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Special thanks to Tracy Robillard for this head scratcher of a story.
So early in my real estate career, I was helping a young couple (also friends of mine) with the purchase of their first home. They were on a budget, and were looking in a small city outside of Ottawa to maximize their purchase power and be close to family.
This small town had been hard hit with economic despair, so prices were low, and let’s just say, some of the inhabitants were a little “rough around the edges” (this is what is known as foreshadowing)
So, we showed up at the appointed time to find a cute little bungalow…….with what appeared to be partial closet contents on the front and back lawn. A shirt here, a boot there. Very odd.
I went to open the lockbox and there was none. A quick call to the agent, and I was told that the owner had removed the lockbox but was on their way home to let us in. Great news , I thought, and told the buyers what was happening.
So, this rusty little sedan pulls in on two wheels, and a frenzied mom with a bunch of kids crammed in the back jumps out apologetic and full of oversharing explanations.
She was late because she had been waiting all day at the welfare office, and the “stupid government” didn’t care about her time.
My inside voice would get a lot of action in the minutes to come. Little did I know what was in store.
So, without taking a breath, she explains the clothing outside (bastard ex boyfriend) and opens the front door where there is a giant knife- as in bigger than the biggest knife in a knife set- sitting on the decorative table by the front door. She grabs it apologetically, and again with the oversharing, dismisses it with a ” if that bastard shows his face here again, he’s going to get what’s coming to him, along with his drug dealer who keeps showing up looking for money”.
So, at this point, I want to not see the house. My clients want to not see the house. But we are already in the front door and are committed, so we figure, keep it friendly, a quick look and we’re out.
So, we look to the left, where it is an open concept living/dining/kitchen. Which is a great vantage point to what looks like an episode of Hoarders- dirty dishes on every surface, right down to the stereotypical massive spaghetti sauce pot on the stove with sauce spilled down the sides.
Meanwhile, my new friend just keeps talking about how it’s been such a hard week, what with the fighting with the boyfriend, and then her twins got lice. LICE??? At which point I involuntarily start scratching, just in case I now have lice, and make a mental note to shave my head immediately after the showing.
Every room gets progressively worse, and in the master bedroom, I found the other half of the lawn clothes stacked up in a mountain that went to about two feet off the ceiling, in the middle of the bed.
The homeowner is still talking, but I am no longer listening. I am scratching at my new lice, and plotting my exit strategy.
We are almost to the front door when the Seller reminds us that we haven’t seen the basement yet. Great. And I am too polite to not see the basement, and truthfully, still kind of in shock.
So, down to the basement we go, mercifully unaccompanied by the homeowner. In the basement, we find a series of rooms, built off the first room, but all attached, like a mouse maze.
Three of them are depressing windowless bedrooms, all in a various state of “home invasion” decor.
One of them had nothing but a dartboard in it. With a picture in the middle of it, presumably of “the bastard” who was going to get “it”. (Note: judging by the dart holes all over the wall and not in the actual dartboard, he was in no imminent danger based on aim)
So, we plan our exit, I tell my clients “just go to the door, put on shoes and go. I will say our goodbyes”.
The exit was less eventful than the entrance (that might be a default win). I thanked the Seller for letting us in, and told her I would let her agent know what my clients thought. Out to the car I went, opened the door, and grabbed the Purelle I keep tucked away for such occasions.
My clients and I had a Purelle toast to celebrate the end of that particular tour, and resumed our home tour.
I did call the agent back, and asked if she had even been inside that house since she listed it.
She called me back with a $10000 price drop and an explanation on how the home had now been restored to it’s proper condition, hoping that my clients would be interested in a family friendly bungalow with a drug dealer banging on the front door at all hours. We took a pass on that one. Not sure if it ever sold.