I sold a house in the Sherman Oaks Area the week before the New Year holiday to a buyer who was going to demolish the house. It was just down the street from my own home. The house had been previously owned by a guy who was obsessed with “slasher” and “texas chainsaw” type movies. So much so that he had made a few flicks himself at the house.The closing had gone smoothly and the new owner had taken possession of the house. Being that the house was going to undergo extensive renovations the traditional walkthrough was waived. Many personal items and debris were left behind for the new owner to dispose of. The buyer being anxious to get the house fixed up promptly put a crew to work on the house, tearing down walls, removing trash, and starting the renovation.
I was shocked when on New Years day I walked out of my house to be greeted by a platoon of police vehicles surrounding the house, marked and unmarked. I gingerly approached an overly tense officer to investigate the situation. Asking about the problem, I was told that they could not discuss what was going on. I explained my relationship to the house and pointed to my name on the for sale (now sold) sign still hanging in the front yard.
Still, they did not care to speak with me. Thinking I could help the situation I explained the nature of the previous owner. A little thaw in the stoic stare of the officer. Jumping in with both feet I suggested that any body parts found would likely be harmless movie props.
A large grin broke out on the officers face, the wall had been breached! The officer went on to explain that a “bone” had been found in a red liquid filled pot by one of the workers and reported it to authorities. Officer stoic huddled with several of his compadres and the tense “crime scene” took a palpable breath of relief. They then explained that they would still need to take the “evidence” to forensics to determine the definitive anatomical source. I put the officers in touch with the seller of the house, who was now far out of town, to verify the story.
This had been a fun adventure for me already but it was going to get better. Under suspicion of a real bonafied “crime scene” the detectives had already been called and were on their way to the house. Holiday boredom took over the officers. The detectives arrived and the officers explained that the bones in the garage had been accounted for and explained away. But they were now concerned about what they had found in the contractors “port-a-potty”.
I then realized the not-so-glamorous side of being one of LA’s finest. With flashlight in hand the detective proceeded to inspect the head, looking for a head. The straight faces lasted about 15 seconds when the officers bailed the detective out and informed him the joke was on him.
Selling homes often comes with tense and uncomfortable situations during escrow. It was nice this once to have a little fun after the deal had been done.