Weird things can happen in the life span of a house. From eccentric and bizarre occupants with unsavory habits to murders or hauntings, houses can see all kinds of different people in all kinds of different situations. Part of every realtor's job is to deal with the aftermath of strange occurrences on their properties and learn about the history of the house, and sometimes that means encountering some strange or downright scary situations. Many of them they don't have to disclose to future homeowners... You'll want to up your research on your own house and any property you're interested in purchasing after you hear these realtors stories. Read on below to find out some of the most shocking things that realtors and consumers have encountered during the home-buying process!
"Some friends bought a property, very old site, about 300 years old which had been part of a convent, the living room of the nuns to be exact. The aforementioned place had been refurbished as small apartments/houses about 50 years ago.
They went to live there and there was some maintenance needed to certain places of the property (the common areas). There was a wall which was slightly wider than the others and as they began to work on it the outer layer fell apart (due to the rain and age). While trying to fix that they found dozens of skeletons of babies, very little babies and very old little skeletons.
Well, authorities and historians came and went by, and they came to the conclusion that the nuns tossed their babies there right after giving birth to them, since their being pregnant was prohibited by the order in the first place, and the baby would have represented a mortal sin for them. Lord knows if they were alive or dead by then."
"I went to visit my sister in her brand new place 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 camera lens!
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."
"The house two doors down from ours was for sale in mid-July and the realtor was showing it to a prospective buyer when this happened: a couple of kids set off leftover fireworks at the bottom of the slope past the development. This being California in the summer, the entire hillside of dried grasses caught fire immediately. We all heard the firecrackers, and rumors were that a pair of neighborhood boys caused the fire, but nobody could ID them.
Now you don't see much of these anymore because the construction material got outlawed, but cedar shake roofs were fashionable for a while. Our development got grandfathered in. So everyone on the last street in the block grabbed a garden hose, collectively put out the fire, and hosed down the rooftops.
Except for the realtor...
...who turned around garden hose in hand to see the roof already on fire of the house he was showing. It was too high and too far along to put out with garden hoses so by the time the fire truck arrived the entire second floor was a loss.
A local contractor got a lot of business in the months that followed replacing our neighborhood's cedar roofs."
"An attorney I know calls me up and tells me she has a client in Canada. The client's uncle passed away and left her everything. Since she lives out of the country and just wants the money out of everything, she wants a realtor who will also do an estate sale.
I agree to do it. I work it all out with the niece through the attorney and the niece says, 'There's a strongbox in the house. When you find it, do not open it. Just mail it to me.' I never found the strongbox and trust me, I looked for it. The attorney hired a contractor to fix a leak in the roof and he had access to the inside of the house. I wonder if he found it and carted it away. The niece up in Canada was convinced that either the attorney or I stole it.
Anyway... the main floor is 1960's chic. The basement is set up as a doctor's office. There's a lab, exam room, examining table, instruments, etc.
I ask the attorney what the deal was with this guy and it was an amazing story. So, he was 96 when he died and he was still practicing medicine. He'd make house calls and still drove.
He was German and was born in Germany. Apparently, he was a brilliant scientist and was recruited by the Nazis around WWII. When he was faced with some 'horrible tasks,' he ran. (Apparently, he never told anyone what exactly he was asked to do or what he actually did.)
Since he made a bit of a scene, the Nazis had already arrived at his house before he did. He went in and was asked to return. He refused. He was beaten and still refused. He was carted off and put in a prison camp where he was beaten daily and told to return to his job. He finally came up with a plan to escape and agreed to go back to his job, under heavy supervision.
His plan included having his wife and children ready to leave as soon as he returned home. He was told he'd have 3 weeks to recuperate. He got home and they formulated their escape from the house which had guards posted inside and out.
They set the house on fire as a distraction and ran. He was the first out. His wife and kids were behind him. A guard jumped out and decked his wife. The kids stopped and stayed with mom. He turned to run back, but the guard started shooting at him. He was shot in the back and in the arm. He ran off and met some friends hoping to find a way to get back to his family.
