Thursday, August 19, 2010

You Never Know What You'll See on a Property Visit

The New York Times asked readers to send in their best open-house anecdotes, the oddest and most hilarious of which can be found here.
It's true, you never know what you'll find when you step through the doors of a building for sale.
Earlier this year, I was working with a client who was in the market for a bargain-priced fixer upper in southwest Montreal.  Our search took us to some pretty odd places.
The very first place we saw together was a duplex, where the top floor was vacant and the bottom floor was rented. It smelled a bit like cats as I fiddled with the key in the front door lock. That was nothing compared to the smell that hit us like a freight train once the door swung open.
The apartment was completely empty, except for a thick spackle of cat poop that seemed to cover the floor from front to back. All the windows were closed.
Another buyer would have taken a sniff and fled. To her credit, my client examined the whole place, taking photos in each room before deciding the litter box stench was a deal breaker.
That same buyer and I visited another duplex where we started upstairs, where the tenant had to lock his two pitbulls in the bathroom so that we could get in the door. The bedroom had no ceiling. That was odd. Odder still was the downstairs unit, where a guy with a hoodie obscuring his face let us in and then slouched back to the darkened living room. A thick cloud of hashish smoke enveloped the room and his roomamate, flopped on the sofa with his mouth agape, was so stoned he didn't even know we were there.
"Are those bullet holes in the ceiling?" I asked my client.
Our third odd visit togeher was yet another duplex, where the downstairs apartment had been divided into a rooming-house. There were cheap plywood doors everywhere, with multiple pairs of plastic flip-flops outside each room.  The listing agent had warned us to knock before entering any of the rooms becuase there might be people sleeping.
"How many people live here?" I asked.
She wasn't sure, 15 maybe 18.
We spent as little time as possible in the house. Just long enough to decide it wasn't what she had in mind.
We were careful not to slam the door as we beat a hasty retreat.

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