Uh, Nice Place. Cozy, Eclectic, Historic…WTH?

English: Fixer Upper in Dorena

English: Fixer Upper in Dorena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a number of folks in property transition at the moment. They are buying foreclosures to fix up for rent/resale, selling their home to downsize or looking to purchase a first home. They are fired up by reasonable mortgage race plus the overload of TV home improvement shows on everything from crashing a bath to the rocky realities of doing it yourself.

As a homeowner of many years, I know what a joy it is. I also know what a big, yawning, money-sucking pit it is. So a few friends and I came up with some helpful terminology – call it Realtor©-speak – to get them through the morass known as the home buying process. Hey, the American dream is to own your own place, your little patch of dirt with four walls, a roof and all the personal electronics you can stuff inside without causing a massive meltdown.

Here are some common phrases neophyte home buyers should know, and what they really mean:

  • Cozy:  Tiny, AKA Stupid Small.
  • Eclectic : !&$#!* up floor plan.
  • Whimsical:  Paint scheme chosen by someone on acid trip.
  • Needs TLC: It’s a dump.
  • Handyman Special: Should be condemned.
  • Historic: It’s a dump and huge and you can’t afford it.
  • Historic Neighborhood: In the hood.
  • Exclusive Neighborhood: Your neighbors are snobs.
  • HOA:  You can’t have a clothesline, a volleyball net or more than 1.75 cars in your driveway.
  • Beautiful gardens: You will spend your life weeding.
  • Perfect Starter Home: Previous owners lived here until the growing horde of children and pets made it uninhabitable.  That carpet wasn’t brown originally.
  • Established Neighborhood: All your neighbors have lived there for at least 50 years and will yell at your kids to stay off their lawns.
  • Close to shopping: There’s a 7-Eleven right next door.
  • Seasonal view: There’s a nudist colony next door.
  • Waterfront property: Septic tank overflows often.
  • Upgraded electric: Property previously used as a “grow house”.
  • Roof in good condition – Only half the tiles were taken out by the last hurricane.
  • Natural landscaping : The place hasn’t seen a weed whacker or a lawn mower since Moses parted the Red Sea.
  • Stylish bathrooms:  Pink tile, tub, toilet, and sink.
  • Great curb appeal: Inside trashed beyond belief.
  • Potential income property: Basement apartment has been rented out to tenant who cooked meth every night.
  • Separate In-Law Cottage:  Pop-up camper with flat tires.
  • Price is firm: Owner lives in a fantasy world and believes their home exists in a world not touched by the economic downturn.

I’m reminded of how important this list is, since the house next to mine is vacant and up for sale – again. Twice it’s been rented out by the owners, who are nice people. But landlords they are not. We’ve had some decidedly unsatisfactory renters, including the father-and-son duo who partied like no one else on the block had to go to work (because apparently, they didn’t) and had a little side business stealing from neighbors’ garages for cash resale. So while it’s good to know that the foundation is sound, the walls straight and the pipes well-sealed, you also need to know that the house next door has several rooms of seventies-era wood paneling, the last tenants were heavy smokers (we could smell cigarettes when they opened a door or window), and nearly every room has white carpeting.

Other than that, come and take a look. Might be a bit of a fixer-upper, but for the right buyer (with patience and a healthy renovation budget) it’s a honey that’s worth the money. No lie.



Filed under consumer products, Current news, home improvement, thought

4 responses to “Uh, Nice Place. Cozy, Eclectic, Historic…WTH?

  1. Gramma

    You forgot “modern”–means it has indoor plumbing!

    • nancymn

      Hey, I did mention the pink, pink, pink and pink bathroom! I thought :modern” meant there was a cleaned-up Porta Potty out back!

  2. Cheesy


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