Josh and I are nosy people, and we especially LOVE to check out our neighbors' homes. So when Josh spotted an open house around the corner from us, we jumped on the opportunity to see what the house looked like from the inside. We were eager to examine the interior decorating style, plus we like to compare house details to see what we might be able to ask when we eventually sell this house.
The house, on the outside, was respectable. It had a nice entryway, nice details, good front lawn. The interior, on the other hand, was almost indescribable. You know in thriller movies, when the cops storm a hideaway for a criminal, the house always looks trashed and beat up? Well, then you've seen this house. The realtor greeted us at the door and began a quick speech, I suspect to distract us from looking around at the disaster too closely. He told us upfront that the house had fallen into disrepair because the owner had been hospitalized and there were tenants at will living there now. He also said that his estimates were that the house needed us to put in about 1 or 2. 1 or 2 what, you ask? HUNDRED THOUSAND. Clue #1 that the house wasn't for us.
We started our tour, and were stunned to find ourselves stepping over trash, dirty clothes and old dishes marked with chunks of forgotten food. The rooms were terribly cluttered, to the point that we could barely squeeze through the doorways because furniture was blocking them.
The bones of the house didn't seem to be terrible, and behind the mess I could see nice moldings and interesting architectural details, but it needed serious work. The kitchen was disgusting, and the hardwood floors looks damaged, where we could see the hardwood floor, that is. Clue #2.
We headed upstairs to look at the bedrooms, and were pleasantly surprised to find good sized rooms. They were a disaster, for sure, with piles of clothes and junk and beds unmade, but each room was a good size with a decent closet. I don't even want to talk about what the bathroom looked like, because really, I'm a little traumatized from it. But I haven't even gotten to the worst part of our tour yet. Clue #3, but trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet.
We headed to the final bedroom, a room at the back of the house, and walked all the way inside to see the closets and dimensions of the room. As we turned to walk back out, we discovered piles of syringes. SYRINGES. Needles. With caps on, but still, SYRINGES. Not just one, but a pile of them, inhabiting every available surface of the room. I turned to Josh in stunned silence, and he assured me, "it has to be for diabetes." But I ask you, when you find piles of syringes lying around in a room, would it assure you that it was probably diabetes? Because I have to say, it didn't make me feel better. I started having visions of finding an uncapped needle and getting accidentally stuck by one, as I shoved Josh down the hall and out the door. As we were walking toward the stairs, I realized that we'd missed looking at the hallway floor on the way in, where more needles littered the carpet. I feel sick just thinking about it.
We thanked the realtor and ran out the door as fast as we could, stuffing the house sale sheet into the first trash can we passed. The house wasn't all bad, it was a good size with a nice level yard and a large lot. The basement was finished, with a kitchen and bathroom downstairs that were basic, but reasonable. The price they were asking was crazy high, but they can't be serious about that considering the state of the house. And we aren't opposed to doing work on a house if the price was right- we did tons of cosmetic stuff to ours before we moved in. We love the neighborhood, of course, and we'd be thrilled to stay near this elementary school and our neighbors.
Beyond all that, though, I don't think I could shake the bad feeling I have in my stomach every time I remember what the house looked like. The dirt, the clothes, the trash, the syringes (!) and the general feeling of unhappiness and disrepair. I don't know if old houses have souls or what, but this one was sad, and I'd hate to move in and discover that the feeling went beyond the decoration. For now, we'll be sticking with our cluttered and small, but happy, colonial.