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Slugbug
July 8th 03, 03:31 PM
My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
have been house hunting.

We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
(the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
that this is true)

Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.

Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
that they consider it a duplex.

The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
about selling it. The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
inspection done before finalizing the offer.

The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.
That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
customers you would accept.

Frankly, I was 'insulted' when the realtor suggested I rent out the
upstairs anyway, despite what the city zoning inspector told me. However,
my parents have suggested that we could still use the upstairs for a home
office, or as a guest room. I don't understand an owner being insulted
when people are making genuine offers on a house they want to sell. I
especially don't understand why it seems like the price has been raised.
Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy to see if we will offer what they
are asking, and by saying the owner was 'insulted', she hoped we would
then respond by offering what she asked.

So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
continuing our search elsewhere. I know we would eventually find a good
deal at the county sheriff auctions, a bank sale, or whatever. At the
$60k price the realtor originally told us that the owner would accept, it
is about 50% more than a lot of the other places I've been looking at, but
it has enough good points that it is probably worth it. For instance,
home prices in that area have been going up an average of 4.5% per year
for the past decade or so. I think I already mentioned the nice park next
door.

It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
definitely be a good investment, and I know for a fact that it would be
better than staying here renting for another 6 months. However, I don't
want to just offer what they are asking now, since it is so close to the
listed price of $69k, and is a full $6k higher than what she told us he
would accept.

Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
maybe $1k higher each time? Or would it be better to simply make a new
offer of $60k, saying that is the highest we will go, and reminding her
that she said he would accept that amount? If we raise our offer to that
right away, that means that the end price will probably end up being
somewhere between the $60k she originally said he would take and the $66k
she is now saying he has to get.

Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,
and my wife is impatient to find a place. However, I also always want to
feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something. On the other
hand, the owner probably already feels like he has made a big concession,
because he has dropped the price $10k already. (from his very unrealistic
$79k original listing)

On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc. However,
if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
were looking at.

This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
the house.

Thanks,


Slugbug

silvasurfa
July 8th 03, 05:24 PM
"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)

I don't know how this works in the USA... would you be able to rent one part
of it out to another family, then take in a lodger in your part of the
residence... that is, under the same sort of rules as when you rent out a
room in your house?

>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced,

What are the boards like... can they be polished?


> and just about everything needs repainted.

How old is it? Would there be lead abatement issues if you rented to someone
with kids?

The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.

Money pit. Are you handy?

>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet.

For long term capital gain, land size is more important.


About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
> the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
> about selling it.

Legally it went from a 3 family to a 2 family.... if it is vacant too long
will it become a 1 family?

The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
> estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
> would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
> considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
> initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
> saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
> inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.

People are far more likely to be insulted by an offer made on their own home
than an offer made on an investment rental property. What sort of jerk gets
their ego all tied up in a run down timber house that they were happy to
rent out?

> That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
> that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
> you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
> that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
> customers you would accept.
>
> Frankly, I was 'insulted' when the realtor suggested I rent out the
> upstairs anyway, despite what the city zoning inspector told me.

It was unethical of her to suggest you break the law. A good pointer to what
her standard of behaviour is.

However,
> my parents have suggested that we could still use the upstairs for a home
> office, or as a guest room. I don't understand an owner being insulted
> when people are making genuine offers on a house they want to sell.

You have no idea what the owner really thinks, just what the agent tells
you. It could all be piffle.

I
> especially don't understand why it seems like the price has been raised.
> Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy to see if we will offer what they
> are asking, and by saying the owner was 'insulted', she hoped we would
> then respond by offering what she asked.

Quite possible.

>
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
> continuing our search elsewhere. I know we would eventually find a good
> deal at the county sheriff auctions, a bank sale, or whatever. At the
> $60k price the realtor originally told us that the owner would accept, it
> is about 50% more than a lot of the other places I've been looking at, but
> it has enough good points that it is probably worth it. For instance,
> home prices in that area have been going up an average of 4.5% per year
> for the past decade or so. I think I already mentioned the nice park next
> door.
>
> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment, and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months. However, I don't
> want to just offer what they are asking now, since it is so close to the
> listed price of $69k, and is a full $6k higher than what she told us he
> would accept.
>
> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time?

