Friday, September 18, 2009

Mysterious Movements in the Frenesphere

Okay, I just made up a word. But obviously, the "frenesphere" is the entire physical, social, and mental environment surrounding my Frenemy Neighbor, truths about her that are both reality-based and imagined only by me, in the past, present, and future. All of these intersecting dimensions constitute the frenesphere. Walk with me a moment.

Earlier this week, Hank's preschool sent home a class directory, listing the contact info and addresses for each family. So naturally, tonight, I spent a few moments Zillowing all of their houses. What, aren't we all doing this? If it surprises you that I will go out of my way to find out what someone's house is worth, then helloooo, please allow me to introduce myself. I'm Becky, and I am that person.

Well, I spent a moment looking up our address, and when you look up a house, the website shows you an aerial Google map of all the houses in your neighborhood, with their "zestimate," or estimated fair market value, pasted right on top of them. Definitely a fun website. Don't judge me.

And guess what I found out on that aerial view of my neighborhood? Frenemy Neighbor has her house on the market. Understand that I can go outside and walk up our hill and see her house. She has no sign in her yard, and she hasn't said a word about this. But there it is, listed with a glowing description that I recognize as her signature style, and twelve photos of the house's various charms.

So what the hecks? Is Frenemy Neighbor wanting to move? Based on her listing price (it's for sale by owner), they won't be leaving anytime soon. It's listed for fully 70k more than I think they could realistically get. And she seems to know this, because in her listing she says, defensively, "Neighborhood comps might not include all the updates/upgrades this house has got!" Hmm, well, if you call a serious commitment to DIY tile work an "upgrade," that may be true. No kidding, five of the twelve photos seem intended to showcase her kitchen backsplash. Okay, I am starting to sound like a total bitch. Maybe I just want her husband to come down to MY house and work his tile magic, his grout groove, his mystical, mosaical way with a trowel.

So that is what I have for you. To review: I like to gossip, and I want to find out what your house is worth. Get to know me!

15 comments:

The Dental Maven said...

Why would she be selling? Let's have a little speculation here please!

Sara said...

I can't judge you because I'm so happy for this Zillow website info!
I am totally a reverse phone directory, google earth using person.
Of course I justify it a lot by saying it's for work. Did you know you can find some court records online for free...just sayin'.

Are you gonna ask her about it?!!

Melissa said...

I too am very happy with this Zillow website info. I was unaware that such a site existed and it appears that I paid too much for my house!! Just kidding, anyway, why oh why would Frenemy Neighbor want to move, she is just going to have to make new friends. Not really her strong suit!!

Bren said...

I think the price says she doesn't REALLY want to sell, she just listed to showcase those backsplash photos to anyone who might be looking. Like, nearly every photo she has up is of the kitchen, going into ever more detail leading up to that backsplash. There aren't any pictures of, say, the living room, or the bedrooms! But 5 or 6 of the kitchen. Frenysterious. Or maybe she was trying to convince herself that while the houses around her plummeted in value, hers has not. It Has. NOT. Has. Not. Has. Not. It says so on the internet.

And I've discovered that the schools listed for MY neighborhood are way off, and I doubt the high school we're zoned for is the "Traffic Safety School" as Zillow reports.

Kelly said...

My house isn't on there =(
What a cool website though- I found one last year where I could look up all of the salaries for county employees. No wonder my principal just bought herself a new Mercedes...

Becky said...

OMG, OMG. I just noticed that she's written little captions for each of her photos. One of them says, "Notice the new light fixtures: oil-rubbed bronze."

Why does that make me laugh?

Possibly because she was slagging on my new light that time.

But I'm sure the oil-rubbed bronze is very nice.

Veronica said...

Hmm, I think Brenda's right--she just wants to showcase her house. And maybe it's tinged with a little bit of the crazy, "Might as well list it, and then if we could get 70K more than market value for our house than we could just buy a comparable house and bank the 70K." If that's her line of thinking, I hope she's not home-schooling her daughter in Economics.

Jenni said...

omg, i LOVE IT. i really hope you can find out what is really going on with all of that.

and i look up home values of like everyone i know. i also peek in medicine cabinets.

The Messy Mom said...

You are not alone. My husband stayed up half the night with his laptop when he discovered he could look up the value of the homes around us... and everyone we know. I was just trying to go to sleep while he would mutter his opinions about the estimated home costs.

Keely said...

Aw, no Canadian real estate on there. I now know that there's a Canada, Kentucky, though.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

" I spent a few moments Zillowing all of their houses" -- Oh, Becky, I'm that person, too . . . but was is "zillowing"? Is there really such a website or are you pulling a xanadu?

Rebekah said...

This American Life said they were doing an episode about Frenemies last friday - check it out. I haven't heard it yet, but I'm sure it's good as always.

A Day That is Dessert said...

You are so silly :) and you can zillow my house anytime; I won't be offended.

Casey said...

That is so weird that she didn't mention it to you but you know she's kind of whacky.

Yes, I'm a zillower. I had to do some detective work last month to find out what happened to one of my neighbors (looked up their address on zillow, name on the tax site and then googled it to find the obituary). Apparently, their 27 year old son died. This turned out to be a sad comment. Sorry.

The Stiletto Mom said...

As luck would have it, my old boss is the CRO of Zillow. That thing you are seeing is likely a user can post their house for sale as sort of a "wish list" of what they would get if it sold without hiring a real estate agent.

Also, market valuations can be off as much by 25+ percent in markets they don't heavily cover. (This meaning...THE SOUTH) I looked at my valuation and almost peed my pants.

Long story short, she isn't moving any time soon, not in this market. :)