Since Halloween comes around with ‘nary a difference from one year to the next, you’d think that editors eventually would be stumped to come up with a new topic for their writing staffs. This month, Chicago subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s real estate pages were treated to a creative solution: The Journal simply dug up some scary stories about real estate.
The first was “Home Renovation Horror Stories,” a chilling retelling of just how wrong remodeling attempts can go. These spooky construction nightmares that happened in real life lived up to the premise, starting with readers’ complaints that, rather than the good old days when a kitchen renovation was a huge ordeal, today “just finding qualified workers to do the job is a huge ordeal.”
The various renovation horror tales included one contractor who tried to remove the cabinets he’d just installed when a progress payment was delayed (because the work was behind schedule) and crews who “showed up and immediately began to destroy our home” (because their skill sets had been “overstated”).
Just as spooky for Chicago families with dogs or cats was “Pets Can Take a Big Bite Out of Your Home’s Resale Value.” The headline may have been a little misleading since most of the horrifying details didn’t have much to do with selling a home. They dealt with pet hi-jinx whose consequences would surely be addressed before any marketing could begin. One example was the puppy who found a bottle of red food coloring, which he chewed and then…(well, some horror stories are scariest when details are left to the imagination).
Beyond the “stains, chips, rips, scratches, watermarks” and other minor signs of pet habitation that Chicago pet lovers will recognize, there were teeth-chatterers like “insurance claims are the costliest to repair” and “dogs can have a big impact on home values.” There was one panic-quelling caveat, though. Direct damage “doesn’t necessarily affect the value,” according to one Rhode Island agent—yet chewed furniture and scratched floors may “send a message about how the homeowner is taking care of the house.” That’s true enough—but needn’t result in horrendous outcomes. They’re eminently fixable.
Here’s wishing your Halloween is only appropriately spooky—but also one that has no frightful Chicago real estate details. Those are best addressed in the daylight hours. That’s when to give me a call!