Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection


Listing From Hell? Not Necessarily

Yesterday, I showed a house that was rather disturbing.

If it was being sold because of a divorce, he didn't leave her for someone younger, thinner or prettier.  He left her for a Zen minimalist.

The house, listed Friday night, is in one of Washington's most popular neighborhoods, and it has a price tag we haven't seen there since about the Millennium.  The MRIS information warns that the place is very messy and to not let the cats out.

When we got there, several agents and their buyers were inside.  One of the agents warned us to watch our steps.  The house itself was not terrible.  It was filthy dirty, and I should have handed out face masks for my buyers, and the basics and bones were not in awful shape.  It had what looked like updated systems, including new central air.  But every square foot of floor was covered with several feet of stuff, and every once in a while, we'd find a little cat asleep on top of a pile of something.  And there was grime all over everything.

In this day and age, where we rarely see homes that are not spiffed up and nicely staged, this was the opposite extreme - an opportunity to look past a mess.  It was a chance to pay less than top dollar in a great neighborhood in return for some serious elbow grease.

Once we got over the initial shock, I realized that my buyers like the place.  And while the agents were pulling our designer scarves over our noses and mouths and rolling our eyes (feeling so sorry for the poor listing agent having to deal with the place), our clients were getting pretty excited.

The listing agent here is no fool.  It might be the ugliest, dirtiest house she's ever listed.  But guess what?

It's priced perfectly! 

I think I smell a bidding war here!  Stay tuned for more!

Anyone know a good exorcist?

Comment balloon 140 commentsPatricia Kennedy • February 21 2010 08:07AM


Wow - Unbelievable sight. I think that many clients have a hard time looking over decorating let alone a messy cluttery sopace -  I'm glad your cliets were able to see through all of the clutter. Hope they get a great deal.

Posted by Noah Levy, Coldwell Banker Highland Park IL (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago

Other than the difficulty with a home inspection and likelihood that the furnace filters haven't been changed, EVER, this is a great example of a home for sale


I would NOT discourage a buyer from just going for it.  The seller is probably a hoarder and doesn't even understand the problem.  It will cost them and that's fine for the buyers.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago


Sounds like a deal once the backhoe takes all their stuff out!  

Hope you get it at a good price.  

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Patricia - The paradox is is that these are the types of homes that sell the fastest with clean terms.  Often times, they receive cash offers with no contingincies which makes for a smooth deal.  In Philly, we sell so many of these types of properties whether it be distress, estate, or properties that the folks just let get away from them.  Further, buyers love these types of properties as they can do their own rennovation and updating, or often times, it is just cleaning and sprucing up as well as other cosmetic updates instead of paying top dollar for someone else's taste and decor.  If your buyers make an offer, I hope they get it !  Am tuned in for round 2 !  ~ Chris

Posted by The Somers Team, Delivering Real Estate Happiness (The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia) over 10 years ago

If your buyer makes an offer, they can probably cinch the deal if they offer to let the seller have some extra time to get out. I've sold a few houses like this and it always takes longer to move that stuff than you think!  

Posted by Lexie Longstreet (Savvy + Co. Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I love finding "diamonds in he rough" like this one. If, as you say the bones, structure and systems are updated and in good shape, it will be a bargain with only about a weeks worth of hauling and disposal. And...oh ...wait, did you mention cats?

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Houses like these are usually great buys, as the seller and their agent realize that they have to compensate for the condition is some way.  But, you're right.  I've seldom seen a house that was as cluttered as this one you just described.   Hope your buyers get a good deal.

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 10 years ago

Right price, right location sounds like a winner.  I hear you can find a good exorcist in Georgetown :-)

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

They have a TV show about people who live like this. Watch out for TV cameras if you visit again. 

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) over 10 years ago

I will be anxious to hear the outcome...good luck!

Posted by Terri Adams-Scott, Realtor, Walnut Creek CA Real Estate (J. Rockcliff, REALTORS) over 10 years ago

You didn't say but were there fleas to deal with also??  Sounds like an ideal 'sweat equity' situation for your buyers!!

Posted by Barbara Calwhite, 417-438-7387 Specializing in Relocation (Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri) over 10 years ago

Hopefully the listing agent has it advertised, " Make us and offer and bring your own dumpster."

I had a listing once that wasn't as bad as this, but bad enough that when we had finshed our office tour through the place - the owners had posted a sign to remove shoes for that visit - and we were discussing the expereince and the place, one agent commented that he was going to go home and burn his socks. Now that's nasty!

