Monday, December 11, 2006

Have a Pen

Taking the home office to a new level. There isn't a room at my place that doesn't have at least three pens offering my agent services and a listing sheet being used as a grocery list.
The infiltration is nearing epic standards.

Check it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Old Man Physics

This Carbon Monoxide detector law is a decent thing. Just needs a little clarification.
Cuz first they tell you it's an heavy gas that lurks around basements & garages. Then they tell you to put one by every bedroom.
But if you have 2nd floor bedrooms - doesn't it seem a little counterintuitive?

Like how the old man used to crank on the window ac in the front room, hang a blanket at the bottom of the stairs & then scream at you for moving the blanket & letting the heat down.
And you smugly told him heat rises & then he told you a thing or two.

Well put aside your basic grasp of physics & embrace the old man's view of things.

Sure YOU have bedrooms on the 2nd floor but is yours the only floorplan in Chicago?
~ No mister - you don't know how good you've got it.

Did you install a gas fireplace in the master? And was it actually you or your cousin from your mother's side of the family?
~ Yep mister, the Old Man knows a thing or two & he wouldn't let either of you near his toaster.

Got that fancy attached garage & let the beast idle a while in the garage so you don't get a chill?
~ Old Man told you to buy American - 8 cylinders will start right up every time.

Yeah I'd buy a detector. For the price of a pizza it's better than having to hear "I told you so."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Idiot Box - Real Estate Stylee

When I get home after an 8pm showing in single digit weather I usually run for the beloved computer to do follow up. Once in a great while I'll turn on the idiot box.
And pick a home improvement/celebrity real estate show.
Hey I said this was my thing.
My fave is when they say they are "in Chicago" today. Then I get closer to the screen to test my visual knowledge by id'ing the exact location as fast as possible.
Only a bummer when they say "Chicago" but are actually closer to Rockford.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day

You know it's a snow day when you're faced by this when you open your door.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

North vs South

Wrong rivalry.
As a product of American education this one took a little Internet confirmation but it is conceivable that a Civil War veteran dusted off his boots in my house.
The Civil War ended in 1865. The guy was prob 21. The Chicago Fire was 1871. Now he's 27. He moves to Chicago to get a construction job as the place is booming. My building was built in 1917. Now he's 67.

First floor of my place was a butcher shop. Dude liked bacon. And there you go.

And that's why I haven't covered up the tiles even if they've seen better days.
Cuz they've seen some interesting days.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

From the Block

Holidays bring out those people/smellatives that moved to the burbs & now ask classy things of their party hosts like "Is it okay to leave my car unlocked?"
Um no. But not because you're in the big bad city.
Because it isn't 1943 anymore.
I wouldn't leave my car unlocked in a monastery parking lot in Wyoming on a holiday after the apocalypse.

"I betcha I paid a lot less for my place & it has 16 bedrooms & 9 car garage."

Uh huh. That 2 flat you left 17 years ago? Worth 4 times as much as your current digs. Let's move to a festive topic like the war.

"Wow, there is no parking around here at all!"
No, there's lots of parking.
It's just all full. Because tons of people live here.
Because Chicago totally rocks.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pie for Breakfast

What do real estate agents do for fun on holiday weekends? Besides still have 3 open houses, do 4 showings & stalk the market online?

Take advantage of the 60 degree weather & go for a walk.
A nice Sunday morning walk. In a neighborhood that you drove 12 minutes to.
To scope it for teardowns, have a mini scavenger hunt of signs from agents in your company and find blog fodder.

Good thing I had 2 slices of pie for breakfast

Thursday, November 23, 2006


For not knocking down this building.

Not matter what kind of incongruous business they put in there.
People should be surrounded by beauty when they buy fan belts & flan.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

BADDITION® – Redhanded

Baddition® in progress. And I thought these things were done in the dark. We will follow this project but looks like it’s heading straight to the Baddition® yearbook.

