Every old house has a history, some crazier than others. When you are buying, you might not get the whole story, so here is the truth, broken down by people that know.
The lady next door to me died, and wasn't found until she was....more liquid than solid on her living room carpet. The family couldn't pay something about back taxes or something, and the house went to HUD to auction. HUD paid for some cleanup, but not to replace the carpet, only steam clean it.
So it finally sold, and was talking to the guy who is flipping it, before I could mention the death, he asked if the house had a water leak under the foundation...... Because when they ripped up the carpet and pad to put down the lament floor, it was really dirty and got all over them and their clothes...... Told him what happened and how HUD went cheap on what to fix before the auction, he got green as a pea and started puking right there on his side of the fence.Source
I photograph homes. It's normal, people die in homes. I've photographed a few homes where the reason for sale was a recent suicide in the home. I photographed a new home that the builder killed himself in the garage just before the project was complete.
The weirdest one was mostly very creepy and suspicious. I photographed a billionaire's compound where the guy had and absurd fascination with flesh. There were well over 50 heads mounted on walls from water buffalo to elephant. 5-10 large cats, stuffed. Chandeliers made from the feathers of rare birds. Stools made from elephant feet/legs, they were hairy, ugh. Paintings and abstract photos of oily skin, "veiny" muscles of humans and animals etc etc. I looked for his kill room, but I never found it. In general I find billionaires don't behave like normal people, but this one was particularly weird.Source
When we were looking to buy a house we looked at one in which the father of the family committed suicide in. You could tell which room it was because it had clearly recently been sheet rocked and painted. It didn't really bother us though and we didn't get any creepy feelings. We chose not to put an offer in because the rest of the house needed a lot of work.Source
My grandma sells/rents houses in the Denver area. A few weeks ago I had to help her evict a few college bros from one of her properties. This is a cottage style home, no second floor, no basement. These guys literally dug a hole in the wood floor and made a basement where they've been throwing trash away for the last year. Like it's a living room... with a tv... and a couple arm chairs... and a giant hole in the ground filled with ice cream wrappers, pizza boxes, and cigarette butts.Source
When I was looking for my last house, I went with my wife and realtor to look at several houses. We went to look at one house in particular because it didn't seem like the price they were asking for could be real... huge house sitting on tons of land with outbuildings, going for millions under market value. We got there, and the realtor said "oh, I should mention, a serial killer lived here and when he was put away cops found 11 bodies on the property." Source
The house I'm currently living in is pretty creepy. There have been sounds of someone running up the stairs. I just thought they were old stairs that creak cause of the wind. (the house is new) Then there was a sound of a woman crying coming from the kitchen. I just convinced myself it was the neighbor. Then a bottle fell off the table. It was near the center and the table is flat but I just figured the air conditioner pushed it. Then a really strange thing happened. I was in bed one morning just browsing on my phone when the bed starts to slowly go down..as if someone was laying down next to me. I just froze and stared at the bed for some time. Finally I got up and shook it off and went about my day forgetting about it. I probably hallucinated since it was the early morning. Then this was when I actually believed. I awoke to someone tugging on my hair. I was in deep sleep and felt hair being ripped from its follicle and opened my eyes so fast and saw my hair elevated in mid-air for a milli-second and then fall down on the pillow. It scared me so much. I didn't tell anyone about it though cause it just sounds too crazy and I'm pretty sure no one will believe me. Other things have happened and still continue to happen.Source
My parents were realtors, and also flipped houses. When I was growing up I used to help them a lot, usually by cleaning. When I was 12 I was helping with a house that was infested with roaches. I noticed the closets were smeared with s--- and children's hand prints... there were fingernail scratches on the insides of the doors as well. I asked my parents why this was the case. They told me the old tenants used to lock their toddlers in the closets for days.Source
My aunt is a realtor and was selling a house that a lady owned but was renting out to her college age son and a few of his friends.
When they went to do the first walk through so my aunt could take pictures and such, it was apparent the lady hadn't been in the house in ages.
EVERY SINGLE ROOM had a tv, a chair, a box of Kleenex, and a bottle of lotion. They were literally just jacking it with each other all over the house all the time.
The lady was so embarrassed.Source
Not that I was buying but one I was visiting.
I went to visit my sister in California and once I flew in I wanted to shower. Well I took a long enough shower that the mirror was all steamy when I got out. Except one tiny dot in the middle of the mirror. My immediate thought process was "oh weird. I guess if you draw on a mirror with expo it won't steam around it". So I went to go investigate and upon looking right up to it I realized it was a f---ing camera lens.