Posted by Norm Werner, Helping the first time and every time (Real Estate One) over 10 years ago

Sadly, this is not unbelievable. There are many people who have a disorder who causes them to be unable to organize, put things away, and take control. Also, continual shopping is used to fill a void in their lives. It must be a difficult listing to sell, and it may be VERY difficult for the seller to get everything out and meet the deadline unless there is some divine intervention.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 10 years ago


From listing foreclosures, I know there are business who clean out and clean up places just like this - and the cost is reasonable. So even if the sellers won't be leaving it "broom clean," your buyers shouldn't rule it out!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) over 10 years ago

Patricia: My first thought when I saw the picture was "yikes!"  I just hope those people don't have kids- I would think child protective services would have to get involved- it's bad enough for the cats!

Posted by David Obbee ( over 10 years ago

Wow...get story, thanks for posting.

Posted by Marcy Moyer, Tolland Homes For Sale (Prudential Connecticut Realty) over 10 years ago

It would be great if your buyers could help a mentally disturbed person move on with her life...I hope someone is close enough to this seller to help her get counseling.   Thank goodness it sounds like there are no children involved.

Posted by Brenda Probasco (RE/Max Premiere Properties) over 10 years ago


Freaky scary but, if its priced right that seems to be the key motivator. Everything else is fixable.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 10 years ago

Wowzer it is hard to believe that someone could ever live that way. 

Posted by Paula McDonald, Ph.D., Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Beam & Branch Realty) over 10 years ago

The smell and the cats that you mention would concern me.  Cat urine can soak into floors and could be hard to remove.  If you have hardwood floors, it could be expensive to replace them. Smells could soak into the sheetrock and sometimes fresh paint doesn't get rid of it. 

Clutter is an easy fix but smells can end up being a nightmare. Even if you get rid of most of it, the slightest whiff of it will trigger meomories of the awful smell that was originally there.  No thanks.  I'd pass no matter what kind of deal you could get.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 10 years ago

I think it was George Paukert who said in one of his books, "If it smells, it smells like money." :) There are few defects price can't cure and lots of buyers can see past clutter to what THEY can transform a fundamentally sound property into.

Posted by Candice A. Donofrio, 928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text (Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker) over 10 years ago do tell a good story. I just had a very similar experience with my client. I'm only seeing the mess and she seeing herself living there. We wrote the offer and she will have a very nice home....I love the last statement. Made me laugh!

Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 10 years ago

Good Luck! IT would be even better, if your clients do not have to engage in a bidding war!  Or if she is only going against low ball investors!

Posted by Alisa Johnson, Dream. Move. Live. (Realty Partners) over 10 years ago

Anything can sell if priced right...anything!

And an extra Kudos to those people who can see passed the dirt. Maybe with the harder economic times, people are starting to use their imaginations again, like our parents did. There are great deals to be had for anyone who wants to get dirty :)

Posted by Not In Real Estate Any Longer over 10 years ago

There are people who live like this and I think they suffer from a disorder, which I believe should cause us to have compassion for them rather than express disgust.  Yes, the great majority of people would not live like that, but I have seen this before and I actually had a neighbor at an appartment complex who was an absulute pack rat minus the cat issue.  She was a lovely person, but did suffer from multiple physical problems and was not neat like the rest of us.  This picture reminded me of her.  I hope the listing agent did not post pictures of the interior on the MLS and if I were the property owner, I would not like it if a buyer's agent took a picture of the interior and posted it on a social media site (even if it's for members only).  Just my opinion. 

Posted by Ute Ferdig, Because Getting It Right Matters! (Ferdig Real Estate Solutions) over 10 years ago

Patricia- will the offer include a dumpter?  Seriously, my mother's home looked this bad 10 years ago (sans the cats).  She just wouldn't throw stuff out and kept buying more.  It took me nearly two weeks with help from my siblings to get her and her husband moved out.  I needed a vacation afterwards.  I cannot image the time it is going to take for the seller to clear out if they don't have friends and family to jump in and help.

Posted by Rick Fifer, Broker/Owner, Vintage Homes Realty (Vintage Homes Realty) over 10 years ago

Patricia--What a great post. It brings home the variety of situations we all find ourselves in when we get into the real estate world. This one is not "ho-hum" so you will be able to demonstrate the wisdom and acumen you have accumulated over the years to your Buyer. Whether or not you end up as the owner, you will always be the winner.