Monday, November 20, 2006

BADDITION® - Barnraising at the Double R

It was a ranch. But then they had some extra wood leftover from the barn. And then their cousin came in from Califernya extolling the latest in exterior access motel design. The bushes are covering up the ice machine.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Training Grounds

A Real Estate Ninja must complete many mythical tasks before ninjaness. Behold the razed lot fraught with many dangerous obstacles like beer bottles & railroad nails. I had to leap all over this lot to get to the front of my listing to take some fresh shots. I am like a cat.

A Star to Em Not at Em

I sheath my throwing star. The Chicago City Council has approved the Realtor Parking Pass. $300 is a bargain. That's 10 parking tickets. Or roughly 2 weeks' worth.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Free Lunch Tuesday

No need to pack a lunch or even have breakfast. It's Broker's Open Tuesday. Like a really spread out tradeshow, Tuesday is the day Realtors drive from Lakeview to Humboldt to scrounge free snacks and see what listings the other guy got. The menu is kind of a 7th grade birthday party of sandwiches, cheese trays, pizza and cookies. And then you know how you have that one person in the family who can only handle the paper plates or a bag of Oreos ? Yeah, we got those too. They stop at the gas station and pick up some Starchucks gift cards. I'm not complainin - I'm just sayin

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ninja Kent

Dude this is Chicago. You are not gonna get very far showing up at your developer's job site in yer shiny shoes and yer fancy tie. The trades aren't gonna roll with your idea to move the kitchen island over there and add some can lights if yer too busy looking for a clean place to stand. So you get yer cred by popping over in old jeans & boots. And of course a listing appt will drop out of the sky while yer there. So you change in the bathroom amid the caulk guns and make some mad ninja moves thru the site avoiding sawdust & plaster dust. Cuz your wife didn't go to college to be a laundress.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

BADDITION® of the Week - Barf Bag

You don't even need to see the contrast of the lovely brick two flat that this is slapped on to appreciate how bad this is.
Baby pee yellow siding, natch.
Haphazard unlevel window installation, check.
Door floating above unattached steps built from wood found in alley, double check.

And the piece de resistance - the thing is so sicked out by itself that it is actually vomiting from under the window. What is that? It's the color of that stuff janitors threw down in grade school on puke. And? The half hearted attempt to control the spillage with another piece of random alley wood?
I'd keep my shades down too.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Boo A Realty Tale of Terror

In honor of Halloween, I offer the following tale of realty terror.

Dumpy little houses always appear as sweet Victorian cottages to Realtors. Just need a little paint and some flowerboxes. I’m all fired up about a shack in a sweet area & entice, I mean flat out lie to my wife that we’re going to Fields and on the way, park in front of shack. Now you know I’m brave. One I’m a Ninja of some variety. Two I handle all pest control at home. Three I have come between a woman and a 13 hour sale. Though the rusty gate, up an overgrown path into a shag carpeted living room full of boxes tall as a man. I go for the light switch. Click click – no power. Through the musty dining room with torn shades. The kitchen cabinets creak and something scurries across the floor. I lure her to the cellar with the promise of future rumpus room glory. Down the narrow wooden stairs lined with old glass jars full of who knows what. We creep around the little torture workshop rooms past carcasses of old snow blowers and tennis rackets. I work up all my courage and go for the last ditch save. Storage. I reach up through the cobwebs. She looks anxiously at the fading sun through the tiny cracked windows. In the back of the room is a cubbyhole with a set of sliding wood doors. I give it a shove but the side near my wife’s head opens. Out leaps a naked glassy eyed doll, hands grasping for my wife’s throat.

