The Los Angeles “Open House” Massacre

It’s another beautiful, summer Sunday in Los Angeles. Realtors are putting up their open house signs and families are headed to the beach. But on this particular Sunday, no one could’ve imagined what would happen at a somewhat questionable open house.

We arrive at a home in the Wilshire district eager to find the open house for what seems like a very affordable home, especially for this neighborhood. The reasonable asking price for the home was clearly chumming the waters and attracted all the sharks as a small crowd formed on the street, waiting for the listing agent to unshackle the door at 1PM. Some were agents, some were flippers, and some like ourselves were first time home buyers eager for a chance at the American dream.

It was a Spanish style home, not something uncommon in the L.A. area. This one was on a corner lot with a small yard and a steep, diagonal walkway leading to the front door. That’s just about where the “good vibes” stop. A thick entanglement of weeds and vines had grown all over the house. Some windows were boarded up and broken, the exterior walls were filthy and the terracotta shingles looked like a missile had hit them. The whole site was in total disarray. We shift our train of thought into “fixer-upper mode” and carry on as usual.

When the listing agent arrived, everyone scrambled into a single file line, waiting to be funneled into the house. In groups of three, the agent allowed people into the home while handing out flashlights and suggesting we use our phone lights for visibility. As the door cracked open, a warm wave of air and the stench of decay poured from the entrance as we clenched in anticipation of what we might find on the other side. We wait as the first few groups exit with the look of disgust and disbelief on their faces. With phones drawn and our noses pinched tight, we stepped into psychosis.

With phones drawn and our noses pinched tight, we stepped into psychosis.

Walking through a dark, unfamiliar house with rotting-out hardwood floors by flashlight quickly transported us into a real-life horror movie. Wallpaper was peeling and torn, the carpet in one room was damp and spongy with cobwebs strung throughout the house. Vines and roots were creeping through the roof, penetrating the ceiling into the house.  In one area, you could actually see the sky where a portion of the roof and Spanish tiles were missing, with the light and fresh air from outside being pleasantly welcomed into this dank space. At this point, we’re starting to realize that this is more than a “fixer-upper” for us and more like a complete overhaul. We continue through the unfamiliar floor-plan through the kitchen, passed the dining room and into a crime scene.

I sh*t  you not, there was a message crudely written on the wall, in what seemed to be lipstick or blood with human feces splattered around it that said, “You never loved me. I want to die.” There were also scrapes and scratches all over the walls as if someone had tried to claw their way through it with their bare hands.

As the cloak of terror wrapped around our shoulders, we made a “b-line” for the door. This beautiful, summer day in Los Angeles went down as the day our expectations and perceptions were massacred.

…the day our expectations and perceptions were massacred.

All joking and drama aside, this house really did look like someone went psycho in it. We were shocked to see how many people were lined up for an opportunity to check it out and potentially put a bid in. Yes, some people left the house looking terrified but others were grinning from ear to ear as they knew, with the right team of contractors and patience to renovate and flip, they had a golden opportunity to make a boat load of skrilla.

We never imagined in our house hunting excursions that we would see a house in that condition… and wondered why the owner or listing agent wouldn’t spend a few bucks to paint over the love letter in the back room. They knew what they were doing and and knew it would sell. We were looking for our first home, while others were looking for gold.


*** Just for the record, there was no massacre, that we know of… ***



Eric HardWorth

Eric is a young “30-something” Creative Director living in Los Angeles, California. He’s a self proclaimed handyman who’s built more then and apartments-worth of stuff that hasn’t fallen apart yet. When not fixing / building / painting / sanding / hanging / wiring something in his newly purchased Inglewood home, Eric is probably working on his 70’s era motorcycle while wishing he were riding it.

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A young couple’s experience
buying a first home & learning how to adult.