Posted by Elliott S. Topkins, Massachusetts Real Estate and Title Atty (Topkins & over 10 years ago

Shinto Priests are very good at removing demons and bad vibrations from a house.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 10 years ago

I've repeatedly bought houses that were stacked to the waist in garbage and stuff.  Not to mention rats and roaches everywhere.  No big deal to me if the price is right.  You can trash out a 1500 sf house for under $1000, get it exterminated multiple times for under $500, then get it cleaned spic and span for under $500.  I will be happy to take $20,000 in equity in return for a big cleaning (which I pay someone else to do).

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Oh my!  I've listed a few cluttered and dirty houses in my day, but this may top them all.  I'm curious... did the listing agent post photos of the interior in MRIS?

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Patricia, I've only seen 2 homes like that in 36 years.  Luckily there were no animals involved but the 12" pathway through each room was like a fun little maze to negotiate.  I loved how an outboard motor was placed on the stairway in one of them surrounded by an entire family's memorabilia. I was looking at one of them for myself, should've bought it! 

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) over 10 years ago

I feel a little sick thinking of you having to show this house. I'm thinking hazard pay is in order.

Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) over 10 years ago

When I was shopping for my first home we looked at one like this.  you could only walk on the cleared path and cats were everywhere.  All the bathrooms except one were being used as closets.  We couldn't get out of there fast enough - neither my husband and I had the vision.  It sold that weekend.  We've kicked ourselves many times for that because it sold for the same price that we eventually paid for a smaller, older (though in tip top condition) house.  If your buyers have that vision it could be the deal of the decade.  Good luck!

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) over 10 years ago

You said it all in the first part of the post. PRICE! The right price (or undermarket) always get attention. I'm sure it's already has an accepted offer

Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) over 10 years ago

If one knows the real value of homes then pricing for condition tends to yield a favorable outcome for all.  If the place is that messy then there have to be problems with the house which can be remedied.  I like this pricing strategy since I'm only interested in getting a home sold not just listing it.  Pricing low with lots of opportunity for buyers created demand even for a piece of poop.

Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 10 years ago


FYI - you may not be able to get an "AS IS" appraisal done on this property, as the potential is there for health or safety issues.

Posted by Jesse Skolkin (Independent New York State Certified Real Estate Appraiser) over 10 years ago

This "affliction" transends all economic boundies. Our role is to market the property for the seller not to make judgements. A buyer is acquiring the "realty" not personal property and that should determing the value of the property.

Posted by Gordon W. Miller (Green Mountain Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Not sure it's a bidding war you're smelling.  :)


Hope your buyers get the place.  Sounds like a diamond in the (very) rough.

Posted by Coleen DeGroff, Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL (Coldwell Banker M.M. Parrish Realtors) over 10 years ago

Just goes to show you that anything will sell, even a home occupied by an obsessive compulsive, if it's priced right. If I were your buyers, I'd be more concerned about the lingering residual from the cats.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 10 years ago

I think I showed the same house only in my neighborhood! Good luck.

Posted by Blatt + Cutino, Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today* (Keller Williams Coastal Estates) over 10 years ago

Oh we see this all the time out here. Short sales and REOs that are beaten to death before the "sellers" left. I am always in wonder about how people live.....yuck

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 10 years ago

Sounds like a listing for a good TV show!

Posted by Paul Todd, Vacation and Second Homes Sales and Management - Mentone Alabama (Mentone Cabins Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Everything has its price!

Posted by Bart Olszewski (Keller Williams Landmark II) over 10 years ago

Anything will sell if priced right -- anything -- best of luck on this one -- sounds like getting the owner moved out once it closes will be a challenge.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 10 years ago


You will have to tell us if your buyer made an offer.  This is an example of a home that would have shown better empty. 

Posted by Carol Pease, CRS, Broker-Associate 512-721-6320 (JP & Associates Realtors) over 10 years ago

Pat:  In cases like this, I feel very sorry for the poor animals.  I toured a home of a hoarder who had a precious little dog.  I felt so bad for the dog.  He had practically nowhere to roam, but one cut path through STUFF.  At least cats are nimble at climbing and jumping.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 10 years ago

"The diamond in the rough" These places have lots of potential and fun to redo after you get to the bottom of them!

