Curt and Deborah Sleeper find themselves in a predicament millions of other Americans find themselves in these days: they own a house in which the mortgage payment is about to reset and they can’t afford it. Except the Sleepers’ house isn’t just any old house. It’s a cave, and a pretty cool one at that. Boing Boing ran a post on the cave  house last Friday. Apparently, it’s listed for sale on eBay as “Unique Cave Home over 15,000 sf. Beautiful setting — 2.8 acres, commerical or residential.” Starting bid is $300,000.

cave-house-bathroomI can see the cave house property on Zillow (click Bird’s Eye View & Map, drag the map to the right and then click the “West” map orientation) and am simply amazed of the beauty that unfolds within this cave house.  Some details:

  • 17,000 square foot house in Festus, MO.
  • 3 “chambers” — a front chamber that contains three bedrooms; a middle chamber that holds the laundry room, storage, and a spare bath, and the back chamber that still has the stage where Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, Ike and Tina Turner, the MC5 and many other bands performed.
  • 2.8 scenic, partially wooded acres. Very private, although very close to town, just several blocks from shopping, dining, and other conveniences.
  • Energy efficiency: Geothermal and passive solar keep the home comfortable year-round without a furnace or air conditioning.
  • Kitchen: The kitchen is the crowning jewel of the house, with nearly 400 square feet and a floor plan that lends itself well to cooking for one person, two, or parties of a hundred guests. Some of the features include a customizable Jenn-Air cook top, two convection ovens, Kitchen-Aid triple sink, large island with secondary sink and breakfast bar, and granite tile countertops.
  • Water features: The property has at least three groundwater springs, one accessible via a cistern in the middle chamber of the cave, one that yields an average of 100 gallons a day that drips into an indoor pond in the front chamber, and one near the woods that creates a shallow pond. During heavy rain, the property gets as many as fourteen beautiful waterfalls from the cliffs.

The Sleepers have less than 90 days to come up with a solution.  We’ll keep you posted.

> See the Caveland website

See more Festus, MO real estate

  • florida foreclosure help

    It’s really crazy to find these homes, and a shame that the owner is trying to sell.

    With these extremely custom homes, it’s almost impossible to recoup all the costs that went into them. A year or so ago there was the home with the entire bomb shelter underneath it that the guy had put $1 million+ into, and never got back out.

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  • Amy B

    wouldn’t it be dark in there?

  • Caterina

    Curt’s best option would be to seek out private financing. Look for area investors who normally buy real estate contracts (owner financing instruments) and ask them if they’d be interested in doing a mortgage of sorts. If the investor wasn’t personally interested, perhaps he/she could offer a referral to someone who would. I read the story, and it sounds as though they have an enormous investment in the place and hopefully some equity as a result. There are many strikes against him for the typical conforming loan, but it doesn’t mean financing is impossible. Further, he could ask for an extension on the balloon payment or perhaps seek a temporary injuction. Judges tend to lean toward the interest of the homeowner, particularly when there is a significant equity position.

  • David Summers

    I would be willing to talk with you about private lending at a fair rate if you are interested,
    You can call me at
    813 477 0673


  • Local Investor

    I live 25 minutes away from the home outside of St Louis, and flipped when I saw the eBay auction and pictures of the home. I loved the idea of living in a 17,000 sq ft cave, and it looked like it was really nice.

    My impression of the place today was much different. The grounds were in terrible condition, scrap metal, junk, broke rusted vehicles, and very poorly taken care of.

    The home itself wasnt professionally built, but put together by Mr Sleeper and his freinds. It definately showed. The edges of the front of the home were sealed with liquid insulation and drooling down the front of the home.

    Mr Sleeper didnt seem as humble as he was on the news spot. When I asked what he wanted to close on the home, he said his magic number would be $1 Million. This coming from a man that invested around 20% that amount, and is close to loosing everything.

    His 17,000 sq ft home, is actually only 5,000 sq ft (so he says) unfinished, with the remaing 12,000 or so being just a tunnel traveling down the cave and unlivable.

    A mortgage will never be acheived on the place, which is his real issue. The fact is, a home like this will never pass inspection with huge issues of humidity, and gases that the cave emmits.

    Whomever is seriously considering this place, had better be ready to drop some major money on controlling all of the issues that come with a cave, before it can pass an inspection. Which from Mr Sleeper, also consists of a $50,000 cost to shock test the property. Not to mention the fact, that the new owner will need to be paying with cash.

    I hope him the best, and that his family doesnt loose their home. But the reality is, he only needs $80,000 or so to keep it, and I’m not sure the property is worth that much.