Well I freaked and ran out to her room and dressed then went and told her. We went around our back and looked in a utility closet type thing that looked like it was in line with her room. Sure enough the drywall had been cut away and re patched at some point. We cut it open and while there was no camera there was a little lens still stuck to the mirror. It's real freaky to think whoever was getting actually spied on and if they ever actually knew. Eeeeeek.Source
Friend was doing a demo on a house that previously belonged to a builder/owner and the mother---er had a hidden passageway from the back of the master closet to the back side of the mirror in the second bathroom.
Which was one-way and his vantage point conveniently faced the all glass shower and toilet. F---ing creep.Source
Not a realtor, but when the sold sign went up on our last house our neighbor came over and said, "Now you're moving out, would you like to know about your house's history?". Turned out the previous owner was a heroin dealer, who allowed his customers to shoot up in the living room - explains the brown arcs all over the walls when we stripped the wallpaper. He also used to pimp his wife out from an upstairs room (our then bedroom). Lovely.Source
A lady wants me to list her house. I go over and do the routine. As I go to the bedroom closet, she yells, "Oh no! Don't go in there! It's a horrible mess! It's a walk in closet, but please don't go in there. It's such a mess and I'm embarrassed." She went on about it way too long for it to be "just a mess."
I leave it alone and that's that. House gets listed and two weeks later, I offer to do an open house. The lady has started packing already because I already helped her find a new house. She leaves, I get the open house going, and a nice couple comes in. They get to the master bedroom and there's a wall of boxes in front of the closet.
I explain that it's a walk in closet and last time I was here, the lady said it was just filled to the brim with stuff. The wife wants to see the closet. The husband starts moving boxes. I ask him not to and he keeps going saying, "if I'm going to buy a house, I want to see the whole thing." Well, he kind of had me there because I know they loved everything else about the house and the wife seemed super stoked about the kitchen and the master bath.
The last box is moved and the door is opened. Inside is a 10x10 foot room jam packed with dildos. They're each standing up on very nice custom shelving units with glass doors on the front. The glass doors also have numbers made from a home label maker unit. On the inside of the door is a large sheet of paper. Each number has a corresponding name of some guy.
That's when we noticed two large boxes in the corner. Each box contained 36 unopened "Clone-A-Willy" dildo making kits. We stared in amazement for awhile and then the husband just f---ing lost it. It took a good 20 minutes for him to stop laughing (or at least randomly bursting out in laughter). We put everything back the way it was and that was the end of me letting anyone check out the closet for the rest of the open house.
This couple actually ended up buying the house. And since I know everyone will ask, there were 183 home-made dildos in the closet (and a few store-bought ones too).Source
One story was about the crazy old gynecologist. He asked me to come and give him a price. He didn't want to sell, but wanted an official market analysis to present in court for his divorce. He offered me $500, so I was happy to come out and write it up for him.
First off, I didn't know he was a gynecologist. He never told me until much later when he asked me to put DR. ABC XYZ on the paperwork and I asked what kind of doctor he was.
Anyway, I show up and the outside of the house looks great. It's super clean, very well maintained for a 70 year old house, and looks pretty as a picture. I walk in and there's nothing but shelving units lining every single wall. Floor to ceiling shelving units. They're also in the middles of every room on the first floor. All of them are loaded with plastic storage bins that are all labeled. They all seem to have pretty routine stuff. I'm thinking the guy is just a very organized hoarder. One has boxes and boxes and boxes of new pens. One is all rolls of tape. One big one is all toilet paper.
As I get further into the house, the storage bins go from office supplies and toiletries to "Spoons." Just a giant clear storage tub full of random spoons. One is "used paper clips." Used paperclips? He's differentiating between new and used paperclips? Ok. Whatever.
That's when I notice every room has a TV and a surround sound system. And it's all set up on a shelving unit. This was back when flat screens were like $5000 and every room had one. Every room also had "flying saucers" on the ceiling which he said were repeaters so he could change every tv to the same channel at the same time. I must admit, that was pretty cool.
In any case, we go upstairs and it's a mess. The shelving units are all along the walls (but not in the middles of the rooms) and he's got a toaster in the middle of the bedroom floor with a bag of Butternut bread next to it and a plate with a mushy stick of butter that looked like it was a week old. It had that sick yellow crystallized look to it. There were books all over the floor and it looked like he just sat on the floor, reading, and eating toast. Everything was sprawled out in a perfect circle around where he would sit.
That's when I noticed the clear storage tubs were much stranger up here. One entire rack was "used tissues." Another several boxes were "lubricant." A couple were "speculums."
Then I realized there were A LOT of boxes of tissues (new and used) around his little toast and book circle.
I took my measurements and couldn't help but look at some of the titles on his bookshelf. The two that stand out the most were "Sex By Yourself" and "Show Me." I mostly remember "Show Me," because it was a very controversial book when I was a kid. It's basically a published book of kiddie (teen) porn disguised as a sex education book. Everything else on the wall of books was also sex related.
