage typically.)”
Three with bomb shelters were built after World War II but before the 1950s (in 1947, 1947, 1949).
And “14 were built in the 1950s, 15 were built in the 1960s (11 were built in either 1962 and 1963), six in the 1970s, three in the 1980s, none in the 1990s, one in the 2000s, and two in the 2010s.”
No doubt there are more homes for sale with shelters than are listed publicly.
“People with these sorts of properties don’t really want anyone to know they have an underground fortress full of canned food and guns,” Nickum wrote.
“If they sell, they often do it via word of mouth or through survivalist forums and such.”
Nickum added: “We very rarely see them mentioned in newly built homes, but there is a booming market out there for survival shelters and bomb shelters.
“Survival shelters are more set up to ride out some sort of domestic disturbance or weather-related tragedy ... and sometimes it’s for zombies.”
From a marketing standpoint, Nickum offered these words of advice: “Given the news of the past week I would recommend anyone selling a home with a bomb shelter to advertise the fact that it has one.”