Quinte, On. real estate agent: Real Estate and a State of Mind

Real Estate and a State of Mind

creepy grafitti

Sorry to disappoint, but this post won't be about how most real estate agents are funny in the head. I'm saving that one for another day. Perhaps I'll write a book about that (once I'm finished writing the great Canadian novel which I'm leaning towards calling "snow on the pumpkin - the melancholic exploits of two average men trapped in a crisis of identity").

This is more about some of the things I see from time to time when I'm in certain houses. I do a few power-of-sale jobs (bank sales), and I quite often see some pretty dreadful things. By the time I get to some of these properties the drama is long over. The house will have been uninhabited for quite some time and walking into these places feels like I'm walking into an abandoned Antarctic whaling station.

I often get the willies. Even though months (sometimes years) have passed since the house was last used as a family home there will still be evidence of strife, and it's very creepy. It's quite amazing how similar these places are. Besides the obvious delapidation, holes punched in the walls, smashed doors and evidence of the petty violence that angry people punish inanimate objects with, there's always graffiti. Some rooms look like the ritualistic sacrificing of small animals would have happened there. I tend to get suspicious when tupperware containers with dead animals in them are lying about.

I usually look around and try to imagine when this was last a happy place. When was the last time someone walked through that front door happy to be coming home? When did everything start falling apart for the people who lived here, and how did it ever get to this? It's very easy to say that some people should never own real estate, and that they were never responsible enough to maintain a property in good order. I'm sure that is the case in many circumstances. However, I'm also pretty positive that a good many people become mentally ill and never get the help they need.

I'm lucky to have never felt the despair that some of these people must have felt. Small things turn into big things, and before long everything slips away. They stop caring about the house, they feel that it  has become beyond their abilities to hang on, they stay there because it's a place to live, and eventually they give up the battle and move on. Judging from what I have seen in these places, it must have been a very unpleasant thing for them. I'm sure some people cope better than others, and maybe these people were not well enough to cope properly.

I can't do much for the people, but I can do something for the house. I always hope that someone will buy it, invest the time and energy into it, and make it back into something special again. I also hope that the previous owners can put everything behind them and get the help they need.


Comment balloon 10 commentsMalcolm Johnston • September 10 2010 08:28PM


I know what you mean.  The plain vanilla houses are easier to take.  The ones that reveal someones dreams and personalized decorating that has since faded and fallen into disrepair are always a bit depressing.  The only cure for this is definitely to come back for a visit after the new homeowners have revived it.  Then it all seems whole again.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) over 8 years ago

Kristen Wheatley /S. Central Maine Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Mid Maine) It can be depressing Kristen. I have actually gone back to a few of them and have been very pleasantly surprised to see them looking so good.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 8 years ago

Every home has a story which is even sadder when a home has "lost" its owners due to financial difficulties or other issues. When I walk through some of these vacated bank owned homes I wonder what happened.

Posted by Carla Harbert, RE/MAX Omega: Lorain-Medina County Area (www.LorainCountyHomeSales.com) over 8 years ago

This market has taken its toll on not only financial health but also the mental health of distressed homeowners--not to mention the little old women who collect cats or the hoarder who fills every available space with stuff.  We never know what we will see when we unlock the door, but there's always a back story. 

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 8 years ago

I know what you mean. I see so many vacant homes and they are all a little depressing to walk into but the ones that have been foreclosed on and many times the anger taken out on the house are really depressing.

Posted by Shar Sitter, Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M (Rooms With Style) over 8 years ago


It is too bad because sometimes there is a good solution at hand if these people had the right help at the right time.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 8 years ago

Excellent, excellent post Malcolm! True feelings of the realtor walking into a house that was once a home, now abandoned. Well written Malcolm, we're suggesting this as a feature, we hope others do as well, because it's a new slant on power of sales and foreclosures, it's the human side!

Posted by Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers, Our Family Wants To Help Your Family! (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Malcolm: It is sad what we see and hear sometimes and like you, I always hope the new owners will make the house a home again.


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 8 years ago

One that really stands out in my mind is a house that when checking out the kitchen drawers there was a stack of a childs A & B homework and art papers! Then it is no longer anonymous!

Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Indeed, working with homes that have been taken away from there owners can be depressing and at times the previouus owners have taken their anger and frustration out on the home, leaving it in a horrible state.

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 8 years ago