Posted by Denise Seifried, SFR (RE/MAX Grand) over 10 years ago

If it's "priced perfectly" for that condition, the seller is leaving a lot of money on the table!  I bet that investment of a week's full time effort, a dumpster, a house cleaner, and a stager would more than pay for themselves.

Posted by Vicki Lloyd, (619)452-9798, Real Estate San Diego California (The Lloyd Realty Group) over 10 years ago

Pat, location, location, location.

Have your buyers get a dump truck or write it in the offer for all junk to be removed.

You can fix the inside but can't change the location.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 10 years ago

Pat t looks like you client knows when something is a bargain and can see possibilities beyond the present clutter.  Please keep us up-dated.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 10 years ago

Maybe it's a new form of staging a home to get a bidding war going? 

Posted by Andrew Martin (REMAX Accord) over 10 years ago

I wonder if the owner ever considered being on the TV show "Hoarders"?  Maybe they were rejected.  Can't wait to hear a follow-up.


Posted by Jan Stearns, Marketing Director for Waterville Valley Realty (Jan Stearns, Waterville Valley Realty, Waterville Valley, NH) over 10 years ago

Please keep us up to date on what happens Patricia.  If your clients do purchase it, I would love to see how the final walk through goes!

Posted by Home Design, Home Design and Real Estate over 10 years ago

Pat - yep, I have seen a few of these. Sounds like a golden opportunity. Things will likely look VERY different when the junk is hauled away. Wonder how the minimalist life style will work!?


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 10 years ago

I hate to say this, but I will.... If the sellers' agent was unable to get her clients to clear out the stuff before putting the house on the market, I would have my doubts that the house will be cleared out on settlement day - no matter how much time you allow between ratification and closing. Prepare your buyers for this (as I'm sure you have!) Oh, dear!

On a brighter note: perfect gift for your buyers: a bucket, a mop and a huge vat of organic cleaning products with a bow and a $200 certificate from Maid Brigade!! Good luck!

Posted by Ellie Shorb, Realtor DC, MD & VA Luxury Home Expert (Compass Real Estate) over 10 years ago

hi Pat -- Price is king in this case and it shows there is a buyer for almost every house!  My fear for a buyer would be if there could be serious termite or other issues that can't be determined due to the amount of clutter, but hopefully it's a manageable risk.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 10 years ago

I always tell buyers you're not buying their stuff.. It works both ways.. Sometimes they fall for nice furnishings. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My grandmother used to say: "There is a lid for every pot"



Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 10 years ago

Hi Patricai,  Isn't it amazing how a buyer can look past a lot of shortcomings if the price is right ?

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 10 years ago

wonderful news...we will be watching for information on the contract -

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 10 years ago

LOL!  Good for you on educating your clients & helping them SEE the house & not the stuff!

Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

Our office recently listed a home like this, though in worse physical condition. The resident slept in a giant recliner in the living room...directly under a large hole in the roof. He had put up plastic sheeting to direct the resultant water flow into a large bucket on the floor. Well, you can imagine the rest of the scene!

That house is under contract less than two weeks after it was put on the market, because the listing agent knew her stuff and priced it right (VERY low for the neighborhood). I'm a believer in the old adage that the right price can solve just about any problem.

Posted by Sonsie Conroy, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor (I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County) over 10 years ago

Can't wait to hear the outcome.  Let's hope this isn't a new trend.  -M

Posted by Marcie Sandalow, Bethesda Chevy Chase DC real estate (Marcie Sandalow, Compass 301.758.4894 ) over 10 years ago

That is great that you buyers were able to see past the mess. I have been in homes like that and when you leave you feel as though you need a shower.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) over 10 years ago

Ah...dirty but nice priced. If you look at the price, and less on how do people live like this...well, be glad they did get a little slack and chainsawed the price tag while they were at it to move it out scout. Joke about this is a place that is a diamond in the rough, and one to show when you have a head cold.The CSI guys that roll up in the black surburbans and discover a body that has been dead in the heat for a time whip out the Vick's to open up, put a dab under each nostril to help the stench as they do their work.  A listing, a sale is a sale. Dress accordingly and watch out, don't let your client open that refrigerator that's been unplugged for two months. It's not pretty in there. But it comes with the amusement ride on below price, make up your mind right now Mr Buyer properties.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 10 years ago

Hi Pat, I guess we never know which buyers will overlook things and which will turn and run.  It looks like your buyers have their eyes on the big picture!  I hope all goes well for them, it sounds like a properly priced property and they will end up smelling like roses :-)

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) over 10 years ago

Wow. That's what I call clutter. Someone will get a deal on this one. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Joseph Keech (Blue Atlantic Properties) over 10 years ago

I have made LOTS of money puchasing properties such as these. To rent a dumpter and a guy to shovel stuff into around here is pretty cheap, and they get work done fast. These are my favorite kinds of real estate challanges. If I were in the area, I'd buy it. I hope your clients realize that they will be up against investors such as me and be prepared for strange things. If they do like it, then get busy and write up a contract. Sell it, Sister!

