I see a lot of houses. I see a lot of people. Over the past year and a half I have gone on many appointments where things were absolutely normal… but also a few that were strange enough that I’ll never forget! Here is a list of the top 4 craziest things witnessed visiting houses.
Those of you who follow our facebook and instagram have seen our newest project. I’ll never forget the first time I drove up to this house. My eyes didn’t know where to focus. There’s a lighthouse, and a pool, and a huge deck, and two apartments downstairs, and a 4 car garage… it never seemed to end.
The owner contacted us in the summer of 2019, hoping to sell the house to a young couple who could bring the house back to its former glory and, at the same time, rid the house of its squatting tenants. Laura and I were up for the challenge! We purchased the house November 2019 and started our renovations immediately. Later posts will tell of our progress and our lower apartments will open on AirBnB for short term stay in March 2020!
Early in my real estate career, I would walk entire neighborhoods, knocking doors to see whether anyone was interested in talking real estate with me. I came upon one house in Everett, Washington that I’ll never forget. The interaction was brief: I knocked on the side door (the front door was nailed shut), and immediately the window to my left was busted out from inside the house. I jumped back, ready to defend myself, when an elderly man answered the door.
“Is everything all right in there?”, I asked.
“All ok here!”, the home owner replied, then promptly slammed the door shut.
My nerves were rattled and I called the police in case someone was being held against their will inside. The police said they would investigate, but I never heard from them again.
Of the craziest things witnessed visiting houses, this one impressed me the most. If you’ve read my article about foreclosure, you know how risky it can be. When a home owner stops making mortgage or tax payments, the mortgage company or state may put the house up for auction. If that happens, the home owner loses everything. Not a penny of equity goes to the home owner.
I was invited to visit a million dollar home in Mill Creek, Washington, owned by a big time Seattle attorney. All the attorney told me was that she was battling foreclosure and was interested in selling her property. Laura and I started analyzing the property and determined that she had enough time and equity to list the property traditionally on the MLS. However, the owner neglected to tell us that she hadn’t made a house payment in approximately 7 years, and owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRS, the mortgage company and credit card companies. Putting the house on the MLS was her final attempt at delaying foreclosure even more, but it didn’t work.
She ended up losing the house, but that was her plan all along. She calculated the house’s worth and knew that she could delay the process for 7 years while letting her mother live there for free. When the house sold at auction, she didn’t make any money, but she also didn’t have to pay any of her debts! A word of precaution here, this was a successful attorney who played this nasty hand of gambling. Don’t try it yourself, it certainly won’t turn out in your favor.
This home owner has a special place in my memories. She contacted me, telling me she wanted to sell her house for no more than $100,000 plus one plunger… For those of you familiar with Everett, WA, you understand how crazy that is, even ignoring the plunger. I went to visit the home owner and she proceeded to tell me that she was the late girlfriend of Kurt Cobain until her and I fell in love and ran away together. She told me numerous tales about her and I evading the law and making music together before I ultimately left her for Cher. Obviously, none of this ever actually happened.
After speaking with the neighbors, I discovered that this woman was previously a guidance counselor at the school across the street. She had always been a fan of music, but after her life came to difficult times, she had a mental break. She became unable to separate herself from the stories she read about various artists. Eventually, she lost her position at the school and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Soon after her release, she quit taking her prescribed medication and resorted to self-prescribed drugs.
Through all of craziest things witnessed visiting houses, I’ve realized there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to real estate. Each person is different. Everyone has different goals. It’s our job at DeCora Team to work with you to identify what the best plan of attack is for your unique situation and be there for you no matter what.