5 Times I Was in Danger as a Real Estate Investor – part 5: I don’t Believe in Ghosts but…

This is part 5 of my series on times I was in danger as a real estate agent and investor. The previous articles were about instances where I was in danger or felt in danger from people I could see or who I knew were there. This story is a little different as I never saw a threat but I felt much more uneasy than in any of the other stories (murder, threats, squatters, etc). This story is about an 18k square foot property that I bought which had been vacant for years. Every time I went in this building I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could and so did just about everyone else who went in the building. The worst part was the basement which was huge and very weird. I have never felt as uneasy in a property as this one and I am not a believer in ghosts or hauntings.

Why did I buy this haunted property?

I don’t believe in ghosts but if I have ever bought a haunted property this was it. I saw this property because I had bought a large warehouse in a town about 90 miles away from me a few months prior. I invest within about 30 miles of my town, Greeley Colorado but properties had gotten very expensive there. I love commercial properties and an 18k square foot property in the area I normally invest in would run at least $1.5 million. I was looking at properties father out and I was able to buy the warehouse 90 miles away for $230k (26k square feet) and this property was 18k square feet and for sale for $250k.

I set up a showing on the property which used to be a furniture store for decades but had been vacant for many years. I had no idea what I would do with it and mostly just wanted to see inside of it. There was another property for sale right beside it for $30,000 that was 4k square feet. The property next door was a mess with a back wall falling in and the big property was a mess but I saw no structural issues. It was huge with showrooms all over, 3 different upstairs, as well as 2 basements. I went to see it with my project manager Nikki and we both were uneasy as soon as we went into the property. The listing agent had also told me it was a very weird property and the basement was crazy.

It took a while to find all of the property because there were so many doors and staircases. The property was the creepiest I had ever been in and Nikki wanted out of there as fast as possible. For some reason, a few weeks later I decided to make an offer on it and I ended up buying both properties! The big one I bought for $150k and the small one for $23k. I would not suggest buying properties like this to most people and it was not a very good investment.

Why was this property so weird?

The property was built in the early 1900s which is very old for Colorado. It used to be a hotel on one side and a car garage on the other from what I could tell about early records on the property. The two buildings were combined at some point with one side having a large basement and an upstairs and then the other side having a very small basement and 2 different upstairs, one in the front of the building and one in the back.

The entire property makes you feel uneasy but there are a few different areas in particular that make you want to leave very fast because you get the feeling you will be murdered soon. I should add that there were signs that people had been in the building over the years with shoes on the roof and doors that were sometimes unlocked. So there could have been people hiding in the building somewhere that I did not know about as well. It also turns out there was a door to another building next door in one closet that gave access to our building. Sometimes that closet was locked from the inside which was really weird until we figured out that the access point which went to an apartment.

The first weird area was a very steep narrow staircase that went upstairs to the front of the old garage side of the building. You walked up these stairs in mostly pitch blackness because when you got to the top, you could see all of the old windows had been boarded and then stuccoed over. This area had maybe 4 rooms connected in a line with access to the next room only from the previous room. There was no bathroom or kitchen, just these rooms in a line that looked like they had not been used in 60 years. The first time I went in here it was also extremely hot with no ventilation or light. I was creeped out, to say the least walking through those rooms and wanted out immediately. My only reprieve from the darkness was my flashlight which seemed to never work well up there and when I found a door to the roof. I opened that door and a wave of light hit me that was more than welcomed.

The roof was flat over part of the building and that roof would later cave in after a huge rainstorm. This is where you could find shoes and beer bottles and some clothes that made it seem people had been up here pretty recently. There was no ladder or access to the roof except through the door I had found. I had to go back through that area to get off the roof and every time I walked into those rooms it felt so weird. I did find some paperwork and other items dating from the 1970s for the furniture store up there.

The other very weird part of the building was the main basement. You had to enter the front door and walk through a long room with green carpet and a huge staircase going up. Then you found a door to another large room and another door in the back of that room that went to another room. The last room had brick walls, was very dark, and had a very old door to the outside and an alley.

Into the dark

The steps to that basement were about 8 feet wide, concrete, and after those stairs was just black. I went down there and I think Nikki followed me the first time. She never went down there again. Walking into the blackness, my flashlight worked well enough to see almost nothing and it was a good flashlight. it was very old, very large, and had many random things down there like an old school chair just sitting in the middle of the room. The listing agent had described it as looking like horse stables and I could see why. One side of the basement had half-wood walls built with little rooms off to the side that looked like horse stalls. Every instinct in my body told me to leave immediately and I stayed long enough to see that my flashlight could not illuminate the farthest wall, Just blackness. I did not go all the way in that first time.

Later on, I met some people are the city who wanted to see the building and said they could help with repair grants, etc (that never did come about). One guy went with me all the way in and he was the only person who wasn’t freaked out about that basement. There were other people from the city who refused to go down the stairs or went down and immediately went back up. There were light bulbs down there but we could never get the lights to work down there and our flashlights never worked right either. My phone always seemed to shut off or have problems as well when I went down there which it never did anywhere else.

What am I doing with the property now?

This was the weirdest spot in any property I have ever been in and this property is now for sale. I never plan to go in that basement again and hopefully the new buyers can make it into something cool. It is too far away from me for us to work on it and I have too many other projects going on. I also sold the other small building for $30k and the warehouse for $390k because they were too far away as well. I think I have learned not to buy properties just because they are cool with no plan.

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