Tuesday, May 22, 2007

curb appeal



One of the maxims/buzz phrases of RE agents is curb appeal. Everyone understands this. Plant some flowers, clean up any detritus, a few licks of paint, and you are good to go. In this beastly bull market of the last few years, you could tack on 50G's by spending 200 bucks on flowers and 500 bucks on paint.

What kind of curb appeal does the place depicted here have? They're asking 799k for it, and don't even care that the realtor's sign is obscured by garbage. Is the market so hot that you can sell a place that approaches a million dollars so lackadaisically?


Here is a further view. Unfortunately, I framed out the curb appeal that the portable toilet provides, and the orange safety fence - which protects the stump of a downed tree.

Of course, the house is incomplete - which leaves me wondering if it is offered for sale as is, where is, or if one has some choice in the finishes and landscaping included in the asking price. I wonder if they really want to sell it.





There are a lot of places around almost identical to this one. I see older houses bought up, torn down, and almost as soon as the new framing is done, there is a for sale sign up. I watch them complete, and sit there. Price reduced to no avail. They are most often tasteless, character-less, and adorned in hideous colours. I have seen orange ones, blood red ones, manure coloured, etc. They all share the same blue-prints, and I have seen whole streets of identical, ugly, square boxes. These are the Vancouver Specials of the 2000's.

I'm thinking of having a new series on curb appeal - as often I can get to it - over the next while. Feel free to submit candidates.

NOTE: The sign is real, just altered - for my and your amusement, and to save embarrassment to the realtor. Why should I care about the realtor? I don't really, I'm just decent.

27 comments:

condohype said...

Is the realtor's sign obscured by the garbage, or is it part of the garbage and thus not obscured at all? Tough to tell.

Great post.

Patiently Waiting said...

As bad as houses like this our they are no worse than a lot of the mass-built 1960s-70s houses, are quite bit better than the revolting eyesores built through much of the 1980s-90s. You know the monstrosities I'm talking about. You wince when you see them in the middle of block somewhat nicer houses. All windows and pastels, not looking like they belong in this climate...and probably don't.

Patiently Waiting said...

our=are

solipsist said...

good question hypester. I called the number, but got a recording - kind of please hang up and try again

pw - fair point, and this is not as bad as some in the past, but it is still an eyesore. It looks like it has a busted nose, and bushy eyebrows stuck on as an after-thought.

I have seen some houses being built that are quite nice, with a "heritage" look to them. I wish they did more of that. I doubt there is much of a difference in building costs, and one can probably get the plans from archives for next to nothing.

aetakeo said...

When saying "screw you" to the buyer through pricing is not enough, stage your house with as much garbage as possible.

Babybull40 said...

There is house on my street that is awful looking.. not very pretty.. and garbage out front and the current landlord/owner is trying to sell for a second time.. he had garbage strewn about.. I shall take a pic and post it...

Duran said...

As someone who unfortunately lives in a hideous box known as a "Vancouver Special", I can attest that much of the reason for the ugliness can be attributed to cultural differences. Other cultures primarily occupy and build these houses (particularly Asian and South Asian), and either they don't care about exterior looks, or they simply have a preference for that style. I myself am Chinese, living with the 'rents, and they seem to have no care for the overall look of the house itself... and I have noticed that with other ethnic people. They are only really concerned with interior size, which is exactly what these houses have a lot of.

Real estute said...

I am familiar with those cookie-cutter houses like the one in your photo. You call them the Vancouver Specials of the 2000's. I figure these hurried POS houses were designed as space-deprived condos on land. They feature the same 2200 sq. foot plan with 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. What a joke. Those conditioned to buy shoe box condos will have no problem "moving up" to these beauties. They also nearly always have two kitchens ie. rental income. They have no character and are usually built in East Van - an area where oddball looking houses are the norm. These box houses are nothing more than a vehicle for quick profit for a builder.

the pope said...

nice work with the sign! I think they should hire you to photoshop the garbage out of the picture- I'm sure their ideal buyer wouldn't visit the property in person or ask any tricky questions.

Anonymous said...

This is not really about curb appeal but here in Victoria we visited a house - almost a million heritage house and the front window was busted in and plastic put over it. They never even bothered to replace the window.

I also say at house yesterday $1.1 million. To get to the laundry room you had to walk outside and go around through another door?????

el bbub said...

anonymous:

good thing it was not a bathroom!

Anonymous said...

As a buyer in the 70's,and 80's I can remember why the Vancouver Special came about. There was the "west Coast Contemporary ethos" . Beautiful examples were built in West Van designed by Thom,Erikson et al. Now the current Vancouver Specials come from bastardized,downsized, and cheaply built versions of some quite glorius modern traditionals and contemporay Crafstmans also built as beautiful spec homes in the early 90's in West Van.
As to the lazyness of realtors right now, this too shall pass. Apparantly there about 1.2 realtors in West Van for every SFH listing right now. Not sure of the GVRD stat but I know only about 10% make more tha 50k a year.

