Lipstick on a Pig
What does beauty is only skin deep or they put lipstick on a pig mean? Well, beauty is only skin deep could mean that the outside is pretty but the inside isn’t much to look at, if you know what I mean. The inside could use some work. Maybe the personality is not one that is attractive and you liked them much more before they opened their mouth. That is so disappointing! It’s like meeting or hearing about your favorite celebrity and finding out they are rude and disrespectful to their fans or employees. Ugh. Lipstick on a pig is a similar expression talking about making the surface look nice but really just covering and trying to hide the real issues.
I have used both of these expressions but I use one quite a bit in real estate. I have seen a lot of houses where the Seller looks like they have just put lipstick on a pig. Here are some things to look for:
- Remodels, no matter what age. Remodel means different things to different people. Some people take the house down to the studs, changing out mechanicals, plumbing, and wiring on top of the cosmetic changes. Other people will take down a wall to open up the kitchen to the living room, put in new flooring, paint, and fixtures and call that a remodel. Neither are wrong, they just remodeled to different degrees.
- “Like new”. Sometimes these words simply mean that the house is not very old and has barely been lived in or looks like it’s been barely lived in. Other times someone has tried to cover up the old with things that look like new.
- Homes built more than 20 years ago that have had updating. Updates can be great. They can also be awful. Not only in style but workmanship and craftsmanship. If there are new countertops, new fixtures and hardware, there’s probably not much to worry about. If more extensive cosmetic work has been done, check for inconsistencies in heights, floors that aren’t level, doors that don’t shut properly, a little too much caulking used, etc.
- Trendy features, finishes or fixtures on a house that is not of the same age. Were “Smart” electronic features added? If so, was the wiring brought up to code? New flooring? What was underneath and was is solid? Don’t be fooled by the bling or flash. Surface fixes are fine as long as they aren’t covering up an underlying issue. Watch out for “Squirrel!”
- Fresh paint. Sometimes you will see cracks that someone has tried to cover or water stains that are coming through. An excessive amount of nail pops can be a sign of abnormal shifting or settling if the house is more than a few years old. They could also be the result of normal settlement of the newer house and were just never repaired.
These are not properties to stay away from, necessarily. You just want to ask questions. Sometimes you can see the pig staring at you from underneath the lipstick and other times, it’s not so obvious.
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur baby, Tyler, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.