Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Found another house I like BUT...

I've been poking around websites listing houses for sale since September and I keep seeing the this one house on a main street, large 4 bedroom 1 1/2 bathrooms, garage, partial basement & central air.

So I finally went and saw the house last Saturday afternoon, in the pouring rain which is actually how I would suggest looking at houses. This way you know if there are any leaks, major or otherwise.

We went to check out the back patio first, it's kinda pieced together, pretty funny considering the comment was made it looked like something Tom (my step-dad) built. You'd have to know Tom to know that it was really funny!!

Anyway the house is great & HUGE, surprisingly so! All bedrooms, two bathrooms lots of closets all on ONE FLOOR! Can't beat that. There is also a large basement with the 1/2 bath down there, a laundry area and a work area in separate sections.

Oh & don't forget the backyard, not huge but a good size - can have a BBQ with plenty of room.

The only thing getting me is the cost of the house, YES I know this house is priced WAY WAY below it's market value because of it being a REO property. But let's consider this, in April home foreclosures were up and home prices dropped again. Banks are holding more & more inventory as the markets worsens instead of getting better (at least for now ~ there's always a down turn before it comes back up).

There's a ton of stipulations with buying this house including the requirement to get pre-approved by their specified mortgage company. They can require that a buyer is pre-approved by any company they choose however by law they cannot require you use that company. So I went thru the motions and BOY does that mortgage company offer incentives to use them. I don't know why but this has me very nervous. If it looks to good to be true it probably is...but I'm sure they'd be open for a ton of law suits if they didn't live up to their agreements. So I'm seriously considering this house and this "new" mortgage company.

Just to be on the safe side I wanted to poke around a bit more. I came across a 3 bedroom 1 bath ranch house (means no basement) at $137,610 talk about a strange asking price. So I've asked my realtor to set up an appointment so I can check this house out just to compare.

I need to be sure before I put in another bid for ANY house.

Will I finally get to buy a house this year??

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Well the first realtor didn't call at all on Monday so I kept my originaly appointment with the second realtor to put in a bid on the second house I saw on Sunday.

I spent two hours with the realtor on Monday night placing a bid...the house was listed at $183,700 but you wouldn't believe the work it needed so I bid at $127,500 with the seller paying all closing costs and 48 hours to respond.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning, Tabitha had an orthodontists appointment at 8am after we were finished there and I dropped her off at school I got a phone call from the second realtor. He said that they flat out declined my offer because the sellers received another offer of upwards of $160,000...that's more than $30,000 more than my offer.

I called my sister to let her know as we both loved the house for me she thought that might not be true about the offer. My feeling, if that's how the owner wants to play it that's their issue not mine. The sellers will need to sit with a house that will not sell if the offer was not real.

If it was menat to be then it would have been...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Found a house I like...

Today I checked out two houses. One I keep calling the "Mexican Church" because when you look at the front that is the impression I get. It has this great stone front with a peak in the middle. The second is a possible short sale house where the owner started to work on the house but did a half ass job at it. I will give him credit for the effort, redoing a house is a huge undertaking.

"Mexican Church" - like I said I love the front but I did know going in this house was priced WAY over my comfort zone for a mortgage (not that spending $100K is nothing to me but WOW!). It is listed as a 3 bedroom 1 1/2 bath with full basement. I must say the realtor that listed this house was creative but I guess you need to be. We walked in expecting a dog by the name of "Pickles" (cute name for a dog - must remember that) but no dog. First impression - small living room & my God what is that smell?? We poke around more & see two bedrooms and a bathroom to the right. Straight back is the dining room then a decent size kitchen with a fireplace - very cute & unexpected. Bedrooms and bathroom needed some updating but the kitchen needed to be gutted!

We go to the basement and are immediately hit with an overwhelming smell of what I think is mildew. The so called half bath is nothing other than a toilet in a makeshift room. This is what my sister's boyfriend called the "men's bathroom"...I called it disgusting. I can only imagine that prisons have better bathrooms that's how bad this was.

Finally making our way up to the third bedroom, it is HUGE with a smell to match. I could barely get up the stairs because of the horrible smell. If you've ever been in a kennel or a pet store that is badly kept you konw the smell. I couldn't believe that someone lived like this, to say the house was dirty was an understatement! It was beyond filthy. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I needed fresh air before passing out, while outside we contemplated pitching a tent in the very large back yard, tearing down the house and rebuilding from scratch. But I will admit I'm not a patient person there is no way I could wait for all that to happen. So let's move on...

