I'm staying with my October theme of ick factors in homes I see or sell, so bear with me or turn the page if you tend to gag easily. Last week, I mentioned the house of horrific smells, where the poor man had lost his marbles, turned off the water and used plastic newspaper bags instead of a toilet for two years before his family came to the rescue. This week, I want to give you a few quick anecdotes about some other gross things I've experienced.
Famous rotten stories in real estate are often associated with bad smells. There's the ex-husband who got the house after a bitter divorce: A month after moving back into the home, he noticed a bad odor that kept getting worse. He had professionals come in and check vents for dead rodents and had his carpets cleaned, but the stench remained. You see, the ex-wife spent the last night in the home feasting on shrimp and caviar and a bottle of wine. When she was done stuffing herself, she went into every room and put the remaining shellfish (dipped in the leftover caviar) into the hollows of all the curtain rods. The story goes that the husband couldn't get rid of the smell and wanted to sell the home, but no one would buy it. Realtors didn't want the listing but, hmmm, the ex eventually offered him 10 percent of what the house was worth through her attorney. He happily signed the sales papers and a week later, the movers came and took out the husband's furniture, including the curtain rods, to his new home.
You want revenge to haunt you? It's your karma, baby. Here are some other stories I've heard or witnessed over the years:
• A renter who hated his landlord made sure that when he moved out, the landlord met him at the apartment while the carpet cleaners were there. The owner was so pleased at the extra effort that he gave him his deposit back, in cash, on the spot. The landlord left and the tenant sprinkled grass seeds over the entire wet carpet, got in his car and moved to California—no forwarding address.
• Chicken bomb: Again, it's a stinky thing. You get some raw meat and put in in a glass jar with milk. You hide it in the back of the furnace area. The heat makes stuff rot and expand. The jar will explode—smelling up the furnace and the vents throughout the house.