Is That House Orange?! Eyesores Reach New Levels

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

DDD_orange building

By 2012, foreclosures will affect 91.5 million nearby homes and reduce property values of these homes by $20,300 per household, according to research by the Center for Responsible Lending. As such, you can’t afford to ignore that messy home next door any longer if you’re trying to sell a property.

Abandoned homes are blanketing neighborhoods across the country and while curb appeal for your listing matters, you also may need to take note of the curb appeal nearby. Buyers certainly will and if they see a home next door with shattered windows, overgrown lawns, and gutters hanging on by a thread, they might quickly decide that isn’t the right neighborhood for them.

In this month’s REALTOR® Magazine, I highlight tips from experts on what to do when Battling the Neighborhood Eyesore.

While our tips are more tame as far as how to contact your city department and homeowners’ association to get something done, an anonymous group in Detroit is being much more bold in its approach.

Known as the DDD Project (Detroit Demolition Disneyland), artists are finding long abandoned, neglected homes that the city has failed to demolish and painting them a bright orange color–“Tiggeriffic Orange,” to be exact, of Disneyland-inspired colors. The homes’ exteriors scream orange from every decaying square inch.

The group claims its community activism approach seems to be working–two of the structures they painted were then soon after demolished by the city. After all, if you thought overgrown lawns were bad enough, how’d you like to live next door to a giant orange eyesore?

The artists, in a press release, have asked passersby to view the neglected homes from a different lens: “In addition to being highlights within a context of depression, every detail is accentuated through the unification of color. Broken windows become jagged lines. Peeling paint becomes texture. These are artworks in themselves.”

Next time, maybe you can use that poetic description for eyesore properties next to your listing. Or, maybe you can convince buyers that shattered glass and peeling paint is just the latest design trend.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. I understand that the right approach is to contact the city departments and home owner’s associations if applicable, but why wouldn’t these people volunteer their time to to just cut the grass, pull weeds and help secure the homes with the aid of the city government.

    I can see the point in wanting to paint the home orange to draw more attention to the already eye sore, but I think it’s counter productive.

    Good luck Detroit! I’m curious to see if this ever makes it’s way to Scottsdale, AZ homes.

  2. We have one in our neighborhood with bright, neon purple shutters.

    When I see these homes with the bright paint schemes, all I can think is “that was a fast talking paint salesman”