Listing From Hell? Not Necessarily

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Yesterday, I showed a house that was rather disturbing.

If it was being sold because of a divorce, he didn't leave her for someone younger, thinner or prettier.  He left her for a Zen minimalist.

The house, listed Friday night, is in one of Washington's most popular neighborhoods, and it has a price tag we haven't seen there since about the Millennium.  The MRIS information warns that the place is very messy and to not let the cats out.

When we got there, several agents and their buyers were inside.  One of the agents warned us to watch our steps.  The house itself was not terrible.  It was filthy dirty, and I should have handed out face masks for my buyers, and the basics and bones were not in awful shape.  It had what looked like updated systems, including new central air.  But every square foot of floor was covered with several feet of stuff, and every once in a while, we'd find a little cat asleep on top of a pile of something.  And there was grime all over everything.

In this day and age, where we rarely see homes that are not spiffed up and nicely staged, this was the opposite extreme - an opportunity to look past a mess.  It was a chance to pay less than top dollar in a great neighborhood in return for some serious elbow grease.

Once we got over the initial shock, I realized that my buyers like the place.  And while the agents were pulling our designer scarves over our noses and mouths and rolling our eyes (feeling so sorry for the poor listing agent having to deal with the place), our clients were getting pretty excited.

The listing agent here is no fool.  It might be the ugliest, dirtiest house she's ever listed.  But guess what?

It's priced perfectly! 

I think I smell a bidding war here!  Stay tuned for more!

Anyone know a good exorcist?


Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joseph J. Chang 02/21/2010 01:26 AM
  2. Lori Liveston 02/21/2010 12:41 PM
  3. Donald Bradbury 02/22/2010 05:50 AM
  4. Donna Brnilovich 02/22/2010 09:54 AM
  5. Praful Thakkar 02/21/2017 07:27 PM
Home Selling
District of Columbia District of Columbia County Washington
Club Chaos
Diary of a Realtor
washignton dc real estate
unstaged house

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Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES
Exit Preferred Realty - Bel Air, MD
Harford County Specialist

Pat, When we show houses, our reactions can break a deal. Congratulations on allowing your buyers to see past the mess and dirt.

Feb 21, 2010 11:00 PM #122
Peggy Chirico
Prudential CT Realty - Manchester, CT
REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate

I feel sorry for the cats! Maybe they want to get out!

Feb 21, 2010 11:05 PM #123
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Hoarders. Worse, hoarders and Cat people. Get out the sanitizer after you leave. Even if it priced to sell, the issue looms as to how and when they'll vacate. I've had people like this want post possession agreements.


Feb 21, 2010 11:09 PM #124
Lisa Moroniak
Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388 - Leesburg, VA
SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified

Hey Patricia - how can you be mindful of cats you can't see??  Well written, made me laugh :).  Good luck getting selected!!

Feb 22, 2010 12:01 AM #125
Michelle Fradella-Barfuss
Marketing Coach - ERA Brokers Consolidated - Salt Lake City, UT
Author of "Top 10 Mistakes Agents Make When Market

Wow, looks like a crack house!  Unfortunately I've shown a couple of properties in my career that look similar.  Good thing it's priced right.

I feel sorry for the cats.

Feb 22, 2010 12:49 AM #126
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


I could be interesting to see how much money the condition cost the seller. Whether it made sense to clean it up, and make it nice vs simply reduce the price to overcome the mess.

How much is the cost of the mess?

