Monday, January 28, 2008

Real Estate Deflate Part 2

by Brenda Roger

I’ve done some investigation into the house on the corner. In my last blog, I shared my theories on the uninhabited suburban house on my street. Since then, the magic of technology has allowed me an opportunity to tour the house.

Last week, there was a u-haul parked out front. When I drove by, the door of the u-haul was open and a man I have never seen before was loading things into the back. I saw one of those generic vintage framed posters of a liquor ad, and some other items that immediately screamed, “props!” So I had a theory that the house was staged by a company hired by the realtor.

Another kind of woman would have walked three doors up and talked to the man in the u-haul, but I read mystery novels and I know what happens to that woman! So I had to turn to technology to find some answers.

The real estate sign says “sale pending”, so the house must be under agreement because it was not on the multi-list. I had to search the name of my street, which led me to the house number, which led me directly to the link for the virtual tour! Why didn’t I think of that before?

Luckily, David and I toured this exact house before we bought ours. It was a spec house by our builder, so it was our best guess at the quality of his work. In this case, it gave me a basis for comparison in my neb-nose scheme.

Now the juicy part…. the house looked uninhabited. The furniture looked staged, indeed. Every room on the virtual tour was immaculate. There wasn’t a single indication that anyone lived there for the past three years. The only thing on the wall was the poster I saw in the u-haul. There are glass shelves in niches on the first floor of the house and they were completely empty. The only sign of life was a computer in one of the bedrooms. It was a whole set-up with a printer.

I think the computer was the way that the people using it as a safe house stayed in touch with the underground network. Not that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it or anything……


Joyce said...

For some reason, the empty house for sale made me think of Becky's first book, Don't Be Afraid

You didn't see any nail guns lying around, did you?

If, for some reason this posts twice, Mr. Blogger was being stupid!

Annette said...

I love those virtual tours. I think they would be a great way to create a home for a character, too. Rather than just try to visualize a house in your mind.

And another possibility to explain the computer (although a dull and mundane explanation) is that maybe they got one of those fake computer set-ups like they use at IKEA in their home office displays.

Gina said...

Now, if this was one of our novels, you'd follow up that virtual tour with a little breaking and entering, just to make sure that the virtual tour isn't a sham -- I mean, they could have used any house, right? How do you know that, other than the liquor picture, what you saw on the virtual tour was actually ever in that house? Maybe the real reality house is full of dead animals or drug paraphernalia or plastic explosives. You'll never know until you look.
[Just kidding, Brenda. You stay out of there!]

brenda said...

Gina, you're such a bad influence on me!

Nancy said...

If there's a sliding glass door in the back, that's the best place to break in. Or a kitchen window, if you're the agile type. You could also try the basement windows, which are often left unlatched.

Or sometimes the owner has "hidden" a key. Snoop around flower pots, overhead ledges, the tops of windows and door frames, around downspouts. Or check to see if there's a cutesie statue in the ground---a frog or a turtle with a secret compartment in its belly.

Uh, not that I have any experience breaking into houses that are for sale, of course.

Joyce said...

Nancy, do I need to call Zone 5 about this?

NL Gassert said...

You could always just call the realtor, asking to have a quick look at the house. Lie and tell him/her that you've always wanted to buy that very house and would just love the opportunity to see the inside before the new owners move in. If he/she flat out refuses or comes up with fishy excuses, you might want to investigate further. If they let you in … do you know any self-defense? Make sure they know that who’ve told people about where you were going.


I will never look at a For Sale sign the same way. Thanks, Brenda.

lisa curry said...

Brenda, you never fail to make me laugh -- and thank you for that! :-)