Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reading Between the Lines

Or, how to decipher a real estate agent's ad:


  • Traditional 1920's home in desirable neighborhood. (It's the smallest home with a great location, but check out that built in yarn storage system.)



  • Walk to town or lake. (It's too crowded to drive around and you'll get there faster on foot.)


  • This old house has been well maintained and includes a new kitchen with granite countertops and handsome cabinetry. (The house is ancient and the kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, but that's ok, there's much less floor to wash.)

  • Sun filled Florida knitting room off formal dining room, beautiful hardwood floors and abundant storage. (Abundant only if you use the knitting room for storage. Isn't that why there are free standing storage facilities?)
  • Updated bath. (Notice the singular to describe bath. It's the only one in the house. On the upside, that means it's the only toilet to scrub.)

Let's revisit the first bullet point: Nearby neighbors of this home include the ones who have been dead for a hundred years or more, and now reside across the street in the cemetery. Given the macabre nature of my calling, does it come as a surprise that I love walking around a vintage cemetery? I can promise you, I'll get to know them by their names and their headstones, and so will you. I'd have to join the My Town Monday group that Debra posts about and links to just to introduce all my new neighbors.

Of yesterday's shiny new home with the Jane Jetson bath, and today's vintage charmer, which one do you think I'll choose?

I promise you, the decision is at hand and you'll miss my house hunting escapades when I begin to write about packing, moving and separation anxiety. Don't say you weren't warned.

17 comments:

WT said...

Hopefully you'll pick the older one. Here's a few more terms for ya:

* Old charmer - an old and ugly
house

* Stunning house - the house is not ugly

* Tudor - two bedrooms are in the attic which is not insulated; very hot in summer and very cold in winter

* Cape Cod - styled after Third World slum dwellings

* Sunny corner lot - noisy intersection of two busy streets

* Easy freeway access - noisy arterial street close to freeway

* Low maintenance lot - no yard; the kids will have to play in the street

* Meticulously maintained in the original condition - the appliances are 50 years old

* Ready to remodel - the house is about to collapse; you will have to invest twice the asking price in remodel before you can move in

* Newly remodeled kitchen - 50-year old cabinetry and faucets have been replaced with cheap modern equivalents

* Ready to move in - the interior has been painted with one coat of cheap paint

* Desirable neighborhood - this little house is extravagantly overpriced because the neighborhood has a snobbish reputation

* 1 car garage - you can drive your Ford Escort into the garage but there is no room to open the door

* In-city living - it is not safe to walk in this neighborhood after dark

* Recreation room with wet bar - basement has been painted and has a faucet

* Large family room - large basement

* Bedroom in basement - basement has a 1′ by 2′ window

* Lots of storage space - basement too small to be called a family room

* Partial mountain view - you can see the tip of Mt. Olympus if you climb the roof

* Territorial view - good view of your neighbor’s bedroom window

* Build sweat equity - the house is not inhabitable

* Storybook - the house is old and the roof is not flat

* Efficiently designed kitchen - the kitchen is too small to fit two people at the same time

* Seasonal creek - muddy ditch across the property

* Usable land - all the trees are gone.

* Doll-house - tiny place filled with ugly knick-knacks.

* Country living - too far from anywhere to drive to work

* Country in the city - a grotesquely overpriced large lot with a 2 bedroom house built before World War I

* Cozy - not a single room could fit a full size bed

* Three season sunroom - a small addition the owner did not have enough money to insulate

* Close to all amenities - the backyard is a shopping mall parking

* Beachfront property, complete remodeling in 1996, a steal at this asking price - hurricane Andrew motivated the remodeling; no hurricane insurance available, at any price

* Must see inside - the outside is ugly

* Motivated sellers - subtract 15% from the asking price

* Easy to heat - see “cozy”

* Wildlife nearby - children and pets get ticks and fleas

* Near transportation - Amtrak train goes through the backyard, every 15 minutes, day and night

* Pet friendly neighborhood - organic matter constantly deposited in the front lawn

* Neighborhood watch - your next door neighbor has binoculars trained on your house

* Just available - previous owner just died on the premises, hope you don’t believe in ghosts

Miss 376 said...