Feb 22, 2010 01:07 AM #127
The Mode & Durham Team
Keller Williams Realty - Elk Grove, CA Homes for Sale - Elk Grove, CA
Real Estate Made Simple

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Feb 22, 2010 01:24 AM #128
The Mode & Durham Team
Keller Williams Realty - Elk Grove, CA Homes for Sale - Elk Grove, CA
Real Estate Made Simple

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Feb 22, 2010 01:24 AM #129
The Mode & Durham Team
Keller Williams Realty - Elk Grove, CA Homes for Sale - Elk Grove, CA
Real Estate Made Simple

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Feb 22, 2010 01:24 AM #130
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

Sounds like a golden opportunity !!! How is appraiser & lender going to see the home. I would be interesed in knowing the ending of this. Good Luck

Feb 22, 2010 02:07 AM #131
Shannon Jungmann
Allen Realtors - Lakewood, WA

Wow, I think buyers really can look past the mess if they are serious about purchasing. The bones of the home is really what we need to get all our buyers to look at. Great post! Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Feb 22, 2010 02:28 AM #132
Bill Petrey
AgentHarvest - A Real Estate Agent Finder Service - Dallas, TX

I think I saw this house featured in the TV series HOARDERS.

Feb 22, 2010 02:34 AM #133
Eileen Liles
970-216-0530 - Cedaredge, CO
Macht-Liles Real Estate Group - Cedaredge, CO

Made me laugh!  I represented some buyers once on a home similar to this.  I wrote in the additional provisions that ALL the "stuff" had to be removed before the walk-thru and had to be cleaned by professionals (which they did).  I agree with Bill, this person should have call "Hoarders" and had them do the clean up - they would have made more money....

Feb 22, 2010 03:33 AM #134
Dixon Team OC
RE/MAX Select One - Huntington Beach, CA

Have Goodwill come and take care of that stuff!!

Dixon Team OC

Feb 22, 2010 04:31 AM #135
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Wow!  This is more comments than I've ever gotten on a post - ever!  A couple of things.

I feel like I sounded totally not empathetic, and that's not like me.

Clearly, this seller is going through something awful in her life, and the evidence was piled all around us.  And it was all pretty extreme.  And after I wrote this, I looked around my own house.  I am no Martha Stewart, and if something in life pushed me over the edge, it could easily manifest in my living environment.

So I have this one on my watch list and I'll let you all know how it ends.

Feb 22, 2010 11:47 AM #136
Clark Hitchcock
Re/Max Nyda Realty Inc - Chilliwack, BC
Realtor - Fraser Valley

Hope it ends well for your client and the seller has some positive things come out of it in the end as well.

Feb 22, 2010 04:33 PM #137
Glen Fisher
National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC - Oaklyn, NJ

Hello Patricia.  Please tread very carefully.  Hidden damage from the cat urine is likely present.  In addition to engaging a qualified home inspector, I suggest a specialist be engaged for review of the cat urine issue. 

While the buyer may be excited now, cat urine can be consider toxic and may cause health issues in certain individuals.  There has been extensive litigation involving real estate and cat urine. 

Consider having a cat urine release prepared by your broker's attorney and signed by the buyer prior to closing.

Feb 22, 2010 09:02 PM #138
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Pat, This house looks like one of those before photos for one of those TV shows, where they go in and clean the place out top to bottom.  Good luck on that bidding war. I hope your buyer gets it.

Feb 23, 2010 11:08 AM #139
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author


I have had those experiences you described in both renting and selling. if you are priced right......the following will take place. You will have showings whether you are ready or not. For remedies on what you described, I have had to pull carpets and padding and treat the cement/floor with an ammonia wash which kills the bacteria which is where the smell comes from. Skip this process and even new carpeting wont help you. By the way, the cats are worst as they look for places to hide their mess where dogs just do it. Consequently, cleaning up after dear old kitty is a nightmare. And, yes, I never failed to have eye contact with buyer/renter who has says to me between will take care of this problem of which I (most of the time)  say...what problem? As to the condition of the premises..........And you wonder why people are divorcing?

Thank you

Mar 26, 2010 05:46 AM #140
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty & Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Patricia Kennedy , these are the kind of homes I live for! While most buyers are gagging, investors are salivating. I've seen worse homes bought for 50% of market value, cleaned out in 1-2 days, renovated in less than a month, and sold for a HUGE profit shortly thereafter. They are also great for first-time home buyers looking for a bargain. I bet it doesn't last. Keep us updated!

Feb 21, 2017 08:18 PM #141
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Patricia Kennedy

Home in the Capital
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