The Worst House We Ever Saw... Or Smelled.

Reblogger Dale Taylor
Real Estate Agent with Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois

There are certain smells you just don't forget.  Upon entering the front door we were greeted by a dozen cats.  Cats were in every room, every nook, every cranny.  I counted four more in the kitchen. 

Each had their special place on the counter top, table, floor, and even on top of the refrigerator.  All three bathrooms had their designated resident.  I noticed in the dining room there was a wire allowing the owner to open the window as cats requested an exit.  I saw one climb out and followed the wire to a open basement window leading to a chicken-wire-like enclosure housing over a dozen more of them in the basement. 

The living room carpet was simply nasty.  A todler was walking barefoot on dirty carpet and it just made my stomach turn.  As we toured one room to the next the smells got worse.  I thought no way are these buyers going to want to make an offer on this home?  I thought why are these Buyers still desiring to see more of this home? 

To my amazement, after the tour my valued Buyers contacted a cleaning service inquiring how many cleaning treatments it would take to rid the home of the unforgettable ordors.  They were given a quote for seven cleaning treatments.  Guess what, they requested I submit an offer for them. 

When I called the Listing Agent I pleaded with her to encourage the offer presentation to take place in her office rather than the Seller's home.  I told her I could not guarantee I could control my body fluids.  To my frustration, the Listing Agent told me she understood but the Sellers insisted on having the offer presented at their filthy home. 

In response I said let's do it first thing in the morning so I could meet there on an empty stomach and have more control over my body, if I felt I was going to physically loose it; and I know you know what I mean. 

Well, I survived the experience and still like cats!  

Indeed, the experience taught me some lessons.  First, a well priced home will help Buyers overcome all of their objections.  Secondly, no matter how bad I think an experience is, it is preparation for another similar experience down the road; a memory reminder I've survived this, so I can survive anything. 

Yes, I have experienced worst homes in Illinois, and participated in the cleanup to get the home sold.  My nose has survived the worst smells imaginable, and I've kept my body fluids under control as I endured!

The Christiansen team below relates their home touring adventure.  It is a great example of what we Realtors in the Chicago very affordable Southern Suburban marketplace do for the Clients we value.

Original content by Amanda Christiansen

I (Jared) can remember this day like it was yesterday.  I was working with a local Fort Wayne real estate investor looking for fixer uppers that he could flip.  We would schedule two or three afternoons a week and go see 8-10 of them and throw out a few offers.  

Most of the investment homes we were looking for were in the $20,000 - $50,000 price range, and most of them were foreclosures.  I could probably write a book about some of the crap we saw out there.  

Anyway, back to THE HOUSE.  It was a very hot and humid day a few summers ago.  If I recall right it was in the high 90s and disgustingly humid.  The house was a little two bedroom on a basement.  In the description it said that it "Needed work" and that the basement was a "Little wet".  Yeah...  


As we approached the house we smelled something.  The closer we got the stronger the smell became.  When we opened the front door a wave of crap smell hit us.  I almost lost my lunch right there.  

I told the investor that we needed to walk away NOW.  He smiled as he walked to his car to get his gas masks.  I rolled my eyes.  

The main floor of the home was structurally sound.  The carpets (duh) needed replaced, the floors needed sealed, and the walls needed a few hundred coats of primer and paint to cover the smell.  

I looked over at the investor and said (in my best Darth Vader voice because I had a gas mask on) "You'll never get the smell out.  They are going to bulldoze this house."  He wanted to keep going.  

We started walking to the basement and we discovered what the smell was.  There was SERIOUSLY an inch of cat feces that 100% covered the entire basement floor.  The investor took one step and almost fell into the crap.  

I started gagging again and walked away from the house.  The neighbors came over and told us that the previous owner had become addicted to crack and went nuts.  She had over 50 cats that she kept in the basement.  I'm not sure what happened to her, but I hope she's okay.  I know that basement wasn't.  The house eventually sold for under $10,000.  I'm not sure what happened to those poor cats. 


We have a team member that still works with investors, but Amanda and I don't anymore.  The time commitment is the biggest issue for us.  The crap issue is a pretty big one too.  :)  If you are reading this and are a local Fort Wayne real estate investor, give our team a call and our investor specialist will help you.  Just remember to bring the gas masks.  

 Whether you are buying, selling, downsizing, or relocating to Fort Wayne...


260.704.0843 or 


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Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

That smell has to be in the flooring.  It has to be.  I can't imagine living in a home that had that many nasty cats.  And, the thought of that child just makes me ill. 

You also provided a great reblog, too.  I will return to see what you show up with next.  Thanks. 

Feb 25, 2012 11:41 AM #1
David Spencer
Keller Williams Northland - Kansas City, MO
Show Me real estate in Kansas City

You have not been doing this long enough. Just remember not to open a refrigerator and remind your customers. To forget may be repulsive. This is the axiom for buying investment real estate.

Feb 25, 2012 11:52 AM #2
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

You lived to tell about it... so it could not have been that bad   ;) 


  Seriously... people who abuse cats or other animals should be flogged.

Feb 25, 2012 12:01 PM #3
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Both stories are really something else. I walked into a foreclosure once and saw 1 dead cat and the smell was more than overpowering and it was enough for me.

Feb 25, 2012 12:22 PM #4
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

Thanks for all your comments.  I have over 26 years worth of stories to tell.  One day I'll tell the story of all the naked Sellers I've encountered to amuse you!

Feb 25, 2012 01:04 PM #5
Suzy Ribeiro
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Quogue & Westhampton Beach - Quogue, NY
Douglas Elliman Real Estate Hamptons & North Fork

Hmmm... some properties the Realtors deserve added "combat pay" for sure !

Feb 25, 2012 03:04 PM #6
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

My wife and I have been flipping houses for many years. We have certainly come across many properties like you are describing. I don't mind the smell, if it will convert to a better buy.


Feb 25, 2012 08:29 PM #7
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Hey Dale!  Thanks so much for the re-blog!  I enjoyed reading your blog, and thank you for sharing mine.    

Feb 25, 2012 10:45 PM #8
Dale Taylor
Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois - Frankfort, IL
Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos

Your words were so great.  I felt everything you felt.  Your story remind me of my own.  I thought I should combine the two!

Feb 28, 2012 02:42 PM #9
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Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
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