Keller Williams realtor Nate Pentz stumbled upon the tragically comical Facebook request last weekend.
One of his Twin Cities real estate peers had a hot sales lead. But this prospective buyer was in the market for a unique kind of home. According to the realtor's Facebook post, the prospect preferred a house in the Anoka area.
The special request?
"I have a prepper needing a home with a bomb shelter," it said. "… And yes I'm serious."
Pentz, regrettably, had no such listings. Not in the Twin Cities' northern suburbs. Not anywhere.
Bomb shelters aren't a new phenomenon. The doomsday confines could be found in basements and backyards in zip codes across the American landscape during the Cold War. As tensions between communists and capitalists eased in the ensuing decades, fewer and fewer new homes needed a fallout shelter.
Occasionally there's a real estate listing nowadays that mentions a bomb shelter; they're more often found in places like Texas and California. Closer to home, Remax Results agent Petra Fager tells City Pages that she's aware of 1950s-era houses in Golden Valley that have them.
"I haven't had anyone ask for a bomb shelter," Fager says. "But I do know of a woman whose house in Golden Valley had one with its own separate entrance, and she would go down there when she wanted to be alone. Even though I haven't seen a house on the market with one, it's probably more common than we think. Maybe they've just been changed into workshops or wine cellars."
The threat of a Soviet nuke dropping out of the sky is almost three decades gone. Political upheaval, economic collapse, environmental ruin, zombie apocalypse: Just a few of the fears that might now drive a homeowner to seek a temporary existence below ground. But Fager says bomb shelters are so yesterday.
Of course, the unimaginative, everyday prepper can live comfortably in a subterranean bunker complete with fresh water and a generator powering Xbox One, when the day comes that the world is turned into a Mad Max movie. But for the discerning and fearful homebuyer, Fager says berm houses are truly the way to go.
Built above or partially below grade, a bermed house uses the earth to protect and insulate. Berm houses take one off the grid and into the land of self-sufficient survivalist living. They can be out of sight and out of mind where clean water springs from a well deep in the earth.
Why not both? If one is truly serious about having a legit chance at surviving a near-Apocalypse, a berm with a bomb shelter is the only way to go. And preferably, for some reason, in the far reaches of Anoka County.
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