FILET-O-FISH Eating Seller

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP

One of the things I love about my career is the lack of boredom. I never "see the same old thing". Today I showed a home. In fact, I showed a lot of homes. As usual there's always a unique experience to talk about. Today I showed a house with some unusual inhabitants.

The house itself was actually pretty nice. The floor-plan worked. The price was fair. The people living inside killed the deal. One of the people walking around was eating what appeared to be a handmade filet-o-fish sandwich. Ketchup oozed out the sides as she clamped down with her jaws. Here eyes crossed as she swallowed. She did this in the entry way as we walked past her. She mumbled something about us being early to the showing. In retrospect, I think she said this because a very small part of her was embarrassed about the condition of the home. Because we were right on time.

In the kitchen were 5 or 6 people discussing, almost arguing about how best to heat up whatever it was they were heating up in a gigantic pot that barely fit on the stove. They weren't phased by our being there. Not one bit.

Music was playing in the garage. The door was open, but nobody was in there. Just music and no lights. Upstairs the 49er's were playing the Vikings. A game that had to be at least 10 years old. An older man rocked back and forth in a green rocking chair. We could have tossed a grenade in the room and he wouldn't have noticed. He didn't even acknowledge us as we walked in. There he sat. Like a wooden Indian.

Come to find out, these were the tenants. The house was in deplorable condition. Food piled on the counters. Shoes and junk lay everywhere. There was even someone laying down in a lawn chair in the backyard. Not too far away was a lawn mower. He was taking a break.


Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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  1. Bob Crane 07/25/2012 12:13 AM
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Richard Weeks
Realtor, Associate Broker - Manager Business Development
Waller Group

The only thing that could have been better was if the old man was in a wheel chair and the only way he could communicate was to ring a bell.  You know like the one at the front desk of a cheap motel.

July 22, 2012 05:36 AM
Liz Wallace
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N
Century 21 Sherlock Homes

One of the greatest thing about being a Realtor is you get to meet so many varied and interesting people.  You will never die of boredom.

July 22, 2012 08:53 AM
Richard Iarossi
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

I have a listing now with tenants in it. They just don't care when it comes to making the house show ready.

July 22, 2012 11:18 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
(808) 226-1095 or (831) 626-4000

That would have been my guess, tenants. They don't want the house to be sold and, unless, the seller gets them out, it's not likely. Unless there is something else about the house that makes it a good deal. Fish, ah, my tenants in one of my listings haven't thought of that yet! But pretty much everything else on your list. 

July 22, 2012 01:02 PM
Jane Peters
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate scene
Power Brokers Int'l

This is way too scary.  I feel sorry for the poor sellers and listing agent.

July 22, 2012 01:21 PM
Jordon Wheeler
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service
The Jordon Wheeler Group

Hey Nino,

It is really difficult to show a home with tenants in it.  Some of the tenants I have encountered have left during the showings but many do not.  Best of success to you and your team this year!

July 22, 2012 04:46 PM
Melissa Brown
Realtor - South Charlotte NC Homes for Sale
Savvy + Co Real Estate

Unfotunately, you can't make this stuff up!  I always think I need to take notes to write a memoir about all this weird stuff we see as realtors!

July 22, 2012 06:33 PM
Eric Michael
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI

Who puts catsup on fish? BBQ sauce maybe, but ketchup? It's never fun to show a house with people in it, let alone tennants.

July 22, 2012 07:23 PM
Patricia Kennedy
For Your Home in the Capital
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.

Hey, Greg!  I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week.

July 22, 2012 07:59 PM
Teri Eckholm
Acreage & Lakeshore REALTOR Minneapolis St Paul
REMAX Specialists

Greg--Love your description of the situation...quite a talking point with the clients no doubt. It brings to mind the time I showed a rented home where the residents seemed to be smoking something other than cigarettes in a darkened corner of the family room. We didn't stay long...

July 23, 2012 07:01 AM
Sandy Acevedo
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

For a good presentation of a house for sale, the two "T" s need to be gone.... termites and tenants.

July 23, 2012 07:49 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg Homes
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg IL Real Estate - Northwest Suburbs of Chicago

Let's face it, they don't want to move so they'll be making no effort at all.

July 23, 2012 10:21 AM
Kristin Hamilton
(909) 557-6966, CDPE, SFR, CHS-Redlands/Loma Linda
Keller Williams Realty

Hi Greg,

I suspect this tenant hopes the home doesn't sell as she is afraid the rent might go up. There should be a law that homes in MLS cannot have broccoli or fish cooked in the kitchen while on ACTIVE status. What a mess and very stinky; what a turn off. Greg,your description was very realistic and made me want to go puke.

Thanks...I saw this on Patricia's favorites today.

July 23, 2012 10:39 AM
Suzi Sandore
North County San Diego Homes
Keller Williams North County

Sellers need to realize that a vacant, cleaned-up house will sell quicker and for more money than one that is occupied by messy, filet-o-fish eating tenants. 

July 23, 2012 11:21 AM
Tammie White
TW Realty Group, Franklin TN, South of Nashville
Benchmark Realty, LLC (615) 495-0752 or

Greg, maybe you should send this post to the listing agent. I understand that sellers want to have income until their place sells but with tenants like that, it's never going to happen.

July 23, 2012 11:41 AM
Steven Cook
- Pierce, King, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason Counties
No Longer Processing Mortgages.

Kathryn (#10) has a good idea, though some sellers would probably prefer to do the opposite, especially if the tenants are now month to month, of raising the rent each month it doesn't sell.

July 23, 2012 01:04 PM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395

Oh it's so tough to show with tenants, let's face it, they do not want to move

July 23, 2012 03:46 PM
Bob Crane
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663
Woodland Management Service

Thanks for sharing this story Greg, I hope the seller finds out that the tenants are trying to torpedo any potential buyers.

July 23, 2012 10:40 PM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California


Not all tenants are a negative when it comes to selling a home.  Some tenants want to stay and will try to accommodate showing and keep the home is good condition.  These tenants are rare.  Mostly we get the ones you describe in your post.  The best thing to do when selling a rental property is to get rid of the tenants, price the home correctly, make sure it is in good condition, then put it on the market.  The home should sell quickly in perfect world.

July 24, 2012 09:50 AM
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty

Yeah, I knew they were tenants at the fish sandwich.  As Evelyn says (above), the best way to show a house with tenants is to not have any.  Get it empty, fix it up, stage and sell.  Unfortunately, many landlords can't afford to lose the rent. The worst experience I ever had showing a rental was a house with someone's underwear hanging on the doorknob.  EEew!

July 26, 2012 04:08 AM
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
Providing Real Estate Advice 7 days a week!
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