The scariest listing ever: A tale of two agents

The owner warned them not to show the listing at night, but they did it anyway

We reached out to ask real estate agents around the country about their scariest listings ever. Here’s the story of two New York City agents. The events described below are true.

The room was dark. The air was dank. And Deb was nowhere to be found at that moment.

Jason slowly made his way down the basement stairs. With each step, an eerie creaking sound echoed as if to remind him that he was alone.

Outside the townhouse, atop its stoop, Deb stood sentry. Her eyes scanned the block. To her left lurked two old-timers. She had been warned about them. They had eyes on the house. In fact, the entire block seemed to be watching the house.

The autumn sun made its early retreat from the sky. Afternoon twilight would soon give way to darkness. This place gave Deb the creeps, and she did not want to be in the house when it got dark.

Deb and Jason were real estate agents. They were hired to sell this townhouse, and every time they came to the property, something just felt off. They had both been to the house many times before, but always during the day.

The reclusive owner, who now lived near the Canadian border, had given them one warning: never show the townhouse at night. That’s when her deceased cat, Pretty, returned to roam the house, she explained.

Deb and Jason had looked at each other and smiled. Her deceased cat? They always seemed to get the craziest of clients.

“If you ever see Pretty, treat her kindly,” the owner continued. When Deb and Jason asked why, she just reiterated to them to “treat her kindly.” Since her warning, which they both laughed off afterwards, they had coincidentally only shown during the day — until now. It just so happened that their afternoon appointment was running late.

Using his iPhone flashlight as a guide, Jason reached the bottom of steps and flicked on the light switch. No luck. Damn. The bulb must have burned out. Suddenly, he heard something. What was that noise? he thought. It must just be the house settling. He heard it again, this time from a different side of the room.

Jason’s heart began to race as he panned his flashlight quickly to left and right. Nothing. As he turned to make his way back upstairs, he thought he felt something brush up against his leg. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. What the heck was it? His heart began to race.

“Deb, is that you?” Deb and Jason had been known to play practical jokes on one another, so maybe this was just one of her silly antics. But it certainly didn’t feel silly to Jason. “Come on Deb, enough is enough, the buyers are going to be here at any moment.”

Just then, Jason’s phone rang. It was Deb.

“Jason,” she began. “The buyer is going to be here soon. What’s taking you so long in the basement?”

“The lights don’t work. Something feels weird down here. I’m hearing strange sounds.”

“It’s Pretty!” Deb said with a snicker.

“Pretty? The basement? How would you know it’s pretty, you haven’t even been down here yet?” Jason replied.

“No, I mean it’s Pretty, the ghost cat!”

She’s definitely messing with me, Jason thought to himself as he again felt something brush up against his leg. OK, stay calm. If you can handle a Fifth Avenue co-op board, you can deal with Deb’s little Halloween prank.

“Jason, quit the jokes and come upstairs. These guys on street are giving me the creeps.” As Jason started to tell her that he wasn’t kidding around, the buyer arrived.

Deb pulled the phone away from her ear. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you,” she said. “Come inside. I’m excited to show you the townhouse — lets start on the top floor.” As the buyer walked inside and ahead of her, she whispered into the phone with a giggle, “The buyer is here. Pet the ghost cat and tell her you’ll be back later.”

“I’m not petting that!” Jason yelled.

“I’ve got to start this showing, Jason. We’ll begin at the top floor and work our way down. But by the time I get to the basement, you better get rid of your ghost cat, or ghost, or whatever you think is down there.”

“And how do you propose I do that, Ghostbuster?”

“I just told you how. Pet her and treat her kindly, like the owner said,” Deb shot back. “OK let me do this showing and stop messing around about this silly cat.”

After about 20 minutes, Deb and the buyer reached the basement door. For the first time during the showing, Deb seemed pensive. Her hand was unsteady as it reached the doorknob. The buyer took notice.

“You OK?” he asked.

“Oh, yes, I just hope Jason was able to get the light switch working. Guess we’ll find out in a moment.”

Deb opened the door.

The basement was bathed in high hat lights. Everything looked as it should, and there was no sign of trouble. Jason flashed a thumbs up to Deb. He looked like he had been through the ringer.

Deb wondered what could have gone on down here. After looking around the basement for a bit and inspecting the mechanicals, the buyer inquired, “Does the house come fully furnished with everything included in the sale?”

Deb and Jason smirked at each other. “Everything, without a doubt,” Jason replied. “So, what do you think of it?”

“It’s pretty,” said the buyer. “I think my cat will really like it here too.”

Jason Haber is a New York-based real estate agent with Warburg Realty. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Deborah Ribner is a New York-based real estate agent with Warburg Realty. Connect with her on LinkedIn.