Accidental Homeowners

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.


Used Car Horror Stories Part 2

I love craigslist, it’s second only to insurance auctions for cars which are mildly beat up but still running. There’s a really bad signal-to-noise ratio on craigslist, probably worse than ebay. And I find the stuff on craigslist car-wise is stuff that wouldn’t sell on ebay. Case in point: 1998 (actually I think it’s earlier than that, post your observations K5…) Vee-dub Jetta TDI.

For your viewing pleasure, the original ad. Also: Kelly Blue Book Prices. Basically, $3750 would have been fair, except that the guy turned out to be a traveling salesperson so he lived in the car. I offered him $3k flat.

Sir, I saw your ad on craigslist
( Is the vehicle
still for sale and how firm are you on the price? I too have a long


Things started out civil enough…

Hi Josh: I am firm on this price, but it could come down a bit. It is certainly
negotiable, and as you probably already know, the prices on these are
high because of their performance and economy. How much are you looking
to spend?

This one is in excellent condition. I am the second owner, and the
things that matter were recently done. Water Pump, timing belt, I did
the glow plugs too, tune up, fuel filter, oil and oil filter, air
pilter, cabin filter, tires, and also I serviced the manual transmition,
noone ever does it, but I am anal about everything so I do things that
seem crazy like servicing a manual TDI tranny.

Let me know if you are interested.

Igor Skinder
Marketing & Sales Executive
The Wolfington Companies
920 Matsonford Rd
W. Conshohocken, PA 19428
610.238.9008 Office
610.238.9912 Facsimile
484.250.2256 Mobile

And the pretty standard “I wouldn’t have posted it for that price if I didn’t want that price”.

Igor, Thanks for getting back to me. I have $3000 cash in hand for the
project which is the low end of the bluebook. The VWs aren’t huge on
reliability which is why I’m a bit apprehensive about spending all of
the piggy bank on the car itself and keeping nothing in hand for any
possible repairs.  I’m a toyota guy, but obviously they haven’t been
too keen on diesel.


Parry, dodge…

I have to disagree on the VW’s reliability statement. I am not sure what
you know about VW’s or about TDIs for that matter. TDIs are getting sold
at a high price, and lowest offer I got on this car was 6,400. Repairs
and TDI are two things that do not go together. All these cars want is
every 75,000 miles to be equipped with a new timing belt and a water
pump. That is all a TDI buyer usually asks me.
This car sells for $4500 at an auto auction. Kelly Blue Book does not
drive the prices of the TDI’s, the economy does, demand and supply.

Good day,

Igor Skinder
Marketing & Sales Executive
The Wolfington Companies
920 Matsonford Rd
W. Conshohocken, PA 19428
610.238.9008 Office
610.238.9912 Facsimile
484.250.2256 Mobile

With a name like Igor, he’d better have all the gold they lost in the Holocaust asking that price. I’ve found some pretty strange stuff in the back seat of cars at the yard, but never a pile of gold filled teeth from dead jews.

No shit Igor, that’s how the world works. The demand is for lower
prices, the supply is week old craigslist ads. 😉
Let me know if it becomes a two week old craigslist ad.


To be fair, it wasn’t two weeks old, but anyone who has bought or tried to buy a car on craigslist knows that it either moves in the first day or two or not at all. Once it falls off the front page, most people don’t bother.

If he does get back to me, I’ll tell him I’ll see him on ebay. Update!  8pm I get this: “sorry, sold today, $6750.00”. That was everything in the email, so I suspect someone from K5 tipped him off.  Notice the lack of signature, the lack of CL ad, and especially the lack of a tax, tags and title place open at 8pm.