Sunday, January 13, 2008

Real Estate Deflate

by Brenda Roger

A new real estate listing is sucking all of the fun out of my life. When I tell you that I am neither buying, nor selling a house at the moment, then it seems like it isn’t possible for a real estate listing to do such a thing to me.

About two years ago, the house on the corner was sold for a price that was about $30,000 under market value. I found this to be extremely irritating because I was about to have our house appraised and the house on the corner would have come up as a “comparable” and dropped the appraisal on our house. We heard that the house was sold as part of a divorce, so the sellers probably just accepted the first offer and walked away.

We expected to get new neighbors. Instead, we saw a red bench appear on the front porch, and occasionally there was a truck in the driveway, but no signs of life. I have spent several years now fantasizing about what the house is being used for.

My first guess was a meth lab. Now, you must understand that I live in the whitest of white bread, suburban neighborhoods. When Diana Vreeland said, “people who eat white bread have no dreams,” she was talking about my neighbors, and with the exception of a few women having unfortunate relationships with Capri pants, there isn’t much going on. It is, in fact, the least obvious, and therefore most ideal, spot for a meth lab. The aforementioned red bench on the porch could be some sort of signal. It is there sometimes and not others. I think it is a sort of sign saying, “fresh meth here!” Also, the truck that was occasionally parked there had the logo of some sort of motorcycle magazine on it. Now we’re on to something! A hell’s angels tie-in. Yeah, baby.

Time passed and there weren’t any arrests, explosions, or guys in haz-mat gear, so I dropped the meth lab theory. Then, one day, I saw a woman and a teenage girl leaving the house. A new theory was born. It was a safe house, and the disappearing red bench was a signal of some sort. Perhaps it was owned by women who were operating an underground railroad that helps women escape from abuse. Yeah, yeah, that must be it. Now it is on the market because it was “found out” too many times and it is time to find a new safe house.

When a nice nuclear family moves in and plants their trampoline in the back yard, I’m going to have to take up lawn darts or bocce to fill my summer evenings, which is going to suck all of the fun out of my life.


Joyce Tremel said...

Very funny, Brenda!

Anonymous said...

You crack me up, Brenda!

Your story made me recall that my ex-in-laws, who lived in a condo complex on the Gulf Coast of Florida, were always telling my ex and me that they were certain the people in the condo behind them were doing something with drugs in their apartment. I was always thinking, "Yeah, right, why don't you get a life and find something else to do besides spy on your neighbors and dream up fantastic stories about what they're doing?" Then the neighbors got busted by the police, 'cause they were making crack in their condo. Oops! :-)

Anonymous said...

Couldn't you call the real estate people and find out what the house has been used for the past few years? Now my curiosity wants quenched.

My stepdaughter and her fiance live in Virginia just outside of D.C., in an apartment complex--very suburban looking. One night several months ago, they weren't allowed to return to their apartment because a meth lab had been discovered downstairs. They were kept out for about six weeks. The maintenance man who lived there was doing some personal drug maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm twisted, but I can't help thinking of JOyce's story a week or so ago about the dead baby remains found in a suitcase. That family has got to be related to this one, right?

You can look up who owns the houses in your neighbhorhood, you know. It's a matter of public record. I forget exactly where, but I know you can find it through your city or municipality's webpage. It might be under tax records or real estate transfers or something. If you want real directions, email me, and I'll...uh...sniff out the information.

Joyce Tremel said...

Nancy, go to Allegheny County's website
and click on real estate website. Then just follow the directions. You can find out who owns any house in the county, the assessed value, if the person paid their taxes and how much, etc.

Btw, we had someone find a decomposed body in their basement on Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I live in Westmoreland. You can find out the name of who owns the house in the tax info online, but that doesn't tell you what they are doing inside!!!

I'm just waiting for an open house!