To this day when we walk past with the dog, my wife eyes the dark windows, hastens her step and gives me a little jab in the kidney.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Like the First Robin of Spring

You know a neighborhood has gone good…

When the Women Joggers Appear
especially at Night
Maybe I should alert that Freakonomics guy

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

BADDITION® - Time Capsule

Thanks go out to Bertblogger for this sweet find.
It's a veritable archaeological dig of Chicago building materials in the last 40 years:
You've got your Tudor, your brick, your white vinyl siding.
6 different window replacements, glass block, a window ac that was at least centered, a shut up porch, a balcony and a balcony shut up with an old door with what appears to be that wavy green glass from the 70's.
Alas - as so many of its peers - its value as a landmark has been dismissed and it is slated for tear down.
For shame. For shame.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Go to grab my open house signs from the next block.
Dude you think they just GIVE them to me? They’re like $60 bucks a pop. I treat them like a vintage Corvette. Wash, wax, use packing tape to make repairs. They even have a cush bath towel covering them in the car. Weasels.

Next week I am randomly stalking the area, looking for more more more listings. Fab brick 20 unit on a corner no upkeep – for the taking people. They also sell something out one of the first floor windows. I walk up to the woman leaning out and before I can ask the owner’s name she’s all “Great you’re here.”
I roll. I roll.
A man comes to let me in & brings me to the basement. It’s a Sunday at 11 am. I am wearing a full suit and tie before my open house. Drug psychos think I’m here to repair the washing machine.

And there - in the laundry room - against the wall is my freakin sign. With the patched corner. I charge right past the guy, grab my sign and flee into the shadows.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sorry - I Fell Asleep

Can we invent a new word to replace the following boorrring phrase?

“Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood throughout”

I fell asleep typing that. Keyboard full of drool. Because I have typed it over 6 million times now. Let’s just agree on some standard so we can get on to the really cool parts of the listing.
Like “Finish Trifecta” or “SSGCHW” or “AsIfWeCouldEvenSellAnythingNowadaysWithoutTheseFinishesDoWeLookLikeCrazyPeople?”

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Does Blackberry have a Taser Feature?

Walked by an Aikido class last night. They were learning how to defend against closet rod attacks. More skilled practitioners got to wear black pants. Told wife that I want to get to the black pants level. She pointed out that I should aim higher cuz I’ll need to ward off the closet rod with one hand while negotiating on my Blackberry in the other.

Ninja skill set not broadened.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

BADDITION® - Leave Geometry to the Ancient Greeks

I’m coining the word “baddition” right here. There is no reason to make the top or back of your house look like a refugee camp. Bad design happens to too many good people. Every Wednesday we’ll feature one of these bad boys.

For our debut, we have a fascinating feat of angles and siding. I think is the shape they call trapezoid if I remember correctly. And the bay window? Why? Do ya really think they have a window seat built in there? Sure they do. Out of leftover white siding. It’s only a matter of time before the fine people from the Chicago Bungalow Association become vigilantes, staging midnite demolition raids. I’ll be with them.

Between the Lines

Under the Hobbies & Interests section on my biography I put:

Gardening, Boating & Antiquing

You know that means turning the sprinkler on twice a year, having a canoe on my garage roof & garbage picking.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

St Joseph is my Homeboy

For Open Houses (OH) I don't boil those smelly dead flowers, bake cookies, create curly bamboo archways or bury resin Catholic saints in the former coal chute under the light of the waning moon. Don't practice Santeria, I ain't got no crystal ball.

I am trying to get a handle on the weather factor tho.
No traffic at your OH? Rained, kept 'em inside watching the Food Network.
Low traffic at the OH? 72 & sunny, they went to the zoo, mowed the lawn, dusted off the kite.
62 people, all preapproved, gasping at the joy of builder's white on the walls & you ran out of business cards despite it being a freakin hail storm outside and the slab is in a floodplain?
Yeah, your wife buried Joseph under the hostas because she likes the part where you have heat in the winter.
There he goes, floating by with some old army guys and a marble.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Guerilla Gorilla

Walking round Uptown - found this guy - he does not know the way of the ninja - the outfit is too shiny.
Yet I admire his brashness.