$1k lower each time!

Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k, saying that is the highest we will go, and reminding her
> that she said he would accept that amount? If we raise our offer to that
> right away, that means that the end price will probably end up being
> somewhere between the $60k she originally said he would take and the $66k
> she is now saying he has to get.
>
> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,
> and my wife is impatient to find a place. However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something. On the other
> hand, the owner probably already feels like he has made a big concession,
> because he has dropped the price $10k already. (from his very unrealistic
> $79k original listing)

Yes, but the input from you is only part of his motivation... I'm guessing
if there were other offers the agent would have told you (sometimes they
tell you even when there aren't) to get you worried and increase urgency.
The owner has the continued expenses on the place etc.

>
> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc. However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.
>

Eventually you will be the one snatching up a place.... just a matter of
persistence.

> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.
>
> Thanks,
>
>
> Slugbug

Consider getting a building inspection done if the owner will allow... yes,
it may be wasted if someone else grabs the place, but it could also be a
wonderful insight into why it isn't selling and into exactly how cheap you
can offer.

silvasurfa
July 8th 03, 05:24 PM
"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)

I don't know how this works in the USA... would you be able to rent one part
of it out to another family, then take in a lodger in your part of the
residence... that is, under the same sort of rules as when you rent out a
room in your house?

>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced,

What are the boards like... can they be polished?


> and just about everything needs repainted.

How old is it? Would there be lead abatement issues if you rented to someone
with kids?

The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.

Money pit. Are you handy?

>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet.

For long term capital gain, land size is more important.


About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
> the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
> about selling it.

Legally it went from a 3 family to a 2 family.... if it is vacant too long
will it become a 1 family?

The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
> estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
> would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
> considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
> initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
> saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
> inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.

People are far more likely to be insulted by an offer made on their own home
than an offer made on an investment rental property. What sort of jerk gets
their ego all tied up in a run down timber house that they were happy to
rent out?

> That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
> that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
> you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
> that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
> customers you would accept.
>
> Frankly, I was 'insulted' when the realtor suggested I rent out the
> upstairs anyway, despite what the city zoning inspector told me.

It was unethical of her to suggest you break the law. A good pointer to what
her standard of behaviour is.

However,
> my parents have suggested that we could still use the upstairs for a home
> office, or as a guest room. I don't understand an owner being insulted
> when people are making genuine offers on a house they want to sell.

You have no idea what the owner really thinks, just what the agent tells
you. It could all be piffle.

I
> especially don't understand why it seems like the price has been raised.
> Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy to see if we will offer what they
> are asking, and by saying the owner was 'insulted', she hoped we would
> then respond by offering what she asked.

Quite possible.

>
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
> continuing our search elsewhere. I know we would eventually find a good
> deal at the county sheriff auctions, a bank sale, or whatever. At the
> $60k price the realtor originally told us that the owner would accept, it
> is about 50% more than a lot of the other places I've been looking at, but
> it has enough good points that it is probably worth it. For instance,
> home prices in that area have been going up an average of 4.5% per year
> for the past decade or so. I think I already mentioned the nice park next
> door.
>
> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment, and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months. However, I don't
> want to just offer what they are asking now, since it is so close to the
> listed price of $69k, and is a full $6k higher than what she told us he
> would accept.
>
> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time?

$1k lower each time!

Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k, saying that is the highest we will go, and reminding her
> that she said he would accept that amount? If we raise our offer to that
> right away, that means that the end price will probably end up being
> somewhere between the $60k she originally said he would take and the $66k
> she is now saying he has to get.
>
> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,
> and my wife is impatient to find a place. However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something. On the other
> hand, the owner probably already feels like he has made a big concession,
> because he has dropped the price $10k already. (from his very unrealistic
> $79k original listing)

Yes, but the input from you is only part of his motivation... I'm guessing
if there were other offers the agent would have told you (sometimes they
tell you even when there aren't) to get you worried and increase urgency.
The owner has the continued expenses on the place etc.