Over the next week, he smuggled himself back to his neighborhood and was hiding with friends. Sirens went off and everyone ran to the windows. A flatbed truck was driving up and down the street with his wife and children on the back. A loudspeaker was saying that they were looking for him and if anyone knew where he was to turn him in so he could be reunited with his family. His friends kept him hidden and told him not to go because they'd kill him. This happened for a couple days and on the last day, they basically said he had to surrender or they'd kill his family. He was instructed to go to his home. Hours later, he could see his home from where he was. They announced one last time for him to surrender and he was going to. His friends tackled him and held him down. Then, the shots rang out and when he got back to the window, his entire family was dead in front of his burned out house.
He stayed hidden for a few weeks and then decided to leave the country. He met up with a couple other refugees and they made their way out of Germany, on foot, at night. For months, they walked and hid until they got to Spain or Portugal.
They somehow booked passage on a ship to the USA and were smuggled overseas. They were apprehended in the USA and he spent a year in a detention camp being debriefed.
After the war, he went on to be a successful doctor here in the states. When he 'officially' retired, he opened a small office in his house and made house calls for a select number of long-time patients (one of whom was the attorney's grandmother).
While he had a girlfriend for 30+ years, he never remarried, and he outlived her. They never lived together because he had night terrors and was extremely violent in his sleep. She couldn't even stay in another room because he'd be screaming all night long.
He was a fascinating guy but it's such a sad story."
"Years ago I worked for an office that listed houses for sale. I had to create an ad for one that made my hair stand on end. I noticed it immediately as a weird old flag stone 1910's home with faces carved into the chimney blocks. When I was a kid this was 'the murder house' although it was about three miles away from my neighborhood...everyone knew it and talked about it. The story went that in the 1950's a new owner and his family moved in but the husband murdered his two kids and wife. Apparently the police did not suspect foul play and the husband said his family had left him. Years later in the early '80s the property had gone to pot and the man was raising dogs in his backyard. He died in his house and when animal control/police arrived not only was the guy gnawed on by some of his dogs but his own nephew later found the man's children and wife in a basement freezer, encased in decades of frost. Imagine my surprise when 9-year old me rode by the place on the day the cops were removing the freezer. I remember seeing it on a blue tarp in the front yard and people taking pictures. That night there was a quick blurb about it on the news. Years later in my 20's while creating the sales ad I learned that that was the first time it was listed for sale since the discovery."
"One time a crazy old gynecologist 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.
The house looks very nice from the outside picture in the MLS, so I bet the wife and subsequent owners did a lot of work to make it a lovely little home. It also just generally seems 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 middle 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 one on self pleasure and another one called '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 explicit images of underaged children disguised as an education book. Everything else on the wall of books was also related to intimate acts.
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 dungeon to perform explicit acts. Not flashy 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. 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 room built for violent encounters out of a freaking 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 violate others? Make love? Self Pleasure? Murder? I have no freaking clue.
I collected my $500 and got the frick 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 beat 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.'"
"My extended family used to live in a really old house located just north of London. Previously it used to be queen Victoria's stop when she was traveling in the area.
I'm told my uncle (mum's sister's husband), when younger never believed in ghosts or spirits and would be the first one to call it a load of rubbish.
He was sleeping one night and was awoken by a man staring at him at the end of his bed, dressed in an old army uniform. My uncle froze for a few seconds, panicked and flicked the bedside lamp on and then the man vanished.
He refused to sleep in that room from that night onwards.
We later found out that the man was a previous owner who had returned from war to find his wife having an affair. He was so furious that his wife reported to have told her he would do the worst thing possible to get back at her.
He took his twin sons (toddlers at the time) went to the back of the garden where there was a forest and shot them both dead before killing himself.
The funny thing is that since my family bought the property my uncle had twin sons, my mum had twin sons and my uncles brother (who is also a part owner of the property) had twin sons.
The weirder part is that my brothers and my uncle/aunties kids were playing near the forest when they were in their early teens and kept on saying they heard boys laughing but couldn't see anybody there (not knowing the houses history)."
