The divorcee who has lived here for 25 years and doesn't want to leave but can't afford to buy out her ex-husband. Her divorce came through today. Her eldest son used to live in a lovely big house in Croydon but now he's living in the second bedroom because he left his wife and kids. Did she mention she's been here 25 years and doesnt want to leave? Or that her divorce came through today?
The woman who lives across the road who runs out to warn you: DO NOT BUY THAT HOUSE. It may look perfect but it's been derelict for 10 years and was renovated in a couple of weeks. She prompts you to look in the loft where you notice that the roof is caving in. Some things you can't cover up with white paint.
The man who lives across the street and comes out to ask you if you're thinking of buying the house you're looking at. He's lived here for 23 years and names all of the families on the street. He tells you that you would be very welcome here and that it's a lovely neighbourhood. You assume that he hasn't noticed the crack running down the front of the building or the damp rising up the back.
The middle eastern family who have been living in the Victorian terrace for 25 years and need more room to fit in all of their grandchildren. He is an electrical engineer and has enjoyed modernising the house. He has done so by removing all of the original features, some of the walls and the wooden staircase and replacing them with a 16 ft long brick structure in the middle of the living room and a melamine/wraught iron construcion. He tells you it will break his heart to leave and you believe him. You want to buy his house because he is such a very nice man but the thought of dealing with the brickwork, not to mention the textured walls, gives you hives.
The landlord who lives in his very small house with 6 'students'. He tells you that they're stupid lazy bastards who he will throw out when he sells the house. He lets you know that you can have all of the furniture if you want it. You know as soon as you step through the door and the smell hits you that the best thing you could do with that house is burn it to the ground but you don't want to be rude so you let him show you the whole thing. By the time you've seen the kitchen, read the letters to 'the Rats and Other Vermin', noted the plethora of post-it notes calling the lodgers 'stupid lazy bastards' and felt your feet stick to the carpet, you realise you are holding your daughter so tightly you're making finger marks on her arm and that being rude would have been a fine price to pay for not seeing this hell hole and not having the foul old man try to touch your child. Ten minutes after you leave you vomit into your hand a little bit.
*image from 100 Abandoned Houses, by Kevin Bauman