A Gingerbread Nightmare
A Gingerbread Nightmare
We were all excited to go to Stu Baker’s house for last weeks meeting of the Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603. Ted had contacted me and said he had some unusual real estate problems he would like to discuss. He knew our members were big into that sort of thing, so he invited us over to use his comfy four-season porch on that cold and snowy day last Tuesday.
Since the roads were kind of a mess and we were headed out to the country, I picked up Little Stevie Prestone, Dewie Cheatum, and Travis D. Coletrain on the way out there in my four-wheel drive truck. Remember, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these members from swiftly setting in their appointed rockers. Ted said his place was up on North Road just before you got to the Pole Street intersection. He said to look for his mailbox with his name on it. We found it fairly easy even though the snow was blowing and it was getting dark. Written in gold letters on the mailbox was “Stu D. Baker.”
Stu greeted us at the door and let us into the entryway as we were shaking off the new fallen snow. Stu was fairly short and round but had a huge smile on his face. He was clearly excited to see us. Dewie leaned over and whispered to me that he looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The house was toasty warm and smelled like fresh baked bread. There was a blaze going in the living room fireplace and it was hard to tell what was Christmas decorations and what was the actual house. The living room had cathedral ceilings with exposed candy cane beams, the walls had wainscoting that looked like ribbon candy, and the large sofa and chairs looked like milk chocolate with pink pillows on each end (they looked like those pink hard-shelled pillow candies filled with peanut butter that I used to love as a kid.) And, of course, there was large Christmas tree adorned with stringed popcorn garland, candy canes, and large Hershey kisses. Off to the left in the kitchen we could see a lady furiously tossing flour and rolling out dough.
Stu motioned her over and introduced her, “This is my sister, Ginger Baker!” “Really?” I said, “you must have heard of the other ‘Ginger Baker,’ the drummer from Cream!?” “Yes, sure have” she replied, “but my favorite rock group from the sixties was Bread!” As she turned to go back into the kitchen Dewie asked what she was making and she replied with a smile, “Gingerbread men of course! Want some?” Travis piped in “Of course!” Travis is not known for turning down something to eat.
Stu lead us out to the porch and as he did I noticed what looked like an old cotton candy machine like the ones you see at the fair. I asked what that machine was for and Stu said, “Making insulation, but it’s a little sticky.” “Really,” I said, “Are you having problems with heat loss?” He said that wasn’t his only problem. “You know we bought this place in good faith but there are too many repairs and we can’t keep up! We really got took! The deer keep eating the gingerbread siding, the rain is melting the frosting on the trim, and these damn NECCO wafer roof shingles must be defective. I heard there is a class action suit against them! And these high-end sugar window panes look pretty nice but they don’t stand up to a pelting rain!”
Little Stevie asked, “Did you get a home inspection when you bought the place? Did you have an agent help you? Who’d you buy this place from, anyway?” Just then Ginger comes in and delivers a plate of gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate. Travis literally jumped out of his rocker! Stu says, “It’s hard enough for her to keep up with baking gingerbread for making the siding repairs, but now we have to sell cookies to be able to afford to buy more baking supplies. It’s an endless cycle.” He goes on,” We bought this place a few years ago from a couple… they weren’t married…brother and sister, I think? … Hansel and Gretel… I can’t remember their last name. They seemed like nice kids. They said the house was pretty sweet… and we believed them.”
I asked him, “Have you thought about selling?” He replied, “That’s why I called you guys out here! I thought maybe you could give me some advice?” Travis wisely says, “Well you can probably sell it but you have to disclose all the structural issues and any buyer will want to take the cost of those repairs into consideration.” Stu says, “That’s fine, I don’t mind taking the loss, but we have a bigger problem!” “What’s that?”, I ask.
Stu gets up and motions me to follow him to the kitchen where Ginger was hard at work, still baking cookies, and feeding wood into the big old kitchen cook stove in the corner. “See that stove?”, he exclaims, “Turns out that those two cute kids… Hansel and Gretel… the ones that sold me this darn place… they pushed the former owner into it…some old lady…shut the door on her, and burned her up!! At least that’s what the neighbors say! Now, how am I gonna disclose that to anyone and if I do, who’s gonna buy it then?”
Just then Travis comes into the kitchen and says, “Do you have any more cookies? Do you need an agent?”
There were 111 single family homes sold in November 2017 in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this market report. The average sales price came in at $402,111 and the median price point was $235,000. No gingerbread houses in the lot…but if you have one and want to sell, call me!
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.