The Nasty Side of Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Beam & Branch Realty TREC #547752

OK, I know that many will think this post has to do with a sinister side of real estate. Nope! The NASTY topic today has to do with some of the properties that we come into contact with in this business. I mean, sometimes they are downright NASTY!

So, for those who may be new to the business, you might want to skip past this post. The nitty-gritty of the reality of this business is, we don't always get to tour beautiful, clean homes. Often, we walk into a pig stye of a home and come away shaking our heads asking ourselves how some people can live the way they do.

Here are my TOP NASTY real estate experiences:

NASTY ODORS - Ugh! The smell of that litter box, urine-soaked carpets, mold or mildew, dirty clothes, cigarette smoke, grease, or other heavy cooking smells are just a few of the disgusting smells that can linger in your own nostrils and clothing for hours after leaving the property.

NASTY CONDITIONS - I have walked into many homes that were simply disgusting! Piled up dirty dishes, clothes strewn everywhere, filthy bathrooms, windows that are so dirty you can barely see out of them, unmade beds, spills, needed repairs, and on and on! I've spent countless hours with these types of clients going through the numerous items they must complete prior to listing their home.


NASTY EXTERIORS - You pull up and immediately think, "Scary house"! Cobwebs everywhere, overgrown shrubs & limbs, weeds in the yard, the "overdone" yard art, visible needed repairs, sagging roofs, broken windows, peeling paint, and basically just junk everywhere. Oh my, where do we begin? That curb appeal discussion ensues and they look at you like this doesn't apply to them. 

NASTY CLUTTER - Most everyone has experienced some level of hoarding in a home. These are the ones where you open a closet and a cascade of junk comes rolling out. Or, you try and walk through that "spare room" that is filled from floor to ceiling with who knows what! How about the garage that is so packed you see rodents running in all directions? These are the homes that can sometimes take months to get ready to list. And that is if they heed your suggestions.

NASTY DECOR - This one is a bit more touchy as we all have our own tastes. However,  that home that is sporting Mario Brothers wallpaper border, the overly floral everything, the home so filled with a "collection" that you can't focus on anything else, or the super outdated or extremely dark decor. My first thought is how can we work on this so the pictures will look decent? 

NASTY NEGLECT - The last category I mention has to do with just a home that has been lived in hard and has never been taken care of.  The owners have done very little to maintain their home and it is reflected in every single way. Dirty AC vents, broken appliances, holes in the sheetrock, walls in need of painting, really old carpeting or flooring that is worn out, and dingy everything.

So yes, we see some NASTY properties in our business. The real skill comes in with knowing how to have "real" open and honest discussions to help our clients. Helping to guide them realistically prior to listing their homes is essential. 

If you are ready to sell your home, call us at Beam & Branch Realty. We will come and assess your home and help you prepare to get it sold. We are here to help.


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Comments (26)

Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

The worst I ever saw was back in the 08 to 10 years..... a few I felt like I needed to go home and take a shower.  Ugh.

Apr 12, 2023 08:54 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Yikes, Myrl Jeffcoat - that mold is really dangerous. I won't go into a mold-infested home. I can smell it immediately.

Apr 12, 2023 09:14 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Oh yes, Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker - back in the 2008 foreclosure era, I experienced some truly, nasty homes.

Apr 12, 2023 09:15 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I have to smile when I see listings like this in the MLS and the listing agent posts pictures that makes me wonder WHY??? then the listing agent that states wonderful home in original condition and I walk in and it looks like your first photo:)))Endre

Apr 12, 2023 11:03 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Paula - many outside the world of real estate think it's one where fast and easy money may be promised, there's an unpleasant underside that sometimes enter that picture.  It's not always so pretty.  The reality of any industry often tells another story.  

Apr 13, 2023 03:30 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I have walked into some homes that people have been supposedly living in and I can't believe that anyone would be able to live in those conditions, haha.

Apr 13, 2023 05:31 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Paula... if we've been in this business long enough, we've all seen nasty. So often people tell me they are "thinking about getting into real estate." I always ask why... and they always say they like to look at pretty houses and they like people. I always think to myself they'll get over that fast. I looked at a truly nasty home a couple of years ago... still haven't gotten over that trauma!

