It's What I Wonder When I Show An Empty House

By
Real Estate Agent with McGraw Realtors

Who Sat Here by Bob HaywoodWhen I pulled up to the house, my heart fell.  The grass was waist high and the weeds were even higher.  Glancing at the structure, I could tell that it had been a beautiful home at one time.  But today it was only a shell of its' former life.  "What had happened here?" I wondered as I waded through what had been a front lawn to open the door.  It's What I Wonder When I Show An Empty House.

In this particular case, it had been a divorce that had set the wheels in motion and that had brought me and my buyers to this day.  That, combined with the national housing crisis, had left this house empty and abandoned.  What would I find inside?  A trashed and destroyed memory of what once was?  Or a perfectly clean, stark, whitewashed picture...designed to cover up the recent history?  I knew it wouldn't be the latter.  It never is.  The only question when the house is a foreclosure or divorce situation is "How bad will it be?"  This is What I Wonder When I Show An Empty House.

Upon entering the house, I was relieved.  It was clean and there were no holes in the walls.  Whoever was last to move out didn't take their frustration, anger or rage out on the walls.  The kitchen was missing the stove, but the dishwasher remained.  And there were no broken windows anywhere, which was surprising since this home was somewhat isolated in the country.  The master bedroom checked out okay as did the master bathroom. 

It was when I went upstairs that the reality of what had been sunk in.  There I found the kid's rooms.  One was the purple room, which you usually see.  One was the boy's room, with a sailboat theme.  And the other one was the princess room.  It had a castle on one wall, a brick wall paper border and the child's name high up on one wall.  Who was this family?  What were the kids like?  Are they okay today?  Was there love and laughter here?  Or was it more frustration, fear and loathing?  I may be strange, but this is the kind of thing I Wonder When I Show An Empty House. 

The upgraded lighting fixtures and cloth cord cover on the dusty entry chandalier tell me that somebody who lived here once cared.  They were detail oriented and worked hard to make this house beautiful.  So what went wrong in their lives that has now caused this home to be void of the dreams that once filled it?  This is what I wonder as I look around. 

I suppose you're not supposed to be philosophical when showing houses, but I guess I can't help it.  The fact that empty houses represent what once was makes me consider what now is...for the people who once called this house their home and for the people who are now looking at it as their potential home.  And it makes me consider the same thing for my own home too.  And it gives me the resolve to make sure that I do what must be done to ensure that what now is (in my life) never becomes what once was.

Because if it ever does, someone else might be walking though my empty house someday wondering some of the very same things I wonder.

Photo copyright Bob Haywood.

Originally Posted at: My Owasso Home

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  1. Mary Macy 10/03/2010 10:31 PM
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Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Oklahoma Tulsa County Owasso
Groups:
BananaTude
Diary of a Realtor
Nothing but the Positive
Realtors®
"Whacked"!!!
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Rainmaker
204,179
Peggy Wester
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County Real
Think Young Team--Realty Executives Integrity

Excellent post, Bob. Sometimes I think I get a little too sentimental when I walk through these houses. Seeing children's toys or clothes strewn on the floor is heartbreaking. How can one not wonder what happened? Those moments, though, teach me to say a quick prayer for that family, where ever they might be, that those "better times ahead" are here for them now.

October 02, 2010 05:27 PM
Rainmaker
1,143,238
Cheryl Ritchie
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com

I have had the same sense of wonder on some of the homes I have shown lately.

October 02, 2010 06:30 PM
Ambassador
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Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

The houses really do feel some what "haunted" these days as you see families who have lost their dreams, and like you, I don't want this to be my family.

October 02, 2010 10:37 PM
Rainmaker
615,291
Dawn A Fabiszak
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!
Keller Williams Real Estate ( Denver metro area, Colorado

Bob ~ excellent post.  It is such a sad story on so many empty houses that were once loving homes to so many. 

October 03, 2010 04:22 PM
Rainer
143,700
Victor Zuniga
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties

Even though most listing have pictures sometimes thing are left out. Yo never know what you're going to get sometimes. Foreclosures here in San Diego sometimes only have a pictureof the outside which is really scary.

October 03, 2010 10:38 PM
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Bob Haywood

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