Posted by Amy Law (Alliance Properties) over 10 years ago

No telling what else will be found during the inspections. A few body bags might be in order.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 10 years ago

We always tell buyer client t o look past the messy stuff and focus on the big ticket upgrades. It does sound like a bidding war is on the horizon. Good luck.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) over 10 years ago

"Priced Right for Condition "means taking a premium off the listing price for what work the Buyers perceive needs to be done as well as the Buyer's time and aggravation. If you can't get a Seller to do the work,it is really the only option.

Posted by Marianne Cherico, Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Interiors by Marianne Cherico) over 10 years ago

Let us know if you get it, Pat.  Yep.  The right price is the magic.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 10 years ago

We should send that photo to Tanya for another AR photo contest!

Seriously, I think those people used to be my neighbors when I lived in your area!!!!  We were appalled - cats and STUFF everywhere, with little tiny pathways to get through the rooms.

PLEASE tell us what happens, if your buyer gets it!

Posted by Melissa Brown, Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale (Helen Adams Realty) over 10 years ago

I heard a saying one time, "There isn't a defect which price won't fix" - maybe that's true.

Posted by Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR (Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA) over 10 years ago

Pat, All the best with this.  Great to hear your buyers could overlook the mess. 

In regards to getting a "good exorcist", Google your area, for someone to do a "smudging" with sage of the whole interior of the house.  A Native American thing.  Helps to move out the "bad/negative" energy.  Then smudge with sweetgrass to bring in the good energy.     ----Gloria

Posted by Gloria Todor, & Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA (Century 21 Absolute Realty ) over 10 years ago

Defintely looks like a hoarder's house.  Sounds like it could be a nice deal for buyers if they can get past the 'stuff'.  Extra time will probably be needed if the owner is a true OCD hoarder.  They hold onto everything and anything and cannot part with a single item.  So, cleaning the house out could be an issue (in time).

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Oh my gosh, what a MESS!  What a perfect opportunity for someone though. I hope your buyers get the deal in the end :)  I liked Missy's idea of hauling off the junk for the sellers.  They are probably so overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  Pricing is certainly key!  Let us know how this transpires!

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) over 10 years ago

Great story.  Thanks for sharing.  I think it takes a client with an ability to see beyond what they are looking at to imagine what they can do with it is always a plus.  I, for one, have already gotten tired of that candle that every agent suggest they have the homeowner burn in the house for showings.  My clients have asked why all the houses smell the same.

Posted by Larry Lawfer, "I listen for a living." It's all about you. (YourStories Realty Group powered by Castles Unlimited®) over 10 years ago

This hoarding thing is just ridiculous.  I can't imagine having to deal with that mess on a daily basis.

Posted by David Monsour, ABR - (Keller Williams Keystone Realty) over 10 years ago

Pat ---- wow -- you are right -- the listing agent is very smart to have priced the home correctly. Keep us informed -- sounds interesting.


Posted by Liz Loadholt, Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC (Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC) over 10 years ago

WOW!  I would have loved to see more pictures, and if/when your buyers buy it, before and after pictures would be awesome!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

Pat, I hope your buyers get the place!  I have had a few listings like that, price cures all!

Posted by Jen Anderson (Exit By the Bay Realty) over 10 years ago

So many houses are staged and picture perfect it is a bit of a shock to find one quite the opposite.  However, I could top your photo if only I had taken a picture of the pet poop still on the floor at a recent broker open house.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 10 years ago

I have experienced home in the past in this condition in the exclusive areas. For this reason it is always wise for the agent to know the inventory, so you can warn your buyers ahead so it is not such a shock for them. Most buyers can't look beyond the dirt and mess, but for those that can they may get that diamond in the rough.