>
> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc. However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.
>

Eventually you will be the one snatching up a place.... just a matter of
persistence.

> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.
>
> Thanks,
>
>
> Slugbug

Consider getting a building inspection done if the owner will allow... yes,
it may be wasted if someone else grabs the place, but it could also be a
wonderful insight into why it isn't selling and into exactly how cheap you
can offer.

Ted
July 8th 03, 06:32 PM
For the past 3 months I have been trying to buy a home with 2 realtors 1
owner the bank and myself involved.

If realtors weren't involved I feel I would already be in the home. Realtors
are the scum of the earth right next to most lawyers.

If you think it is a great deal for you and a deal for the seller, Stand by
your offer. In fact don't contact them again. I know it is hard. But in the
long term you will be much better off.

I have found that sometimes people put things on the market just to see if
they can sell them for higher than they should actually get for them. If
they don't get an offer for an unreasonable amount then they don't sell.
Little cost to them.


Walk away!


"Regina Seaner" > wrote in message
...
> Is the real estate agent you are dealing with the seller's agent? Or the
> agent you have chosen to show you many homes? Because frankly this agent
> sounds like bad news. Here's why:
>
> "I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just looks the
> other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway."
>
> Unethical. This agent seems to think she can say anything, so long as she
> gets her commission.
>
> "When the real estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned
that
> she knew he would take $60k for the property."
>
> Also unethical. She's screwing the seller by saying he'll accept less than
> the listing price, which should have been set fairly to begin with.
>
> > The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She
said
> > that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer"
>
> Pu-leeze! Now she's playing you, trying to get you to raise your bid.
>
> "and that he made a verbal counter offer of $66,000"
>
> No such thing. Nothing counts but a written offer.
>
>
> > So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> > proceed.
>
> This particular home has much going against it (stuff like no closets or
> hallways or a tiny kitchen will make it hard to resell).
>
> IMHO, let it go, and never do business with this realtor again. Find
> yourself a good agent who is honest and can help you evaluate exactly what
a
> house is worth and can help you make an offer with contingencies
> (inspections, etc.) that protect you. Ask friends for referrals to such an
> agent. Don't worry about how the seller "feels" about your offer; this is
a
> business transaction and if you've researched your offer, it will be fair.
> If you want to get a "deal" rather than make a fair offer, then go the
> auction route.
>
> Hope this helps.
>
>
>

Ted
July 8th 03, 06:32 PM
For the past 3 months I have been trying to buy a home with 2 realtors 1
owner the bank and myself involved.

If realtors weren't involved I feel I would already be in the home. Realtors
are the scum of the earth right next to most lawyers.

If you think it is a great deal for you and a deal for the seller, Stand by
your offer. In fact don't contact them again. I know it is hard. But in the
long term you will be much better off.

I have found that sometimes people put things on the market just to see if
they can sell them for higher than they should actually get for them. If
they don't get an offer for an unreasonable amount then they don't sell.
Little cost to them.


Walk away!


"Regina Seaner" > wrote in message
...
> Is the real estate agent you are dealing with the seller's agent? Or the
> agent you have chosen to show you many homes? Because frankly this agent
> sounds like bad news. Here's why:
>
> "I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just looks the
> other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway."
>
> Unethical. This agent seems to think she can say anything, so long as she
> gets her commission.
>
> "When the real estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned
that
> she knew he would take $60k for the property."
>
> Also unethical. She's screwing the seller by saying he'll accept less than
> the listing price, which should have been set fairly to begin with.
>
> > The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She
said
> > that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer"
>
> Pu-leeze! Now she's playing you, trying to get you to raise your bid.
>
> "and that he made a verbal counter offer of $66,000"
>
> No such thing. Nothing counts but a written offer.
>
>
> > So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> > proceed.
>
> This particular home has much going against it (stuff like no closets or
> hallways or a tiny kitchen will make it hard to resell).
>
> IMHO, let it go, and never do business with this realtor again. Find
> yourself a good agent who is honest and can help you evaluate exactly what
a
> house is worth and can help you make an offer with contingencies
> (inspections, etc.) that protect you. Ask friends for referrals to such an
> agent. Don't worry about how the seller "feels" about your offer; this is
a
> business transaction and if you've researched your offer, it will be fair.
> If you want to get a "deal" rather than make a fair offer, then go the
> auction route.
>
> Hope this helps.
>
>
>

Mieko
July 8th 03, 06:36 PM
In article >, Slugbug > wrote:
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
>proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
>continuing our search elsewhere.

