Image: Alice Webb-Liddall
Image: Alice Webb-Liddall

SocietyNovember 8, 2020

Ten dystopian texts to help sell your house

Image: Alice Webb-Liddall
Image: Alice Webb-Liddall

Selling houses is an art. There are the signs, the walk-through videos, and – hardest of all – the copy. What do you write to make someone buy a house? Here are some ideas.

There are currently more than 25,000 houses for sale in New Zealand. There are only nine synonyms for “rustic”, and even fewer ways to spin the “untapped potential” of water damage.

Sometimes, real estate copywriters have to get creative. Over at Ray White, they’ve started quoting Margaret Atwood: “reality simply consists of different points of view”, they say about a house in Meadowbank.

To help the plight of New Zealand’s most creatively burdened workforce, we’ve found 10 more dystopian texts you can quote from to make selling a house that much easier. 

A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess said, “when a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man”. Please, choose this house. To be a real man you must choose a home; not succumb to the two-car garage and intact fence of an authoritarian neighbourhood committee.

A man’s home, not a sheep’s. (Photo: Wikimedia)

It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil,” he writes in A Clockwork Orange. This house is neither good or evil, but it could be yours.


A wise man by the name of George Orwell once said: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Whatever has happened to this house can be erased. By buying this building you can rewrite its very long history and create a future full of chrome and hot tubs.

The future is here, brick man. (Photo: Wikimedia.)

Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing,” said Orwell. A house is much bigger than a human mind. Taking apart this goldmine of potential and rearranging it into a modern condo will give you the ultimate power.

Ender’s Game

“I need you to think of solutions to problems we haven’t seen yet. I want you to try things that no one has ever tried because they’re absolutely stupid.” So said Orson Scott Card, and so said my boss when he asked me to sell this sleepout as a viable home. It doesn’t have plumbing, but the uneven yard guarantees a puddle almost every day, of water that’s almost drinkable – and completely free!

Sadly, this beauty is currently off the market. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Oryx and Crake

Small male frogs—it’s been documented—discover if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier and the small frog appears much larger than it really is.” This house, located in the historic Aro Valley, is also amplified by its surroundings. The people sing louder, the hills loom larger, and the corrugated iron covering the windows only makes the fireplace burn brighter.

For legal reasons we must inform you we have no idea if these houses contain wood rot. (Photo: Wikimedia)

It’s perfect for a first-home buyer looking to practise the renovation craft. Like a small male frog it is wet, and some wood rot might scupper your plans, but isn’t that what God intended? As Margaret Atwood wrote: “Maybe there weren’t any solutions. Human society, corpses and rubble. It never learned, it made the same cretinous mistakes over and over, trading short-term gain for long-term pain.”

The Hunger Games

You’ve got about as much charm as a dead slug,” wrote Suzanne Collins about a teenage girl from a mining district, about to be sent to her almost certain death. Under similar conditions, this coastal Westport property has much more charm. 

Coastal flooding is very serious on New Zealand’s west coast. (Photo: Wikimedia)

This well-loved home is close to town, shops, and, increasingly, the sea. All it needs is a loving touch, like the addition of wheels to move it back from rising tides.

Never Let Me Go

You have to accept that sometimes that’s how things happen in this world. People’s opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other.” When Kazuo Ishiguro wrote these words, he was talking about how sometimes your spouse wants an old timber villa when you want a 1950s brick. This humble old state house is where your dreams collide.

Photo: Wikimedia

“I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world,” said Ishiguro. The bones on this house are from the old world. They’re not scientific, nor earthquake proof, but they’ve lasted for decades. With clever renovation they will bear the changing facades of this new, cruel world for many more.

Atlas Shrugged

A man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions… He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself,” wrote Ayn Rand.

A house is like a woman, empty until it is filled with masculine vision. You are drawn to this creamy art deco bungalow because it offers a malleable beauty; a reflection of your own. The attraction is undeniable. The mortgagee sale is on November 20.

No man can resist these curves. And she cannot resist your fundamental convictions. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.”

Day of the Triffids

This Grey Lynn villa is “a sort of botanical glory-hole” with lush foliage sprouting around each vast window. The native moulds draw normally unseen wildlife into this well-situated urban home, providing a sense of the unexpected.

What’s that rattling noise? Not a triffid! Just a suburban rat. (Photo: Wikimedia).

John Wyndham said: “It’s humiliating to be dependent, anyway, but it’s still a poorer pass to have no one to depend on.” Owning this house is embarrassing, but you can rent it out much higher than the mortgage for a dependable income.  


William Gibson said that “for years men dreamed of pacts with demons. Only now are such things possible.” Today, we demons are proud to make your dreams come through by allowing negotiations on the price of this high-tech gated home.

Plants will put guests at ease while they wait for you to let down the drawbridge.

In unprecedented times, a home is the only stability you have. We believe every human has a right to four walls, a roof, and fibre broadband. This home comes with a walk-in pantry so you can start storing for the next lockdown now, and a moat for your illegal crocodiles.

You can’t let the little pricks generation-gap you.”

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley once said that “actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery”. This two-bedroom home was built in 2014, but contains old-world joys: hot water, a scullery, and wild hens (free eggs). It doesn’t look lavish, but it delivers exactly what you need to feel real happiness: a hot egg. 

Happiness is a hot brick and an egg to scramble on it.

I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin,” wrote Huxley. This home is sinfully affordable, listed for below CV and taking cash offers now. 

Keep going!