Tuesday, May 27, 2008

houses I have seen and hated

As someone who has bought two houses, I have been on a lot of tours of houses.

One of the most memorable houses I toured was the House of the Reluctant Tenants. Needless to say I wasn't interested in buying that one (I had actually evicted many tenants as a lawyer, and I didn't feel like going there as an owner). One angry young male tenant accosted everyone who came in and said, "You aren't going to evict us, are you?" in a hostile manner. Another unseen tenant was taking a shower (or running the shower; how long could the hot water last?) the whole time I was touring, so no one could see the only bathroom (like most people, I won't buy a house without seeing the bathroom). But that was somewhat understandable and didn't inspire horror or disgust, only pity for the poor listing agent. Other houses crossed the disgust or horror line with boldness and panache. Let me share a few of them with you:

The Sex House: I was really loving one house with a great roof deck across from Buena Vista Park until I went into the master bedroom. There was a variety of sex toys and lubricant and sex books out everywhere. I'm not a prude; I own some toys myself, but seeing some strangers' well used vibrators was just an "ewwwww" moment. Also, it seemed their sexuality was stuck in the seventies, which upped the "ewwww" factor for me. There was no way I could ever have sex myself in that particular master bedroom.

Ironically I had already bought a house with a sex-themed room, but it was more subtle and certainly very antiseptic. On our first visit to the beautifully appointed and perfectly clean little bungalow which became Our First Home, I noticed that one of the tiny rooms was set up with two comfortable recliners facing a television set. Each chair had its own personal box of Kleenex strategically located close by. "Hmm, this must be where they watch gay porn," I thought (perhaps because it was so clean and the actual porn had been tucked away, it didn't make me turn against the house). The Sober Husband chose to disagree with me. "Maybe they have allergies." It could also have been that the owners liked to watch a lot of tearjerkers, but then again, we were four blocks from the Castro. I was voting for gay porn.

In any event, after we put in the winning bid, I asked the sellers' real estate agent about that room. It turns out one of the owners was such an aficionado of gay porn that he'd written an encyclopedic book rating virtually all known gay porn flicks. I made sure to gloat to my husband about how I was RIGHTRIGHTRIGHT as always.

The Serial Killer House: We were excited when a large house went on the market one block from our first house. We loved our quiet, quaint neighborhood and didn't want to leave it; we just needed more space since we'd procreated. This could be our ideal solution!

The house was huge but immensely shabby and dilapidated. I could see some possibilities. On the bottom floor, there was a spellbinding trapdoor under the bed. "If we have Jews, there is where we will hide them," my husband remarked (ignoring for the moment that he himself was Jewish).

But then there was the tiny little enclosed patio off the wretched little kitchen. It was triangular, filthy, and contained only a chopping block, an old and well-used hatchet, and a lot of stains. Seeing this dear little space made me wonder more about the mysterious trap door. Perhaps it was used to smuggle out severed limbs. The house was thereafter The Serial Killer House to me.

My husband tried to argue a little sense into me about that house. "Imagine you live in this house, instead of that one YOU want to buy, and I give you thousands of dollars every month to do whatever you want to with! That's what the difference in mortgages will be." "I'd have to spend EVERY ONE OF THOSE DOLLARS to remodel the kitchen," I snapped back.

The Tampon House: My real estate agent was excited over an old house with spectacular architecture on a very great block in our city. The house had been horribly neglected and was filthy. The old bat of an owner criticized me for letting my toddler call me by my first name. But the final straw was when I saw a desiccated used tampon lying by one of the beds. I had to get out of the Tampon House and told my husband and long-suffering real estate agent, "NO WAY. I am NOT living in the Tampon House." My husband actually got into a squabble with me, claiming that it must have been a piece of art. I told him that I knew art and I knew used tampons, and this was a used tampon. As the only one of us who had actually used tampons, I claimed the expert role in the discussion. After all, the Sober Husband should have remembered from our squabble over the gay porn room that I am RIGHTRIGHTRIGHT when it comes to these things.


Anonymous said...

Your Tampon House brought back memories of our Poop House.

The first thing we noticed was that the place was covered in an inch of dust and there were piles of paper plates and plastic spoons by the sink (no actual dishes in sight). Then we realized they used mainly empty alcohol bottles to decorate with. Upstairs we found that the 3rd bedroom was used exclusively to store snowboards, skis, extra computers and other "guy stuff". I was thinking how smart these bachelors were, to buy a house together and save money while building equity - good for them! We were seriously considering the house until I looked in the bathroom.

The brown ring around the tub, the crusted toothpaste in the sink, and the "Welcome to our home - please buy it!" gift in the toilet. Who doesn't flush when they are expecting potential buyers?? Nope, I can't live in the nasty Poop House, sorry.

That was a year ago and it's still for sale. My heart aches for their agent.

Loves to your blog! I'm the proud owner of 3 small offspring myself, so you keep me LOLing on a regular basis.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Dear Jen, thank you for your comment! I'm glad you like the blog.

Your note reminded me of my ex-husband's house. He had trouble selling a house he owned in Fort Walton Beach, FL before moving to Boston (where he met me). He ascribed this trouble to the fact that his real estate agent was purportedly in the habit of using the toilet and not flushing.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! Well, not at the time for you, I'm sure, but what a how not to sell a house guide.

I can't even begin to imagine what people would be thinking to leave their sex toys out when the house is being shown! I mean, I keep my toys tucked safely away when not in use. Maybe I'm just a prude?

Captain Steve said...

Their poor, poor real estate agents! Perhaps the trap door in the Serial Killer house was Undergroud Railroad? I never had any gross things when I looked for my house, but they were all unoccupied. I am now kind of sad.

Sara said...

If you don't mind a self-link... I've started a blog collecting some of my favorite listings, such as this doozy.

I, too, have seen a "Isn't it homey?" staging of poop in the toilet. Why? Why?

the Drunken Housewife said...

It definitely wasn't an Underground Railroad thing. I don't think the UR reached San Francisco, and in any event, this house was built at least 75 years after the end of the Civil War. I would have liked it if it had been a UR relic.

hughman said...

maybe it was the Undergay RR where they hid drag queens during tupperware parties.

Anonymous said...

f me, C. That post really hit my funny bone. Dying over here in Alameda, where none of the kazillion houses I looked at had anything near as odd or bizarre.

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