"My father was speaking with the previous owner about anything he needed to know about a house that he and my mother owned. The previous owner starts mentioning that a man who lived in the house as a tenant was brutally shot and only made it to the backyard before he died from loss of blood. The house is located in a very bad area of our city so shootings are not at all uncommon. Fast forward a few years and we find out that one of the people we were renting the house to was a dealer. That dealer was eventually arrested in the house leaving his wife, mother in law, and daughter still there. A few years later and we needed to kick them out because they hadn't paid rent for months. A few nights after my parents went to go tell the tenants to leave and warn them that they would be forcefully evicted if they didn't, the house burst into flames. A very large portion of the house was in ruins. All the kitchen, one of the bedrooms, and most of the living room burnt to a crisp. Luckily the insurance covered the damage. The house has now been sold. Last thing that I heard about it is that one of our ex-tenants was not paying rent and got into a very nasty fist fight with some people in the neighborhood. He got into the house completely covered in blood and bruises. They had to call the ambulance to save the guy too. A small word of advice people. If you are going to buy a house ALWAYS take location into account. Sometimes buying a house in a dangerous neighborhood for a cheaper price can prove to be a big mistake."
"When I was doing the rounds looking to buy my first house we had made an appointment to view this little cottage which was totally in our budget. We weren't familiar with the area so we got there about 45 mins early. Instead of just waiting round for the agent to show up we decided to take a tour around the neighborhood and found another property that had an open house on. That one was so not in our budget but decided to take a look anyway just for fun and giggles. It was very fancy pants. White marble flooring, gym, it's own freaking hairdresser room. Anyway the property was split level and built on the side of a hill. So I'm super interested in looking at everything just to see how the other half live and I go into the laundry room which was at the back of the bottom level of the house. Off the laundry room there was another door which was smaller than a standard doorway (lengthways) and I thought 'oh cool, a secret passageway.' So I go through the doorway and it's a passageway that runs longways down the back of the house. One side is the dirt and the other is drywall. So I follow the passageway to the end. It's very dimly lit and at the end it opens up into a small room which the current owners were using for storage. I nearly crapped myself when I spot it. There, standing amongst random boxes of god knows what, was a life freaking sized replica of Freddy freaking Kruger!!!!
I noped out of there and we left very quickly. Suffice to say that we looked at the other property but did not put an offer in. That house is still on the market 4 years later."
"I work in property management on the rental side, and would frequently do post move out walks to assess damages from previous renters, and make ready lists for new ones.
There was a house on my list that had been vacant for a while in a semi seedy area, not a huge deal by any means as it's the middle of the day. I go to the front door, and it was stuck shut. Shoulder checked it a few times, and it would give a little but I couldn't get it open, like furniture or something was barring the way.
So I walk around back and completely ignore the broken storm door (oops) leading up to the other entry. The second I open the door I notice three guys standing in the living room around a table. One conveniently had a glock pointed directly at me.
I apologized, and politely let myself out. No more than ten seconds after I get into my car, our maintenance calls warning me that the property has been broken into half a dozen times already and I shouldn't go in alone.
Wasn't the worst I've seen, but certainly the scariest."
"My wife and I are realtors in Los Angeles. San Fernando Valley to be exact. We were on caravan with a colleague who is significantly senior to us and has been in the market a long time. We went to a new listing and my colleague said 'Oh, I know this house' in an off-putting tone. We asked what she knew and she said 'I'll tell you when we leave.' It's a lovely little home in a multi-million dollar area of Sherman Oaks, clearly has had a few different owners over the years, and although it cosmetically needs a lot of work, you would be thrilled to own a sweet home like this in that neighborhood. The asking price was well over 1m. When we leave, I inquire again from my colleague about what she knew of the house. It turns out a family that lived there in the early '80s was brutally (and I mean very brutally) murdered and tortured in a home invasion. Apparently it was quite a big story in the area at that time, and as I said, she is significantly senior to me, and has been a realtor in LA since the late '70s. But there was no internet then and time moves on.
We got a little obsessed (my wife and I are true crime fans) about the house and wanted to see if we could dig anything up. After a little bit of time scouring the internet and newspaper archives, we couldn't find anything. That really bothered me. As a realtor and someone who really tries to be an extraordinary service provider for my clients, I want to be able to provide that kind of information to a client.
Now for the really messed up part. California real estate law is such that you have to disclose a death on the property if it occurred within three years of that death. However, if the death was violent, and you know about it, you have the obligation to give that information to your client no matter when it occurred. But if you don't have that information, then you're perfectly well within the law.
I'm not a big believer in the paranormal and am not scared of ghosts, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the new owner of that house. Imagine spending 1 million dollars on your dream home and not knowing something as horrific as that happened there. This is a story that has always stuck with me. I always look at a home for sale as if I were the one buying it... This one got to me."