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Very Strange Real Estate Listing:

A realtor has a few lines to "sell" a house in North Arlington, listed for $759,000, and chooses to include the following information: "New, new, new! Enjoy exposed brick in the stairwell, and recessed lighting, 5"- 8" wide hw floors, and crown and chair molding on the main floor. Relax in the 12x25 family room/home theatre [sic] w/a 42" panasonic plasma, sony receiver, and in-ceiling speakers that all convey. Custom paint is everywhere in this three-level home. All four baths have new american standard toilets. More!"

Really? Even more than four new toilets!!?? And yet only $759,000!!?? I'll call my realtor right away to ask for a showing.

Grover Gardner (mail):
As someone who has done his share of buying, selling and house-hunting, it never ceases to amaze me what turns some buyers on--or off.
5.16.2007 10:35pm
LotharoftheHillPeople:
4+ baths and big home theater sounds like a potentially good deal in that price pange, actually, at least depending on where it is in N. Arl.
5.16.2007 10:51pm
DNL (mail):
American Standard makes toilets, and they're good. The line is a signal: "You don't need to put in another $50k+ to redo the 4 bathrooms." If you've been home shopping, and you've seen disaster areas where showers should be, that line may make all the difference.

In NYC, it's very common to see "Waterworks fixtures" or "Subzero fridge" in ads. This is really no different.
5.16.2007 11:00pm
Just an Observer:
Years ago I purchased a house in nearby Alexandria. My wife and I were aghast at the cushioned, '70s era, flower-motif toilet seats when the listed home was shown.

But the sellers were quite proud of these items.

Happily, they wrote into the sales contract, "Toilet seats do not convey."
5.16.2007 11:01pm
TMac (mail):
"All four baths have new american standard toilets"
As opposed to what, bomb-sight toilets?
5.16.2007 11:07pm
Patrick McKenzie (mail):
American Standard is the name of a firm:

http://www.americanstandard-us.com/

So it is as opposed to, for example, Toto Toilets.

http://www.totousa.com/
5.16.2007 11:22pm
Truth Seeker:
Maybe some women have a thing about getting intimate with a used toilet.
5.16.2007 11:34pm
Charlie B. (mail):
Does Arlington have an ordinance about water saving maximum gallons per flush? Some of the original environmentally polite minimal gallon flush toilets aren't very good. The line might be code words for water saving new toilets that really work.
5.17.2007 12:00am
David Krinsky (mail):
Although "theatre" is a variant (I believe predominantly British) spelling, it's listed by most dictionaries as an acceptable alternative to "theater." I don't think it merits a "sic."
5.17.2007 12:16am
TomHynes (mail):
Are they really "new"? Once I crap in something, even a few times, I refrain from advertising it as "new".
5.17.2007 12:36am
curious:
I think this toilet would have attracted more attention.
5.17.2007 12:38am
ChrisIowa (mail):
American Standard is the Cadillac of brand names in toilets and other bathroom fixtures.

That said, you could replace all 4 for about $1000 if you do it yourself. $2,000 if you look at your billing rate and hire someone else to do it instead.

Certainly the marginal worth above a slightly inferrior brand in an existing house is negligible.

But that's what we pay real estate agents 7% to highlight.

Chris
Iowa
5.17.2007 12:45am
Blue (mail):
Toto toilets are quite impressive, much better than American Standard, actually.
5.17.2007 12:58am
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Nah, Chris, Am. Stand. just isn't the Caddy, any more, or maybe more accurately, it's the Caddy Cimarron in a world with the bathroom equivalents to Lamborghinis, McLarens, and Bugattis. Check out the Toto "Neorest" page, or Kohler's "Performance" toilets; (we spent some time in Japan with a friend who'd done technical writing and translation for Toto...) THOSE would warrant a mention in ad copy!
5.17.2007 12:58am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Maybe some women have a thing about getting intimate with a used toilet.

