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21 Jul '16

Quietly besting the Jones'

We're well into summer, and among other things, it's real estate high season. Many of them were owned by families I didn't know.  But there are also a few sad ones.

Two houses over is a ranch house that is EXACTLY the same as the one we live in. The only difference is that there aren't anymore kids there. They grew up. Mom got older and older and finally was fully dependent on her son, who had quite a laundry list of problems of his own. 

A year or two ago, she died. Her son had more and more trouble walking and keeping things going. And then he fell, had multiple other problems and ended up in a nursing home. Probably forever. 

So anyway, an number of contractors passed through. They whitewashed all the walls a bright white. They removed the ancient appliances and fixtures manicured the grounds with care. At Open House, I was surprised to see a parade of curious neighbors and potential buyers. No doubt the bidding war is well underway.

Anyway, all the changes got me to thinking of a thought experiment. Absurd but highly desirable, to me at least. 

Realtors are in the business of selling houses to anybody with the most cash in hand. So it makes sense that they advise removing all traces of the seller's life and leaving just enough in the way of furniture and new appliances that anyone could just take over and make it look like they think it should. 

There are a few houses around with owners who don't give a hoot about their future erasure projects. One completely rehabbed the house giving it a look that almost anyone would like. But, her one telling act of rebellion was to put two dogs on each side of the front stare way, much in the way there are a few houses around that have lions out front. 

Another house (which we originally bid on and lost) sports a lovely lavender color for its Tudor-ish top section. And there is a house nearby that is built completely in the style of a Chinese pagoda, if a pagoda was supposed to be a small suburban home with character. It has sported a truly vivid kind of yellow all around, which may have something to do with why it's always on sale. 

Anyway, to get back to the real estate practices of a parallel universe, it would be very far from non-sensical to imagine that a seller could worry and fret if their house on sale did not have enough character. They might fret about the steps they need to take to make their dwelling as interesting as possible. Color is a good possibility. The right one can be striking and visionary in the midst of other visions.

House-hunting would be a matter of making a list of ones that promise the perfect installation for a new life at home. A crucial decision would depend on the decoded meaning behind the structure. The buy would need to feel a kinship and have an idea about where and how to develop it further. The passing of hands would be less a matter of the highest bid, than the question about whether the house and buyers were the perfect match in color, style, and world view. 

Sometimes one has to be prudent. No wild flights of fancy, Sometimes a subtle additions can say it all. Here's where I praise the laudable taste of Caitlin-the other boss around here 

(About me: ranches are a little difficult to personalize. They were meant to be identical. But I'm going to try and work my way from in to outside. The first sign that my exterior project has begun will be the turquoise enamel painting of the front door. They say you can tell everything about a house and family from the color of their door)


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