That's a good thing, and it makes you able to get a good deal on this
property.

The real estate agent was probably lying when she told you the $60k price,
hoping that if she could get an offer in that range, she'd be able to talk her
client into selling. Your offer was too low, and the seller freaked.

Make another offer, with a very small increase in price. Or try offering a
little bit more, but requiring a new furnace, or other work done on the house
(something that you can't do yourself, that you trust them to do to your
liking). Insult them again if you have to, but if you know the property
appraised at $58k, and you don't *need* the house now, don't overpay.

And I hope you're good around the house, it sounds like that place needs a TON
of work.

Mieko
July 8th 03, 06:36 PM
In article >, Slugbug > wrote:
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
>proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
>continuing our search elsewhere.

That's a good thing, and it makes you able to get a good deal on this
property.

The real estate agent was probably lying when she told you the $60k price,
hoping that if she could get an offer in that range, she'd be able to talk her
client into selling. Your offer was too low, and the seller freaked.

Make another offer, with a very small increase in price. Or try offering a
little bit more, but requiring a new furnace, or other work done on the house
(something that you can't do yourself, that you trust them to do to your
liking). Insult them again if you have to, but if you know the property
appraised at $58k, and you don't *need* the house now, don't overpay.

And I hope you're good around the house, it sounds like that place needs a TON
of work.

Fritz M
July 8th 03, 06:58 PM
Slugbug > wrote:

> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She
> said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would
> accept. That rather confused my wife and I

To express insult, outrage, economic hardship, poor dying mother-in-law,
kids in orphanage, etc are all valid bargaining methods. Even if he is
truly insulted, it's nothing off of your back, and you have your own
family to take care of.

Another tip: Get your own real estate agent. Most of the ones I've known
(even good friends) are sleazy and unethical, but I've also met a few
good ones. IMO, most of them are at a level below lawyers, used-car
salesmen, and purveyors of snake-oil. Don't believe a *syllable* of what
the seller's agent is telling you, no matter how trustworthy he or she
seems.

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY get a property inspection. DO NOT USE THE
INSPECTION SERVICE the seller's agent recommends. Be wary of any
inspection service recommended by the buyer's agent -- get references and
do some web research. Don't go with a cheap inspection service, but get
somebody who knows what to look for.

To me, the house your looking at looks like it will need a lot of work.
Do you have tools and do you know carpentry and repair skills? Do you
have the time and money to mess with an old house?

RFM
--
To reply, translate domain from l33+ 2p33|< to alpha.
4=a 0=o 3=e +=t

Fritz M
July 8th 03, 06:58 PM
Slugbug > wrote:

> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She
> said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would
> accept. That rather confused my wife and I

To express insult, outrage, economic hardship, poor dying mother-in-law,
kids in orphanage, etc are all valid bargaining methods. Even if he is
truly insulted, it's nothing off of your back, and you have your own
family to take care of.

Another tip: Get your own real estate agent. Most of the ones I've known
(even good friends) are sleazy and unethical, but I've also met a few
good ones. IMO, most of them are at a level below lawyers, used-car
salesmen, and purveyors of snake-oil. Don't believe a *syllable* of what
the seller's agent is telling you, no matter how trustworthy he or she
seems.

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY get a property inspection. DO NOT USE THE
INSPECTION SERVICE the seller's agent recommends. Be wary of any
inspection service recommended by the buyer's agent -- get references and
do some web research. Don't go with a cheap inspection service, but get
somebody who knows what to look for.

To me, the house your looking at looks like it will need a lot of work.
Do you have tools and do you know carpentry and repair skills? Do you
have the time and money to mess with an old house?

