In this month’s edition of Great Spaces, we showcase a not-so-ordinary home that features its very own natural bridge cavern.
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Listing Price: $875,000
Features: 2.56-acre property boasting a skylit kitchen, gazebo and picnic area with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Added Appeal: Private and secure access to natural limestone bridge cavern.
We’ve seen properties go viral due to their sheer size or over-the-top amenities, but what about a property that features an actual cave beneath it? Discovered in 2004 by geologists who noticed a significant amount of air blowing out of a hole in the ground, in 2016, a walkable tunnel was constructed to connect another 20-foot tunnel leading directly to the cave rooms below.
RISMedia spoke with Lori Largen of JBGoodwin REALTORS®, the property’s listing agent, who discussed how she marketed this unique property.
Joey Macari: What makes this a Great Space?
Lori Largen: The property, located at 24811 Creek Loop, is by far the most beautiful setting within the 7 Hills Ranch neighborhood. Situated on 2.56 acres, the park-like property is completely surrounded by wrought iron fencing. Boasting more than 110 trees, including Texas native Oaks and Mountain Laurels, all cacti and Cedar trees were removed from the property. In the Multiple Listing, I highlighted the cavern first. I wrote, “Do you love natural bridge caverns? If so, take a look at this one-of-a-kind park-like property. This must-see property boasts a cavern of its own. Over $87K was spent in excavating, lighting, electricity and improving a natural cavern on this lovely 2.56-acre property in the exclusive 7 Hills Ranch POA, surrounded by 3,500 acres of Nature Conservancy land. Several picturesque Oak, Magnolia and Mountain Laurel trees are completely surrounded by wrought iron fencing.”
JM: How does the property’s unique feature contribute to its value?
LL: When the owners and I came upon a selling price, I inquired with other agents and researched whether anyone had sold a property with a cavern on it—and nobody had. The value is intrinsic, as it is one of a kind. Although the sellers put over $87K into excavating the cavern and incorporating improvements such as electricity, lights and handrails, we couldn’t actually include that in the property’s square footage—or as a feature. We had the home appraised before a contract, and we could actually give additional value as a storm shelter. The property’s uniqueness of having a cavern is what most people loved.
JM: What innovative strategies did you use to market and sell this home?
LL: I marketed the park-like setting and the cavern everywhere. I also contacted the local news to see if they would feature it, but it wasn’t until it was posted on social media account Zillow Gone Wild that it took off. My phone was ringing off the hook, and I was getting emails from people wanting to do a story on it. While we were already under contract when it went viral, I got five back-up offers for this piece of property. My clients were astounded, but very pleased.
JM: How did you attract potential buyers?
LL: By advertising the property with pictures of the cavern and yard. Of course, pictures of the home were included. Since it was a high price point, I paid to have the home professionally cleaned to ease the stress of my clients. In addition to hosting an open house just for REALTORS® where I showed off the cave, I also hosted an additional eight open houses with tours of the cavern. The cavern was only shown to those who were fully qualified or had proof of funds. I would meet the buyer’s agent and the potential buyer at the house to show them the cavern, as we didn’t want just anyone going down to the cavern by themselves. As for the open houses, I enlisted the help of other REALTORS® to co-host with me so that when someone came, I could show the cavern and the other REALTOR® could remain in the house.
JM: How did you successfully execute the transaction?
LL: I live in the same neighborhood, so I know the area, schools, prices, etc. The clients were acquaintances of mine, and we quickly became good friends during the process of selling their home. We live one mile from the well-known Natural Bridge Caverns site, so we emphasized that as well. Since I lived so close to the listing, I could dedicate all my time to showing the property and negotiating with the buyer’s agent as far as price and repairs.
JM: What advice would you give agents looking to get into niche sectors of real estate?
LL: Emphasize the uniqueness. The home was nice, but what made it stand out was the cavern and the property. Anytime I have a unique home or property for sale, I will list it on Zillow Gone Wild and other social media platforms. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local news stations and newspapers, as well.
For more information, please visit https://www.jbgoodwin.com.