Painting the turd

One of my favorite real estate marketing buzzers is “bring your paintbrush.” Most used homes need paint. Painting the interior of a house erases the previous owner, whether or not that owner smoked or liked orange rooms or whether they never once hung a picture in the right place on the first try.

Bring your paintbrush!

When you see this self-conscious high-road disclaimer in marketing comments, however ( frequently followed by a series of exclamation points !!!! ) it is almost always a wink to the fact that the house has a cache of ghastly that a paintbrush will only actually begin to address. Like chopping down the mightiest tree in the forest with a Herring, paint is a mere start for some real estate houses. Some houses you actually have to find the walls before you can paint them. Like this one:

Probably the only way to paint your way out of a disaster like this would be to go in and just spray the whole place one color. I mean the whole placeas-is. Don’t bother taping or masking or putting down any dropcloths. Don’t invest six weeks into vacuuming or fumigating the kitchen or picking up the Q-tips or the cheese graters or the overturned dresser drawers. Just fire up the generator and blast the entire impossible landscape the same off-white color with an eggshell finish and be done with it. Then take “bring your paintbrush” out of the marketing comments and replace it with “turnkey.”


Let’s face it– some turds just can’t be polished. Luckily, we have a card in the real estate deck that trumps all others, including the clutter card, the filth card, the rotted out bathroom floor all caved in card, the pornography left lying around card, the US Bong card, the vicious barking dog card, the heat turned off in February card or the what the fuck is that smell card. This card is of course the price card. Every house is a good deal at some price, and the trick is finding out what that price is. No roof? We can account for that with price. An inch of nicotine on the walls & ceiling? We’ll adjust. Skeletons in the closet, literally? It all comes out in the wash…

Everyone knows this is a great time to buy, but believe it or not, this is an amazing time to sell a house in Bellingham– especially if you plan to buy another. I know what you’re thinking– “But MidDay Rambler– it’s the middle of November!” It’s true that normally this is the time of year when people put their real estate dreams in a cool, dry place and turn their attentions to other matters. But considering the fact that there’s a serious lack of inventory right now, this is not a ridiculous time to be on the market. There is something to be said for being available when others are either temporarily not or else not yet. The thaw will show us expanded options, of course. But there are plenty of hungry buyers out there right now who weren’t able to find a house during what was a relatively trying musical chairs exercise this summer & autumn. The election is behind us, and many believe interest rates will finally rise. If you think buyers won’t  jump on a good opportunity just because the bird’s already in the oven, then you are at least mistaken and possibly stupid. Despite the holidays, this is a time of high demand and low supply. And competition breeds motivation which breeds envy & contempt & paranoia– all ideal conditions under which to make a major purchasing decision.

So whether you’re into turnkey or paintbrushes, there could just be the perfect opportunity out there for you if you’re buying. And sellers, please do keep your hands & legs inside the vehicle at all times. We could be in for a very wild ride…


blogger’s note: the image imbedded in this entry is purely fictitious and similarities to any actual real estate disaster house on Custer School Road are purely coincidental. I do like the fact that the bedroom on the lower left is actually featured twice in the gallery, though… 

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