If honesty is the best medicine, it’s a cure that Mimi Foster, a Colorado listing agent, believes in. Take a peek at a piece of prose she crafted to sell a distressed home.
If you dream of owning your own little slice of hell and turning it into a piece of heaven, then look no further! This house is not for the faint of heart but for that special person who can see through the rough diamond to the polished gem inside.
“When I was writing that description, my initial description was so much more raw. I kept toning it down, for fear it was too honest,” Foster says of the five-bedroom house she is calling an “investor special” in Colorado Springs, CO.
One crucial factor that she tried to avoid in the sale of the five-bedroom home? The element of surprise.
“It was important to me that nobody walked into that house not knowing what to expect,” says Foster.
The 3,600-square-foot home in a quiet cul-de-sac was priced at $592,500, in a neighborhood where houses usually go for a minimum of $700,000.
As Foster notes in her brutally honest description, there are many, many reasons why the house is listed below neighborhood norms.
As you enter, there are soaring ceilings and an open floor plan with a second-floor overlook. You will also notice there is not one surface of the home that has not been enhanced with black spray paint or a swinging hammer – damage done by an angry departing tenant who didn’t want to pay rent. But don’t let that slow you down.
Foster says the angry tenant had been living in the house for about 10 years on a rent-to-own situation, when the situation went south.
The landlord moved to evict the tenant. After the renter removed most of her belongings, she was allowed into the house one last time—giving free rein to the vandalism that is on full display in the listing photos.
The upstairs has a catwalk, large master with soaking tub and dual sinks, plus two additional bedrooms and bath – all covered in black spray paint, vulgarities, and other substances which are no longer identifiable.
After the home owner went several rounds with insurance companies, police, and the property manager, Foster says she took on the frustrated seller as a client about a year ago. The agent wanted to help the owner, since no insurance money had come through to pay for repairs.
“I tend to be compassionate to people in trouble, and [the seller] was definitely in trouble,” Foster says. “She doesn’t have any money, she is older, she is infirm, and she was going into foreclosure.”
To sell the home quickly, Foster decided that being honest with her description was the tactic to deploy. But she was taken aback by the amount of attention the listing attracted.
“I tried to make it as tame—as shockingly possible,” she says. “My goal was not to scare people. The goal is to get this house sold for the seller and try to make her whole. She needs out and needs to get on with her life. I wanted to make it real, without it being so over the top that nobody would look at it.”
Plenty of people have peeked at the home—both in awe of Foster’s honesty and amazed by the destruction depicted in the photos. The listing has received tens of thousands of clicks over the past week.
For those who can look past the home’s current spray-painted state, Foster describes a home with an open floor plan with a main-floor living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. Built in 1993, it comes with a three-car garage.
There is a walk-out to a back deck – but don’t go out there as the deck is not necessarily attached to the house in the manner you might hope.
“Somebody walked out on it when I was showing it one day, and the whole thing moved,” Foster explains.
The outside does present a potential safety hazard, but somehow, the inside was much, much worse. The first thing Foster says you noticed was the horrible smell.
It’s not nearly as daunting as the freezer in the basement that’s full of meat and hasn’t had electricity to it for over a year. So be sure to wear your mask. Not for anyone else’s protection but your own. You may not be able to endure the smell if you don’t.
“I thought that there would be a dead body, quite frankly,” Foster says.
It didn’t take long to trace the all-enveloping odor to the basement freezer, which merited an all-caps warning in the description.
Come feast your senses. DO NOT GO ON BACK DECK. DO NOT OPEN FREEZER IN BASEMENT.
Despite the warning, Foster says a local TV news crew had to see it for themselves.
“They came in with a hazmat suit and opened the freezer to take video of it. In my lifetime—and I’m old—I have never smelled anything like it,” Foster says.
Asked why the owner just didn’t remove the disgusting freezer and paint, Foster reveals the sad truth: “She doesn’t have a penny. She has no ability to deal with any of this.”
On the bright side, several offers rolled in after the listing had been just a few days on the market.
She says contractors have said it would take about $150,000 to make the home livable again. Repaired and refreshed, the home could potentially sell for at least $800,000.
“The perfect buyer right now is an investor—somebody who will come in and do what needs to be done to make it livable,” Foster says, adding that the damage is beyond the level of most people’s DIY skills.
While most people have appreciated the honest description, Foster says the seller did not immediately cotton to the concept of resorting to brutal honesty. But as the agent tells us, the tactic worked, and the home will be revived.
“This has gone on for so long, I just want the owner to be able to get on with her life,” she adds. “I want to see the house the way it was. I want the next chapter written. I want a family living in and loving this house.”
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