STORY 4 This horror story was so bad it actually made the news at one point: a house that doubled as an actual, literal snake pit. A five-bedroomhouse set on pastoral acreage in the American countryside, priced at less than $180,000, it seemed like a steal. But it was no bargain. Ben and Amber soon realized the dream home they had purchased for their growing family — a family including multiple small children — was infested with hundreds of garter snakes. Throngs of reptiles crawled beneath the outer walls. At night, the young couple said they would lie awake and listen to the rustle of their scales as they crawled about, slithering inside the walls. It was like living in a horror movie. The home, as it turned out, was most likely built on a winter snake den, a “hibernaculum,” where the reptiles gather in huge numbers to hibernate. In the spring and summer, the snakes would fan out across southeast Idaho, only to return to the den as the days grew shorter and cooler. At the height of the infestation, the homebuyer said he killed 42 snakes in one day before he decided he could not do it anymore. He waged war against the snakes and, in the end, “they won.” The buyers had little recourse when they decided to flee the home. They had signed a document noting the snake infestation. They said they had been assured by their agent that the snakes were just a story invented by the previous owners to leave their mortgage behind. The buyers filed for bankruptcy and the house was repossessed. They left the home the day after their daughter was born, just three months after moving in. The house briefly went back on the market. Now owned by the bank, it was listed at $114,900 a year later. As of the writing of this book, the property has been taken off the market while the bank decides what to do with it. The moral of the story is to invest in a good inspection.These buyers were attracted, and blinded, by a price. They didn’t have a proper inspection of the home before purchasing. On top of that, they fell victim to an agent who clearly cared more about selling the home than about his client.
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