By Dan St. Yves

In a perfect world we live, we thrive and we grow old in our dream homes. In the real world though, sometimes life happens and suddenly you find yourself behind the eight ball, trying to fend off an unfortunate foreclosure sale of that dream home.

Back when I was still a Realtor, I always had buyers asking to see foreclosure homes, hoping they would get one of those properties for pennies on the dollar. What many didn’t realize until I showed them some of those listings was that on occasion, some had been…how can I say…devalued just a tad?

Is there an online course for homeowners trying to make a home entirely undesirable, hoping to prevent a sale? I almost came to think so.

Lesson #1:

Make your home as uninviting as possible. Set up dummy cameras prominently in every room, with red blinking lights and pair those with motion-sensitive floodlights that are aimed right into potential purchasers’ eyes. In addition, consider motion-activated oil paintings of angry-looking family members, with eyes that follow buyers as they move around the room. Consider adding speakers to play sounds of harumphing and “for shame, tsk tsk tsk”-ing.

Lesson #2:

If you haven’t already purchased a home directly across from an open-air Costco-sized dog kennel/barking enhancement training centre, a freight train coupling yard or an overgrown field populated by The Walking Dead, consider how you might incorporate some of those elements into the home itself. Bonus points for using crocodiles, trap doors and unidentifiable odours.

Lesson #3:

Remove all furniture from the dining room and set up a working surgeon’s operating room. But don’t leave out professional surgical tools. Put out tree saws, a harpoon and a wide variety of rusty gardening shears.

Lesson #4:

Distribute a group of progressively more frightening live-action scarecrows throughout the home that are designed with humans in mind, not birds. Consider using familiar horror movie characters, like the ones from Saw, Halloween, and Disney’s Frozen.

Lesson #5:

Put up posters on the front door that say, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Could still be enough to discourage some purchasers?

Lesson #6:

Rent out the front entry/living room to dog-walkers and advise them there is no need to pick up after the pets.

Lesson #7:

Have a plaque made up and posted on the front lawn: “National Historical Site – Birthplace Of Celine Dion, Recordings Of My Heart Will Go On MUST Repeat 24 Hours”.

Lesson #8:

Have a plaque made up and posted on the front lawn: “National Historical Site – Birthplace Of Nickelback, Recordings Of Greatest Hit(s) MUST Repeat 24 Hours”. Ensure speaker is crackly.

Lesson #9:

Remove all cabinets, light fixtures, crown mouldings and carpeting. Install it in reverse so that the home looks like it was built upside down.

Lesson #10:

Obviously, provide sufficient evidence that the house is haunted. This could time out well with the newest release in the Ghostbusters movie franchise.

Lesson #11:

Add a back page to the listing sheet that confirms evidence that the home was built on loose silt and is expected to sink fully below the property grade within two weeks of an accepted offer. A large red arrow pointing down should be sufficiently scientific.


  1. You always make me laugh .Thank you for that. And I usually read the REM posts only a few days after posting so I can catch the comments. As usual. Thank You !

    • Hey Sabine! Thanks for your lovely comment – now I need to post something controversial to make those comments even more interesting? Always great to know there’s readers lurking out there!

  2. Hi Dan ol’ buddy:

    Since when did seven lessons become eleven? Did you write this stuff when exiting a 7-11 after chugging a six-pack of ice-cold diet Cokes…giving you a sugar-fee brain freeze? Maybe you were thinking in Imperial terms but the numbers came out in Metric? Were you the guy who filled—or should I say, partly filled—the Gimli Glider’s fuel tanks?

    Just kidding! I especially like lesson number five. You could add “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”.

    You could also add another lesson, being lesson number 15, whereby, when showing a government bureaucrat negotiator’s house, attach four chrome chains (complete with ankle and wrist manacles) to the four cornered bed posts in the master debater’s bedroom.

    I once cold-showed a house for sale that displayed the very items noted above, which house had a very good looking young female tenant renting therein who did not want to leave. I guess she forgot to remove the hardware before the showing took place…or maybe not. One never knows where one’s next client might come from. True story!

    • Oh my – hilarious! I did have a similar experience with video gear set up towards the master bed – that prompted a few comments on the office tour!

      I also love how you went straight to 15, omitting 12-14. Not sure how that all expanded, but it sure isn’t due to the value of the Canadian dollar!

      Thanks as always for the comments, pardon my lateness responding, I’m out on the road!

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