How is that for a tagline?
Make no mistake, this is the worst thing that’s ever happened in one of my listings. In your wildest imagination, you couldn’t come up with this on your own…
We’ve all heard rumors of “things” happening in properties listed for sale.
You know the things, right?
I believe one of the Toronto newspapers picked up a story two years ago about “House Humping,” a new trend that was sweeping the city! I guess if you’re really in need of a jump-start in your sex life, you and your partner can go to a series of open houses, find one that’s slow, and have yourselves a good ‘ole time in an inconspicuous area of the home.
While these instances are rather uncommon, they do happen. Every Realtor has a story, whether his or her own, or one they heard first-hand from a colleague.
About a year ago, I had a listing at a building in the downtown core that had just been registered as a condominium corporation, and that was right next door “Phase Two” of the project.
The unit was vacant (owned by an investor), so we had the property professionally staged from top to bottom. I’m talking pencils in the jar on the desk in the den, and tri-fold hand-towels in the guest bathroom. Those towels would prove to be garbage by the end of the listing, but I digress…
The unit was a 2-storey layout; 2-beds, 2-baths. It showed exceptionally well once it was staged, and he had a ton of showings.
I had a colleague helping me out with the listing, as she was doing both open houses for the public, and taking cold-callers through the property.
About a week into the listing, she messaged me and said, “CALL ME ASAP URGENT RE CONDO,” and I figured she had an offer!
I called her and said, “Soooo? Big news?”
“HUGE news,” she said. Then she trailed off, and there was silence.
I waited, and waited, and finally she said, “Ummmmm……I have no idea where to begin.”
She actually took her time, composed herself, inhaled deeply, and then paused again.
“Dammit, what is it?” I asked. “Spit it out! Lay it on me!”
“Somebody f*cked in the condo,” she said, for lack of a more subtle way of putting it. Hey, I asked her to lay it on me!”
“What? What do you mean? Who? When?”
Again, she paused, and collected her thoughts. She then gave me the whole story.
“I came into the condo, went upstairs, and the first thing I saw was a bath towel on the landing. I kicked it with my foot, noticed it was wet, and realized it had been used. I figured maybe there was a leak and an agent mopped it up, but then I went into the bedroom….”
The bedroom? Uh oh…
“The bed was a mess. The sheets were torn, the pillows were on the floor, and since this isn’t a real bed and just a staging bed, it looks broken – like somebody put a lot of weight into it.”
“The shower had been used recently, and there were towels on the floor. There were hand-towels next to the bed.”
Don’t touch those…
“There’s a mark on the wall from the headboard of the bed, which looks like it’s been separated from the bed frame.”
“The other bedroom was untouched, but there were more towels on the floor, and all the lights were on. There’s some kleenex and toilet paper in there too. It looks like somebody…..I dunno….changed….and cleaned up in there?”
“That’s not it,” she said.
Dammit. I thought it couldn’t get any worse.
“It gets worse,” she said. “I found……ummm……something in the toilet,” she said. “That’s how I know this wasn’t a prank, and that people were actually in this condo, you know, doing stuff.”
What could it be, I wondered?
“I found a used condom,” she said. “It was stuck to the inside of the toilet bowl, and I flushed several times but it won’t seem to unstick.”
Great. So somebody f*cked in my gorgeous new listing!
As nice and as helpful as my colleague is, I couldn’t bear to ask her to do anything in the unit. I thanked her, and told her to go home and give her hands a thorough wash. She said she’d probably take a long shower, and disinfect…
I went to the condo that night and she was right – it was exactly as she described.
We didn’t need the team at C.S.I. to tell us what had happened here. It was pretty obvious. The staging had cost a few thousand dollars, so I wasn’t looking to notify the stagers and ask them to come and give us clean towels, or do any work on the property. So over the course of the next hour, I went into damage control mode. I smoothed out all the towels – bath towels and hand towels, re-folded them, and put them back in place. There were towels on the rod, on the vanity, and on the bed. These condo-f*ckers sure picked the right place to do their business…
The bath-mat was soaking wet, so I hung it in the closet and closed the door.
I brought a pump and re-inflated the mattress, and made the bed as best as I could. I had to bend the cheap bedframe back into place, but it looked okay once I was done. The pillows had some stains, so I just flipped them over, and put the bottom ones on top, and the top ones on the bottom.
I came back the next morning with a few cleaning products, and gave it a good once-over. The towels and the bath-mats had dried out, so I put them back into place.
I shot a full can of Febreeze into the air, and suddenly the condo was showing about 96% as good as it did a few days earlier.
I laughed it off, figured I’d tell the story on my blog one day, and moved on.
Three days later, my colleague called me again, having been back at the condo for another showing, and said, “You won’t believe what happened this time.”
She refused to tell me on the phone, as she said “Words can’t describe it.”
I met her at the condo, and she was holding her nose. She motioned toward the bathroom and said, “Enter at your own risk.”
I flipped up the toilet seat, and inside was…..well….
Words cannot describe…
Let’s just say that this didn’t look human, or at least no human could have produced what was inside. Maybe ten humans, collectively, or an 800-pound man who just ate half of downtown Toronto and proceeded to drink six coffees, but in any event, it wasn’t pretty.
Just for good measure, there was another condom stuck to the inside of the bowl.
I said a small prayer to the real estate Gods, and then I flushed the toilet. I flushed three times until the water was transparent again, and that’s when I noticed that at the bottom of the bowl were a few nuts and bolts.
It’s not what you’re thinking – the toilet-user did not eat, digest, and excrete nuts and bolts. But rather, I figured somebody was now trying to sabotage this listing.
As I mentioned at the onset, this building had just been registered, and there was a “Phase 2” next door.
This building had four units for sale by the developer, several for sale by investors, and there was a sales centre open next door for the selling of Phase Two units.
I concluded that this wasn’t an agent showing the condo for sale who decided to have sex with his or her client, then come back the next day to use the toilet.
No, I figured this was intentional mischief on the part of a competitor. Why else would somebody throw a handful of nuts and bolts into the toilet? They were hoping that it would break, with that God-awful mess in the bowl, and a fantastic mess would ensue.
It’s not out of the question that a construction worker or somebody at the sales centre might have a master key to all the units. There are no security cameras in the hallways, and no real way of knowing who comes in and out of the unit, if they’re already in the building.
The toilet never broke, the mess was cleaned up, the concierge was asked to visit the unit 2-3 times per day and to be “on the lookout,” and in the end, we sold the unit only a couple days later.
Thankfully, my client was understanding when I told him. I had to tell him. The adage, “What you don’t know, won’t hurt you” rings true, but I figured that full disclosure was better than non-disclosure.
But to be honest, this is probably the worst thing that’s ever happened in one of my listings.
Can you envision anything that could possibly top this?