Real Estate for Dummies

Yeah, I totally disappeared on you. But the following glossary should help explain what I’ve been up to. With special thanks to my husband, the Manly Fireplug, and Matt Fuller, our real estate agent, who’ve kept me hovering near sanity.

“Bathroom in Original Condition:” A room that will make you question if life is worth living.

“Center Patio:” A feature common to houses in the Sunset neighborhood, that will fill you with fantasies of sun-drenched-kitchens and second-cups-of-coffee, and that will drive the selling price about 25k beyond asking, and 50k beyond you – you silly, dreamy coffee-drinker.

“As-Is:” You will breathe mold spores into your lungs day and night, and you will like it.

“Diverse neighborhood:” White person be warned.

Buyers: Masochists

Sellers: People who shove dirty clothes under their beds, or who just flat-out lock the door to the master bedroom during an open house.

Lenders: Emotional proctologists

“Turn around time is 48 hours on all pre-qualifications.” You’ll drive yourself insane waiting for 10 or 11 days before you call and find out that, since you have three jobs with corresponding paperwork, they put your application under a pile on their desk and ducked out for a smoke break.

Short Sale: A phrase dreamed up by someone who tortured small animals as a child.

REO: A house that some poor sucker lost to a bank, such as Wells Fargo, who’ll slip totally frivolous, mean-spirited clauses in the contract should you be so bold as to place a bid. “Do they even want to sell this house?” you’ll wonder. Ha, that’s funny, you’re trying to understand a bank!

Pending: You’re so very close to getting the house that -even though you know you should remain detached – you’ve pictured sharing with your husband and three dogs, and that you’ve furnished smartly and comfortably in your head with the help of various magazines and decorating websites (see below). At least we think you’re close. Maybe.  Other agents probably won’t show it to other potential buyers. I mean, most of them wouldn’t dream of it. 

Escrow: Thirty days or more of disorientation, insomnia, indigestion, weight loss, irritability, and termite reports.

Midcentury Modern: An architectural, interior, and furniture design form that you are unreasonably drawn to because you are gay. A phrase you’ll type into the search box on Craigslist and ebay thinking you might actually find a bargain chair for your “pending” living room, before it dawns on you, three weeks later, that nobody who would give you a deal would even think to use the word “midcentury.”

Dwell: A magazine featuring photos of “sustainable” prefabricated cabanas you picture as your writer’s studio, that the city of San Francisco would never in a million years grant you permission to put in your backyard, “reclaimed” wooden dining room tables holding nothing but a bowl of green “apples,” and floor lamps priced at $2,126. A form of torture you will subject yourself to before dragging your broke ass to IKEA.

Design Within Reach: A store with Midcentury furniture porn priced within reach of nobody you know. Off to you-know-where.

IKEA: A store featuring couches owned by every member of the 99%, but that you tell yourself you could disguise with a throw pillow.

Apartment Therapy: Interior design crack. A swirling vortex of virtual home tours and DIY braid-a-rug-from-your-dead-grandmother’s-pantsuit projects. When you look up from your computer, eight hours have passed, you really, really need to pee, and oh, you’ve lost your job.

Backsplash: This thing in the kitchen you probably could have gone the rest of your life in total ignorance of, but then you decided to buy a house.

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