The next house is listed as a 3 bedroom 1 bath with a partially finished basement, newer kitchen and bathroom, main floor laundry, a fireplace and a stand alone garage. The house is adorable from the outside so I checked out the backyard first and I was pleasantly surprised. It is a good size with plenty of space for the kids to play or have some people over for a gathering. After finally getting in the front door the space is open and flows well from the living room to dining room to kitchen. There is a bedroom just off the dining room, good size, then the one & only bathroom in the house is off the bedroom with an entrance from the bedroom & another towards the front of the house off this strange little hallway by the front door. The stairs are right by the front door so you could open the door & go right up...odd. There are another two rooms upstairs, one a bedroom the other technically cannot be considered one as there is no closet. The upstairs is a bit like an attic with the slanted ceilings and only 1 bedroom up there.

So the house is technically a 2 bedroom 1 bath with a den perhaps an office which can work especially since the basement can be finished out to form another room, playroom maybe for the kids.

After a complete look throughout the house (twice), taking pictures of everything and everything just in case, talking to my sister, mom & sister's boyfriend I've decided to put in an offer. While standing out by my truck we discuss what kind of an offer I want to put in and he's surprised even after I've told him several times my philosophy of being able to go up in an offer but that I can never go down.

Starting low, especially in this economy with a house in possible short sale, makes sense!
BUT the realtor that I've been using is having issues with what I want to put in as an offer. I thought the buyer's realtor job was to make sure the buyer got what they wanted which means putting in an offer where I want it. I'm the one that knows where I'm comfortable and I'm the one that is paying the bills!!!

Since I haven't signed any paperwork I can go to another realtor but I feel terrible but on the other hand he is there to help me find a house not help the seller move the house. So when we got back to my mom's my sister called another realtor that she knows and will put in any offer I request to put in on a house. This is what I believe a buyer's realtor should be doing not worrying about what the house is listed for vs what offer I want to put in.

Oh well...we'll see if the first realtor calls tomorrow if not I have an appointment set up to meet with the second realtor my sister called. He'll put in any offer I want which is what I need.

Which one will help me buy my first house?

My Day Today...Alex's Lemonade Stand

This weekend in June every year thousands of families across the country put together and host an Alex's Lemonade Stand to raise money to help fight childhood cancer.

Alex Scott started her lemonade stand to do the same thing, raise money to help fight the cancer that was taking over her life. Her parents kept the "stand" going in her honor. Now with the families around the country running stands, whether it is for their charitable spirit or to honor a family member fighting or having beat cancer, money is being raised along with awareness.

As for our case my nephew was born with Neuroblastoma and operated on at three months old. He is now two years old. I am grateful to be able to say that but also sad that it is being said about such a little person. He is a very vibrant, fun, lovable and loving child.

I am happy to say this year we raised more money than last, even in this tough economy. To learn more about this cause and of course Alex, check out this link & help fight cancer one cup at a time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Night House Hunting Update

Buying a house is definitly a learning experience. The market is supposed to be a buyers market, a lot of inventory with not many takers. Interests rates at an all time low however mortgage rates have been going up the past few weeks BUT house prices have not been going down. Go figure!

I've looked a two house so far in the neighborhood I want, both are bank owned which I thought would be a great opportunity (more about that later).

The first house is on Arnold St about 2 blocks from my parents. Now I know what you're thinking, why that close? Well we may argue and pick on one another but we really are pretty back to the house.

It was listed as a 3 bedroom 1 bath house, living room, dining room, full - unfinished basement, single house listed at $119,900.

At first site it is completely adorable. Front porch, stand alone garage with drive way, rear yard - a bit small but still a good size. We enter in the back door into the EIK however the only thing in the kitchen is cabinets and a sink. So it needs a little work no big deal. Two rooms on the ground floor, turns out one is not a bedroom (no closet), bathroom needs a total rehab, third (really second) bedroom is on the second floor.

After completely walking thru the house I've decided the house needs way to much work. The house needs to be lifted at the back door, new windows, doors, bathroom, paint, floors refinished, a bathroom added to the upstairs and the basement finished. Oh and the construction loan would be at a higher interest rate and all bids would need to be approved by the bank holding the escrow account.

The second house was 4 bedrooms 1 bath, living room, dining room, kitchen and too big for two people and a bit further from my parents house. Along with being too big the house also needed a lot of work to make it liveable. It is also too large for just two people and the cost to heat and cool would be astronomical. So this one is out.

So is the first one...with it being a bank owned house I would need to cover all closing costs for both sides which means needing around $20,000 at closing! HA!! No Way!!

So the plan is to hope for a house on short sale or owners willing to wiggle A LOT on the cost and cover closing costs.

Can this all happen? My philosophy...Everything happens for a reason so if it's meant to be it will be.

The search is still on...