Today was our first round of looking at houses. Here's what happened!
This house was a HUD house that we could tell needed a lot of work from looking at the pictures. It was well below our price range, though, so we thought we would take a look and see if it would be something we could take out a rehab loan for.
This is a hole in the backside of the house that lead underneath. Obviously a big problem.
We didn't take any pictures of the inside but the ceilings were only about 7' high, the entire house was slanting and there was a room that Tracey dubbed the "punishment room". It had no lights, an old wooden bench built in and locked with a deadbolt from the outside.
One of the houses we wanted to see went off the market the night before we went to look at it so our agent sent us a few she thought we might add. House #2 was one of them. We pulled up and decided to not even look at it. It had been updated inside and looked great but was on a major road (something we couldn't tell by looking at Google Earth the night before) and was surrounded by some questionable apartment buildings. So, we left for the next house.
The owner knew we were coming but the screen door was locked which meant we couldn't get to the front door to look at it. We poked around outside while we tried to get in touch with him. The outside was decent and had a cool bomb shelter but we never heard back from the owner. This may be a house we look at later.
The listing for this house specifically mentioned the great paint job done inside. Not really our style. Gold trim, red walls, purple walls. It was very bohemian and cool; just not for us.
The kitchen was in good shape and had probably been remodeled in the late 80's/early 90's. There was a cute little built in breakfast nook, too! The kitchen had a door that went out to the backyard.
The owners were kind enough to leave a note asking us to excuse the jungle in the backyard. Tall grass aside, there was a little shed, some rain barrel system set up and a nice clothes line.
On to the basement! At this point we were feeling pretty good about this house. Everything we disliked about it was something that could be fixed fairly inexpensively. The basement was in good shape, the furnace was newer, our agent noted that there were no asbestos pipes, and the electrical panel was new. Awesome! Until Tracey opened a second panel and we saw this:
Fuses! Not something we want to deal with fixing. Right after we saw this our agent went to check on the oil tank and it was underground so we would have to find out if it was leaking into the soil. This house was a short sale as well so none of these issues would be addressed by the current owner. So, off we went to the next house.
The entire basement of this house had been remodeled and had nice tile flooring (travertine?) and two more bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs.
Our agent is going to investigate this house a little further for us. It's a short sale and priced above our range so in order to move forward with it we would need the bank to approve a lower offer. This might be feasible as it's been on the market for almost a year and has dropped in price almost $70k since it was first listed. If the bank were to approve our offer we would then have to get bids done for the work that needs to be addressed within the 40 days at closing and apply for a rehab loan.
We're going to keep an eye on this house. It's in a neighborhood that we know will give us a good return on our money in the future and had lots of space to grow into. After a nice kitchen remodel and some cosmetic work it would be very cute.
Our agent started poking around the side and saw something fishy going on with the foundation. She was able to find a section that just had a piece of wood up and we discovered why it was priced so well-- no foundation! Well, there was a foundation but it was just poles and you could see where some of the wood was already being attacked by termites. This was basically a 30k fix and, even if we felt like fixing it, would have brought the value up way too high for the neighborhood (Montavilla, for those who care).
So, that was our first round of houses. One possibility, one that we can go back and look at another day. Our agent is leaving to take her kid to volleyball camp tomorrow and won't be back til Sunday so no more house hunting 'til next week!
- Misha & Tracey