OPINION: And She Zillow-ed Happily Ever After

My sister-in-law has a thing for garage doors. I guess you might call it a bit of a real estate fetish. She used to drive around, Starbucks in hand, Zillow at her fingertips, all in the name of finding and (hopefully) financing that great portal through which civilized people (not myself) park their vehicles, and, unfettered by the harsh, polarizing elements that so often exemplify New England weather, enter their own personal cave dwellings.

Suffice it to say, I never understood the attraction or full-on rush she’d get rolling to a stop in front of a wood composite overlay or fiberglass car threshold featuring freshly painted trim and full insulation. “Couldn’t you just skip the house and get the garage?” Was all that mortgage really worth it?

Truthfully, I have no idea. I’ve never known, nor will I ever know (given the current state of my financial affairs) the heady elation or fully dilated pupils that a sturdy set of Amarr or Raynor or Bora Boras … or whatever that luxe brand of BMW bungalows might have in store for me.

I do spend an awful lot of time scrolling through Zillow and drinking Starbucks, not always simultaneously but I feel like it’s good to have life goals. I suppose you could say in terms of houses (or garages) or anything with a solid foundation (including most relationships), I’ve always been a renter, never a buyer, and while missing out on catching the real estate bouquet has at times left me a bereft bridesmaid, I can’t help but wonder if what lies behind those garage doors is really worth all the hype, hysteria and hefty chunk-a-change.

More importantly, what does anything at these current sticker prices, for better or for worse, actually buy you?

Read at your own risk, and buyer beware, because here’s my short answer to that question, (should you choose to “settle”):

  • A red carpet. This should ideally start in the garage (yes, you have one and yes, it’s heated with enough room for two vehicles and/or a small family of five to comfortably live in).
  • Multiple elevators: Think Eloise at the Plaza, complete with a skate key. You deserve it.
  • Someone to greet you at the door. This welcome committee might include, but definitely is not limited to, a freshly poured beverage (preferably alcoholic), a foot massage or Property Brother of your choice.
  • A foyer (pronounced foyay), which houses a wealth of Ikea organizational systems and meatballs prepared and presented by Ina Garten, who’s barefoot (and not pregnant) but the fully contracted Contessa of your kitchen.
  • Something akin to that scene in Hunger Games (possibly the first book…my memory’s not exactly move-in-ready these days) when Katniss and Peeta go to the banquet and eat so much, they have to spit into a bin … anyway there’s a lot of decadence and delicacies, except no one dies in this story (hopefully).
  • Aladdin’s Lamp. No wishing for more wishes (or the other Property Brother).
  • Some sort of fountain that spouts champagne or prosecco or Botox. We’ll call it the Fountain of Alcoholic Injectables. May you stay forever young.
  • A Starbucks on every corner. Look no further, you have one just outside your bedroom, adjacent to the master bath and in case you’re already downstairs and don’t feel like walking all the way up again (not that you’d ever have to with those multiple elevators), there’s another one off the living room.
  • A hot spring in your bathroom, sometimes referred to as a bidet. Lifeguard included. Safety first.
  • A unicorn. His name is Pippan. You can thank me later.

If all of these conditions, contingencies and other contractual real estate jargon that I’m admittedly unaware of appear agreeable, amenable and amusing to the buyer (you lucky winner, you), simply sign your hype, hysteria and hefty chunk-a-change away on the dotted line.

If, however, after all this mention of red carpets, Eloise elevators, the Scott Brothers’ Welcome Wagon, Ikea, Ina, those meatballs, the spitoon, Starbucks and spouting injectables … (oh genie of the lamp, for the love of unicorns, hope and bidets spring eternal), you are still not convinced … may you (at the very least) find your forever garage.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.