Real estate is often portrayed as a glamorous profession. Reality television has given us peeks into the lives of real estate agents who sell million-dollar mansions and help clients find their dream homes, but is working in real estate actually anything like that in real life? Not surprising, those aren’t the experiences most realtors have on the job. It’s typically rather mundane — but then there are the exceptions.
Real estate agents, clients and colleagues have posted some hilarious stories on Reddit filled with all the juicy details about the most out-of-the-ordinary things they have experienced during showings. Let’s just say you never know what you will find when you walk into a stranger's house.
Literal Bats in the Attic
I was a realtor in upstate NY back in grad school. The worst house I ever saw was pretty junky inside, with paths through the garbage which was at least a foot deep in each room.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
We were doing the pre-purchase inspection and noticed a kid in the back yard near some woods kneeling and digging with a shovel. We walked over to say hi and see what was up. He turned and said, "Get out of my face," so we decided it was best to leave him alone.
A Strange Welcome
I scheduled a showing at a property occupied by renters. They were fully aware of the showing. I had talked to the husband directly. So, I showed up with my client and his 2-year-old, and the whole family was there, the husband and two kids nonchalantly watching TV in the living room. The wife was lying on the bed in the master bedroom, door open, watching TV — in her lace bra and panties.
How Many People Live Here?
I work for a brokerage, and we manage about 1,000 units in our city. The weirdest showing I ever had by far had to be when I was going to a nice part of town to show a 2,200-square-foot, two-story home to what I thought was a single mother. It turned out that she and her friend were moving in together, and they both brought their children — all six of them. They were all running around screaming, slamming doors, locking each other in closets and the like, and the moms were both just ignoring it.
When Clients Are Criminals
So, my mom was at a showing at the end of the day, just showing this home to a single guy (couple bedrooms, bath, garage) nothing special. He asked to see the garage, and according to her, that is typically just opening the door and looking in, and that's all.
Is Anybody Home?
I have been a realtor for 14 years here. A few months ago, I went into a house in a nice area, but there was obviously no maintenance done on the outside, which was unusual for the area. We went in, and there were piles of stuff everywhere — stacks and stacks everywhere you looked. The place was a mess.
Barb's Real Estate Adventures
My mom’s friend, Barb, had the worst, most bizarre luck with clients. These are two stories I remember hearing. One, she was showing a very old (1930s?) fixer-upper when water started leaking onto her and her clients' heads. Upon further investigation, it wasn't water. It was a stray dog peeing upstairs. That's right. All three of them had just been peed on.
Clients with Sticky Fingers
I'm not in the business anymore, but I did hundreds of showings. I'm kind of jealous of some of the weird stories here, because my weirdest doesn't approach them. My milder story is that one of my vendors used to leave $50 on the kitchen bench to pay the cleaner — they were childless professionals with nobody home during the day.
Don't Wake the Officer!
A good friend of mine was showing a house, and he was the listing agent, so he had keys and was under contract to show the house. He tried to call the owners but got no answer. He tried both cell numbers on the way over but still no answer. He showed up at the house just as the potential buyers were pulling up.
The "Dirty" Side of Real Estate
Foreclosure sales are often super depressing. They usually occur because people are down on their luck and in a tough spot in general. The owners often leave stuff behind. I saw one last year where they abandoned a bunch of kids’ toys and school projects.
We Don't Want Nice Things!
I used to be in real estate investment, and I saw some interesting properties in the Milwaukee area. One property that we actually ended up buying was a nine-unit efficiency. Eight of the units shared 2.5 baths, and one unit was the "management apartment" on the first floor. Apparently, the owner didn't tell his tenants, so when we walked in, he told us to act like we were insurance agents so the tenants wouldn’t get an idea what was going on.
Renting from the Wrong Owner
When I was in leasing, I went to view a house in order to assess it before it went on our books for rent. I was looking around, and it was a very nice, modern three-bedroom, detached house.
When Nature Calls
We just bought a house, and on one set of showings, we had to take our 4-year-old daughter along. We got to the last house, a vacant, winterized house, and she said she needed to pee. I told her to hold it, and we went through the house with its old, outdated, smell of smoke (and I'm an outside smoker).
Welcome to the Landfill
I’m just a buyer here, but I'll share. We bought a FSBO property — no realtors. Both parties were pretty thorough, and the deal was pleasant. We got to the closing, and the seller had not done the math correctly and misunderstood how much we had asked for in closing costs. He wrote me the check, but he was mad.
Finding a Squatter
In South Central Los Angeles, I was attacked by a skeleton-looking crackhead with a knife once. She had broken in and started living in a room, so she was yelling at us to get out of her home.
How Do We Get Out of Here?
When I was in eighth grade my parents were looking for a house, and so my sister and I spent many Sunday mornings being dragged from showing to showing. I will never forget one for this house in the middle of a nice suburb. From the outside, it looked like it had all these big windows around the front of the house, and you could see the curtains were closed.
The Creepy Bedroom
Imagine a room full of dolls, the ones with the glass eyes that look into your soul, and they are all arranged to "look" at the door when you walk in. Yeah, no sale!
A Funny Way of Decorating
Eagles — one man had bald eagle paraphernalia in every corner of the condo. There were entire shelving units packed to the brim with eagle statues, and every bit of fabric — draperies, blankets, rugs — was eagle themed. Perhaps the weirdest part was there wasn’t a single American flag to be seen anywhere.
There's Not Always Running Water
This next story might seem crazy, but any real estate agent will tell you that it happens way more often than you might think. I was looking at a multifamily building with a realtor I use a lot, and we were meeting a contractor. He showed up looking kind of pale. He kept talking really fast and then just said he had to go to the bathroom.
The Hidden Problem in the Basement
I'm a home inspector, so I have a bad experience at least once a month. The most notable one was when I caught an agent and owner covering up a major deficiency. There was an open waste pit in the basement, and they covered it with boxes. I'm very lucky I caught it.
You Might Want to Get That Repaired
I went out to a house on the hill that had snapped in half. They had hazard tape all over the place but still had a Supra (lock box) on the property.
My seller liked to tinker with cars — a lot — but he didn’t have a garage, so he used his living room instead. He wasn’t happy when I told him he had to dismantle the vehicle and get it out of the living room before we put the house on the market.
The Extremely Phobic Client
Surprise! Many people have dogs, cats, parrots and even pet rodents. Somehow, these houses are inevitably paired with potential clients who are afraid of said animal. One actually fainted. Who is that afraid of birds?
The Cats Come Out to Play
So, a broker calls to set up an appointment for his buyer. The seller agreed and asked for an hour so he could get the cats out. Okay, fine. The broker and client show up an hour later.
The "New" Roof
Once, an enterprising roofer had laid a new roof right over rotting wood shingles.
Who Puts Trash in the Trash Can?
My grandma sells and rents houses in the Denver area. A few weeks ago, I had to help her evict a few college brothers from one of her properties. It was a cottage-style home, so no second floor, no basement.