The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

It's Freaking Me Out

Miles Driven: 44
Pop Tarts Eaten: 2
Egregious Instances of Mold: 5
Dead Body-shaped Objects Shoved Under a Sheet That Freaked Us Out: 1

I’m currently in pre-holiday, end of year push to buy and sell mode, so I’m out showing houses fairly non-stop. This morning, I was in South Scottsdale checking out a few houses with a young couple who have a brand new baby. We decided to head out early to get a couple of houses in before they had to be at work.

We met at the first house on Earll Drive at 8AM. The house is in an older, but geographically desirable neighborhood off of Hayden and Thomas. From the outside it was cute brick ranch with a carport that needed a bit of work. On the inside, it was the most horrifying case of mold and neglect I’ve ever seen (and this is really saying something). When I opened the door and took a step inside, I was slapped with a wave of mildew. It smelled a little bit like cardboard boxes left out in the rain and then stuck in the corner of someone’s garage (or, you know, Oregon). It was carpeted with that stuff my mother always calls ‘dead rabbit carpet’. I Googled it and it’s apparently called Sculptured Nylon (by the way, DON’T Google dead rabbit carpet. The results are disturbing, to say the least). Picture this, but 40 years old, brown and heavily stained:

sculptured nylon carpet

The ceiling in this house was covered in popcorn texture, but it appeared to be of the DIY version, and we could tell this by three reasons:
1. It was a thicker popcorn, with heavier kernels, so to speak, than I’ve ever seen
2. In the middle of the family room there was an ornate cross on the ceiling UNDER the popcorn texture.[Dear Earll House, a 1982 Jesus Freak interior designer would like his esthetic back. Love you, Bye.]
3. In several places, large sections of the popcorn was hanging down in a big sheet, or completely missing.

In the kitchen, the popcorn ceiling wasn’t popcorned, at least, but it was black with mold and water damage. Directly off the kitchen was the master bath (which is, in itself, interesting bathroom placement that we have encountered several times in this particular Scottsdale neighborhood), minus about 30 percent of its necessary drywall. It clearly should have been minus about 30 percent more drywall to actually take care of the mold problem housed within its walls. At this point my clients were done and we bailed. It was not a successful house visit, let me tell you.

House number two of the day was cute and in decent shape. It was sorely in need of a remodel, but not a health hazard, and therefore, somewhat unremarkable for the day.

House number three, however, was a doozy. To begin with, it was occupied. The listing said that I should contact the tenant to show. I called the guy and left a message, but hadn’t heard back, so general protocol in a case like this is to attempt to show, but make sure to ring the bell and knock loudly before entering, so you don’t catch anyone doing nude yoga or sacrificing a goat or anything really weird.

The lockbox was on the front door, so I knocked loudly and opened the door while shouting, ‘HELLOOOO!’ like someone’s crazy Aunt Nancy showing up uninvited. We didn’t get a response, but there was music playing in one of the other rooms. This automatically gave the house a slightly creepy vibe. We kept thinking there was really someone there and that he would pop out at any moment.

The living room was fairly bare of furniture, except for a small end table with a black and white framed photo of Jesus (like maybe he followed us from the first house?) and a china hutch with a few knick knacks. We took a few steps into the house and the female half of my client-couple gasped loudly, clutched at her chest and practically shrieked, “This house is freaking me out! I don’t understand; why is there a photo of Jesus and then dentist’s tools?”

It turned out she wasn’t wearing her glasses and couldn’t see super well. The ‘dentist’s tools’ were really a chrome bar set, but by then, she was completely shaken. The converted carport with the giant glass cage housing a snake didn’t really help. The master bath (also with a door right off the kitchen) had a huge crack in the shower floor which had been allowing water to seep through the wall into the kitchen and deteriorating the drywall. She was the first one through the bathroom into the master bedroom, and at that point, she was almost hysterical, and backed right out of the room and declared that she wanted to leave.

When I walked into the master bedroom, I understood why she wanted to go. In the far corner of the room, there was an object on the floor under a pile of sheets and blanket that was distinctly human shaped. It was the right height for a man, with even a sort of bend up where the knee would be and looped down over the ‘feet’ at the bottom. I really wanted to tap it with a toe, just to make sure, but I’m sadly, not that brave. We hightailed it out of there. As we were locking up, the wife said to the husband, “That was the scariest house I’ve ever been in!” To which he replied, “Really? What about the first one we saw today?” And she said, “I forgot about that one!!”

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