Posted by Marguerite Wherry (Associate Broker / Teles Properties, Inc.) over 10 years ago

One must wonder about the listing agent not offer some type of disclosure in the MLS.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 10 years ago

It just shows that you have to view listings with an open mind.  I always try and tell my buyers to view a property as if nothing is in the home and if the walls were white.  I guess that might be difficult if there is 3 feet of "stuff" all over the place.  Great blog, keep up the good work!

Best regards, Dave

Posted by Dave Westall (Oliver Luxury Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Hi Pat... I bet that having that bulldozer rental company phone number in your iPhone doesn't seem so ridiculous now!  LOL

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 10 years ago

This looks like a home you would see on a TV show. Good luck with it.  ZI have seen bad but none like it  so bad

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( over 10 years ago

My husband and I put an offer on a house like that once.  Unfortunately (or not!) we were outbid.  Homes like these can be a great deal if it's in a good location and everything else (other than the yuck factor) is good!  :o) 

Posted by Tori Stamps, MA JD - Broker/Owner Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Stamps Realty) over 10 years ago

Patricia, You should see the house in my market!! With the bulk of the market being vacant foreclosures and short sales it is rare to see a property in pristine condition. I'm actually working on a photo post right now that will give you a peak at what we deal with everyday.

BUT...if it's priced right it will sell like hotcakes. I learned this lesson well in late 2004 when I made my living selling "hurricane houses". No roof and full of black mold was the norm. I couldn't list them fast enough.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Pat, I'm glad your potential buyers could see beyond the's not often that it happens.  If they truly love the house and can see the potential, they will probably do very well there once things are hauled away and it's cleaned out from top to bottom.

I too was wondering how they can do a proper inspection, though, with so many things around?   Good luck, I somehow wouldn't be surprised!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 10 years ago


There is only one reason that a property won't sell, and that is PRICE. Priced correctly, even stinky properties will move!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 10 years ago

Well good luck with this one!  It sounds like it could be a pain in the butt.

Let us know how it goes please.


Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 10 years ago

I onced purchased a home where to get the trash out it took two extra large containers.   The wife was menatally ill, and I admired the husband for sticking by her.

Posted by Tere Rottink (CoastalVa Realty Inc) over 10 years ago

Anything will sell at the right price.  Somethings even a little elbow grease will go a long way.


Posted by Ross Therrien, Realtor, Broker Associate (Prudential Verani Realty, Londonderry,New Hampshire) over 10 years ago

Patricia, I agree with Lenn. If the buyers can see past the filth and it is what attracts them and the price is right who cares about the condition. That makes for a better buy.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hey, if your buyer gets the accepted contract, I'd call the people from the show "HORDERS" and see if they can work some magic for you!

Posted by Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204, My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago


It always seems to boil down to likes, price and what people are willing and able to do to turn a house into what they envision it to be.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 10 years ago

There may be treasures in there!  It's a good example of trying to tell a seller to depersonalize a house.  BTW, what's a Zen Minimalist?

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) over 10 years ago

Pat,  This obviously is the extreme, but I was commeting to a colleague how utsywootsy we've gotten on this staging thing, feeding into buyer expectations that a house - not matter what the age and circumstandes of the owner "should be" Architectural Digest perfect.

I've done volunteer work in a home where the seller's house was like this. She has a disease.

I have had listing with sellers who unfortunately are disabled in ways that don't always allow them to have the floors polished and the windows sparking, let alone scurry out of the house when a buyer decides at the last lminute the "have" to see that listing.

Maybe there's a happy medium - just hope the weather stays cool and the smell doesn't heat up that bidding war

After finishing another 20 hour weekend of yoga teacher training I can understand the attraction to Zen minimalist- it just needs to be comfortable

Posted by Janice Roosevelt, OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker ( Keller Williams Brandywine Valley ) over 10 years ago

Looks like you need a dumpster instead of an exorcist.

Posted by Marc Iafrate, MBA - Wake County Real Estate Search (Capital City Real Estate Group, Inc. brokered by eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Like you I feel sorry for the listing agent.  It will probably be difficult to get this seller out because she won't want to part with any of her junk.  But good for buyers.  Keep us posted and let us know if your client got it. 

