Houses of Horror…

J and I have been house hunting for a really long time.  Years.  We started looking in 2006 and we spent a year and half looking in Connecticut.  After we saw…and I’m not joking…about 40 houses that we didn’t like, we decided to switch our search back to NY.  We looked in NY for at least eight months before we bought our house…you know, the house that crack built.  After we lived there for about six months, we resumed the CT hunt, since that’s where we really want to live. 

Of course, I’m sure you will ask why we bought a house in NY if we really wanted to live in CT.  There is a long and complicated answer to that question, but the highlights are that the lease was up on the NYC apartment, we had gotten Sadie and the apartment was too small for her, we couldn’t find anything in CT and our neighborhood is an easy commute to our jobs in the city. 

In our protracted search, we’ve seen some things that I never thought I’d ever see.  It’s amazing to me how some people live.  I know some of you are currently house hunting right now, so you are probably finding out what I mean.  I thought I’d share with you the top five worst houses we’ve seen…

#5 – The Cat Pee House – Self explanatory.  The house was like one giant litter box.  I didn’t even bother to go upstairs. 

#4 – The Little People House – This house looked great from the photos.  When we got inside we realized that there was a problem.  My head was practically touching the ceiling.  I’m 5’4″.  J had to duck to walk through the first floor. 

#3 – The Crack House – Seriously…it might have very well been a crack house…and not in the way that I joke about my house being the house that crack built.  I think this house was an actual crack house.  Or a flop house for the homeless.  The house was one of J’s finds.  The realtor suggested that we could gut and renovate it, but we’d have to secure it first because there were no doors or windows.  Yeah…no thanks.

#2 – The Roach House – Two old ladies lived in this house.  While we looked at the house, they sat at the kitchen table in a cloud of smoke.  The house needed work…it was filled with cigarette grime on the walls and one bedroom had water damage because there was a missing window, but the best part…in a closet in the basement there was a broken jelly jar on a shelf that was never cleaned up.  The jelly was crawling with roaches and surrounded by mouse droppings.  NEXT!

And the #1 all time creepiest house…

The Serial Killer’s House – This was another J find.  The house was listed as an updated Cape Cod on 3 acres.  It was a foreclosure and the price was super low, so we drove over to take a look.  The first thing we noticed was the huge transformer and parking lot at the edge of the property.  Apparently, part of the property was used by Con Edison and there was nothing we could do about the eyesore of the transformer or the trucks that would be in and out all day.  Strike one.  Then we went inside and found a very pleasant first floor.  Everything was normal…except the plywood covering the staircase.  It was nailed on so we couldn’t go upstairs to see the bedrooms.  Strike two.  We went down to the unfinished basement and found a door to what looked like a closet…there was an open padlock on the door.  We went inside and found not a closet, but a room…a yellow room…with flowers painted on the wall…and little kid furniture…and no windows.  There were small holes in the walls in different places around the room…like peepholes.  I was horrified.  My imagination ran wild and I ran out the door.  The realtor tried to suggest that maybe the former owners ran a day care, but…a daycare where you locked the kids in with a padlock?  I don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure some unspeakable things happened in that house and the bank was just looking to dump it.  I left there traumatized. 

Missing from this list are the house with the sloping floors, the house with the mold in the basement, the house with the asbestos ductwork and so many, many more horrors.  Most of these houses were J’s finds…so he’s no longer allowed to pick out what houses we are going to see.  I also have a realtor that previews everything, so I no longer have to see roaches or serial killer hideouts.  The realtor is taking us to another house tonight.  I have high hopes for this one.  Cross your fingers for us. 

Anyone else have a house hunting horror story to share?


  1. Wow those houses sound awful. I did not have any crazy places like that when I was house hunting. Mostly just weird floor layouts, tiny kitchens, stuff like that. I saw a couple foreclosures that had the floors ripped out of them or holes in the wall but nothing too bad. I think looking in NC is probably easier though than in NY or CT.

  2. A big part of Wilzie’s job involves going into people’s houses, and he always tells me about the horrors. When I was shocked and disgusted the first time I watched Hoarders, he just scoffed because he sees that stuff numerous times/day.
    But that padlocked, basement room sounds by far like the worst thing ever…I don’t even want to imagine – but of course now I will – thanks for that…
    I have faith that you will find just the right, perfectly symmetrical house

  3. Maybe J should stop looking at any houses and let you do it. The two that he found sound like the worst things I’ve ever seen.

    I have chills reading about the house with that creepy room in the basement.

    Our own search is currently on hold. We looked at those condos and then decided we didn’t want a condo, so now we’re regrouping. I think my husband is waiting to see if his father wants to move, in which case we are just going to buy his townhouse. It would be perfect for us and is in the right area, so we shall see.

  4. PS that should have been “the worst things I’ve ever heard” seeing as I don’t hear out of my eyeballs.

  5. You have clearly seen your share of horrors. We also visited a cat pee house. And in one house, we opened the bedroom door to find someone sleeping in the bed. There were 3 awake people downstairs that were expecting us – how come this guy didn’t get the message!

  6. OMG. I am pretty sure once I’d have seen a yellow, padlocked, windowless basement room…I’d never get over it. I’d be just like you…imagining the horrors that went on there.
    I can only imagine what was going on in your realtor’s head when you made that discovery. I mean, how do you bullshit your way out of that one?

    Hope tonight you saw a winner.

  7. So I’m waiting for you to come back and say just kidding the house we saw was on CSI SVU with the creepy kid’s room downstairs. Assuming you aren’t going to come back and say that then wow! I would have had nightmares for weeks if I saw that. Very creepy!

  8. Oh. My. God. SHANA!!!! That’s horrific. I actually have goosebumps reading your description of the serial killer’s house ~ but I was having a hard enough time processing the other horrors you had explained. Holy cow, that is just SCARY. It is kind of funny the things you find when you really start to look though, but yea… those houses don’t sound very funny at all. Don’t you love it when you can blame J for the bad finds though?? :p

    In other news, I found a water bug in my apartment the other day :( Where there’s one, there are likely brothers and sisters, right? Eeeeeek…

  9. O.M.G. I am traumatized just by reading that! That was no day care!

    We looked at the cat pee house, the crack house and “fixer-upper” house, the house on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’, the 1/2 built house and the house with …the craptasticness was endless. Probably the worst thing we encountered wasn’t a bad house at it. It was a horrible situation.

    An eldery woman had just lost her husband and she followed us around the house sobbing. It was awful. We looked at the first couple of rooms and then I couldn’t take it anymore, we had to leave. Even if it had been the perfect house for us I couldn’t have bought it.

    We looked off and on for well over a year before finally deciding to buy the very first house we looked at. No kidding.

  10. OH for crying out loud. J – YOU’RE FIRED! You’re going to cause my dear friend, Shana, to start drinking.

    During the day.

    I have NEVER seen anything as awful as any of those. We looked at one flat downtown where a renter was living with her 2 puppies who were both using puppy pads. Yep, no…I’m not dealing with that. And you know my love for palmetto bugs…we looked at a condo on the top floor of the Hilton hotel downtown and there was a freaking palmetto bug in there. Dead. But still…how did it get there? It’s basically the north! I told Neal that was a bad sign and I wasn’t looking back But that place had some other unforgivable problems, too. I do love the stories, though. I will gladly live vicariously through you on this part!

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