Monday, 30 April 2012

Adventures in real estate

Does a house need a lift? I don't mean, a lift in aesthetics as in: a styling facelift.  In Sydney real estate this translates as 'place manic 10-tiered rows of throw cushions on every available soft-furnishing surface then plant a giant faux-cast-iron headless bust of some anonymous body in the corner of the living room and carefully position an imposing bowl of emu eggs on the coffee table.'  (A big French provincial clock above the master bed is also essential.  I'm never sure why anyone needs a giant clock ticking over their head as they sleep.)

No what I mean is, does a house need an elevator? Does your house need an elevator?  My sister's house could probably do with an elevator, it's a narrow three storey terrace and the living room is on the lower level, so if you leave your phone in your bag upstairs, you have to climb two flights to get it when it rings. Or you don't hear it ring at all.

But imagine it did have a lift:  you'd hear the phone ring, follow the signs to the elevator, press the up button and then probably have to wait.  In that time you could have climbed two flights of stairs to get your phone (tripped over the cat) and dropped about half a kilo in the process.

Hence, therefore, ergo: I say, houses don't need lifts. (Despite the fact that my sister's cat seems determined to 'fell' me every time I take on the stairs.)

However, during my adventures in real estate, I have witnessed many houses with lifts.

The other day I saw one such house.  They were very proud of it, their house.  They welcomed me inside with a gracious 'behold our luxury home' hand gesture and a 'you will not believe your eyes' look on their faces. It was the sort of house that had been built and designed not to live in but to 'sell'. Presmuably to some sucker who thinks that houses need lifts, a fully-equipped bar, a gymnasium, an outdoor kitchen and video intercom security that takes photos of the burglar when they are inside robbing you.

It was shiny new and painfully luxurious.

In fact,  I believe my headline was:  'Luxury family palace with stunning water views.'  (No judgement please, see my previous post What do you do?)  

I made sure to say, "My goodness, this house is absolutely amazing!" as many times as I could within earshot of the owners.

People are very touchy about their homes and if you are going to infiltrate their private space, you have to stroke their egos a bit.  I learned this by trial and error.  When I make a big fuss about how much I love someone's home, they seem to like my copy* better.  They think to themselves, "She really was a kindred spirit with impeccable taste like us, whatever she writes will obviously be high quality and spot on."

If I say nothing and zip in and out in 10 minutes (which FYI is all you need to do if you are going to write approximately 900 characters of copy on ANOTHER renovated-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life-with-a-white-CaesarStone-kitchen two bedroom semi in Annandale zzzzz) they really, really hate both me and my copy.

This is what they think when I zip in and out and don't pay compliments to their home:

"That copywriter was a lazy self-involved woman who wouldn't know top notch Sydney real estate if she fell over it. Clearly she is a sloppy writer who does not use enough adjectives."

(Admittedly I have missed entire rooms when I have been in a hurry. But in my defence, the one time I missed an entire room was complicated by the fact that I had to walk through a bedroom to get to the sneaky hidden room. At the time there happened to be a half-nude man in the bedroom.  It seemed an invasion of his privacy to just waltz on through and start pushing doors open while he was in there changing his pants.)

So anyway, I usually make sure I say something like,

"Wow, what a wonderful solution to kitchen clutter: build a secret functional kitchen behind the real display kitchen."


"I just can't get enough of plantation shutters, they are just so wonderfully stylish."


"I simply adore white and taupe bathrooms with frameless glass shower recesses and big free-standing bowl vanities."


"How much? I'd love to buy it." And when told.  "What a shame, it's just out of my budget and I actually don't really need a master bedroom with an open plan ensuite." 

Which brings me to another thing that luxury houses don't need: open plan ensuites. If you haven't seen an open plan ensuite and don't know what I'm talking about let me expand.

An open plan ensuite is where the master bedroom has a bathroom in it but there are no walls between the bathroom and the bedroom. Yes, you read that right. The toilet is right there. Inside your bedroom. With no walls between you and the stink your husband makes. No walls. I have seen this many times, with my own disbelieving eyes.

Another variation on this, is the ensuite with a chic opaque glass door. In this scenario, you don't get to smell what your husband is doing, but you get to view him in silhouette as he is doing it.

While we're on this, I also don't believe that one house needs three spa baths. (As seen with my own eyes somewhere in Strathfield.)  I think if you must have a spa bath, one is sufficient. (In my opinion, if you're interested, spa baths are best described as "pube shooters." If you want other people's pubes shooting out at you while you bathe then that is your business entirely.  For mine, it's not my cup of tea.)

Anyway, needless to say I did not use the lift in the Luxury Family Palace.  But I made sure to ask lots of curious questions about the 'high quality fittings,' so that everyone would think I was paying attention.  When my questions became too detailed for the owner, (somewhere after, "What kind of timber are these floors?") I was put on the phone to an unnamed man who spoke at length about the lighting and security systems.  After I had pretended to take copious detailed notes about that, I walked through the two-storey foyer (which was furnished only with a long flat NSW Art Gallery-style chaise longue) and went home to type the following award-winning paragraph:

Occupying a prime 682sqm block with a private elevated aspect capturing gorgeous water views over Oatley Bay, this palatial architect-designed residence offers the finest in design, finishes and picturesque alfresco living spaces.  Featuring an opulent three-level layout with multiple casual and formal living areas, an imposing entry foyer and lift access, it presents the ultimate family lifestyle close to waterfront reserves, shops, transport and schools. 

The end.

*"copy" is the written component or text of a news story, advertisement, marketing material etc. as distinguished from the related visual material.
N.B a "copywriter" is the person who writes the copy.  Contrary to common belief amongst real estate agents a "copywriter" does not produce the "copyright." There is no copyright on your home when you are selling it.  Despite this fact,  I am often introduced to the vendor as the person who is  "here to do the copyright." 

No comments:

Post a Comment