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Zillow Stalking


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V.I.P Member
When we moved from an apartment to the old house in 2010 and then moved from the old house to the current house in 2017, we spent a ridiculous amount of time on real estate sites like Zillow.

It got to be a curious form of entertainment to see what one could afford and how properties within the price ranges varied. Everything from updated kitchens and bathrooms to houses stuck in a true vintage time warp in my region (circa 1975 - 1985). The amount of faux wood paneling and shag carpet in various tones of brown and burnt orange was amazing. Harvest gold linoleum was another prime favourite. Luckily neither house had such amenities.

The old house had a certain gnome like charm to it that we played up with fresh paint (inside and out) and landscaping. It was cosy and kitschy, a vibe we played to when it came to paint colours and furniture. Good woods and soft, saturated colours, and a welcoming atmosphere.

The old house was on the market less than two weeks before it sold and we moved to the current house that fall. The worst part of moving was not the packing and unpacking, neither of which is ever a delight...It was having to tolerate ugly paint colours until the following spring when I finally got time to paint.

Going from a lovely soft lavender to a boggy shade of green took some getting used to. The whole colour palette was almost dingy. (It was fresh paint, don't get me wrong, but it was too heavy for the space. All camouflage colours. With the living room, the hall, and the craft room /office in varying shades of dead browns. The basement was finished, but painted an unmatchable shade of green, (only slightly better than the green in my room). The laundry room truly was the brightest room in the house simply because it was a good, clean white.

With all of the doors and trim a clean white, we needed to lighten the weight of the paint. We went soft but bright upstairs. The living room and hall got updated to a perfect french vanilla, and the bedrooms went from brown and moldy green to light blue, a pale green, and a delicate violet. The bathroom stayed grey, but we took it much lighter and a little more blue. The basement we went a little bolder with a rich caribbean blue. Something as simple as paint changed the whole feeling of the house. It took the place from rather generic to feeling like home.

Currently the house directly behind us has come onto the market and out of curiosity, I looked it up to snoop. That house is a bit bigger, but has some decidedly odd features, a very awkward flow, and vintage 1983 faux wood work, meaning it is dark, cheap, and just plain ugly.

Some places it is easy to see the charm and potential if one has the time, skills, and resources, but most of the time you have to be pragmatic about what you can afford, tolerate, and fix. With the current house, the paint was awful, but the flow of the house, which has a much better kitchen and bathroom, is awesome. We're still working on the flowerbeds and landscaping, but the outside has also come a long way and our location is amazing.

There are also things you think you would miss (especially with dogs), but don't. One of the biggest being a fenced backyard and really big trees all around. We have a ton of trees in our neighborhood and are just a block from the park and less than a mile from the bluff trailhead, but by having only grass and finite landscaping and the dogs outside on a runner line (always supervised) significantly reduces the amount of dirt and debris that gets tracked in.

I really liked the old house, but the current house is truly home.

Apologies for the prattle, but I was wondering if anyone else snooped through real estate listings simply for the heck of it?

(And it might be a little judgy, but I'm a firm believer of listening to one's real estate agent when it comes to staging a house for sale. It is like a first impression or a preliminary interview.)

Forest Cat

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V.I.P Member
The amount of faux wood paneling and shag carpet in various tones of brown and burnt orange was amazing.

My tv room is full on faux wood paneling, shag carpet, teak shelves and brown, green and burnt orange as far as the eye can see. And it's on purpose and yes, it's amazing. :) It's silly, I know, I just love it. It reminds me of something from when I was a kid. The glorious early 1980s living room. And to top it off: I have a landline phone in there... A real working 1980s landline phone. :D
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Jeff T

Well-Known Member
Occasionally I do. Fun to look at other areas and see what is affordable. Amazing what homes go for in small towns in the Great Plains (Kansas, North Dakota, etc).
Saw a listing in Benton, CA that kinda floored me. It looked like a crumbly wooden box that fell onto a trashy desert lot. 250? square feet! It was going for over 100k. Must have been a prank listing?


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
My tv room is full on faux wood paneling, shag carpet, teak shelves and brown, green and burnt orange as far as the eye can see. And it's on purpose and yes, it's amazing. :) It's silly, I know, I just love it. It reminds me of something from when I was a kid.

Nostalgia has a huge influence on how one responds to one's environment. I grew up helping my mom and grandma paint and wallpaper and change the colour palette from the eternal appliance shades. We spent a lot of weekends in the paint sections and seeing such a wide variety of colours really lets you find the ones you jive with.

There was one house I saw that had its original 1960s kitchen with these ripe tomato red laminate countertops. I saw that an was torn between horror and adoration. With the right backsplash and flooring, it would be a purposeful vintage look. Reface and paint the cabinets white, add a rich cobalt penny tile backslash, with a simple dark grey floor tile to ground the space and highlight the counter top.

In conjunction with its current incarnation of dark stained cabinets and harvest gold linoleum, with avocado walls, it was just too much. But those countertops like a good built-in really allow people to look at the potential in a house.
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You know, that one lady we met that one time.
V.I.P Member
I used to work as an assistant at a real estate office in Southern California Wine Country. It was a very fun job. The song "Short Skirt and a Long Jacket" had just come out a few years prior, and it was fashionable to dress really sleek to office jobs.

I loved my job. The most boring part of it was the open houses, because you're standing there, doing nothing, in an empty house, waiting for anyone to show up.

But as a buyer, I think you'd have a lot of fun on weekends, even if you're not actually going to buy anything, cruising around the suburbs, touring the open houses.

A favorite pastime of my daughter and I is to pick up the "For Sale" type magazines and peruse the listings. It's pretty fun. And since real estate is one of her special interests, I have encouraged her, more than once, to maybe get her real estate license. She could even sell homes to put herself through college.

I don't know about where you live, but in California, real estate school was only three months long, and the fees for the school and the test/license were pretty manageable. With your love of real estate, you should think about making a career or even a weekend job out of it.
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Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I enjoy checking listings because it's a great way to get a feel for decorating ideas, and what sells houses in general. In the Midwest, a basement that had a lodge look and a kitchen island l built help sell the house in the worse housing market ever. Only 50 houses sold the entire year in that city. Yet the area l live in now, it's sleek and minimalist and bright that sells the east coast houses in the warmer areas. Right now l am in love with beachy slightly casual chic fusion very underplayed so as not to become too kitschy.

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