RFM
--
To reply, translate domain from l33+ 2p33|< to alpha.
4=a 0=o 3=e +=t

myname
July 8th 03, 11:03 PM
Slugbug > wrote in message >...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.


Not any sort of answer to your question, but I'd like to point out
that where I live, in the Seattle area, the median price for a house
is close to $300,000. The house you described probably would go for
$200,000. And my 1100 square foot 2 bedroom condo is appraised at
$165,000.

And my father, who lives near San Jose in CA, just bought a 1600
square foot condo there for $425,000.

If you want to make yourself feel better about your purchase, check
out some online ads for houses in Seattle, San Francisco, etc, look at
the housing prices, and consider how lucky you are to be buying in
Ohio!

myname
July 8th 03, 11:03 PM
Slugbug > wrote in message >...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.


Not any sort of answer to your question, but I'd like to point out
that where I live, in the Seattle area, the median price for a house
is close to $300,000. The house you described probably would go for
$200,000. And my 1100 square foot 2 bedroom condo is appraised at
$165,000.

And my father, who lives near San Jose in CA, just bought a 1600
square foot condo there for $425,000.

If you want to make yourself feel better about your purchase, check
out some online ads for houses in Seattle, San Francisco, etc, look at
the housing prices, and consider how lucky you are to be buying in
Ohio!

Jason W. Paul
July 9th 03, 02:39 AM
"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented
for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so
we
> have been house hunting.
>

[snippage]

>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine.
She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a
verbal
> counter offer of $66,000.


Never, never, never, Never, NEVER, *NEVER* be afraid
to walk away from the bargaining table. Let the owner be
insulted. You've rented for 5 years, what's another 6 months
or a year to wait until you find a deal you're going to be
absolutely satisfied with.

I'd tell 'em to screw the counter -- you offered your price
and you're sticking to it. If in, say, 3 months the place hasn't
yet sold -- make your offer again, but lower it by a few grand
and make him feel like a schmuck for not taking your earlier
(better) offer. If it's already sold, then there's a million other
places out there. People get too emotionally attached to
a particular property and let that really dork with the
logical part of the brain when attempting negotiations.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

Jason W. Paul
July 9th 03, 02:39 AM
"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented
for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so
we
> have been house hunting.
>

[snippage]

>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine.
She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a
verbal
> counter offer of $66,000.


Never, never, never, Never, NEVER, *NEVER* be afraid
to walk away from the bargaining table. Let the owner be
insulted. You've rented for 5 years, what's another 6 months
or a year to wait until you find a deal you're going to be
absolutely satisfied with.

I'd tell 'em to screw the counter -- you offered your price
and you're sticking to it. If in, say, 3 months the place hasn't
yet sold -- make your offer again, but lower it by a few grand
and make him feel like a schmuck for not taking your earlier
(better) offer. If it's already sold, then there's a million other
places out there. People get too emotionally attached to
a particular property and let that really dork with the
logical part of the brain when attempting negotiations.

Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.

j647
July 9th 03, 03:13 PM
Walk away. An old home sucks money like a sponge. If you put 30K into a 60K
house, you have a 65K house, not a 90K house. If you buy a new home, even if
it is smaller than the one you want, it will resell. No one will buy the one
you're considering for the money you need to put into it.

Just my opinion, from one experience.


