Downtown Boston Real Estate Broker: I have an idea, I want you to leave your downtown Boston condo for a few hours so I can have some strangers walk around your home with masks on
Downtown Boston Condo Seller: Err .., Okay.
Right from the get-go, downtown Boston real-estate open houses are a recipe for weird and wild stories.
As Boston condo sellers or buyers, at least half of them give an open-house tour a try at least once in their lives, according to the National Association of Realtors.
And for many, it works. Statistics from the Profile of Homebuyers & Sellers show that more than one in 10 homeowners found their current home through an open house; 45 percent of homebuyers attended open houses during their home search.
So what could possibly go wrong when homeowners leave their dwelling — quirks and all — in the hands of a real estate agent so complete strangers can peruse, scrutinize, and of course snoop?
Plenty, but I’m a downtown Boston real estate broker, so maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this
From porno photos to wig rooms, here are some of the stories readers shared with us. The responses have been edited for space.
I represented a luxury condo seller who had some interesting black-and-white nude photography in the home. One open house guest seemed very interested in a particular photograph located in the master bathroom.
He showed up at two different open houses and stood in front of one of the photographs for at least 10 minutes each time.
Needless to say, he didn’t buy the Boston luxury condo … or the photo.
Funny bird, funny bird
“My Realtor husband and I hosted an open house for a client. After getting ready to receive guests, we heard the phone ring incessantly, tried to find it to answer but couldn’t. Then we heard someone calling the cat, ‘Here, kitty, kitty.’ finally we figured out that the owner’s bored parrot was putting us on.”
— DeVonne Wells, Bremerton
A litter problem
“We were walking around the house, we kept stepping in wet spots on the carpet. Our agent finally got the nerve to get down at carpet level and smell one of the wet spots and it was urine. (We’re assuming from a cat since there were litter boxes upstairs.)
“When we got upstairs, there was a huge white board on a home office wall with a house prep ‘to-do’ list and one of the items was ‘clean out litter boxes.’
Sherry Clarke, Lake Tapps
A shotgun shack
“Once (in Oklahoma) the couple my parents were considering buying the house from left a shotgun peeking out from under the master-bedroom king-size bed. That house also had converted the third bedroom into a closet/wig room. Weird.”
Layla Anson, Snoqualmie
“Perusing the bookshelves (in a Redmond condo), I picked up a Dickens book that wasn’t a real book at all. It was a fake book that contained a hollow center, apparently designed to store valuables. Inside were hundreds of dollars. I put it back, but couldn’t help wondering if everyone who visited would be as honest. I guess not many people pick up a good Dickens novel.”
Layla Anson, Snoqualmie
Call in the dogs
Dogs are part of the family, but that doesn’t mean they need to be part of the decision-making process.
“One couple brought their two 30-pound dogs to an open house I hosted,” says Stacy Mafera, a real estate professional at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Boston area. They insisted on carrying the dogs through the home and spending a lot of time in each room—all while the dogs barked nonstop.
The couple did end up buying the home, though, so the dogs clearly approved of the layout.