Sunday, January 29, 2017

Annals of Real Estate: Keep Your Head Down

For your delectation, I present a property at 52 Austin Street in the Hyde Park section of Boston. (I've never been there because the trolley doesn't go there, only buses.) This a small, reasonably priced house from 1910 with a big yard. It is listed by Salustia Ortiz at Dreamcatcher Investment Group, and the credit for these photos belongs to her and her company.

I'm still trying to figure out who, or what, took these photos. Given the strange, unhelpful vantage point, my theory is that they were taken by a very small child or an exceptionally tiny adult.  Or another creature of in the range of three feet high. I'm thinking a dog, or maybe a turkey wearing a videocamera. Because these photos remind me of stills from a "cat cam," a tiny videocamera attached to a cat's collar to record its outdoor travels. A cat's-neck view is a little closer to the ground than you'll see in these photos, but not by much.

Take a look and see what you think. 

As you can see, our focus is firmly on the ground. Are we hunting for bugs, or what?

The photos, which I found on, appear in an odd, vertical format that doesn't lend itself to real-estate photography. In fact, on Redfin, each of these narrow images is framed by black borders on each side because their template clearly uses a landscape format. Like this:

As you can see, those black bars don't do the photos any favors. But nothing can do much for a photo like this:

Listen: if you are going to go all Old Spanish Grandee in your bathroom, with drapery tassels for your shower curtain, a matching sling for your hand towel, and wrought-iron cages for your toilet paper, bath towels and — what are those? — croquet balls, PLEASE go the distance and put the toilet seat AND lid down before you take the picture.

A dog or a turkey wouldn't know that, but even a little kid might. I rest my case.

Shall we continue the tour? Here's a hazy view of the exterior: The black line on the left means I did a sloppy cropping job.

Inside, we are fascinated by the floor again. And we are afraid of that hairdryer so we are keeping our distance. The furniture in this room is very clever — it looks exactly like a couple of packed suitcases.

Below is the parlor (it can only be called a "parlor"). Continuing in the Spanish Grandee style, it features more drapery and croquet balls (don't ask me, I'm Italian), and it almost makes me wish the photographer's focus was back on the floor.

Yes, it is impossible to satisfy me. And what are all those things on the wall? And is that a damask tablecloth on the floor?

Below is another slightly more normal view, this time of the Spanish Grandee's dining room, with wrought-iron ceiling light and wrought-iron doorway trim. I don't remember seeing this view, or the one of the parlor, when I first looked at this listing. I am willing to bet that these photos were added later by an adult. Perhaps a slightly tipsy one, judging from the angles.

This room has a rug on the floor and the tablecloth where it belongs. The wall-mounted television depresses the heck out of me. I only see them in hospital rooms, restaurants and waiting rooms, and I always wish they were turned off in all three. It seems that the Spanish Grandee's family doesn't value quiet conversation around the dinner table. Oh, well. And are those more croquet balls in the centerpiece?

This picture seems to be about the fence keeping the Christmas tree and its fake snow from escaping. But look closer and you will see it is an office:

Two wrought-iron bar stools stand in front of a bureau or tiny bar, which is being used as a partners' desk. A wrought-iron firewood holder seems to be holding papers. 

At least the tree fence is not wrought-iron. (And most tree fences are.)

Let's go outside and look at the ground some more. 

I'm not sure what those things are in the little white rectangle between the yard and the driveway. Tiny shrubberies?

Here's the deck, looking very decky:

Lots of leaves:

Here's a close-up of that:

Here's the final photo, which is reminiscent of the first one we saw. It seems like that was ages ago, doesn't it? This house has been on the market for 65 days, which is a long time for Boston real estate. I wonder why.

Let's go home.


  1. well at least you know you'd have to rake leaves if you bought it..
    They really should know better than to take photos with a phone, but I guess as hot as the market is down there they probably thought why bother

  2. Thanks for giving me a chuckle today. the world needs a laugh now and then... especially now!

    and I agree about the toilet seat.

  3. Oh boy! I was instantly transported back to my real-estate days (which I loved!) and how fussy I was about my photos. It only takes an extra second to frame a photo properly, and are trying to SELL the thing, not show all the flaws! Toilet seat DOWN, please...and why take a photo of the bathroom anyhow? The driveway photo is a hoot!

  4. crumbs. Taste and style, is a very personal thing. I'm sitting on the fence there and stoically making no further comment that that!

    Hmm. A fence to contain a Christmas tree. There's a notion. They are well known for roaming around after all!


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