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  • Doug Deaton

    I really hate to see you give up on your unique home. Why not turn it into a Bed and Breakfast. You could organize tours of the area or just help people who wanted to stay several days plan what they wanted to see and do. This would give you an additional income and allow you to write off many of your expenses on your income tax. Get a little creative and you can have your house and live in it to. Good luck.

  • Curtis Sleeper

    The “Local Investor” was apparently offended when he arrived unanounced while we were cleaning our cave home out and had various piles outside. Recycle, Steel, and trash.

    He was typical and rude. He wanted to buy the note rent back to us and scam the equity. He had no intention of buying. He has now made a personal mission to slam my house for no reason.

    Perhaps because I would not play his game. I hate to have to keep responding to him as he wanders the web making havoc on a simple story.

    Note, he was never even allowed in my house. Nor will he be.

  • Curtis Sleeper

    Oh yea, by the way as further evidence of this gents intents.

    We already have an occupancy permitt. Safety checks and fully tested and passed Radon checks. Also the cave was used from 1960 to 1985 as a roller skateing park. Hardly “unlivable”

    A friend once told me that all you have to do is raise your head above ground and someone will take a shot at it.

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  • Loan Modification

    Whoa! By far one of the most unique and interesting homes I think I’ve ever seen. I wish the Sleepers the best of luck in saving their home from foreclosure!

  • http://www.Caveland.US Caveman

    My wife and I are thrilled that we have achieved long term financing on our home. IE : No F-Word.

    Curt Sleeper

  • aynur


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  • 100% Mortgage

    What a totally unusual house and brilliant idea!

  • Donald Mahoney

    Curt and Deborah have saved their house, no thanks to people like “Local Investor” who wrote a long and uninformed article about the house. I have enjoyed visiting the house both before the crisis and afterward. No, it is not “finished,” there is still thousands of feet of space to be put to use, with many possibilities. As to its being professionally built, it is as professionally built as almost any house I have known. One of his “friends” who helped build it spent a month with me in New York, rebuilding a country house there. I recently got a thank you note from the woman who bought it, saying how happy she was in it. Although “Local Investor” may not know it, there are many of us who have been building and rebuilding houses for many years. The cave house is beautiful, and if you are ever lucky enough to stay there you will also eat some of the best food you have ever eaten in your life. It would appear that the letter was written from someone other than had Curt and Deborah’s best interests at heart, and was also completely misinformed about the nature of the house itself, what was inside, what was being done with it, and the quality that runs through the house. The house is built with an emphasis on peace and tranquility, and it has been achieved with great success. Were I not 1,500 miles away I would probably be there more often. Anyway, Curt and Deborah are fine, as friends and family turned out in force to help them in their hour of need, as they do all the time for others (Curt is very active helping American veterans get what they need and deserve, and makes no money for his efforts.) So God bless them, I’m very happy with their success in finding a very friendly and fair lender to take over the small mortgage that was the source of the problem. And yes, there is considerable equity in the house, at least as can be judged by the yardstick of the number of people who were interested in buying it from them. As almost any of us know, a house is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it. And there were plenty willing to pay the price for it. But they have kept it and kept their life as they like it, and I for one will show up any day they need to help them again if a similar circumstance were to arrive.

  • 100%mortgage

    Looks like a totally amazing place, a cave house, how brilliant.

  • Judy

    This is so weird because I used to go to skating parties and concerts here dozens of times when I was younger. It was always however very musty smelling. That would be a constant problem to have to be dealt with. There are all sorts of those sand caves along the Mississippi River. Have gone 4 wheeling in those too. Anybody else?

  • air conditioning repair Florida

    your home in cave i didn’t get it how possible?

  • http://noneyet Jan

    I WAS E-MAILED YOUR STORY, WITH THE FEW PHOTOS, HOW GOOD. I am glad you and your wife road it out, and did not give up. A friend in Festus

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  • Round Mirror

    kitchen aids have a variety of different appliances that can help you cook your food easier “;’

  • http://Non Zach T. Maddux

    Hay this is my faverite house, my friend Perry lives here, and i got to say he is a fun guy and he first time i came to his how it was awmasing. To bad this house is no longer for sale. Sorry Folk’s, better luck next time; Indeed i will be spending time with him at this great house of random-ness and fun.

  • kymlee

    I loved it when it was caveland i seen my first band play there. i skated there for the first time. i also had one of my birthday partys there that was one of the hang outs for all the kids.i had my first KISS on them grounds i wish i could by it.

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