House hunters' weirdest encounters revealed

From naked photos to live chickens, you never know what you'll find in someone else's home...

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Visiting a property with an estate agent? Be prepared: you might well come across naked pictures of the current owners - or even a tree growing through the living room.

One in five house hunters have been surprised by an "unusual" feature when viewing homes, according to new research from property website My Online Estate Agent.

Many of the bizarre sightings - carpeted walls, taxidermied animals and huge collections of dolls and teddies - can be put down to the property owner's unusual taste. But these are far from the weirdest things found in other people's homes.

One of the 2,000 respondents to the online survey reported entering the kitchen to find live chickens running around, while another was shocked to find a coffin in a cupboard and a third disregarded a property after spotting a tree growing up through the living room floor.

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And others offer prospective buyers way too much information about the occupants' private lives.

One in 10 of those who spotted something strange were confronted with naked photos of the property's owners, while one respondent was understandably freaked out after noticing a toilet displayed behind a glass panel.

Sightings of odd items and farmyard animals are not the only bizarre occurrences that take place on property viewings, though.

Many house hunters have also come across sellers whose behaviour left them eager to leave.

Of those who have, more than a fifth were subjected to rants about the owners' relationship breakdowns, while one in five had to avert their eyes from people wandering around the property wearing only a towel.

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Close to a third also surprised prospective buyers by failing to make any effort to tidy the property prior to their visit.

David Grundy at My Online Estate Agent said: "First impressions are absolutely key to securing a buyer and simple things like not tidying up can instantly turn people off.

"Prospective buyers want to see a property that they can imagine themselves living in, a blank canvas to they can make their own.

"So when selling a property it is crucial to put your own preferences and style to one side - even if you don't have a coffin in the cupboard."

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