As a real estate agent here in middle-of-nowhere Winnipeg, a guy sees some crazy stuff.
Scary stuff you’d only expect to see in movies.
I’ve walked through homes with plastic baggies on my feet to avoid all the feces. I was on a walk-through to assess value and list the home.
It’s happened where, during the course of a couple’s home listing, one spouse ended his life right there in the house. The wife was left behind to clean it up. Heartbreaking for sure… It complicated everything too, and was difficult for me to lose a client like that.
Then there was the time I was showing a home and we came across the owner’s dead body. The pungent odour behind that door was so powerful it actually made my tongue sizzle and nose burn! That distinct smell will forever linger in my nostrils. Even now, 25± years later, I remember it vividly.
But here’s one story I’ll never forget.
I know of an agent who listed a house full of corpses. Right here in Winnipeg.
The agent had been hired to list the property.
“The situation is like this,” they told him, “the woman who lived in that house was a recluse. A hoarder. But it gets worse. She had loads of cats. Bottom line is the place is uninhabitable. It’s a lot at this point.”
The poor woman just left the house one day, never to.return and when discovered was hospitalized and unbeknownst to the caregivers left her cats and they sadly perished. Horrible yes, and then others were arranging the sale of her house. When she left, he couldn’t be sure. What he did know, was that inside that full, dirty, dishevelled, hoarded-full house, were twelve sadly dead cats. Whether they died before she left or as a result of her leaving, again, he couldn’t know. All he knew was that there was no intention of removing their corpses prior to his arrival or even prior to the sale.
The guy was mortified, but had a job to do.
He dutifully went out to the property to assess its value. He pulled up and noticed a sticker posted on the door, labelling the house inhabitable. He put a hand to the knob, but couldn’t bring himself to go in. Instead, he focused on taking exterior measurements. It was about the lot anyway.
He measured the walls, inspected the lot, and investigated the back entry that had apparently been torched by one of the neighbors, all the while trying desperately, but unsuccessfully, not to think about those twelve dead bodies in that house.
The reason I’ll never forget that story is because I was that agent.
I was the one whose hand hesitated on the knob, and who wrestled with the decision to go in or not. It tore me up to think of those fur babies trapped in a house without access to food or water, slowly and painfully dying. And then to be left like that! It weighed heavy on my heart that such a thing could even happen.
We see crazy things in this city, in this industry. But the awful ones are rare.
Most of the time – and my most favorite – are the happy stories.
The bright-eyed babies who necessitate a bigger house, the star-crossed lovers who buy their first home together, the empty-nesters who bravely right-size for their new life.
All those good, beautiful moments make the hard ones worth it.