Top 10 strangest estate agent encounters

20 September 2013

Selling houses can be a challenging line of work - especially when the vendor's pets, relatives and treasured possessions are thrown into the mix.

Moneywise asked some estate agents from around the UK - and some from overseas - what are the strangest or funniest things they've ever experienced during a viewing. Here are the ones that made our top 10.

1. Douglas Fensome, director of The County Homesearch Company (Beds, Herts & Cambs)

"I was waiting in the courtyard of a sizeable country house to show some clients around. The clients, a married couple, were solicitor and banker by profession. They swept into the courtyard in their gleaming navy-blue Porsche with pale cream leather upholstery and both were clad in smart casual wear - pale chinos and a light-coloured dress.

As they opened the doors, I saw, but was powerless to prevent, the owner's two Labradors fresh from a lovely muddy walk, bound across the courtyard to greet their guests and enter the Porsche from either side - destroying in an instant both the pristine car and its immaculate occupants.

The language was such that I never expected to hear from a client. I closed the glossy sale particulars and mentally wrote off the property insofar as these clients were concerned.

But they went ahead with the viewing, curtly shrugging off the owner's profuse apologies and, would you believe, bought the house?"

2. Guy Edwards, senior sales executive from Barton Wyatt (Virginia Water)

"We went to see a house that had been repossessed. My colleague doing the details was very nervous about opening the garage door as there were thousands of flies buzzing about. When he opened the door the stench was unbearable and in the back of the garage lying in terrible pool of goo and wrapped up in a tarpaulin was what looked like a body. He slammed the door and dialled 999.

Naturally, loads of cops turned up and cordoned off the area while they investigated. It turned out that the previous owners had bought a pig from a chap at the pub and realised when he dragged it home that he had no idea of how to butcher it - so he just left it there for us to find."

3. Henry Pryor, property expert and buying agent

"The strangest thing I've ever seen during a viewing was in a house in Lincolnshire, which I went to value. It was a corpse, in an open top coffin - laid out and ready for the wake. VERY disconcerting."

4. Charlotte Palmer, property PR at Redleaf PolHill

"An agent told me once, having left a viewing (which they thought went very well), they soon received a call from the vendor who apologised profusely for not saying hello. It turns out that the vendor had completely forgotten about the viewing and was still tucked up in bed, but utterly embarrassed by the whole scenario, hid under the covers while the agent and prospective buyer looked around the bedroom. As the agent said, luckily they didn't say anything rude about the vendor or the property - not realising obviously that the client was literally undercover."

5. An estate agent at Think Slovenia, part of international property portal

"I had an interesting experience once viewing an old house right up in the mountains of Slovenia - really remote, about 25 minutes to the valley floor up winding mountain roads. We arrived at the seller's house. An old farmer who lives locally was going to take us to the house to unlock it. I called his name as I could hear someone outside and he came round the corner from the barn with both hands in the air covered in blood up to his elbows. He was in the process of slaughtering a pig. Suffice it to say, the rather timid English buyers didn't buy the property."

6. Oliver Clarke, sales manager for Barton Wyatt

"The strangest things I've ever seen when doing a viewing was a sheep walking around the kitchen and an Anne Summers party house with all the accessories on show.

7. A UK agent, part of

"I once showed a house and went into a bedroom that was pitch black. Then I realised the granny was sleeping inside. The rest of the family didn't mention it when I started to take the clients round the house."

8. Reg Parry, director of The County Homesearch Company (Cornwall)

"I was once working with a client who was 6'6" in height and weighed about 18 stone. During the course of his search he was insistent that door openings had to be high enough so that he did not have to duck his head when entering the room.

We were viewing a bungalow, where he asked if he could lie in the bath to see if it was long enough. The agent agreed although he was a little puzzled. Clearly this was a request that he had never received before. The same client then asked to repeat the action when viewing the en-suite. As expected both baths were a standard size, which made for a very tight fit.

But perhaps the oddest thing he did, was take the time to re-arrange the coloured drawing pins on a noticeboard before he left. I've never seen a client do anything like that before!"

9. A Spanish agent part of

"I once met with a Russian businessman who wanted to buy a house near us but he was not keen to get involved with lawyers. We arranged to meet and he literally sat there with a suitcase full of cash that he wanted to hand over for the house. I explained that he would need to go through some legal process to buy the house but he flatly refused. I still wonder whether he had €700,000 in that case or whether it was just some elaborate ploy."

10. James Wyatt, partner of Barton Wyatt

"I went to see Uri Geller's house once, who was a very decent chap. He insisted on bending a spoon for me in the kitchen. And then signed it (without me asking him to). I still have it and occasionally think I should bend it back to its correct shape."

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