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So nervous...made an offer on a house
Old 09-23-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
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So nervous...made an offer on a house

The last few months, since I put my house on the market, I have been actively shopping for a post-retirement residence. I've had to give up my long-time goal of building it myself for health reasons. In July, I found a house that I wanted to make an offer on, but my house hadn't yet sold, and another buyer beat me to it. I found another one earlier this month in Lacey WA. I hope this link will take you to a picture of it. It's a very small house that needs an extensive renovation, but very inexpensive (bank repo) and the location can't be beat. It's across the street from a grocery store and within a flat short bike ride of many other necessaries like church and bank. There is a bus line at the end of the block which goes to or connects to other locations like the doctor's office and library. Lacey (which is just down the road from the state capitol in Olympia) doesn't have quite the "never gets hot" climate that made me want to relocate to the coast counties, but Grays Harbor County transit has a bus line from Olympia to Aberdeen and connects from there to the coast. I figure if it gets hot in the Olympia area I can drive or take the bus out to the coast for the day and cool myself off.

I've been going back and forth with the bank all week, through the same real-estate agent who is selling my house for me (the sale is scheduled to close by the end of this coming week or maybe a week from tomorrow). I made an offer below the asking price, and was notified that there was another bid, so I raised my offer slightly. It turned out the other bidder withdrew. Then the bank counter-offered at full price. I responded with the same figure I had offered previously, and the bank came down a few thousand dollars. All of this was contingent on an inspection in 7 days. I counter-offered the maximum amount I think I can pay for the house and have enough money left to do the repairs, but requesting longer for inspection so I can get an accurate idea how much repair the house really needs, how much the repairs will actually cost, and whether this is a realistic possibility for me. My agent called later this evening saying he didn't think the bank would go for the longer inspection period, but I just don't think I can make up my mind what I want to do in a week, plus get accurate figures on whether it is feasible, and I just can't take a chance on making a mistake here and ending up with a house I can't afford to make liveable and maybe wouldn't get my money back from if I had to sell it un-renovated.

It's a Fannie Mae house, so for the first fifteen days, which end tomorrow, they only take offers from owner-occupiers. So tomorrow, an investor who wants to rent out the house or tear it down and build something bigger could offer full price and that would be the end of it. I finally told my agent, please present it with the longer inspection period, and if they reject it they reject it. If I am going to lose out on the house I'd rather have it happen now because the bank rejects my best offer, than get my hopes all up and really see how the house could be made cute and comfortable, but then have to withdraw because the repairs are more than I can afford after paying full price. But now I am so nervous! (Why isn't there a "chewing fingernails right down to the quick" smiley?) I wonder if I have shot myself in the foot asking for that extra time for inspection. But what's done is done and when it comes down to it if I've found two houses that I like well enough to offer on in four months, there are more where they came from.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:11 AM   #2
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In a word no you did the right thing. You don't want to get pushed into making these decisions. And despite your realtors fears in most case the banks are highly incentivized to get rid of these property.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:09 AM   #3
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Don't get rushed into such a big decision. If this house doesn't work out there will always be another one. This is a great market to be a buyer.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:25 AM   #4
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Kyounge, the others are right. Never ever rush into buying a house. Remember, all the people you are dealing with, including your own agent, know how to make you feel a sense of urgency. Take your time and don't do anything until you are comfortable wit what you are buying.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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I know you guys are right and that's why I didn't back off on my request for more time to do the inspection, although that was strongly suggested by my agent. But now I am on tenterhooks until I hear back from the bank. (More fingernail-chewing.)
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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+1 to all the previous responses.

Just wanted to say it's really cute but more important is that great location, from your description! I think being able to walk to the grocery store easily as you grow older is a big plus. Here's hoping that they agree to the longer inspection period.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
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good housing deals are like buses - another one will come along in good time, if this one doesn't work out. I like to think about life in these terms - "what blesses one... blesses all".
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #8
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Agree with the others. It's a buyers market in most areas for houses something else will come along. Inspection is a must have for a fixer, the real costs are what is covered up that you can't see like electrical, plumbing structural issues, previous mods not up to code etc. Cosmetic stuff like paint, carpet are cheap. also a lot can of the cost depends on how much of the reno you do yourself.

Your "agent" of course has profit motive to sell you something. Sometimes its hard to get a "real" inspection because the inspectors get a lot business from agents/builders so they don't want to endanger that relationship.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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+1 to all the previous responses.

