Me and Kelly are now accidental homeowners.
We were looking at houses and trying to land one before the economy recovered and before the market bounced back. We had seen a lot. We had seen small houses, big houses with big rooms but not enough to interest us, and project homes where people had tried to flip it. Those were particularly fun – bathrooms in weird places and weird “gift” programs so you don’t have to put money down and the worst were the prices. The prices were hilarious. For a house with mostly ripped up walls, mismatched paint and everything else people somehow felt they had to ask what they wanted – not what they paid for. This resulted in houses one step away from condemnation being listed for $375+.
Foreclosures – Not even worth looking at. Most of them, and I mean 90% of them, had the appliances and plumbing ripped out so the homeowner could get some cash out of them.
We ran across a property up by Valley Forge in a $325k-ish neighborhood but listed for $270k. Property value falling? Nope, needs a lot of work. However, the work was all in the form of hazards which had to be delt with. Asbestos, mold, radon and termites. Four for four. Now, this is the fun part – he either needs a seller willing to buy it as it is, or he needs to fix it. His realtor was a nice guy and impressed upon him that no-one in their right mind was going to buy it with those things in it, and he had best fix them while he had a buyer. Not only did we talk him into leaving all the appliances, but we also talked him into a full seller assist (worth like $12k-ish), and fixing all that crap, which is worth another $12k-ish in work. Wild right?
When we pitched the offer asking for all these fixes monday of last week. Our realtor told us he wasn’t going to go for it and we’d best cut bait. Being the market what it is at the moment, I told him I wanted them to say no before taking a walk. We lined up a few more appointments in the interrium, figuring our realtor would be right. To everyones suprise, friday we get the fax that he did accept the offer, without making a counter offer or anything like that. Basically, we’re buying a house for $50k under the neighborhood price, and getting $25k in incentives and repairs to this place before we even move in.
Now, the house isn’t perfect. The deck needs to be washed and sealed, it needs a new piling under the deck, the chimney needs a cap and some mortar, and the bathrooms need work. Other than that, the house is in good condition and frankly this is all just cosmetic work.
Monday – OH GOD I NEED TO CANCEL ALL THESE SHOWINGS.