I'd suppose that here "new" meant relatively new, rather than replaced and totally unused. But then I'm a man, and see the world as my urinal. And maybe yuppies (or whatever the modern equivalent is) actually would expect their excretory assistance to be completely replaced with a change of home ownership.

One of these days I'm going to replace that pink one that the previous owner left in the master bedroom when I bought the house 12 yrs ago. But then the Mrs. had a new tile floor put in and, over my objection, didn't put a riser in, with the result that the tile goes right up to its edge. Problem is that toilet shapes change over the years.
5.17.2007 1:19am
Bruce:
"New paint" in a real estate listing is, in our experience, always a red flag.
5.17.2007 1:25am
DavidBernstein (mail):
I'm still not persuaded of the logic of the ad. Even being as charitable as some of the commentors above, "new toilets" screams to this potential buyer "rest of the bathrooms have not been renovated, so we'll point out that at least the toilets are new."
5.17.2007 1:54am
Truth Seeker:
Any real estate listing that says newly remodeled tells me that someone bought it cheap, painted it and did the cheapest remodelling possible and wants to make a quick fortune.
5.17.2007 2:05am
JoeNik:
When I bought my house three years ago the absolutely first thing I did was replace the toilets. Not because I cared who had used them in the past, but because I was not comfortable with either their small bowl size or lack of height.

I am moving to a new city and currently in the market for a new house. The mention of new toilets is enough to make me interested in this house.
5.17.2007 2:14am
Tek Jansen:
After reading the post and comments, I still don't understand what's so strange about the ad that someone actually felt the need to blog about it. I also don't understand why I've read the post and the comments.
5.17.2007 3:15am
Joe Bingham (mail):
Just another sneaky way to turn away black people. What's this country coming to?
5.17.2007 4:30am
dearieme:
At least he's not claiming "wonderful old French hole-in-the-floor toilets". Even though it's healthier to do it standing up.
5.17.2007 5:04am
Legal Duckling:
I thought it was healthiest to squat over a hole in the ground?
5.17.2007 5:12am
NARL RE Hunter:
To the posters who questioned the value--this is a townhouse, not a home--my wife checked it out--in a weird little development off of Glebe. Nothing special.
5.17.2007 8:56am
oldejoe (mail) (www):
In Canada, the correct spelling is "theatre". We maintain the British spelling. Another example, it is "centre" rather tha "center".
5.17.2007 9:05am
Waldensian (mail):

After reading the post and comments, I still don't understand what's so strange about the ad that someone actually felt the need to blog about it. I also don't understand why I've read the post and the comments.

Another victim! Many of us have developed a sick fascination with DB's bizarre and pointless real estate threads.
5.17.2007 10:16am
jp2 (mail):

Another victim! Many of us have developed a sick fascination with DB's bizarre and pointless real estate threads.


Thank you, Waldensian. Diagnosis is the first step toward a cure.
5.17.2007 10:49am
New World Dan (www):
I thought $759,000 was the going price for a little starter home in NOVA. As opposed to the $245K I spent on a little McMansion in Richmond when I was living in Virginia (4 years ago). Which is why I had a neighbor commuting to DC a few days a week.
5.17.2007 11:37am
Waldensian (mail):

Thank you, Waldensian. Diagnosis is the first step toward a cure.

I post as Waldensian, and I'm addicted to pointless threads about DC-area real estate conditions.

Hello, Waldensian

It started when I realized that DB posted all the time about how [insert a meaningless development or observation regarding DC-area real estate] actually indicated that he had been right, all along, about the trajectory of the DC real estate market.

Go on. Let it all out.

I then noticed that some people would dig through old threads that, they claimed, showed that DB had been the Chicken Little of DC-area real estate since the development of mud huts.

We've been there. We feel you.

But these things were never so cut and dried. DB had arguments and defenders suggesting he was, in fact, the Alexandria Condo Nostradamus. The complexity began to approach that associated with the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Don't get him started!!

