The Spooky Open House I'll Never Forget - Scared the Heck out of Myself!

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc MD 82788 DC SP97220

As a new real estate agent in 1989, I was always looking for a house to hold open on weekends and would volunteer to hold any house open. An older & more experienced agent in my office was very (almost overly) anxious for me to hold open her new listing in East Silver Spring.   It was a cute Dutch Colonial Style house.  I was really excited about having it open and wondering why she did'nt want to do it herself.   This agent ALWAYS held her own listings open, especially if it was the first open for a brand new listing.   I did get this funny feeling in the office that the other agents knew something I didn't.  I can't explain exactly what it was, I thought they were snickering, chuckling or whispering about me.  I shrugged it all off as my imagination and the that I was a nervous newbie.  

Dutch Colonial Style HouseThe day before the open, I was talking to a loan officer friend of mine.   Prior to being a loan officer my friend had been a real estate agent.   She asked me what house I was holding open.   When I told her the address there was dead silence and a Huge GASP.... OMG

She told me that her real estate company had listed the same house 8 years before and sold it to a nice couple.  The couple moved in on a Saturday.  The next day while the wife was out at church, the husband had gone into the basement and shot himself to pieces with a double barrelled shotgun.  The wife never went back, so my friend's company cleaned the house up and resold it to another couple.  Obviously all the agents in town had known about this except me!  No wonder they were acting so funny around me!

It was a long, quiet, lonely, spooky 3 hour open house.  My mind kept thinking of the Dutch Colonial house from the Amityville Horror story.  I was scaring myself to death and every noise I heard made me jump.   I Couldn't go anywhere near that basement and never did go down there and look, not once!   Only one person came to look at the house that day (needless to say, I did not escort him into the basement) and low and behold he bought the house from me.

* NOTE . . .To those of you who are thinking - was this disclosed to the Buyer? - No, it was not.
( Hey, ..  it wasn't even disclosed to me up front!)   Because in the state of Maryland it is the Seller's choice (not the listing broker or agent's) whether to disclose or not. What is required in Maryland is Disclosure of "Material" and "Latent Defects" only.  The Maryland Legislature/Law excludes Murder, Suicide, Violent death and the prescence of Aids from being "material defects.  In this particular case the buyer purchased the house for an investment never lived in it.

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Cell      (301) 233-8309            Debbie Cook - Silver Spring Takoma Real Estate
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Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!

At least it had a happy ending! Here is Washington State, the seller must disclose material facts and that's definied as anything they know or that may not be readily discoverable by a buyer which could influence their decision to purchase. Very gray area!

Oct 31, 2012 01:52 AM #1
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Debbie -- interesting how the veteran agent so willingly gave you the opportunity to hold this new lisitng open.  In California, a seller must disclose a death on the property within the last three years and if there was something as notorious and widely known as this example --- should be disclosed regardless of when it happened.  It's fascinating how the laws in real estate vary by state.   Happy Halloween!

Oct 31, 2012 02:41 AM #2
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate


The veteran only let me do it because she didn't want to.  She knew the history and was probably afraid too!

Oct 31, 2012 02:52 AM #3
Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate
Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming - Laramie, WY
Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming

Your post caught my eye because we went on a "Haunted House" tour of our historic territorial prison this week.  At least we knew we were going to be scared silly! 

Oct 31, 2012 04:38 AM #4
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hey, Debbie!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week!

Nov 04, 2012 01:26 AM #5
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Debbie... Great Spooky Story! Glad things turned out, but I can see you at the open house. I know I'd be pretty freaked. Great read and nicely done!

Nov 04, 2012 01:31 AM #6
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Too funny, Debbie.  I've had a few that creeped me out, but fortunately no open houses or listings of my own.  I wonder how the buyer liked his new house? 

Nov 04, 2012 01:34 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Buyers can definitely get creeped out by infomation such as that!   But it worked out wonderful for you.  I hope you went back and told everyone in the office how great the house was!


Nov 04, 2012 04:53 AM #8
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Well at least you were rewarded for your time. In CT the same considerations apply regarding death, etc. Just material facts as pertains to the home not the events that have transpired within

Nov 04, 2012 11:53 AM #9
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Ooooo, that would be scary. I couldn't have stayed there alone.


Nov 05, 2012 07:24 AM #10
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Debbie Cook

Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate
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