Economy Drives Some To Paint Their Lawns Green

Stockton foreclosure fixer thrives as mortgages meltdown

The latest economic numbers show jobless claims have jumped to a seven-year high.

However, there are always areas for growth even within a faltering economy: one local entrepreneur says he has more work than he can possibly handle and is hiring 10 new people almost every day.

It's all green for Nick Terlouw. He is the owner of the Greener Grass Company, one of California's premiere foreclosure fixers.

The city of Stockton, the epicenter of the state's mortgage meltdown, has hired Nick to green-up more than 3,000 homes. He paints dead lawns green -- at $200 per lawn.

He told NBC Bay Area he is in constant demand.

"So when you spray it, it looks lived in," Terlouw said. "It blends in with the neighborhood so it doesn't stand out anymore.

Terlouw said he got his inspiration watching football on TV.

"I was curious as to how they painted the end zones different colors, so I looked into it and found out what kind of paint it was," he said.

Nick said his work spraying it forward has drawn rave reviews from neighbors.

"(It is) road appeal," said Cal Angle, a Stockton homeowner. "Street appeal means quite a bit and this house didn't have the curb appeal it had before this. It looks very nice."

Terlouw said his business has also made him popular with Realtors.

Brokers have hired Terlouw to cut down on vandalism and property damage.

"When we're out showing homes, and most of the homes we're showing are these vacant foreclosures these days, we get in there and find that there's evidence of people who have been sleeping here, that there have been intruders," said Dave Harmon of Grupe Real Estate.

Nick said he is changing all that with the "Shrek Effect," the way he turns lawns green.
"Occupational hazards in the summer, I come home with green legs and green shoes," Turlouw said. However, Turlouw said the hazards would not deter him from transforming distressed properties into green zones.

NBC Bay Area's Mike Luery and John Boitnott contributed to this story.

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