And we're not even close to done... I walk into this other bedroom and realize how dark it is. He's got tin foil taped in the windows to black out the room. It's filled with computers on a giant custom built horseshoe desk. If I recall, there were 8 or 9 screens wrapping around the room (in addition to the two big flatscreen TVs). As I measured the room, I noticed more used tissues and several boxes of new tissues. The screen savers were all showing slide shows of either nude women or women in bathing suits. I say nothing and we move on.
And here's where it gets weird. Oh, you thought THAT was weird? Hold on to your hat.
He takes me to the basement. It's a sex dungeon. Not some flashy sexy dungeon erotica either. This is dark, dank, and musty. Two cages in two corners, some kind of crucifixion cross with restraints, some weird table with restraints, a wall full of whips and chains and needles. One was a spanking paddle that had tacks sticking out of it. Sex swings of varying sorts hanging from the rafters. A wooden trough filled with what I hope was water. There was also a coffin, a "rack," an iron maiden, and stocks (like the medieval head and hands town square punishment device). Every wall, support, and piece of furniture had some kind of restraints on it. And he walked me through as if nothing was strange about this.
And the coup de grace... He shows me the utility room and then shows me his "secret room" where the door was disguised as paneling on the back wall of the laundry room. Inside looked like a rape room out of a f---ing horror movie. A giant shelving unit filled with VHS tapes was along one wall. A computer desk with a computer and old school video editing machines (I assume). Boxes of his favorite tissues all over the editing station. Then there was a brass bed with restraints. There were no sheets on the bed and it was HORRIBLY stained with God only knows what (not blood, though - I probably would have called the cops if I saw blood on it). There was a mirror above the bed with a microphone dangling and two VHS cameras on tripods trained right on the bed.
This guy acted like this was all totally normal. He was like, "Oh, and here's the secret room! I like to come down here to relax. It's just so quiet down here and it feels so safe because it's just hidden away from the rest of the house. If someone ever breaks in, I'd come down here and they'd never even know to look here!" No mention whatsoever that the obvious use of this room is to rape? Screw? Masturbate? Murder? I have no f---ing clue.
I collected my $500 and got the f--- out of there as fast as I could. No one believed me back at the office and you know what, I don't blame them either. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I'd heard it from someone else.
I have no idea what happened to that guy. I'm guessing he's dead now since he was (here's the kicker) probably about 75-80 years old and this was about 15 years ago. His age and frailty (in addition to my morbid curiosity) was probably the only reason I didn't take off immediately. I remember thinking in my head "keep your guard up... You're gonna f--- up this old man if you have to."
That's one terrifying visit I'll never forget. It's also the only time I didn't shake a customer's hand as I was leaving. My hand still tingles when I think about the introductory hand shake and all those clear tubs filled with "used tissues."Source
One story involves a couple who bought a house in the 1980's. They called me a couple year ago wanting to sell. As we're talking, the wife starts telling me about her difficult pregnancies and how she'd been pregnant many times but lost them all. I feel bad for her, but I'm wondering what this has to do with anything. The husband pipes up and says, "after the last one, I didn't know what to do... I came home and the first thing I thought to do was remodel the kitchen... I had to break something!" He goes on about his impromptu kitchen demolition (dishes still in the cabinets and everything). The guy was devastated that they'd lost another baby. Anyway, he says he's ripping out a corner and he always knew there was a dead pocket there because the span was like 3 feet, but the closet behind it was only 2 feet deep. He rips out the drywall and finds a ball of cloth. As he pulls back the layers, he realizes it's the skeleton of a baby. It was wrapped up with a teddy bear. He called the police and said they never got any follow-up on it.
The next was from another realtor I knew. They get to a closing and the seller is late. An hour goes by and he's still a no-show. The agent is calling and getting no answer. She knew the seller's nephew who let her in once or something, so she calls him. He drives over to check on his uncle. He opens the door and there's the uncle, dead on the floor. He's wearing his coat and has one shoe on. He died putting his shoes on so he could go to the closing. (And yes, the buyers still bought the house, but it took a few extra weeks to close.)Source
There was a house I was asked to sell. It was a fixer-upper, but it was on a nice plot of land. The sellers had some weird relationship going on. She was in her 20's and he was in his 50's, they were married, but she called him "daddy" and she dressed like a slut. They were not well-off by any means, so it's not like she was with him for the money. Anyway, I decided to Google their names to see what came up. They'd been busted for running a puppy mill in the garage and all the dogs were discovered frozen solid in the dead of winter and severely malnourished. After that, I just ignored them. I couldn't even talk to them to tell them I wasn't going to list their house.Source