Well, the Koi Pond is Nice….
I have a good friend who has been on and off the fence about buying: No, we have decided to wait until spring….I think we’d like to see this house…What it really boils down to is they are keeping their eyes open for THE house. The perfect house that sings to their family’s heart. I get that, so we look at random houses at random times, and it doesn’t bother me because I love them.
Today we went to see a house in a neighborhood that we all like: location, location, location. The property is a little over two acres, 5 bedrooms, finished basement, a pool, and a fancy koi pond. The home is a little different from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood, a little more modern. We both had very high hopes walking in.
We met with the owner because they are attempting to sell the property themselves without listing with an agent. She told us right away that the home had been professionally painted, by hand, and each room has a different theme. Luckily, the owner got busy with a conference call and we were able to walk around, unattended, to witness the full glory of “theme painting”.
Initially, we walked around and I kept saying “just ignore the paint.” But it was difficult. This wasn’t just paint, this was art, and very taste driven art. The downstairs master was a safari complete with a giraffe that spanned one entire wall. The safari moved into the master bath where we had to concentrate to see the bathtub, shower, and toilet. The dining room was a complete Vincent van Gogh painting. Swirling blues, oranges, and yellows, all over the walls: “I will leave the sconces and curtains if you’d like, they go with the theme.” One of the upstairs bedrooms had lady bugs painted on vines that trailed onto the ceiling. It was very cool but No One likes to paint the ceiling. Another bedroom was a log cabin, Yogi Bear style, complete with wooden doors and horizontal stripes painted on the walls, floor to ceiling. I kept touching it to ensure myself it was paint. Windows were painted in bathrooms where there weren’t windows before. I was trying my best to ignore it. The seller was offering a paint credit to the buyer so this theme art painting was history. We needed to see beyond it, and I could see the rooms were sizable with good windows. My friend (Friend) looked at me and said “I’m really not feeling the kitchen.” I assured her that the kitchen would really improve with pretty granite or stone countertops and a simple change of hardware. She’s not paying for paint so at this point that is the only cost I can see. I’m feeling positive. Great yard, fresh paint, location, location, location! But then we headed into the basement and everything went to hell.
Heading down the stairs, we could see the black and white checkered floor of the basement. Friend turned to me and made the international kill sign. “Covering linoleum is super easy and inexpensive.” (I said cheap but for a blog inexpensive sounds better) We rounded the corner and I can’t even explain the change. Upstairs might not have been decorated to our liking but downstairs gave off a vibe, a feeling…There was an office/bedroom located directly to the left of the stairs that had been painted Secret Garden style (sigh). As soon as we entered the room, we were greeted by a rattlesnake, tightly coiled, mouth open, fangs at the ready! Friend levitated clear out of the room. It was stuffed, on the side table, right next to the door. My Realtor hat was gone. I think the rattlesnake in the Secret Garden did it. But I could not sell this house to Friend anymore. I kept one eyeball on the snake and peered around me, stopping to look at the pictures on the wall. These were family type pictures in a collage frame. There is a picture of a monkey wearing clothes on a couch. Was the monkey theirs? Did someone save the monkey? Who dresses a monkey in clothes? Realtor Maggie is long gone. I’m standing in front of a stuffed snake just staring at a picture of a monkey. Good feeling is gone. Friend is standing next to me saying “I think we can say this house is a no.” I ask her about the monkey. She comments on how long the monkey’s arm is. I’m leaving the room. I don’t want to think about the monkey anymore.
My quest to think about happier things leads me to pinball machines, a deserted large bird stand (that took a second to figure out), and framed pictures of naked pin up girls-everywhere. The black and white checkered floor is the least of our worries. We keep walking like we’re in the middle of a Fun House, just trying to get to the exit. I’m remembering the owner telling us she expected a photographer to photograph the house and thinking: who thought it would be a good idea to take pictures of this house today, in this condition, with a snake, naked ladies, and Vincent van Gogh on safari? We round the corner and find another office. Immediately, I feel a little better. This room is also hand painted but it’s a soft blue and has a sort of WWII airplane feel to it. Classic airplanes are painted silhouettes on a flat blue wall. Hey look, a real computer desk with a monitor and books. We’ve made it back to reality at this….But then we step into the room and it’s WWII alright but there’s a lot of collectables in here, and not the Allied Forces kind. I’m standing in front of a glass bookcase where an entire scene is laid out in front of me with tiny figurines. Very precise, very detailed buildings with people marching and saluting FLAGS are recreating history in the glass case. My mind started working very quickly. It’s the kind of place where you’re suddenly worried someone will catch you down there and think you’re a part of the madness (because you know Someone has to be monitoring this type of person): NO! I’m just looking at a house; I have absolutely no connection with these people or anything in this room! Don’t arrest me! I won’t survive prison!…And we’ve got more naked pin ups. In my attempt to Not look at the war material in the bookcase, or the propaganda posters on the wall, I’m suddenly completely focused on the pinup girls: Wait, are the nipples airbrushed out? I can’t tell. I’m two inches away from one of the pin ups and asking Friend her thoughts on the topic. Why am I even thinking about this? Why is this even a discussion? Even now, as I’m typing this, I have no idea what she was doing while I was trying to figure out if pin ups from the 40’s had nipples or not. (Turns out she was checking out another rattlesnake. Who knew they came in pairs).
“Lets go”, came out of one of us. We stopped in the middle of the room to discuss what I would tell the owner/seller. I want to give her feedback. This house is a train wreck! But I can’t say anything with Friend here.…The owner/seller is on a call. I’m going to mime that I will call her. Yes, that’s what I will do. In agreement, we practically bolt up the stairs. I pop my head around the corner, do my miming, and we are out the front door, and into the truck. As we’re driving as fast as manners will allow down the driveway I say: That really is a pretty koi pond.