Just wanted to say it's really cute but more important is that great location, from your description! I think being able to walk to the grocery store easily as you grow older is a big plus. Here's hoping that they agree to the longer inspection period.
I was talking with my mom about the house and describing how when I'm her age or older I will be able to go across there, buy something for dinner, put it in the basket of my walker and totter back home. Of course that is assuming the grocery store is still there in 30 years, which is by no means a certainty. But the location is one of the most appealing things about the property. I really don't see how it could be better, except if it were closer to the doctor. But I'll need to buy groceries more often than see the doctor, or at least I hope so!
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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Agree with the others. It's a buyers market in most areas for houses something else will come along. Inspection is a must have for a fixer, the real costs are what is covered up that you can't see like electrical, plumbing structural issues, previous mods not up to code etc. Cosmetic stuff like paint, carpet are cheap. also a lot can of the cost depends on how much of the reno you do yourself.

Your "agent" of course has profit motive to sell you something. Sometimes its hard to get a "real" inspection because the inspectors get a lot business from agents/builders so they don't want to endanger that relationship.
I have already looked at the house inspectors on Angie's list. There is one in that area with a dozen and a half glowing reviews and I think I will get him if available. There is a contractor who works with my agent who will also look at the house, but I want an independent assessment from someone whose only interest in the matter is giving me a thorough report on the house's condition.

As for doing any of the work myself, I think that will be restricted to stuff like picking the cabinets and flooring. I went looking at houses a week ago Thursday and even though my agent did all the driving and I only looked at 3 houses, I was completely wiped out! I slept most of the next three days and it's really only yesterday I feel back to "pretty normal". Chemo, even the so-called "chemo Lite" that I'm on, will do that to you! Low energy level due to treatment (plus the fact that I have treatment one day a week which more or less eliminates doing anything else that day) also contributes to my wanting more time for the inspection. Maybe if the work is done up to priming the walls I will be fit to do painting and other light cosmetic fixes after my reconstructive surgery (or between chemo and surgery if there is a long gap there)

I still have my fingers crossed. Nothing to do now but wait and see what the bank says.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:09 PM   #11
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I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you!

I think it's a great idea to get both an independent inspection, and a contractor in to check it out. I know our inspector couldn't give us quotes, but the contractor should be able to give you a much better idea on what the repairs are going to cost. The inspector was great for peace of mind.

Can the contractor check it out now and give you some estimates? I did that when looking for a house recently, and even though we didn't get that first house I had them give us quotes on, I used those numbers as rough estimates on how much stuff like a bathroom remodel or kitchen remodel would cost. Of course then I found a house that had been flipped, and everything was already done for me.

You'll probably want a pretty long break between chemo and reconstructive surgery, I think it's better to be healed up than it is to rush it.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:48 PM   #12
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I had an offer in for four months not hearing a word from the bank. Than on a Friday before a three day weekend they took my offer and insisted on a 21 day close.

It was a all cash sale but I had to hurry to get the inspections done. The inspections turned up about 15k of work...I asked for a reduction of price of 10k...They turned it down...?...They left it off the market for a month than put it back and listed it for the reduced price that I had offered.....( i found a better house) They ended up selling it for less than the reduced price I had offered....I was out the cost of inspections.

No telling what banks will do.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:49 PM   #13
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Of course the store may close next year too.

I met a guy crossing the intersection nearest our grocery store two days ago. He had a bag mounted on his walker, going home. He stopped about 3 feet short of the sidewalk (still in the street) and stood their for about 20 seconds muttering something and just staring forward. He finally got going again, up the sidewalk ramp and down the sidewalk. Not sure what that was all about. Seemed a little OCD about the sidewalk maybe.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:56 PM   #14
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I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! (snip)
thanks! No news yet, so at least the bank hasn't rejected the offer right off the bat.
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You'll probably want a pretty long break between chemo and reconstructive surgery, I think it's better to be healed up than it is to rush it.
When I talked to the surgeon last spring he said they like to allow at least two months. I don't know if I can schedule my surgery before I finish chemo or not. The delay could be a lot longer than two months if the surgeons get all booked up. There are just the two of them at the hospital I have on my medical plan, and they work as a team, so they can only do one of these surgeries per day, plus they need to allow office time for follow ups, pre-surgical consults, etc.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:31 PM   #15
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This looks like a fairly old house. Do you have any idea how much it may cost to give it reasonable insulation, modern plumbing and wiring, etc., etc? I remodeled an old farm house- more like rebuilt it. I was young and fit and eager to learn all the skills and to make a nice home for my beginning family. I did a lot of hillbilly contracting and so on. It still soaked up a fair amount of money, and although it was fun living there, I think any number of other paths would have been more practical and much better uses of time and money.

And of course it won't matter if you are planning to be there forever, but if do have to sell it you can likely kiss your improvements goodbye. As you pointed out the value here is lot, depending on where it is.

Ha
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:42 PM   #16
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This looks like a fairly old house. Do you have any idea how much it may cost to give it reasonable insulation, modern plumbing and wiring, etc., etc? I remodeled an old farm house- more like rebuilt it. I was young and fit and eager to learn all the skills and to make a nice home for my beginning family. I did a lot of hillbilly contracting and so on. It still soaked up a fair amount of money, and although it was fun living there, I think any number of other paths would have been more practical and much better uses of time and money.

