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Posts Tagged ‘southeastern virginia’

When Real Estate Photos Make Me Laugh Out Loud…

August 24th, 2017 Sears Homes 17 comments

As someone who spends a fair amount of time looking online at real estate listings and photos, I can tell you, some of these photos are real doozies. My favorite site, for ease of use, is Zillow. There are other websites that I frequent, but many of them are so heavy laden with graphics and ads that it bogs down the computer.

The collection below comes from the Hampton Roads area (Southeastern Virginia). Only one of the photos is from outside of this area.

Enjoy the photos below, and if you enjoy this particular blog, PLEASE:

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To learn more about how to identify Sears kit homes, click here.

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This agent - apparently - couldnt be bothered to drive to the site to get interior photos OR exterior photos. This image appears to be a PHOTOGRAPH of a google street view, taken at his computer. At the very least, maybe someone can teach him how to do a screenshot?en from his computer

This image - the only picture available of this house - appears to be a PHOTOGRAPH of a Google street view, taken at a computer screen. At the very least, maybe someone can teach this agent how to do a screenshot?

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And it would seem that this agent was so concerned about all the signs that he/she took this picture (the lone image) from the safety of her car and kept the doors locked.

And it would seem that this agent was so concerned about the "private property" signs that he/she took this picture (the lone image) from the safety of her car. Perhaps someone could teach her how to blot out the car door frame using Photoshop.

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It appears that ET has posed

ET is living in a small house in Southeastern Virginia. And it's for sale. (The house.)

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This is my own photo, taken while I was looking at a house in the Suffolk area.

What's a sunporch without full plumbing?

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From what I can glean, a high-powered rifle and a spray of bullets caused the sink to run away so quickly that it forgot to take the faucet with it.

From what I can glean, a high-powered rifle and a spray of bullets caused the sink to run away so quickly that it forgot to take the faucet with it.

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The ad said two-zone central air.

The ad said two-zone central air.

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Wherever you go in the room, the deers eyes follow you...

Wherever you go in the room, the deer's eyes follow you...

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Seriously.

Seriously.

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Because how better to exhaust a dryer vent.

Because how better to exhaust a dryer vent?

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Yea

Gravity fed gas-pack? Oh wait, that's only going to work for cold air.

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fff

Jiffy-pop ductwork? It's growing so fast, it had to be constrained with a metal band.

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fff

If I was trying to sell a house, and the a/c compressor was in a theft-proof wire cage in the fenced-in yard, I don't think I'd put a picture of that in the listing.

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Speaking of security, this seems like a statement about the neighborhood.

Speaking of safe areas, this seems like a statement about the neighborhood.

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ggg

Doesn't everyone have a water heater in the den (and a washer hook-up)?

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gggg

The sheet-metal ducting on this furnace is very, very busy. The trunk line goes up and over and under the house. Meanwhile, the garage door is shooting laser eyes at the furnace.

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It looks like the appliances and cabinets were in the middle of a wild party when a humanoid opened the door and everyone had to freeze.

It looks like the appliances and cabinets were in the middle of a dance party when a humanoid opened the door and everyone had to freeze.

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8989

Was this used to film a television program? Not sure what to think of the red X.

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If youre going to take a picture of someones undies draped on the sink, you might want to hide from the camera.

If you're going to take a picture of someone's undies draped on the sink, you might want to make sure your image and likeness doesn't show in the mirror.

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Theres a lot happening in this back yard.

This is a very exciting back yard.

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ff

The agent asked the homeowners to step out of the way but forgot about the mirror? Either that, or they're trapped in an inter-dimensional portal and need to be rescued.

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I dont know if this is artistic brilliance or just plain goofy.

Does the hanger convey?

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And they advertised this as a fenced yard...

And they advertised this as a fenced yard...

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And yes, this picture is right-side-up. This is the lone picture that is not in the Hampton Roads area.

Because nothing says "good decorating" like children dangling from the ceiling.

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This is a for sale by owner and its a little unnerving.

It's true that Mom has left for heaven and won't need this house anymore, but can you move the oxygen cannula out of the way before snapping the photos? And please draw a face on the Teddy Bear. Ugh.

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This shot

The elegance of the entry foyer is lost with the potty shot.

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ff

Give me a winning caption on this one, and I'll send you a free book! :D

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To learn more about how to identify Sears kit homes, click here.

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The Sears Homes of Suffolk (Virginia)

January 7th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

One of my favorite memories from childhood was riding with my father to Suffolk to visit the peanut vendors and inspect their product. My father was an assistant manager at Skippy Peanut Butter in Portsmouth, and also their purchasing agent.

Suffolk has always been one of my favorite places in Virginia.  And it’s also the largest city in Virginia, and the Peanut Capital of the World. Here in Hampton Roads, it’s our fastest-growing city, thanks to the low-crime rates and above-average schools.

Perhaps best of all, it has a significant collection of kit homes.

Sears kit homes were sold from 1908-1940. Sears and Roebuck was based in Chicago, but Sears Homes were sold in all 48 states. These 12,000-piece kits were shipped by boxcar, and came with a 75-page instruction book and a promise that a “man of average abilities” could have the house built and ready for occupancy in 90 days.

Here in Southeastern Virginia, we also have many kit homes from Aladdin. They were based in Bay City, Michigan, but Aladdin had a large mill in Wilmington, NC. Aladdin started selling kit homes in 1906, and continued until 1981.

If I were queen of the world (and it shouldn’t be long now), I would create a simple pamphlet showing these kit homes and their addresses (and a map) and offer them to visitors as a self-guided driving tour. I’d also put a little plaque on the homes, identifying them as kit homes. This is a very nice collection of kit homes in Suffolk, and something should be done to promote them.

