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House hunting with DD
Old 02-13-2019, 05:02 PM   #1
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House hunting with DD

DD and BF have started looking for a house in commuting range to Philly. I can’t talk about other locales but here it is a sellers market here . She asked the Mrs and I to come along to see a couple of the houses. $350,000, their initial budget, buys a starter home. The first house we saw was small and I’d swear everything that was done was done wrong. You’ve no doubt heard that saying “God is in the details” well the devil is in shoddy work and poor quality materials. The realtor asked me what I thought. “I said there is a hole in the sheetrock behind the electric imitation gas stove. The deck has an illegal 9” step 6 feet long. I saw that in the first minute” There was that and so much more. The second house was a flipper but the investors did the bear minimum. Bottom line - both houses the bones were wrong and they had insurmoutable flaws. No deal.

On Sunday we saw a $400K beauty but by the end of the next day there were 7 offers, 2 were full price, cash offers. They were significantly higher than previous ‘comps’. I call it a ascending bottoms. I explained to the DD that she needs to be ready to pull the trigger quickly. I can understand her frustration. Her and the BF are better off then most, good salaries and a nice down payment.

I have no fear of fixer uppers, The Mrs. and I brought one and redid it all. We however went top drawer - whatever we bought and replaced was quality. A fixer sure but there must be potential. We looked at 25-30 houses before we found that little Cape Cod fixer. We lived there more than 10 years-it was a little house but I loved it. We bought less than we could afford and i never regretted it.

I’m glad I am not the one house hunting.. how did we ever do it? So much stress. A few weeks ago I suggested they rent for a while and move to a lower COLA and get off the treadmill.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:36 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
I have no fear of fixer uppers, The Mrs. and I brought one and redid it all. We however went top drawer - whatever we bought and replaced was quality. A fixer sure but there must be potential. We looked at 25-30 houses before we found that little Cape Cod fixer. We lived there more than 10 years-it was a little house but I loved it. We bought less than we could afford and i never regretted it.
Yep - reminds me of the first house I bought back in the early 90’s. I convinced a local real estate agent to let me take home slightly out-of-date Cook County IL multiple listing books (this was in the pre-public Internet age - those books were THICK!) Each weekend I would diligently scan the books looking for properties of interest. When I found one, I would drive over and take a look. Even way back then, it made no sense to me to drag my ‘buyers agent’ to house after house when I could eliminate 95% of the candidate houses without ever going inside (the lot and location were major factors for me). I used the same strategy for house #2, although online resources meant no more messing with MLS books!

Both of the houses that I have bought had previously sat on the market for a long time because each had some flaw that was extremely unattractive to the typical buyer (house #1: very small + only one bathroom; house #2: badly out of date kitchen + bathrooms). Not wanting what ‘everyone else’ wants came in handy when it came time to make an offer - the sellers were highly motivated. I hope that your DD has equally good luck.
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Old 02-13-2019, 07:47 PM   #3
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Once thought we were going to be transferred to Lancaster County, and we looked at homes online halfway to Philly.
I was so thankful not to have to move. Schools are great, but it'd be going down in the standard of living for us--while spending 25% more. Yes, they're pricey west of Philadelphia.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:20 PM   #4
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Ray, not sure if they have them in your area, but our first house in 1982 was an "expandable" split gambrel. The basement was built into the hillside sort of like a walkout and on the left front was a single car garage. The basement was totally unfinished. The first level had a living room, dining room, bathroom, kitchen and one bedroom. The top floor was totally unfinished inside... just a studded wall across the center for support.

We bought it and promptly built an en suite, bathroom and two bedrooms on that upper floor... doing most of the work ourselves. I did the framing, my Dad came over to help run the wiring, I did the drywall, DW did the mudding, I did the popcorn ceiling, expanded the hot air heat, etc. Our neighbor was a plumber and did the plumbing work.

My point is that it worked perfect for us in that it was affordable and we could put some sweat equity into it and do it right the first time.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:35 AM   #5
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pb4uski:
“My point is that it worked perfect for us in that it was affordable and we could put some sweat equity into it and do it right the first time.”

Spot on. When I talk about potential and flawed I am talking about the feasibility of making it into what you want. Sometimes if the property is tiny and house footprint small, expansion would be prohibitively expensive.

Future SIL and DD have abilities but, to be honest and since they don’t read this... Based on what Ive observed are fast trackers.. I’d i were to bet I’d put my money on them eventually buying or building a ‘big barn’.

The Mrs has suggested a fixer upper as a means of getting what you want. We will see..

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Old 02-14-2019, 04:26 PM   #6
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I hear you, DD and SIL did the house hunting thing late last year. Took 4 months, they were out bid several times, or the house sold before the first showing! Finally got in on one and closed in January. Could move in, but it really needed updating, (floors were buckling, carpet ripped, cracked tile, etc) which they have done this month. Now the move is in progress.

Very different from our first house, a fixer upper, also. But we did it after we moved in, and over a few years!
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