This post I originally put on Mumsnet, in reply to an original post thanking the people who had owned the poster's previous house before her. Thank you, she said, for leaving it in the state they did. The thread struck a chord, as plenty of other people had posted their tales of what they moved into. Here is mine.
As our speciality was buying houses no one else wanted, I have a lot of stories about what can be left, but first, I'd like to award a special prize to the mother who came to look round our first house with her daughter when we were selling it. "ALL these cats," she said, glaring at me, "and NO CHILDREN!" I was very, very pregnant with my son at the time. I was vast. Couldn't be missed. We only had two cats. We've always wondered what on earth she was on.
thank you to those who sold us houses for:
Cutting off all the light fittings and leaving dangling flexes. Thought this was an urban myth until it happened to me.
"Spilling the cats' water" when we came to visit and when our surveyor came round, to hide the fact there was a burst pipe under the concrete kitchen floor you couldn't be bothered to mend.
Genuinely, for running your therapy business out of the front bedroom. "People need to scream," you told me. The neighbours fell on our necks with relief when we moved in. We could do no wrong after you, so thanks for that.
Cutting off all the gas fires (which had been in every room as the house had been bedsits) by just lopping off the pipes underneath the floorboards and not bothering to cap them. My, we had fun when we tried to connect the cooker. Thank goodness we had the gas board round to do it. We almost enjoyed his panicky face.
I did enjoy the visits from the debt collectors anxious to trace you.
We had a lot of fun sorting out the electrics after you bypassed all the electric coin meters by a partial re-wire which involved dumping the meters under the floorboards. Took us a while to find that one.
Not telling us that you'd failed to do whatever it was you did to bypass the meters to the one in the kitchen, which was fun when it ran out, as of course it did quite soon after we moved in. We did get very used to putting the coins through to keep the fridge going, and I'm sure it was a first for the house sitter when we went away.
Starting to dismantle a wall, realising it was structural, and boarding over the disaster you'd left.
Not dangerous, just bloody filthy. We sent the children elsewhere for 5 days before we allowed them in, and we have strong stomachs:
Thanks for never, ever opening the windows. They were black. Inside. For some reason you did pay a window cleaner to do the outside. Completely pointlessly, as you couldn't actually see out.
For dumping your chewing gum on the carpet next to the bath and never bothering to remove it. You liked chewing gum, didn't you? There were quite a lot of other places you'd left it.
For having a rare talent for spilling stuff and never, ever, mopping it up.
For never cleaning the Aga. It took me 8 weeks to clean it.
For leaving us some lovely discoveries: the stair bannister was white, not black. The black was grease. There was a Victorian tiled floor under the grime in the hall. It took my sister two solid days of work to uncover it.
For never cleaning the loos.... beyond vile.. WHY? Never seen loos like it before or since.
For leaving all that hair about. You all had hair when we saw you, so presumably it had simply gathered over the years, rather than in a quick moult.
I didn't mind your dodgy decorating decisions: it doesn't take a lot of effort to slap paint around. Navy ceilings aren't my thing; nor are navy walls, or orange blotchy ones, or bright red gloss woodwork but they've all gone now.
Frankly, if you hadn't been such filthpackets, we'd never have been able to buy the house, so we do owe you a debt of gratitude. Am still puzzled that apparently in your 9 years of attempting to sell the place that no one mentioned that the grime might be putting people off, to say nothing of the smell.