Ooh - sorry. Anyway, soon the DB real estate threads began to take over my life. I would wait patiently for one to appear, and then begin online debate. Sometimes DB would delete my posts. Once, in the process of killing one of my posts, he managed to block me from Volokh entirely, apparently by mistake, and EV himself

No! Don't say it!

Yes, EV himself had to reinstate me. And so now I lay awake each night, wondering whether DB should finally buy a house or not, and if so, in which neighborhood, and how close to a Metro stop.

That's a tough call.

Don't I know it.
5.17.2007 11:40am
dearieme:
I doubt that squatting over a hole is significantly different from sitting on a toilet seat, unless you are one of those sitters who likes vigorously to mimic a cycling action.
5.17.2007 11:47am
Abdul (mail):
This ad leaves out the most important feature which any first year contracts student would surely have included: Reading pipe or no Reading pipe?
5.17.2007 12:10pm
NARL RE Hunter:
The irony, of course, is that IIRC DB's housing hunt resulted in him renting a townhouse behind the harris teeter in buckingham or somthing like that.
5.17.2007 12:28pm
Lively:

Another victim! Many of us have developed a sick fascination with DB's bizarre and pointless real estate threads.


If you don't like what's being discussed. Why come in the thread.
5.17.2007 12:58pm
ShelbytheIntern (mail) (www):
I bet the realtor who posted this had no idea it would cause such a ruckuss among us! People are very passionate about their thrones it seems. Amusing read!

Curious? Check out Christopher Ruddy
5.17.2007 12:59pm
Waldensian (mail):

If you don't like what's being discussed. Why come in the thread.

You misapprehend me. Note that I said that I have a "sick fascination." When you have a sick fascination with a topic, you hate yourself for loving it.

I love these threads.
5.17.2007 1:00pm
r78:
Waldensian -

Someday, there will be a photograph of the man in the green helmet filing a personal injury suit for injuries he received while shopping for a starter home in the DC area.

The heavens will split open wide and the end of days will be nigh . . .
5.17.2007 1:11pm
JBL:

I say it's just sloppy punctuation. The clauses "All four baths have new american standard toilets" and "More!" are expanding on the previous sentence, "Custom paint is everywhere in this three-level home."
5.17.2007 1:49pm
anon252 (mail):
W, how is a post about the weirdness of highlighting "new toilets" in a real estate ad a post about "DC-area real estate conditions"?
5.17.2007 2:26pm
jimbino (mail):
The guy just self-censored for fear of running afoul of the fair-housing regulations.
5.17.2007 2:57pm
Waldensian (mail):

W, how is a post about the weirdness of highlighting "new toilets" in a real estate ad a post about "DC-area real estate conditions"?

It's a real estate ad, the house is in North Arlington, and (note well) *he clearly complains about the price.* Close enough by my standards.
5.17.2007 3:31pm
Waldensian (mail):

Someday, there will be a photograph of the man in the green helmet filing a personal injury suit for injuries he received while shopping for a starter home in the DC area.

The heavens will split open wide and the end of days will be nigh . . .

LMAO. But only if there is junk science involved. (I hasten to add that I *totally* share DB's disdain for junk science in the courtroom).
5.17.2007 3:34pm
TomH (mail):
I would be more worried about having a floor (hardwood or otherwise) only 5-8 inches wide. That's barely enough room to walk!

Not to mention that all the molding is on the floor.
5.17.2007 6:14pm
Mac (mail):
As one who has moved and moved and moved, I would be most suspicious of a listing where the realtor was so desperate for something nice to say about the home that he had to list the toilets!
5.17.2007 7:38pm
count (mail):
I really enjoyed the ad!
It was so fresh and enticing.
And even DB's [sic] made sense.
Alas, later I discovered (after cleaning my specs) that it didn't say w/o...
5.17.2007 10:51pm