Crazy But True Real Estate Stories

Crazy But True Real Estate Stories

During a recent Say Hey team meeting, we asked our Abio Properties agents to share their craziest real estate stories in 2 minutes or less. They told some whoppers – many of which we wish weren’t true!

It seems like every Realtor has a story about accidentally walking in on naked sellers, fending off feisty pets, or pacifying neighbors with an axe to grind and a plan to scare away buyers. These things are pretty routine in our line of work. But sometimes we encounter extra awkward, weird, or surprising stuff that really makes us cringe – and then LOL later, hopefully.

The following wild real estate stories have been edited for a PG-13 rating, but no guarantees. We saved the best for last, so read all the way through. The best story won $100!

Our Wildest Real Estate Stories from the Field

Look, Don’t Touch

As told by Realtor Mariah Bradford

My favorite thing I’ve seen at a property for sale? A primary bedroom with some very, er, “exciting” gymnastic apparatus that made it clear that the sellers not only liked to have private parties, they also liked people to watch. There was an actual viewing platform where people could be above the bed looking down.

It was an interesting staging choice by the sellers, sure to grab attention – ha! But if it was my client selling the house, I would have that awkward conversation where I say, “The way you live in a house is not the way you sell a house.”

TMI (too much information)

As told by Realtor Larry Jacobs

I had a client who wanted to move from San Diego to the East Bay. We were touring homes all around Contra Costa County, and on this day we ended up at a property in the Lafayette area. The sellers were home while we toured, and we learned that the wife was an artist. In fact, much of her artwork was hanging throughout the house, many of them nudes.

Well, it didn’t take long for us to figure out that the wife was her own model. As we headed downstairs with her, we passed a full torso casting. Another nude, of course. It was surprisingly awkward! Meanwhile, I think the owners were enjoying it.

My client didn’t end up buying the house – but it wasn’t because of the art.

It Puts the Lotion in the Basket

As told by Vanessa McDonald, Abio Chief Systems Officer 

This was my very first listing when I was brand new to real estate – a two-story house in the East Bay owned by two brothers who absolutely hated each other. One lived at the top, one lived at the bottom. Every time I was there, one brother would pull me aside to complain about the other one. The brother who lived on the bottom floor convinced me he was the most rational. He offered to show me around the lower level. As soon as we hit the door, I see trash from the floor to the ceiling and just one little corridor to walk through. He’s having me follow him deeper into his home, and all I can think is "I'm not going to make it out of here. My very first listing and this is how I die. He’s going to lock me in a dungeon down here, and you're never going to hear from me again!”

Of course, I survived and got the house sold a month later. But I’ll never forget that moment where I thought, “This can’t be real estate.”

A View to Die For

As told by Associate Broker Jeanne Trombly

When I was a foreclosure agent at another brokerage, I had a listing in the Oakland Hills in an area that was a little rough at the time. It had beautiful bay views but it had been a grow house. The occupants ran and left everything behind. It had huge holes. It was the most disgusting house.

I had it cleaned up and held a Sunday open house, which no one attended. I was bored, so I went to the balcony to marvel at the view. That’s when I looked down at a tiny house below and saw a car pull up. Two officers stepped out and knocked on the door. Nobody opens. Suddenly, they busted in. Thirty seconds later, one of the cops ran back out and started puking all over the deck.

They had found the occupant, long expired. It was so sad – and an open house I’ll never forget.

Crash Bang Boom

As told by Realtors Mariah Bradford and Andy Kirk

Mariah: We were representing the buyers of a big $1.85 million home in Martinez. While in escrow, we arranged a last-minute meeting at the house with the buyer, contractor, and engineer to discuss a huge fireplace removal project. It’s around 4 p.m., and the buyer shows up with her three young children and her entire home-school pod. So, we're trying to have this serious meeting while all these kids are running around in this empty echoey house. It's noisy and chaotic...

Andy: …When all of a sudden we hear CRACK! CRASH! and it sounds like a giant car accident in another room. I run over and see one of the kids on the ground grabbing her face. I look at the sliding glass door, and it's missing. I look back at the girl, and her face is bleeding a little but she's intact. I was expecting a horror story like "Carrie" or something. I go to the door, and see it's also intact – outside.

Mariah: The girl had taken out the entire sliding glass door with her face! The whole thing burst outward, smashed on the concrete outside – and did NOT break! It turns out the door had been put in backwards. Thank God for idiots who install sliding glass doors backwards!

Lost Lookie-Loos

As told by Broker Cameron Platt and Realtor Nicole Platt

Nicole: Cameron and I toured a 10-bedroom house in Piedmont. It was so large that when we got to the top floor, we lost each other. Actually lost!

Cameron: Yes, we literally got lost in the primary bedroom. I had to call Nicole’s cell phone: “I’m in the walk-in closet, where are you?” and Nicole is saying “I’m in the walk-in closet, too, but I don’t see you.” Well, it turns out there are two walk-in closets, really more like dressing rooms. That’s an $8 million house for you.

Oh, Dios Mío!

As told by Associate Broker Linnette Edwards

This story involves my sweet little mom, who is 5’3’’, never swears, is a devout Christian. My mom decided later in life to become a real estate agent, and after she earned her license she joined me on some home tours with clients. This was during the short sale and foreclosure days, around 2008. I told her, “You need to be prepared to see some crazy stuff.”

One day, we take a client to tour a Pleasant Hill townhouse listed as a short sale. Before we walk in, I’m prepping the client with my usual preamble: “This may not show very well. Remember you’re just looking at the bones of the house.”

We walk on in, and it’s just terrible. The place is in disarray. Fixtures are ripped out. As we get to main bathroom, I step in first with my mom right behind me. I immediately block her entrance and say, “Nope. No. No. No.”

There on top of the toilet was the biggest black (sex toy) I’ve ever seen. My mom, of course, pushes her way in and says, “Oh dios mío! What is that?!”

For the life of me, I can’t remember anything that happened after!

Practicing Restraint

As told by Realtor Felicia Mares

Here’s the craziest house I’ve been in. I was touring a home in Hayward with a client who was a flipper. There weren’t any photos online for the listing, so I didn’t know what to expect. When we got there, I noticed this was basically a hoarder’s house. No big deal, I’ve seen it before. As the owner finished walking us around the main level, she said, “Oh, I have to show you this great basement space we finished a few years ago.”

We head down to the basement, which is actually pretty nice and clean. There’s a large TV, couch, bar. The owner says, “This isn’t all of it. Follow me.” She takes us around a corner to a space that was basically dug into the foundation.

It’s a full-on sex dungeon with whips, straps, hanging restraints, and more!

The owner seemed to really enjoy the looks on our faces. My clients, on the other hand, didn’t make an offer.

(Cameron: "Why not? Did it come with too many restraints?")


Some of our craziest real estate stories aren't exactly "blog appropriate." But if you contact us, we might share them with you! And we'll fill you in on what's happening in your local real estate market if you're thinking of buying or selling. Contact us at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or