"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
> the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
> about selling it. The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
> estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
> would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
> considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
> initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
> saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
> inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.
> That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
> that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
> you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
> that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
> customers you would accept.
>
> Frankly, I was 'insulted' when the realtor suggested I rent out the
> upstairs anyway, despite what the city zoning inspector told me. However,
> my parents have suggested that we could still use the upstairs for a home
> office, or as a guest room. I don't understand an owner being insulted
> when people are making genuine offers on a house they want to sell. I
> especially don't understand why it seems like the price has been raised.
> Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy to see if we will offer what they
> are asking, and by saying the owner was 'insulted', she hoped we would
> then respond by offering what she asked.
>
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
> continuing our search elsewhere. I know we would eventually find a good
> deal at the county sheriff auctions, a bank sale, or whatever. At the
> $60k price the realtor originally told us that the owner would accept, it
> is about 50% more than a lot of the other places I've been looking at, but
> it has enough good points that it is probably worth it. For instance,
> home prices in that area have been going up an average of 4.5% per year
> for the past decade or so. I think I already mentioned the nice park next
> door.
>
> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment, and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months. However, I don't
> want to just offer what they are asking now, since it is so close to the
> listed price of $69k, and is a full $6k higher than what she told us he
> would accept.
>
> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time? Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k, saying that is the highest we will go, and reminding her
> that she said he would accept that amount? If we raise our offer to that
> right away, that means that the end price will probably end up being
> somewhere between the $60k she originally said he would take and the $66k
> she is now saying he has to get.
>
> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,
> and my wife is impatient to find a place. However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something. On the other
> hand, the owner probably already feels like he has made a big concession,
> because he has dropped the price $10k already. (from his very unrealistic
> $79k original listing)
>
> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc. However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.
>
> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.
>
> Thanks,
>
>
> Slugbug

j647
July 9th 03, 03:13 PM
Walk away. An old home sucks money like a sponge. If you put 30K into a 60K
house, you have a 65K house, not a 90K house. If you buy a new home, even if
it is smaller than the one you want, it will resell. No one will buy the one
you're considering for the money you need to put into it.

Just my opinion, from one experience.


"Slugbug" > wrote in message
...
> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
> years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
> neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
> have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
> nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
> and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
> current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
> as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
> grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
> interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
> the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
> family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
> years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
> looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
> (the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
> that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
> square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
> the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
> replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
> very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
> The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
> is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
> shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
> no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
> rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
> hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
> The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
> that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
> two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
> for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
> of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
> square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
> have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
> would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
> it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
> that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
> the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
> about selling it. The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
> estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
> would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
> considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
> initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
> saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
> inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
> that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
> counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.
> That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
> that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
> you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
> that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
> customers you would accept.
>
> Frankly, I was 'insulted' when the realtor suggested I rent out the
> upstairs anyway, despite what the city zoning inspector told me. However,
> my parents have suggested that we could still use the upstairs for a home
> office, or as a guest room. I don't understand an owner being insulted
> when people are making genuine offers on a house they want to sell. I
> especially don't understand why it seems like the price has been raised.
> Perhaps this is just a bargaining ploy to see if we will offer what they
> are asking, and by saying the owner was 'insulted', she hoped we would
> then respond by offering what she asked.
>
> So, I guess what I'm doing is asking for advice on how we should
> proceed. I don't have any problem with letting this house go, and
> continuing our search elsewhere. I know we would eventually find a good
> deal at the county sheriff auctions, a bank sale, or whatever. At the
> $60k price the realtor originally told us that the owner would accept, it
> is about 50% more than a lot of the other places I've been looking at, but
> it has enough good points that it is probably worth it. For instance,
> home prices in that area have been going up an average of 4.5% per year
> for the past decade or so. I think I already mentioned the nice park next
> door.
>
> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment, and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months. However, I don't
> want to just offer what they are asking now, since it is so close to the
> listed price of $69k, and is a full $6k higher than what she told us he
> would accept.
>
> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time? Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k, saying that is the highest we will go, and reminding her
> that she said he would accept that amount? If we raise our offer to that
> right away, that means that the end price will probably end up being
> somewhere between the $60k she originally said he would take and the $66k
> she is now saying he has to get.
>
> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,
> and my wife is impatient to find a place. However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something. On the other
> hand, the owner probably already feels like he has made a big concession,
> because he has dropped the price $10k already. (from his very unrealistic
> $79k original listing)
>
> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc. However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.
>
> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.
>
> Thanks,
>
>
> Slugbug

Chris Hill
July 9th 03, 03:27 PM
On 8 Jul 2003 09:31:44 -0400, Slugbug > wrote:

> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
>years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
>neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
>have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
>nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
>and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
>current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
>as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
>grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
>interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
>the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
>family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
>years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
>looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
>(the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
>that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
>square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
>the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
>replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
>very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
>The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
>is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
>shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
>no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
>rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
>hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
>The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
>that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
>two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
>for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
>of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
>square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
>have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
>would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
>it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
>that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
>the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
>about selling it. The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
>estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
>would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
>considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
>initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
>saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
>inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
>that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
>counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.
>That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
>that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
>you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
>that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
>customers you would accept.