Apr 13, 2023 05:38 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Doing my many years of selling foreclosures, I have seen more than my share of nasty conditions. One of the worst be being attacked by fleas while in the house. 

Apr 13, 2023 07:30 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Paula, we have seen so many NASTY homes, and feel like you need a shower after leaving!   

Apr 13, 2023 08:41 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

I think we've all been to some nasty homes.  What gets me are the ones that smell like smoke, the heavy smoke.  NASTY.

Apr 13, 2023 11:29 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


Very nasty, to say the least. Even worse when the agent lists good bones. Where I hear comments like that, I think of what was eating inside that wasn't human!

Apr 14, 2023 04:22 AM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I have seen photos like these posted with a listing and wonder what the agent was thinking.  The worse for me is the mold. That's when I stay outside as that can kill.

Apr 14, 2023 04:44 AM
Daniel Z Stoltzfus
Lancaster, PA

I showed one home with a really bad odor. An hour later the listing agent called and said there is a lot of interest in the property. Get your bid in NOW! It didn't sell for quite awhile. Guess what I think of every time his name comes on the MLS! 

Apr 14, 2023 06:25 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Hi Paula, so true! Sometimes the nasty things I encounter in a house are horrendous!! The worst for me is the food residue left, like the photo you've shared. This is probably a good content idea for behind the scenes in real estate, haha. 

Apr 14, 2023 06:57 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Oh yes, there are some bad ones. I'll never forget going into a home with another agent and both of us practically shouting "Yes" when the owner asked if we'd like to tour outside. I love dogs and cats, and goats are nice, but no one needs a dozen or more of any of them in the house. Especially not when the floors and furniture serve as their toilets.

Apr 14, 2023 08:35 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Hi Paula  Hoarder oh my I have had a homeowner cry when we had people come in to clean out the house before putting it on the market. They were emotionally attached to all the things in the house big, little, small, everything all the clutter. It is nothing to laugh at it really is a sickness. If you are not ready to take the bull by the horns you should not take the listing    

Apr 14, 2023 03:01 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Oh yes.  Brings back many memories of selling during the housing recession.  One such listing had graffiti inside (the home was 4 years old), knives sticking out of the cabinets and holes punched in the walls.  I'll never forget the public remarks,, "Hi.  My name is Darrell and I'm the victim of an abusive relationship!"  Unbelievable.  

Apr 14, 2023 03:27 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

The mansion that James Bailey of (PT) Barnum and Bailey Circus fame built fell into deep disrepair over 100 years later and taken over by a pack of dogs hit the market in Early/mid 2008 seeking $10 million. The mansion was not only in poor condition, but the odor of dog urine was overwhelming. The mansion needed millions in renovation or restoration costs. After just a handful of months on the market (this was 2008), the housing collapse impacted the stock market- and crash. A smart buyer ultimately bought the mansion for $1.4m all cash. The new owners haven't fully restored the mansion yet- but they have restored most of it. The house has been used in a relatively recent episode of Law and Order SVU and I suspect they were going to film an episode of The Blacklist in the house too- as the street was marked for no parking- but it was the week that the covid shutdowns began. I believe the house is available for future filming opportunities as well. The current owners were able to save a lot of the details in the mansion- including the many stained glass windows in the form of circus animals designed by a cousin of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The house truly fell into the category of Nasty but strong bones and I am so happy full restoration is in the cards. I live just a few blocks from the mansion and love to tell everyone the backstory about it. It's worth noting that this mansion is just a few blocks from Alexander Hamilton's home.

Apr 17, 2023 11:14 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Any Realtor in the business any length of time has an opportunity to experience the NASTY! All great examples in this post!  I've seen dead animals in some homes too -- the smell is outrageous!

Apr 30, 2023 02:07 PM
Kieran Jackson
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills - Los Angeles, CA
Realtor®, SFR, U.S. Army Veteran

Great post!! Thanks for sharing. The home in that photo does look   N A S T Y !


All the best

May 03, 2023 12:10 PM