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Pimping? Man Sells Ad Space On His Own Home

Pimp My House

Pimp My House with Diana Olick
Pimp My House with Diana Olick

“I just decided that I should do something pretty creative in trying to earn as much money as possible…and I just woke up one morning and had the idea.” That's California homeowner Darren Shuster talking about how he woke up with a new vision of his home: house as billboard. I’m not kidding. We saw the painters. He’s literally selling ad space on his 3-bedroom ranch. “Basically I have a wife and three kids and I own a business – and I can use as much help as I can get. A mortgage can certainly be pretty expensive, and I figured it was a creative way to earn $75K.”

It took a while, making a lot of calls, but Darren found a company willing to give him $75,000 as a summer-long ad buy. Rebtel, short for rebel telephone, is one of those international mobile call service providers. They’ve got these great 1960’s colors (see www.rebtel.com), and now Darren’s house does too.

Okay, is this guy "pimping" his house? Let’s discuss.

First, the neighbors: “Nobody’s complained – I’ve had no letters delivered – and nobody’s knocked on my door. I did knock on everybody else’s door around the neighborhood to let them know that it was going on, that it was certainly temporary, and they might see some camera crews coming through. And uh, we’re moving ahead and nobody has any complaints,” claims Darren.

So I’m supposed to believe that all the homeowners in this pretty little bedroom community, who are sitting on some of the most valuable land in the country, are not a little, nay somewhat, irked by big aqua ads on the side of their neighbor’s house. It’d be one thing if they all chose to live on the side of a freeway, but that’s not exactly the case.

And what about property values? I’ve read that one “Foreclosure” sign on one house lowers the values of all the properties on that street. I have to imagine that having a neighbor with a big telephone company ad on the side of their garage doesn’t do much for your property values. If you’re trying to sell your house, that would, in my mind, be a bigger deterrent than a bathroom with nasty grout.

Now the slippery slope part: So here I am publicizing this story, on the blog and on TV, and I’m guessing a lot of folks out there are going to think it’s a pretty darned good idea. I mean people have done far worse for 75 grand. Now we’re going to start to see ads all over our nation’s neighborhoods. Why did the designers of Levittown never think of this?? I could go home right now, paint a big ol’ Big Mac on my front porch and just watch the corporate cash start pouring in. Maybe a peacock?

Am I being too negative? Sorry. It’s your house, do what you want with it. I just think that our sell-sell-society needs to take a pill every now and then. But have no fear, I’m sure plenty of those historic district neighborhoods who tell you what you can and can’t plant in your vegetable garden, will stem the tides of this domestic, free-money tidal wave. I mean, this would never fly in the Hamptons.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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