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This article was published on: 10/01/2007

In the Trenches captures the odd and funny incidents that invariably happen in real estate. Here are the stories submitted this month from real estate professionals all over the country. Don't forget to submit your own funny story!

October 2007: Haunted Houses

A Grave Discovery

I was determined to change a young couple’s sour opinion about real estate practitioners after they told me about their bad past experiences. Little did I know of the grave results to come, literally.

We made an appointment to visit three homes. The first two went off without a hitch, but weren’t exactly what the buyers were looking for. So we moved on to the third house, which offered the most promise since it was only five minutes from the husband’s work.

But when we arrived at the house, we realized it was a fixer upper with odd, gothic décor (black ceilings, ouch!). This probably wasn’t going to be their dream house, but we checked it out anyway. We walked out the French doors to the bowed deck, which wobbled like a wayward ship. Nearby, the detached garage was not so abnormal, except for the fact that one entire garage door was missing and the other was ripped in half — which left our mind’s racing: how in the world do you rip a garage door in half?

We gazed over the acre-plus lot to see what other hidden treasures awaited us. Lo and behold, no more than 10 feet to the side of the garage was a gravestone — someone's beloved brother who passed away at age 37 in 1969. This discovery was slightly unnerving.

We noticed a small path up a slight slope running behind the garage and our curiosity got the best of us. We started down the path and soon found two more graves with greatly worn headstones standing roughly 3 feet tall. The tombstones and the adjacent six or seven more behind them all dated back to the 19th century. The oldest dated back to 1829.

At this point, the couple was horrified and we decided to call it a day. If only the listing description could have been more accurate: Vintage graveyard, inviting black interior home, and partial, open-air garage doors.

— Jason B. Combs, ABR®, Coldwell Banker West Shell, Milford, Ohio

Ghosts in the Cellar

I was showing a house that definitely gave off a creepy vibe. I was working with a husband and wife with three children. All of the adults were in a hallway next to a door that led to the cellar, while the kids were upstairs. Suddenly, the three of us heard the distinct sound of footsteps coming from the cellar. The husband slowly opened the door and looked down, while his wife and I nervously looked on.

Without warning the husband shouted “Someone’s down there!”

Already spooked, I raced down the hall with my heart racing to hide in another room. In my mad dash, I pushed the wife to the floor! A few seconds later I overheard laughing … “I was only kidding,” the husband said, as he tried to find where I was hiding.

It turns out that the footsteps we heard were really from the kids coming down the staircase that was directly above the stairwell. I was relieved that I didn’t have to see a ghost, even though I surely embarrassed myself in front of my clients. On the bright side, who wouldn’t want to work with a real estate agent with such a fast response time?

— Stephanie Grandstaff, King Realty Co., Marengo, Ohio

The above stories were submitted by readers via e-mail. They’ve been edited for clarity and style.

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