All of the houses shown below are located in Suffolk.

To learn more about identifying kit homes, click here.

To see a Sears Home in Urbana with a little plaque, click here.

Sears Osborn, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

Sears Osborn, as seen in the 1919 catalog.

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Sears

There are a lot of trees and bushes in Suffolk, which made it difficult to get good photographs. Here's a Sears Osborn in an older section of Suffolk. Note the details around the brickwork.

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Sears

The Sears Westly was a very popular house for Sears. This is from the 1916 catalog. The floorplan shows a fireplace in the corner of the dining room, which is an unusual feature in a Sears House!

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Close-up of the Sears Westly

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SHEHE

This Westly is happy, and feels very good about life. It's a good match to the original catalog image, and even though it's been "updated," the work was thoughtfully done.

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Putting wrought iron on an old house is not a good idea.

Putting wrought iron on an old house is not a good idea. Plus, they removed the porch deck. And the columns. And the eaves. And the unique trim. And the personality.

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The Glenn Falls was one of Sears biggest and fanciest homes.

The Glenn Falls was one of Sears biggest and fanciest homes.

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Crummy photo due to poor lighting, but you can it is a Glenn Falls.

Crummy photo due to poor lighting, but you can it is a Glenn Falls, in brick!

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Sears Elsmore was another very popular house for Sears.

Sears Elsmore was another very popular house for Sears.

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Its been through some changes, but its still an Elsmore.

It's been through some changes, but it's still an Elsmore. Note the nine/one windows, and also the original eave brackets. You can also see bits of those unique columns on the front porch.

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As mentioned, in addition to Sears, there as also a mail-order company called Aladdin. This is an Aladdin Colonial, which was Aladdins biggest and fanciest house.

As mentioned, in addition to Sears, there as also a mail-order company called Aladdin. This is an Aladdin Colonial, which was Aladdin's biggest and fanciest house.

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This is a real beauty, and its right there in Suffolk!

This is a real beauty, and it's right there in Suffolk!

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The Aladdin Lamberton, from the 1919 catalog.

The Aladdin Lamberton, from the 1919 catalog.

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Its been converted into a duplex, but its still a Lamberton.

It's been converted into a duplex, and remuddled a bit. Is this a Lamberton? I'd say - with 90% certainty - that it is. Because of the many changes, it's hard to be sure. Look at the front porch roof. That's still a spot-on match to the original catalog image.

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And theres also a Harris Brothers house in Suffolk. Harris Brothers was a small kit home company based in Chicago.

And there's also a Harris Brothers house in Suffolk. Harris Brothers was a small kit home company based in Chicago.

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Suffolk

Again - the trees. Sigh. However, you can see (even with a tree in the way) that this is a perfect match to the Harris Brother house (shown above).

Last is this house from Gordon Van Tine. They were based in Davenport, Iowa and there are several GVT houses here in Hampton Roads.

Last is this house from Gordon Van Tine. They were based in Davenport, Iowa and there are several GVT houses here in Hampton Roads.

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Its been through some changes, but its a GVT #501.

It's been through some changes, but it's still easy to see that it's a GVT #501.

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When youre trying to identify Sears Homes, you should look for this mark on the lumber.

When you're trying to identify Sears Homes, you should look for this mark on the lumber. This mark, together with a 75-page instruction book, helped the novice homebuilder put together these homes.

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Aladdin used a different marking system on their lumber, such as this.

Aladdin used a different marking system on their lumber, such as this.

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If you’d like to learn more about the kit homes in Hampton Roads, click here.

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Schadenfreude and Mudita and Internet Forums

January 4th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

Schadenfreude is a German word that means delighting in the misfortune of others. Here in southeastern Virginia, we call this “The Crab Theory.”

Put a lone crab in a five-gallon bucket and Mr. Crab will do everything in his power to scale its smooth wall and crawl out of that bucket. Put two or more crabs in a bucket and when one starts to climb up, the others will grab him and pull him down. Unfortunately, sometimes humans exhibit the same negative tendencies as crabs.

In my own life, I’ve struggled mightily with envy.  And then one day, I read a story in the Christian Science Sentinel about a woman who’d spent a lifetime cultivating the habit of gratitude. She said that her mother had taught her to feel sincerely joyous and grateful for the good things that happened in other people’s lives, and to take it as a personal promise from God that, if it happened for them, it could happen for her, too.

The Buddhist have a word for this: Mudita. It’s the practice of finding joy in other people’s success and happiness.

For years, I enjoyed participating at a handful of internet forums, but recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend, as more and more people seem to engage in a myriad of negative behaviors, such as might be exhibited by a pair of angry crabs in a five-gallon bucket. Sometimes, I’ve gotten caught up in a heated debate and posted things that were better left unsaid.

I’m starting to wonder if the anonymity of the internet is making us all a little too callous and way too careless with our words. There are those who seem to delight in “pulling others down,” rather than lifting them up.

And I surely don’t want to be one of them.

Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) is credited with saying that the kindest thing we can do for our heavenly Father is to be kind to His children.

I don’t think Saint Teresa would be a fan of the “pulling down” that often occurs today on the internet.

Who among us hasn’t lost our temper and said something we deeply regret? Who among us hasn’t wished that we’d waited just a few minutes more (or hours) before hitting that “submit button”?

Maybe we need to abandon the crabby habit of schadenfreude and work on cultivating the saintly habit of  mudita.

Even on the internet.

To read about Aunt Addie, click here.

Theres a

Teddy the Dog knows a lot about love.

To learn about Sears Homes (a very happy topic), click here.

To see more pictures of my cute dog, click here.

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