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Pat - what I am always amazed by is how well you write and how many comments you get! Another truly entertaining post - I want to know where the house is, but I sense that you are not telling! :)

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 10 years ago

Pat - what I am always amazed by is how well you write and how many comments you get! Another truly entertaining post - I want to know where the house is, but I sense that you are not telling! :)

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 10 years ago

Pat - what I am always amazed by is how well you write and how many comments you get! Another truly entertaining post - I want to know where the house is, but I sense that you are not telling! :)

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 10 years ago

Pat - I did the same thing as a listing agent to one of these nigh mere properties.  I suggested rock bottom price, put the remarks in listing that it was very cluttered but the seller are working on it.  I even for the one and only time in real estate paid for a stager upfront out of my own pocket because the sellers were so overwhelmed and didn't know where to start.  Usually I can do minimal staging but that one left me scratching my head.  SOLD with multiple offers in less than two weeks.  By the time the buyer came along is was half cleaned up but still had a way to go.  It's good when buyers can see past all the crap.

Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) over 10 years ago

Pat - I recently showed a similar house, but it was NOT priced accordingly and it's a short sale.  My guess is it'll go into foreclosure.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) over 10 years ago

Pat great story in this day and time of "perfect" homes. You clearly had some smart buyers and you gave good advice. Hope you can get it without a bidding war.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) over 10 years ago

Consider yourself fortunate. Not many buyers can see a diamond in the rough.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 10 years ago

The only thing I would worry about is getting the smell out after they get the house.  I've seen some that carpet, paint and duct cleaning didn't quite get all of the nasty out of...

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 10 years ago

Price is everything. Good luck for your buyers.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 10 years ago

If your client gets this home, they'll likely get a great deal because of the condition.

It's great that the agent and owner were willing to price it based on condition.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 10 years ago

WOW.   At least everyone was aware of the condition and priced it accordingly.

Posted by Lisa Stafford, Broken Arrow OK Homes For Sale (Broken Arrow, Tulsa, McGraw Realtors) over 10 years ago

Every house has its right price. It sounds like this one is priced right!  If your clients make an offer and purchase, you need to take before and after photos and compose an "after" post!

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 10 years ago

Many times the houses that need a lot of work or things to overlook are the best priced deals.  Good luck with your deal.

Posted by Robert Machado, CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management (HomePointe Property Management, CRMC) over 10 years ago

Great story Patricia.  I hope the home sells quickly, but now I'm worried about if the poor cats are being cared for.

Posted by Gary Swanson (Century 21 Harris & Taylor) over 10 years ago

I love it when buyers can see past the mess and get themselves a real deal. Too often people want a perfect home for the better price, but those two combos rarely meet.

Posted by Connie Hall (All Brokers Real Estate) over 10 years ago

If your Buyers make an offer, WRITE into the contract that all personal belonging will be removed - don't assume that they'll take all their Stuff!  :-)

Posted by Lori Cain, Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Wow -- sounds like the seller(s) have a neurosis with retaining things which creates a great deal for buyers -- if the bones are sound!  If it is a great location and great price what a find for a buyer that can get it with a sound Home Inspection report.

Having lived in that area over 15 years ago and knowing prices at that time -- if a buyer can afford the price they can afford a cleaning out crew -- No?

I'll be looking forward to the follow up and rest of the story.

Sue of Robin and Sue

Posted by Robin Dampier REALTOR®, Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source (Coldwell Banker King) over 10 years ago

It is amazing how many people out there can't look past the elbow grease...  Everyone feels so entitled these days...  Good for you and your buyers for seeing the potential and those other floks will be kicking themselves one day for not making an offer...

Posted by Barbara Kornegay, Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes (REMAX Essential) over 10 years ago

Good morning Pat,

Wow between your description and the visual photo I can only imagine how it looks and smell. There are some buyers out there who can look past it and go for the kill! The inspection will reveal how the basics's allot to tackle but if the buyers have the resources then it could be a steal. It sounds like the listing agent got the house priced right where it should be a quick sale.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 10 years ago

Pat, When we show houses, our reactions can break a deal. Congratulations on allowing your buyers to see past the mess and dirt.

Posted by Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES, Harford County Specialist (Exit Preferred Realty) over 10 years ago

I feel sorry for the cats! Maybe they want to get out!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 10 years ago

Hoarders. Worse, hoarders and Cat people. Get out the sanitizer after you leave. Even if it priced to sell, the issue looms as to how and when they'll vacate. I've had people like this want post possession agreements.


Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 10 years ago

Hey Patricia - how can you be mindful of cats you can't see??  Well written, made me laugh :).  Good luck getting selected!!

