Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: What Are You Selling This Time?

What Are You Selling This Time?

I've asked it before in this blog, and I'll ask it again, "What Are You Selling?"  Granted, none of the below houses are actually for sale right now, but they will be at some point.

This first house faces a main street, and I pass by it almost everyday.  I've often wondered why someone would completely cover up their house so you can't see it.  Not only can you not see the main features of the house, but do the home owners not realize how much they're inviting termites and other bugs into their home?  By having the vines all over their house, they're giving termites many more avenues into the home instead of just down at the slab.  When they enter at the slab, that's when they're most often caught, because you can see their trail.  When you can't see their trail, you may never know about an infestation until it's too late.

What's interesting is that it's not very common to have vines growing on a house in this much capacity.  As I mentioned, I see the first house almost everyday because it faces a main street.  To get to the actual house, you must drive down a back street within a community, and guess where the other two pictures came from??  I drove down one street and then turned left to curve around to this house, and both the other houses were right there.  Three houses like this in one small area is very unusual. 

What are these home owners thinking?  Maybe they decided they didn't like the brick color and they wanted to cover it up.  Maybe they decided since they couldn't afford a stone accent to go with the brick, that they would have vines as their cheaper accent.

I have no idea what runs through people's minds when they do this to their home, but when I show houses like this, I usually advise my buyers that it will be noted in their inspection and termite reports because of the potential issues, and that I highly suggest they get rid of it. 

Inspectors, am I wrong?

Do you have vines running all up your house?  What do you say to Buyers when they ask what problems could arise?  What do you tell your Sellers at your initial Listing Appointment if you feel it might be an issue?



Comment balloon 15 commentsDonna Harris • September 16 2008 10:55AM


Nice ivy!  When they sell, it will be expensive ivy.

Posted by David Slavin, CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier (Keller Williams Premier) over 10 years ago

It looks nice on the walls at Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs).  Not something I would want on my home.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 10 years ago

Donna - People with homes like this may give the home character. Being in a older neighborhood with older homes, when people drive by they say "wow look at the ivy's" But you know and I know that these ivy's destroy the brick and like you said invite termites into the house.

I think these homes would look so much better if they were cleaned up so you could see the brick. I think brick homes are beautiful. Thanks for the view/ read!

Robert Swetz

Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) over 10 years ago

David, Very expensive indeed!

Randy, Is that concrete at Wrigley's?

Robert, Brick is what you see about 98% of the time around here, so they're probably thinking they're adding character in being a little different, but instead, they're just making their houses look "odd" to their neighbors.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

I do not like the look personally but I do know people who do and they think it softens the cold look of brick...

your friend in Charlottesville!

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) over 10 years ago

Charles, Don't many types of ivy go dormant in the winter?  So would the "cold" house end up looking "dead" instead when all the leaves are brown and falling?  I do understand what you mean though.  I like the look when colonial homes have it climbing the columns, but we don't have many of those kinds around here.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

Donna - The house I purchased 8 years ago had ivy all over it.  The very first thing my husband and I did was pull it down.  And it left a mess.  The brick has to be power cleaned and all the siding had to be re-painted.  It was messy and expensive to make the house look right again!


Posted by Linda Box Taylor, Your Plano, TX Realtor (Castle Connections Realty) over 10 years ago


You have it right.  Ivy may look nice but bugs (of all kinds) and moisture can attack your home 24/7/365. 


Posted by Rick Maday, Schaumburg Home Inspector - (Owl Home Inspections, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Linda, And doesn't it look even worse when the ivy is pulled off, but those tenticle pods are left on the house?  It's a dirty, grungy look.  Glad you make it look "right" again.

Rick, Thanks for the inspector's perspective.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

people see vines on "nice homes" and think it's cool to do it to their home. One problem is they don't spend the time, money or effor to maintain the vines like "those more expensive homes." Here in Houston we have River Oaks where this sort of thing is very common. It is rare however for you to see vines overtaking the home, growing around the gutters and underneath the shingles. People will pay almost any price to be cool sometimes.

We have one little vine on the corner that I cut back every so often. It's Cara's annoying little pet.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 10 years ago

Donna, if you decide to take the vine off, doesn't that brick look bad since sometimes the vines don't come all the way off. 

Posted by Judy Greenberg, Coldwell Banker - Buffalo Grove - Long Grove Homes (Coldwell Banker Long Grove) over 10 years ago

Greg, Yes, maintaining is very important and people don't understand that.  Get Cara out there on a ladder!

Judy, Yes, many times, the vines stick to the brick.  You will need to pressure wash and scrub the vines off, and you'll probably need to scrub and/or replace the mortar also.  It does take some work, but I rather the work than spending even more money later on termite repairs!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

I have never understood this and it gives me the creeps!! EWE..I would never live in a house like this for fear that something would crawl inside and get me!!


Posted by Stacey Pierce (Licensed Real Estate Salesperson) over 10 years ago

Stacey, I agree!  I would be looking for critters and ducking my head everytime I walked through the door.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 10 years ago

Like any landscaping, it must be maintained properly. I have ivy growing on one very small section of my house and it looks fantastic but you do need to trim it and keep it under control. It can be aesthetically pleasing to see ivy growing (you see it all over in England for example). You need to keep it away from any wood or your gutters, but it will not harm your brick or mortar unless it the brick is already unsound.

Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) over 10 years ago