Judging a Moldy Book by it’s Cover

I’m thinking that all of this foreclosure business the US is suffering is ultimately going to be a boon for a niche market in the construction/remediation industry. Look at the thousands of foreclosed homes, all but abandoned. These homes–some of them new or close to it–have lingered for month after uninhabited month, quietly decomposing.

At some point before they all fall down, there will be a few green people looking over the outside. You know green people: the ones who buy the bins for sorting their trash and actually use them. They put solar panels on their rooftops, avoid styrofoam, and refrain from shopping for new stuff not for financial reasons but purely on principal. They’re both very handy–a husband and wife couple (gender irrelevant), the 2000’s version of hippies. We can call them greenies. There’s a whole generation of greenies out there.

These crafty greenies are going to be walking down the street (because they avoid using gas powered vehicles whenever they can) and they’re going to stop in front of a foreclosed house. What a shame that such a charming home in such a beautiful neighborhood has been abandoned.

These are the people who won’t judge the moldy house by its beautiful outside and moldy-rotten insides. They’ll look at that house and go back to their homemade kitchen table in their small, overpriced, air-cooled apartment, and they’ll talk about it. They’ll argue over whether it would be better to raze the home, and start from scratch. One of them will say no. One of them will say that if they tear it down, all its components will go to waste, because no one will want bricks that came from a mold-infested house. They’ll sigh and shake their heads; and the next time they walk around the block, they’ll stop at the house again. And this time they’ll linger.

He will say, “I’d gut the whole thing, and put a window here for flow thru ventilation.”

She will say, “The back yard is big enough for a garden, a greenhouse and a workshop.”

And after enough walks around the block, enough time spent scribbling fantasy floor plans on to their herbal tea-stained legal pads, their eyes will meet.

They will write down the number on the sign in front of the house, and they’ll call some mold expert and a remediation contractor. The bank will pretend that they have other options, but they’re desperate and they’ll let it go for a song.

The greenies will take on that abandoned house and gut it and rebuild it. It will take time and sweat equity that would scare most people away. It would scare me away. But not them. They will make it their own.

Because as long as there are people who have dreams, they’ll find a way.

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