And of course it won't matter if you are planning to be there forever, but if do have to sell it you can likely kiss your improvements goodbye. As you pointed out the value here is lot, depending on where it is.

Ha
haha, you are right, the original house is over 70 years old. There is an addition on the back which I think is more recent but I don't know exactly when it was built. I don't know yet how much work needs to be done or how much it would cost. I also don't know if remodeling the inside of the house or revising the footprint of the addition would require me to bring the whole building up to code. When the roof and education wing of my home parish burned several years ago, some parts of the building that weren't damaged by the fire had to be brought to current code. But that was in Kirkland, not Lacey. The house may be partly or completely un-insulated, and I'd want to do that whether it's required or not. I didn't check when I was there, but the windows may well be the single-pane originals, which might need to be replaced or re-sashed with double glass ones. I think it not at all unlikely that the electrical panel will need to be replaced, and perhaps the whole house rewired as well. The bathroom needs to be completely re-done and possibly moved to a different location in the house--it's extremely cramped, only 5'x6'; the hallway adjoining it is only two feet wide (I measured!) and widening the hallway would make the bath even smaller. But you just gave me an idea about a way to revise it that might be less expensive and hence more feasible than what I had in mind, so thanks for that! Back to the graph paper!!

I think (and agent assures me) it's at least possible all the necessary work could be done within budget, unless the foundation is completely kaputt. But I don't think it is, because the floors are still level throughout the house and the roof line looks straight and level too. Once the sale of my house closes I will have somewhere around $30K to work with if my current offer is accepted. The house is very small--only 676 square feet including the addition, so maybe that will be enough. The location is just too good to pass up without at least checking to see whether fixing up the house is feasible. The offer is conditional, subject to inspection, so if the necessary work is too expensive, I walk away and keep looking. I've asked for an extended inspection period so I can get an accurate picture of the work that's needed and how much it will cost.

Oh, and I am hoping to stay there for the rest of my life. When I moved into my townhouse, I only-half-jokingly swore, "the next time I move is the last time I move". I did't quite make it, since I completely cleared out the townhouse to put it on the market, but I would like moving the stuff out of the storage unit to my new home, wherever that turns out to be, the very last time. I suppose it's possible down the road I will need to move into a retirement community, as my mom is considering. I hope the house, as improved, would hold at least enough value to be sold and enable me to buy-in to such a place if I need/want to at an advanced age.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:22 PM   #17
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That looks like my kind of house. Of course an inspection is in order, along with estimates and investigation into possible code vagaries.

However some of us are just weird enough to like the quirky nature of a small historic cottage and doing repairs "as needed". It's small - it can't cost too much to fix!
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:10 PM   #18
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I reached agreement on price with the bank and signed the papers today. They absolutely refused to allow any longer for inspection. The ten days start when the bank acknowledges receipt of my signed offer, which my agent says is likely to be next Wednesday or so. He also says they got three offers from non-occupiers. I don't know if the place is worth spending as much as would probably be required to fix up as a rental, but it wouldn't surprise me if it would be profitable as a teardown/rebuild for someone who has more money to put into the project than I do, especially if there is enough to make two buildable parcels even with the desginated wetlands. I think that would be a pity, but if I can't afford it, I can't afford it. Gotta go, it's my turn to cook dinner tonight.
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:36 PM   #19
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That looks like my kind of house. Of course an inspection is in order, along with estimates and investigation into possible code vagaries.

However some of us are just weird enough to like the quirky nature of a small historic cottage and doing repairs "as needed". It's small - it can't cost too much to fix!
Me too. I really like it. The place just has a good vibe. I also agree with WestLake about checking it out.

Keep us posted.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:04 PM   #20
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I reached agreement on price with the bank and signed the papers today. They absolutely refused to allow any longer for inspection. The ten days start when the bank acknowledges receipt of my signed offer, which my agent says is likely to be next Wednesday or so. He also says they got three offers from non-occupiers. I don't know if the place is worth spending as much as would probably be required to fix up as a rental, but it wouldn't surprise me if it would be profitable as a teardown/rebuild for someone who has more money to put into the project than I do, especially if there is enough to make two buildable parcels even with the desginated wetlands. I think that would be a pity, but if I can't afford it, I can't afford it. Gotta go, it's my turn to cook dinner tonight.
Is that 10 days or 10 business day? Ten days is plenty of time to get a regular home inspection done. Where it is tight is in the event the inspector turns up some serious problem and you need to get an expert opinion about the cost say for a roof repair, or furnace.

I was faced with this back in Aug with property that I was buying in Vegas. The AC wasn't working, but the home inspector was able to to give more detail if was few hundred dollar condenser or 5,000 new AC. I asked for a reluctantly got additional time from the bank. My property was a short sale also. It turned out it I needed an AC but at $2700 it was cheaper than I expected.
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