I love old cemetries,unfortunately my boys don't share my enthusiasm so I don't get to visit as often as I would like

Betty Flocken said...

I like the new one; but It'll be very fun reading about your dead neighbors! I'm bad though, as a big believer in "ghosts"....

debra said...

We'd welcome you to MTM wherever you go! I'm partial to old houses (ours is from the 1830's) but new has its points as well. Intimate is nice, but spacious is ok as well. Door #1 or Door#2 ?????

laurie said...

i would buy a tiny old house rather than a big new one but i don't have a daughter who might move back in with me.

they're both beautiful.

no more snoozing. and you were absolutely not wallowing in self-pity.

i'm amazed your'e still upright.

Gail said...

Go with your heart...it will never let you down!

Rose said...

The vintage one; it looks beautiful!

distracted by shiny objects said...

Still laughing at WT's insightful descriptions:>0
There's a book out about an English real estate agent's collection of house ads. Funny AND British humour. I'll try to remember title somewhere in my thick fog of a brain.
We have a cemetery in back yard. Remind me to tell you story of Hubby yelling a conversation to our neighbor while he was fixing the garage roof and didn't know a funeral was taking place behind him...

Brenda said...

The new one. One bathroom would be more than I might be able to manage...but that's just me.

Rositta said...

WT's description made me laugh, I used to use just about every one of those descriptions in my ads back in the day. I like the older house, it's exactly the kind of house I could live in. The kitchen is larger than what I have and sure I would like a larger one, but what the heck...sometimes you can't have everything. We once had a house with a cemetary behind us and they were the quietest neighbours evah...ciao

Rudee said...

WT-your Just Available terminology makes me life. We may have the opportunity for a house where the man of the house lost his job, couldn't take it, and hanged himself in the basement (leaving a wife and kids to plod through this recession alone). The house is big and has a beautiful pool, but I don't think I want to live in a house like that. It is indeed the older home that I'm considering.

Rudee said...

I just have to say, WT nailed it. I've been considering all of his interpretations and laughing myself silly. I especially liked the Wildlife Nearby description.

It is indeed the cozy little charmer in town with the sunny knitting room off the dining room that I'm liking. The dead neighbors are a bonus. I'll put in the offer shortly.

the rotten correspondent said...

Damn woman - and people say I'm hard on myself. You make me look like an amateur. You'll find a place you love and you'll get it.
This is all going to work out fine.

Trust me.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

The little vintage house is jumping up and down and waving its arms saying "PICK ME PICK ME!"

Gill - That British Woman said...

I can't wait to see what you chose. We sold our house, and I have a post on it all tomorrow (Sunday) including a photo of the house.

Gill in Canada

HalfCrazy said...

Hi there!

I'm a new visitor in your blog so I had to look and read your previous post and decide which is better! I will personally go for... okay, I don't know. They are both beautiful in their own way.

I love this one because it is cozy, enough for 2 or 3 people and it's vintage!

I love the previous one because it's modern and sleek.

Okay sorry if I'm not helping you decide LOL. Both look great.

Much Love,

Winifred said...

I like them both so I'm not much help.

I'd go with the one that's easiest to maintain being a housework hater. The less loos to clean the better!

At least with a cemetary over the road you know what's going to be there for a long time to come. No hideous new buildings springing up.

I enjoy mooching about old cemetaries. I'm going to join our local history group when granddaughter goes to school in September. They have people researching the local cemetaries as one of their projects. The names wear off the headstones and they get damaged so it all needs recording.

You do get a good laugh at "estate agent speak" as we call it. Don't know how they aren't prosecuted under the Trades Description Act.