Posted by Lisa Moroniak, SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified (Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388) over 10 years ago

Wow, looks like a crack house!  Unfortunately I've shown a couple of properties in my career that look similar.  Good thing it's priced right.

I feel sorry for the cats.

Posted by Michelle Fradella-Barfuss, Author of "Top 10 Mistakes Agents Make When Market (Marketing Coach - ERA Brokers Consolidated) over 10 years ago


I could be interesting to see how much money the condition cost the seller. Whether it made sense to clean it up, and make it nice vs simply reduce the price to overcome the mess.

How much is the cost of the mess?

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 10 years ago

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Posted by Lori Mode, Real Estate Made Simple (The Mode Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Posted by Lori Mode, Real Estate Made Simple (The Mode Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

Patricia - right price and so much can be overlooked by buyers with a vision...good luck!

Posted by Lori Mode, Real Estate Made Simple (The Mode Real Estate Group) over 10 years ago

Sounds like a golden opportunity !!! How is appraiser & lender going to see the home. I would be interesed in knowing the ending of this. Good Luck

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 10 years ago

Wow, I think buyers really can look past the mess if they are serious about purchasing. The bones of the home is really what we need to get all our buyers to look at. Great post! Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Posted by Shannon Jungmann (Allen Realtors) over 10 years ago

I think I saw this house featured in the TV series HOARDERS.

Posted by Bill Petrey (AgentHarvest - A Real Estate Agent Finder Service) over 10 years ago

Made me laugh!  I represented some buyers once on a home similar to this.  I wrote in the additional provisions that ALL the "stuff" had to be removed before the walk-thru and had to be cleaned by professionals (which they did).  I agree with Bill, this person should have call "Hoarders" and had them do the clean up - they would have made more money....

Posted by Eileen Liles, Macht-Liles Real Estate Group - Cedaredge, CO (970-216-0530 over 10 years ago

Have Goodwill come and take care of that stuff!!

Dixon Team OC

Posted by Dixon Team OC (RE/MAX Select One) over 10 years ago

Wow!  This is more comments than I've ever gotten on a post - ever!  A couple of things.

I feel like I sounded totally not empathetic, and that's not like me.

Clearly, this seller is going through something awful in her life, and the evidence was piled all around us.  And it was all pretty extreme.  And after I wrote this, I looked around my own house.  I am no Martha Stewart, and if something in life pushed me over the edge, it could easily manifest in my living environment.

So I have this one on my watch list and I'll let you all know how it ends.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (Redfin) over 10 years ago

Hope it ends well for your client and the seller has some positive things come out of it in the end as well.

Posted by Clark Hitchcock, Realtor - Fraser Valley (Re/Max Nyda Realty Inc) over 10 years ago

Hello Patricia.  Please tread very carefully.  Hidden damage from the cat urine is likely present.  In addition to engaging a qualified home inspector, I suggest a specialist be engaged for review of the cat urine issue. 

While the buyer may be excited now, cat urine can be consider toxic and may cause health issues in certain individuals.  There has been extensive litigation involving real estate and cat urine. 

Consider having a cat urine release prepared by your broker's attorney and signed by the buyer prior to closing.

Posted by Glen Fisher (National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC) over 10 years ago

Pat, This house looks like one of those before photos for one of those TV shows, where they go in and clean the place out top to bottom.  Good luck on that bidding war. I hope your buyer gets it.

Posted by Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate, Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast (M & M Realty of Brevard Inc.) over 10 years ago


I have had those experiences you described in both renting and selling. if you are priced right......the following will take place. You will have showings whether you are ready or not. For remedies on what you described, I have had to pull carpets and padding and treat the cement/floor with an ammonia wash which kills the bacteria which is where the smell comes from. Skip this process and even new carpeting wont help you. By the way, the cats are worst as they look for places to hide their mess where dogs just do it. Consequently, cleaning up after dear old kitty is a nightmare. And, yes, I never failed to have eye contact with buyer/renter who has says to me between will take care of this problem of which I (most of the time)  say...what problem? As to the condition of the premises..........And you wonder why people are divorcing?

Thank you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 10 years ago

Patricia Kennedy , these are the kind of homes I live for! While most buyers are gagging, investors are salivating. I've seen worse homes bought for 50% of market value, cleaned out in 1-2 days, renovated in less than a month, and sold for a HUGE profit shortly thereafter. They are also great for first-time home buyers looking for a bargain. I bet it doesn't last. Keep us updated!

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) over 3 years ago