The difference a day makes

May 12, 2008
As of Friday, we were less than a week away from our vacation to San Francisco. We had been anticipating the trip for a couple months. However, by Saturday, our plans completely changed. While I was shopping for a couple items for the trip, Frank called and suggested we start house hunting now rather than wait until our condo sells. Particularly because the deadline for his relocation perks is quickly approaching, and frankly, we’re tired of waiting. It’s been on the market for six months and there’s been very little interest because qualified buyers have unbeatable deals (on newer places) at their fingertips due to the overwhelmed market from the mortgage crisis fallout. He calculated raw numbers and realized we could afford to keep the condo until it does sell, and still swing the costs of owning a home. It didn’t take much to sell me on the idea because it was something I had already been tossing around. He set an appointment with our realtor for Sunday.

Saturday evening we searched home listings and compiled a list of 19 homes that met our criteria. We ran figures again to be sure we can afford two homes for an indefinite amount of time, and sure enough we can do it. We’ll have to sacrifice a few meals at high end restaurants and other splurges, but it’ll be worthwhile. We also determined that it was best to cancel the San Francisco trip as the money would be better spent toward the down payment of a house.

Sunday we began the house hunt. Half of the properties we selected had offers pending so our realtor printed off eight others with similar criteria. I have to say the process was a bit discouraging; every house we looked at was a short sale, foreclosure or repo. We didn’t intend to look at bank owned properties, it just so happened that’s what was available. A few homes were not structurally sound or up to code, others needed to be completely gutted and a couple needed cosmetic repairs. None were move-in ready, it seems anything decent is swept off the market in an instant. The investors are pouncing on them left and right. There were two homes worth consideration: one was smaller than I’d like, the other was 2555 sq ft. so it offered room to grow. The home had no interior doors, it needs to paint, flooring and overall maintenance. However, I saw the potential right away, Frank was hesitant, but he’s coming around. I think it’ll cost $15k for repairs, we are considering placing an offer below list to cover repair costs. It’s not likely the bank will accept the offer, but I figure it can’t hurt to try. There’s another home listed down the street, it has an identical floor plan, in good condition, no pool, but gorgeous landscaping, it is listed for $420,000. That’s more than $80k than the house we’re interested in, after touring that property I was assured that this home truly has potential.

There's another 12 properties we'd like to see. Most are more than we want to spend, but I'd like to see how they compare to those we have seen. Hopefully, we'll be able to take a look today.

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