The Most Disgusting House I Ever Bought: Part 1

Real Estate Broker/Owner with StepStone Realty, LLC 572467

Many probably don't know this about me.  You know me as an owner of a short sale processing company, and I am, first and foremost.  Its my love and passion.  But, I do like to flip houses too.  And I mean flip in the traditional sense... buy an ugly house, fix it, sell a nice pretty house. 

What I like most about doing that is that it leaves something real and solid behind.... a home that was the eyesore of the neigborhood is now its prized possession.  So we do these kind of deals from time to time.  Heck, I'm even living in one now (still ugly! But over the next two years, watch it transform!)

So forgive me for this post... I know its not about short sales.  It probably won't help you in your business and it probably won't make you any money reading it.  But its Sunday... and I thought I was just tell a story today.

My business partner and I have bought, fixed and sold about a dozen homes over the years, so we haven't done hundreds of them, but enough to see our share of ugliness. 

Now, before I continue this story... I have to warn you.... this is going to be gross.  Disgusting.  If you have a weak stomach... STOP reading!  I'm sure someone has posted something about flowers or grandmas or other niceties somewhere... go read that instead.

For the rest of you.... don't say I didn't warn you.

Now, as I was saying.... I've seen my share of nasty, ugly, and disgusting things.   I have a novel's worth of stories.  I've seen houses so rat-infested that poop literally poured out when I opened a cupboard door.  I've seen a house so roach-infested the roaches have no place to hide and exterminators tell me its worse than any restaurant they've ever seen.  And I've been inside a hoarder's house.... literally... a hoarder... who kept their old kitty litter in bags in the closet.

Some of them I bought, some of them I did not.  But one house I did buy, and it was the most disgusting house I've ever seen.  And I think what made it the most disgusting is not any one thing in particular (like rat poop), but it was the fact that the sellers lived in it, and.... get this.... didn't seem to think anything was out of the ordinary!


I wish I had the right words for this house.  Dirty... it was that and so much more.  Unsanitary... definitely.  Gross.... yes... but none of those words really "cut it". 

I guess I can just give some particulars.  Like the one bedroom where one of the girls used to live.  But it had gotten so piled up with garbage... and i mean GARBAGE... that she moved into her sisters room (and the same thing was happening there!)

There was the master bathroom toilet... that had never once been cleaned.  NOTHING had ever been cleaned.  The whitle toilet bowl was black from the water line down.

When we pulled the kitchen cabinets off the wall, the entire wall was stained light brown from roach poop (that's the first I learned of roach poop!  I guess its true... Everyone Poops!). 

The refrigerator you see above was full of food that had to be years old, and the icebox was almost completely frozen in.  Stuff was spilled inside the refrigerator, dishes were never washed, and the carpets got so disgusting, that the owners cut them out... AROUND their furniture!  So when they left... there were carpet patches in the exact shape of their furtniture... I kid you not.

Family RoomWell, it all culminated on closing day.  Because of their job, they couldn't close during normal business hours.  So title agreed to arrange a closing at their house as a courtesy.  By the way, my title company rocked this one!

All i can say is... that poor closer.  He was an older gentleman... and to save him embarassement, I will just call him Sam.  And Sam had no idea what he was walking into.

We were renting back to the seller's while their new house was being built (yes, I'm sure they did this to their new house by now too).  So they hadn't moved or packed, everything was just like they lived every single day (3 kids!)

I was running late, but only because I stopped to buy water and use the restroom, cause Lord knows I was not going to use theirs.

So when I arrived, Sam was already sitting at the kitchen table and he had the most fritghtened and disgusted look on his face.  I wore my worst jeans that day as I knew I would stick to the chairs at that kitchen table.  The kitchen table itself was a mess... papers and junk and trash piled on it, standing liquid (I wouldn't ask) was on it.... this was the table we were going to close this sale on!

After "brushing away" some of the junk and liquid with his shirt sleeve and arm, the sellers were ready to close!  And then those magic words came out of the seller's mouth.  The words I will never forget.  The words that still haunt me in my sleep.  When the seller asked the closer these 7 little words.... "Would you like a glass of water?"

"Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo," I thought in my head as I tried to ESP/Vulcan-mind-meld myself into the closer's head.  I'm pretty sure I even shook my head a little, widened my eyes and tried to get Sam's attention.

But it was too late.  The whole world was in slow motion as I watched his lips perch together to form an "sh" sound.... "SSSSSSSSUUUUUUUREEE".

ACK!  Oh Dear God!  What did Sam just do?  Did he not look around?  Did he not notice the grape juice stains splattered on the walls?  Had he not noticed the think layer of gooey roach glue around the cabinets to keep the roaches out?  Had he not noticed the GIANT pile of dishes in the sink that had looked like they had been there since Alexander the Great walked the Earth?

Now that I think back on it, I think the seller was just as surprised he said yes as I was.  She paused for a second, then must of thought to herself, "well now what do I do?".  I bet in all her 40+ years, no one had ever said, "yes"!

After the brief pause that felt like 238492878923.28 minutes, she turns around, heads to the sink, digs around.... and I mean that... she literally DUG in the sink... and pulled out what only can be called "a glass"...  although, I'm pretty certain after several years of build-up, its more "mystery matter" than actually glass.

I watched in amazement as she ran the glass under the tap and swished around the glass with her fingers in an attempt to wash it.  I was floored as she walks over to the freezer, chisels out an ice tray and manages to dislodge one peice of ice and clanked into the glass.  And I almost lost my lunch when she filled it with tap water and set it in front of Sam.

Sam was over 80 years old, that's a fact.  I don't think he could see real good, but one thing I am certain he saw... and I'm certain because I am an eye witness to his facial expression... was the light translucent brown liquid speckeled with bits and pecies of who-knows-what that was in the glass that had just been placed before him to quench his thirst.

Sam never took even a sip of that water... never even pretended.  But I do have to say one thing positive. 

That was the fastest closing I've ever done.  That 80 year old man could MOVE through paperwork!

Stay tuned for Part II.



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Comments (6)

Monique Combs
Royal Shell Real Estate - Bonita Springs, FL
Royal Shell Real Estate - Monique Combs

Daniel ~ More power to you. I think I would have insisted on settlement some where else... We need and office in case we need to make copies or changes..

Mar 21, 2010 09:49 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

I do a lot of bank sales as a part of my business. I have seen some pretty disgusting things as well (worst one was when I opened a container and found a dead cat in it). Some people aren't up to the responsibility of owning houses, it's plain and simple. I blogged abou that here

Mar 21, 2010 09:49 AM
Aaron Poling
Long & Foster - Martinsburg, WV
Working to get YOU the BEST Deal!

Wow, I have seen some doosies in my time but this is probably worse. I am glad that was  yours and not mine. Thanks Aaron

Mar 21, 2010 11:44 AM
Angie Francis
StepStone Realty LLC - Austin, TX
StepStone is Real Estate without Limits!

Fun (well, fun for us and bad for you!) story.   Realtors see some interesting stuff but as Investors buying "ugly" houses I'm sure your stories will top most of ours.  Thanks for doing your part to improve the homes in the neighborhoods we are selling in!

Mar 24, 2010 12:39 PM
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

Daniel, I started carrying "wet wipes" in my car as a neccessary Realtor tool, along with toilet paper, paper towels, gloves, flashlight, hammer and compass.  Sometimes I feel as if I need to take a shower when I get home from showing houses.  Good for you for being able to see past the filth in order to buy a gem.  Most buyers can't get that far.  Good luck in your investments, this is certainly a good time for that!

Apr 07, 2010 01:29 PM

The reason I found your post is because my husband and I are looking at a pretty craftsman house down the street in our neighborhood. As it turns out, the inside might be worse (its at least equal) to your house. My fear... that we could never get the dirty out. The whole house needs a clorox wave to just sweep over it. I look forward to seeing your finished product (if its posted on here).

May 26, 2011 05:00 AM