Fayetteville, N.C. — Cars usually zip past an old farmhouse east of Fayetteville, but the word "FREE" in orange spray paint on the house has prompted some to stop, look and dream.
The three-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot house has been vacant at least a year and now stands in the way of construction on the Baywood Plaza shopping center at the intersection of Baywood and Old Clinton roads in the Vander community.
"I'm an old country boy, and I don't like to see things go to waste," Scott Johnson, whom the developers hired to demolish the house, said Tuesday.
Built in 1948, the house is structurally sound, Johnson said, so he used the spray paint to offer it without charge to anyone willing to move it.
"It's a good house," nearby resident John Matthews said. "You've still got to do it yourself and pay for it, and then you've got to put windows in it and then you've got to put the air and heat in it."
Christmas decorations remain in the attic, and syrup and coffee creamer sit on a shelf inside.
"I love the house. I do," nearby resident Erica Melvin said. "I was on the phone with my friend in Florida, and I said, 'Oh, they're giving away a free house,' and she's, like, 'Oh my God.'"
But Melvin is too late to claim it.
Johnson said a man plans to move it to a site in Fayetteville in the next two weeks. Companies that specialize in such moves said it would cost the man anywhere from $8,000 to more than $20,000.