Patiently Waiting said...

anonymous 7:01pm - You seem to know a lot about Vancouver housing styles. Would you happen to know happened during the 1990s? Why did so many fugly monstrosities get built all over this City? Whose BIG IDEA was it? And is there a term for this "style"?

A few Vancouver Specials don't ruin a neighbourhood, as they can fade into the background. But the 90s houses can really be such an eyesore that just one or two of them can really ruin the "look" of an area (especially when their pastel exterior gets stained).

jay said...

"Sl*ttown"... I really like that. It's almost like one of those stickers that you saw downtown a year or so ago. POS condo..this way ( you get the idea ) It just has the right ring to it for what's going on. Thanks for the laugh before I go to sleep.

Aleks said...

There are a few nice faux-heritage houses around the Drive, and where I live the new subdivision is actually less fugly than the one I live in, which was built about 5 years ago. New houses still have no genuine character, but I'd say they're less awful than in recent decades.

solipsist said...

Thanks for all the comments.

aleks, I have been waiting for a beautiful nouveau Craftsman place just off the Drive to finish so I can take a photo.

It is quality, and is practically indistinguishable from the original Craftsman on the same lot (it's strata).

The construction costs would be higher than the fugly POS, but "in for a penny, in for a pound", I say.

solipsist said...

I really want to respond to all of your posts, and will - as time allows. There are some good comments here (and in previous posts).

Being a new pappy takes a bite out of blogging...

solipsist said...

"jay said...
"Sl*ttown"... I really like that."

I liked it too (sometimes I amuse myself...). My wife laughed too, and I feel that it exemplifies Vancouver - what with all the porn, pimping of RE, and the whoring of the buyer to buy any POS available.

patriotz said...

Would you happen to know happened during the 1990s? Why did so many fugly monstrosities get built all over this City? Whose BIG IDEA was it? And is there a term for this "style"?

You almost said it - the monster house. They always looked to me like they were ready to explode. I think the style is a reflection of the pumped-up egos of the intended buyers - mostly HK Chinese who arrived in great numbers in the 90's (many of whom have returned post-97).

The old Anglo wealthy class was just as greedy, but at least they liked to show off their good taste in houses (Shaughessy, etc). The Asians on the other hand seem to like to show off their crassness.

frenchie said...

Coming from Toronto I was appaled at the lack of class of the vancouver builders in general with their ice-cream stucco houses. It has nothing to do Asians, they are just buying what's available. They are asians in Toronto too but they don't have to buy those ugly stucco mildew houses. On the whole people on the East coast take better care of their houses and are house proud.

I can see a lot of jalousy towards the nouveaux riches asian people in Vancouver. As the last post indicates. Do you still want them to be second class citizen so that you can boss them around?

Anonymous said...

You should shut this blog down or at least put a half assed effort into it solipsist. Doh!- forgot the smiley face. :)

solipsist said...

"Anonymous said...
You should shut this blog down or at least put a half assed effort into it solipsist. Doh!- forgot the smiley face. :)"

If you don't like it, don't read it.

patriotz said...

It has nothing to do Asians, they are just buying what's available

Oh come on off it. Don't you know how free enterprise works? The suppliers make what the customer wants. If they don't, it doesn't sell.

And as far as being "jealous", I'm not jealous of the rich, tasteless Asians any more than I'm jealous of rich, tasteless people like Paris Hilton. I just don't respect them. If I were to move permanently to an Asian country I would make an effort to fit in with local values, and I don't think it's too much to expect the same from them.

And I'm not going to let the city councils of the day (led by certain Messrs Campbell and Owen) off the hook for allowing these monstrosities either.

Anonymous said...

Frenchie,

We are also from Toronto. I so miss the lovely houses. Even the little starter homes are so pretty. I just had to see this because I have never gotten used to BC homes.

Anonymous said...

We are also from Toronto. I so miss the lovely houses"

Aren't many houses in Toronto made from brick? It implies well-built, solid, permanent homes.

B.C. suffers from a frontier mentality. A resource extraction place only; entire towns have been abandoned, bull-dozed or burnt down. Move on, toss together some clap-board; and good enough. That's reflected in the 'style' of many BC towns.

Vancouver was incorporated fairly recently, like 1866, I think...and as such, it doesn't have any real sense of history or definitive character. Unless, you consider hubris to be character:)

And patriotz is right. Unfortunately, it's not p.c. to point out the obvious.

Patiently Waiting said...

We have had times when quality when quality homes were built, like around the 1890s, 1920s and 1950s. We've lost a lot of these classy houses in the last few years to these "monster homes" and "Vancouver Specials".

I can't wait for the day when they start replacing the pink mansions. Maybe that will be soon as they aren't appropriate for this climate.

casual observer said...

"We have had times when quality homes were built,"

I've noticed at a few condo and townhouse sites that when the project started, they were using plywood for the exterior sheathing. As construction has continued on these sites, they've switched to OSB (orient strand board), which is cheaper.

OSB does not hold up to moisture as well as plywood does. When it gets wet, it just crumbles. Why would they build part of the project using good quality plywood, then change to OSB? Is it to cut costs, or is it an availability issue?

I don't think that lumber or plywood prices have risen since these projects were started. (I think they've actually gone down)