Just a house

I hardly ever mention this, but I do have a day job pimping houses. I’m a Realtor. I’m not a bigshot, I just do a little business here and there so I can have a job to quit when I get that big writing break. Yeah.

Reason I mention this is I was out showing houses yesterday and saw something amazing. I’ve seen all sorts of collections, but this one was the best. Ever. There was a room full of model trains. Spotless. Rows and rows of shelves on the wall with boxcars, engines, tankers, etc, each car about a foot long, all uniform in size. Some were even in glass cases.

They weren’t ordinary model trains you see in stores, I have never seen any like this before with so much detail. I’m thinking these might have been used in movies.

The rest of the house was unbelievably spotless. And there was not a micron of ugly in there. I looked for it. One little mistake in cleanliness or tastelessness, something to make me believe the people in this house were not perfect.

I passed by the oven and noticed these foiled potatoes baking in there. The foil was folded so beautifully, I have never seen a potato wrapped that way and I couldn’t help but laugh myself silly. I looked on every wall for a family portrait, I mean, what do people who live like this look like?

There were none.

It was the most perfectly staged home I have ever seen, and I’ve seen thousands.

If those potatoes weren’t in the oven I’d have guessed no one lived there. People do that, fill an empty house with furniture because an empty home is extremely difficult to sell. You wouldn’t think, but that is how it is in this area. Buyers get the impression something is wrong with it if it didn’t sell while the homeowner still lived there.

So figuring out if a house is really vacant is something I like to do if I’m working with a buyer. I have one test to figure it out. I open the fridge and look for milk.

Funny isn’t it?

So many houses tell a family’s story. The ones who leave the framed photos of the family all over tell the most. There was one today with the children’s photos through the years from birth to graduation. The bedrooms didn’t have that “personalized” look to them, they all looked like guest rooms but were worn as if some child had grown up there.

It was also missing girly things. Mom things. Something about this place told me one man lived there, a father, and this house was just too big for him now. I opened the door to the garage and there he was working away with his wood shop tools. He didn’t talk much and he looked so damned lonely it made me want to burst out crying. I hate it when the homeowner is there because I get to put a real face to that story and sometimes, like this time, it is too much for me.

Anyway. I hope all of you kids are doing all you can do for your dads today.

And all you dads out there, have a happy Father’s Day.


6 thoughts on “Just a house

  1. I like looking at things in other peoples’ houses – I don’t know why, it is not nosiness but more curiousity about the people who live there. Like. if you looked in my refrigerator, you would not find milk.

    It is great for writing scene descriptions, seeing all these different houses.

  2. It’s not nosiness until you start opening drawers.

    If there is no milk, I look for other perishables such as meat and cheese. Most of the time you can tell someone lives there without opening the fridge. Last night’s dinner smells, some dishes in the sink, a coat on a chair, things like that.

    Yeah it is great for writing character, especially in a screenplay. the objects in their personal space tell you so much about them.

  3. All I know is that when we were trying to sell our condo, our then-infant son would take a great big dump, just as each prospective buyer walked through the door.

    If that doesn’t say lived-in, I have no idea what would.

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