About 20 years ago my husband built a very odd custom home for a gentleman. This man, in his 60’s, had relocated to our community with his employers, who built ham radios and Morse Code keys.
He had specific ideas about how he wanted his house, and it was odd for two reasons:
The entry door from the driveway went straight into the bathroom, then through the bedroom to the living room/kitchen area. There was an open staircase to the basement, which he left unfinished.
However, the basement had one “special” room. It was a cement “vault” with a fireproof door, the purpose of which was to provide safety for his guns and ammunition. He was fond of saying he'd "Never met a gun I didn't like," and he had dozens of them.
He didn't do any landscaping on his 5 acres, but he did have someone come in and bulldoze a mini-hill behind the house so he could target practice without endangering the neighbors.
The man adopted an abandoned German Shepherd and the two of them lived there happily. He didn’t bother to purchase a refrigerator for the house – he had a cooler and he ate out a lot. He also didn’t bother to brush the dog or vacuum the carpet. Maybe he didn’t have a vacuum – could be.
Unfortunately, several years later the man became ill and passed away.
He had two daughters, one in California and the other in Florida. They came to see what to do about the house and decided that they should finish the basement, replace the carpeting, buy the proper appliances, have it staged, and offer it for sale.
They weren’t interested in the offer from a neighbor who would have taken it as is.
Once the work was done, they listed the house with a friend of their Dad’s from a neighboring town. Of course they listed above market value, because they had just done all that work. That, combined with the strange floor plan and lack of landscaping meant the house would no doubt be on the market for some time.
Meanwhile, they both went home. (And yes, one of them did take the dog.)
The agent advised them that they didn’t need to have the house winterized – they could just leave the heat on. That would make it better for showing purposes. The daughters trusted him to handle things.
And then… winter came and it started to snow. The agent stayed in his snug office 40 miles away and forgot all about his friend’s house. The fuel man came to fill the propane tank and found 3’ of snow in the driveway – so he went away.
Late in April the man’s former employers went by the house to see how it had fared over winter. When they pulled in they noticed the door off the deck was open. That was odd – there was no car in the driveway. They went in and heard water running – was someone taking a shower?
Oh – no. The carpet was soaking wet and the plywood was buckled. They hollered and found no one there. So they went downstairs and found the newly installed sheetrock from the ceilings floating in 2’ of water in the basement.
It had had plenty of time to accumulate since the broken pipes had thawed a couple of months earlier.
Had their agent been there to check on the house? No, he hadn’t. Not since the previous October. But he assured the daughters that it would be OK – the insurance would cover the renovation.
They said, “Since we owned it outright, we didn’t think we had to spend money on insurance.”
We heard that they did try to put the place back in order, but it has been 5 or 6 years now and the house still stands vacant.
Did they sue the agent? No. I thought they would, but they didn't.
Sad character courtesy of Stuart Miles @freedigitalphotos.net