Now that winter is here, I finally have some time to blog about some of my recent experiences. Guess I’ll start out by telling you about a couple that was referred to me last Spring. Great young couple. First time home buyers too. They were looking for something pretty specific. The wife reminded me of myself, because she wanted to be on her deck/patio and not see another neighbor. I am like that too. I’m probably worse since I have this thing about having a lot that sits higher that the houses around me.
Anyway, we looked at a whole lot of houses, which is always fine with me. My attitude is the more houses I get into the more useful I am in the future to folks. It really helps me to know what is typical for the area. Especially when I am doing comps.
I had been telling them they should by a house that they can see themselves in for a long time. The way the economy is, who knows what the interest rates would be when they wanted to sell. If we have inflation like the 1980’s again, there will be a lot of people who can’t afford to move up to a bigger house if interest rates shoot up. I kind of shot myself in the foot I think since that upped the ante for the house. But hey, it’s about them not me!
Like everybody, they wanted a move in ready house. Off topic here, but if all the houses on the market were move in ready, we could pull ourselves of the housing slump. There really aren’t that many move in ready………I mean MOVE IN ready houses out there. Well, real estate is all about Location, Price, and Condition. Those are the 3 realities we have to work with. It is pretty rare to get all 3 in Lexington for under, well, just about any amount, especially under $200k.
So, I started dropping hints that it would be easier to update a house than they thought……….if we found one that had everything else right about it. At first, I don’t think they were that interested in that. Like all home searches that go on for a bit, they started to get tired of looking. That can be a dangerous point cause then people sometimes compromise toooo much just to end the search. We didn’t go that far. If somebody is near that edge, I’ll usually look at houses without them and decide if it is worth showing them. People can only take so much disappointment.
They started to entertain the idea of painting, new carpet, updating lighting, etc. Somehow we found the 2 most unreasonable sellers in their price range. We made offers on these houses, I mean offers that I thought were VERY fair, only to have them rejected or countered on the far side of reality. (One of those houses was taken off the market and rented and the other one is still sitting there vacant!)
Third time is the charm. We found a great ranch with nice rooms, a nice lot, in a fine neighborhood. We also found a seller who smoked, had multiple cats, and probably didn’t own a vacuum. The place looked pretty bad. It smelled and it was messy. If I had taken this couple to this house any earlier, it would have become one of the forgotten ones.
So, we made an offer, it was countered by an agent who kept calling me “Babe,” and yes it was another guy. I thought that was kind of an odd thing to call another guy as opposed to “Bud”, or “Dude”, but I took one for the team. Finally they had a house!!
Since I got them into this mess, I figured I better help them with the worst part, which was pulling up the carpet. Man, it was nasty. Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing a cat box in that house!!
While they were painting and making daily trips to Home Depot, I would occasionally get a text from the husband. It always scared me a little since I never knew if it was going to be something like this: “Curse U John Rice! WTH. Y did U sell us this house. I’ll get U L8er for this!!” But it was always just an update of how the reno was going.
This couple spent about 6-8 weeks painting, changing light fixtures, getting new carpet and decorating the place. I’ve been over there a few times and it really looks great. They’ve been over to my house, and it is kind of embarrassing for me since their house looks so awesome and mine, well, just doesn’t.
I think they are really proud of their house and that they did all the work themselves. When you find a house that works for you on so many levels but only needs a decor-ectomy, you should buy it. Those things are easy to change. So now they have Location, Condition, and all within their Price. They got it all, and all it took was 6-8 week. A happy ending, especially since I also made some new friends in the process.