Monday, April 18, 2011

Foreclosure Predictors

I picked up a new client a couple weeks ago.  I met him when I repaired a couple holes in his girlfriend's house. He was impressed and asked what I did besides drywall. I told him I do handyman stuff and painting too.  Turns out he fixes up bank repo's to put back on the market. Usually they are pretty trashed.  

He said, "I have a house to paint inside and out. I have 2,800.00 in it. If you want to do it you can have it, otherwise I have a Mexican that will do it for me at that price." The price was less than half of what I usually do painting for. I thought about it for half a second.

I said, "Me llamo Esteban."

So now I'm on my second house for him.  I'm working for less than half of what I usually work for but I have over three times the amount of work I've had in the last two years, so I guess it works out.

The first house I painted last week had a powder blue room, a pink room, a room with bright red, canary yellow, lime green and shocking blue walls. The house I'm painting now has... hmmm, a periwinkle room, a Pepto-Bismol pink room and the master bedroom is powder blue. I'm beginning to think I see a pattern developing. I should market my idea to mortgage companies:  Show people a color swatch and see what they pick for house colors. It is a better predictor of foreclosure than perhaps even income.

As much as I love the bedroom colors, the thing I love most about the house I'm repainting now is the living room.  The thing I'm not crazy about is the blood splatters ten feet up on the master bedroom walls.  I don't even want to know. I'm thinking it might have something to do with illicit drug use.  But it makes sense.  After all, I think it would take conciousness altering substances for someone to do what you see when you walk in the front door. 
Isn't there a 911 Designer Police phone number you can call? 

"OK, ma'am.... Put down the sponge, raise your hands above your head and slowly step away from the paint bucket and no one will get hurt...." 

Even though I'm not getting paid a lot there is a rewarding sense about this job.  Even though I am missing most or all of Holy Week to get this job turned over in time, I feel like I am contributing to the spiritual well being of humanity by covering this up. 


Scales' Blog said...

Paint colors are definite indicators of potential foreclosure. We recently bought our first home, which happened to be a foreclosure. The front bedroom was so orange I thought my retinas were going to detach themselves. The back room could have been shellaced with pepto bismal for all I know. And the living space was a shade of green last seen in the pea-soup-vomit scene from The Exorcist. The Home Depot Paint Department and I are now on a first name basis (or at they at least know me by my obvious need for neutrals).

magda said...

Oh, this strikes close to home. Before my parents bought the house my mother has now, the previous owner had yellow wallpaper in all the upstairs bedrooms (including ceilings) and varying shades of blue (which somehow managed to clash) throughout the downstairs. Then there was the faux-Aztec full-wall mosaic in the dining room (had to build another wall in front of it).

*Now* my mother is still redecorating (20 years later). Two of the bathrooms are plaid, and one room has plaid wallpaper, a white chair-rail, and light pink paint. Oh, and the outside of the house is the same light pink paint with white trim.

This is one reasons I'm afraid to do anything to the nice white walls of our house.

Anonymous said...

I come from the land of, "the only thing worse than ugly colors is white". To each his or her own. BTW, don't go in my son's bedroom as he picked out what my wife calls "comic book blue" or what I would call "electric blue" for his walls and it could set off an epileptic.

Melanie said...

Maybe it looks different in person, but I don't think it's so bad, it's kinda got a grotto feel to it with the arched doorway....but I don't have a single creative bone in my body, so I'm always impressed with how creative people can be, even if the result isn't that great! :)

Elizabeth said...

Steve, Do what you need to do to feed your family, but I certainly hope you will be able to take part in some Holy Week services. They are so beautiful. Blessings to you as we await the Resurrection.

Emily H. said...

When we moved into the parsonage out in rural Iowa one of the bedrooms was Pepto pink with pink carpet and a pink light fixture. When you turned the light on it glowed pink even into the hallway! Yikes!

It did feel like a service to humanity to cover it up...which was good because it took a LOT of paint to tame that pink!

s-p said...

A few "Painter's lines" go:
"I can't see it from my house"
"I don't pick the colors, I just install them"
"Every color is my favorite when I'm being paid to put it on someone's wall."
And when people ask me "What do you think about this color?" I tell them, I'm not the person who has to come home to it every night.

Painting is an exercise in non-judgmentalism. :)

David B said...

Oh, man, my wife and I still laugh about our house when we bought wasn't foreclosed upon--the lawn was actually immaculate--but the colors...what I remember was the master bedroom had pale-ish yellow walls and blue carpet, and then there was "the Cave." A small hallway bathroom that had forest green walls with sponge-applied gold paint on it. And blue and white tile on the floor.

The kicker to the Cave? An AC unit installed above the bathtub (in a compartment in the ceiling) whose primary drain (connected to the same pipe as the shower beneath it) had probably not been cleaned in over a decade and whose secondary drain, which dropped into the tub, had a hose clamped to it to send the water directly to the tub drain to prevent enamel wear.

Yes, it's interesting what people will buy their first time out on the market.

Alejandro mediocres said...

Pascua Feliz y bendecida para usted y su familia.

--Policía de la pintura

Paul said...

God bless your eye-saving work. We're almost to Pascha, keep up the struggle!

Ug the Caveman said...

My last house was repossessed, and even though someone had lived in it for 10 years, it had NO paint on the walls.

DJ said...

HGTV has made people crazy.

LV said...

Then there are people like my late sister. An Oriental rug dealer, she wanted to come home to neutral, calm colors. Every room was white, but a different shade of perfect, carefully selected white. She almost made me insane with daily trips to the paint store for white paint, no not THAT white paint, THIS white paint.

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing your doing when I got laid off at ASU. One of their painters taught me how to paint well and fast. Had many jobs at much less than I was making before. Family didn't miss a meal and I stayed off welfare. I quietly thank God every day for the experience. It benefited me greatly. I enjoy painting. Drywall, different story. Glad ya got the work.

Grace said...

I'm not in your line of work, but it's the same in mine, and I think it is in a lot of others. I call it the "high ground factor." When the flood waters rise, everyone heads for higher ground and starts to fight over it. When the economy makes work harder to get, suddenly everything gets more competitive.

I've been getting by with less than I ever thought I would, but, as you say, there are occasionally interesting experiences to offset the grind. Sometimes, the interesting experience is finding out that it won't kill me to get by with a lot less.

Señor, ten piedad.

y algo ... Christos ha resuscitado!

Anonymous said...

Love it - although, you probably wouldn't approve of my bedroom. I picked the colours when I was 10, based on the bedspread and curtains that I'd found. Dark green, with swirls all over of lighter green, tan, rust, fuschia, peacock blue and lots and lots of shiny gold. The curtains got turned into a valance for the curtains (as normal curtains it would have been way too much) which are plain dark green...

...the walls are fuschia, and from the road you could see it glow in the evening light when we first painted it. Over the top is metallic gold sponged on... but it's countered with medium wood flooring, and dark wood furniture, and dark green pillows etc. Just.

It works, but I can see why in most cases it doesn't...