The real estate agent is trying to sell the property, they didn't
likely mention the 60k figure to the owner. Let the owner be
insulted; this place needs a lot of work, and unless you're used to
having your house torn up you will have a lot of aggrevation in
getting it up to livable shape. Don't expect a home inspector to tell
you much of import, they only go by what they can see and aren't
interested in spoiling too many deals with things that aren't obvious.

Chris Hill
July 9th 03, 03:27 PM
On 8 Jul 2003 09:31:44 -0400, Slugbug > wrote:

> My wife and I live in Ohio, and we are living where I've rented for 5
>years. We currently pay $402 a month for rent. It isn't the best
>neighborhood, and we don't want to pay someone else rent forever, so we
>have been house hunting.
>
> We found a place that we like out in one of the suburbs. It is by a
>nice park, and we have checked it out during different times of the day,
>and different days of the week. The county auditor's website has a
>current appraisal of between $58k and $59k for the property. It is listed
>as a 3 family, but can legally only be used as a 2 family, due to loss of
>grandfathered zoning status. It was the 3 family status that got me
>interested, because I've always wanted to have someone else helping to pay
>the mortgage off. Anyway, I found out that the city considers it a two
>family now, because the upstairs hasn't been lived in for more than 2
>years. I called the real estate agent, who told me that the city just
>looks the other way, and that I could go ahead and rent it out anyway.
>(the city just hired a full time zoning enforcement officer, so I doubt
>that this is true)
>
> Anyway, the place looks quite nice on the outside, and is about 1400
>square feet on the inside, with a basement that is about 3/4 the size of
>the house. The inside isn't so good. The carpets completely need
>replaced, and just about everything needs repainted. The kitchens are
>very small, so I'm not sure if there is even enough room for a dishwasher.
>The stoves need replaced, but the refrigerators seem ok. The first floor
>is divided into two apartments. The upstairs apartment is in the worst
>shape, and really needs fixed up. There are no closets in the house, and
>no interior doors between 'bedrooms'. Really, each side just has several
>rooms that you walk through to get to the next room, there is no interior
>hallway, and no room to put one in. The roof looks in pretty good shape.
>The place has steel siding, painted white. The real estate agent said
>that the furnaces need replaced, and gave a cost of about $3,500 for the
>two furnaces to be replaced, and to have new ones installed.
>
> Over the past few years, houses in the neighborhood have been selling
>for about $51 per square foot, on average. The average house has a size
>of about 800 square feet. As I said before, this one has about 1400
>square feet. About 75% of the houses that have sold in the past 10 years
>have been brick, however, and since this one isn't, I'm not sure how that
>would compare. Also, the inside of this place needs a lot of work. Plus,
>it is not legally a three family as advertised, and the city has told me
>that they consider it a duplex.
>
> The owner originally had this place listed for $79,000. He got rid of
>the two tenants a couple of months ago, and so is probably pretty serious
>about selling it. The current listed price is $69,000. When the real
>estate agent walked us through the place, she mentioned that she knew he
>would take $60k for the property. My wife and I thought it all over, and
>considering all the work the place would take, we decided to make an
>initial offer of $55k on the place. I faxed the offer to her office,
>saying that I also wanted to have an independent appraisal and home
>inspection done before finalizing the offer.
>
> The real estate agent left a message on our answering machine. She said
>that the owner was 'insulted' by our offer, and that he made a verbal
>counter offer of $66,000. She said that was the lowest he would accept.
>That rather confused my wife and I, because both of us recall her saying
>that the owner would accept $60k for the property. As far as I know, when
>you want to sell a property, you don't come back and make a counter offer
>that is higher than the amount you told your realtor to tell potential
>customers you would accept.


The real estate agent is trying to sell the property, they didn't
likely mention the 60k figure to the owner. Let the owner be
insulted; this place needs a lot of work, and unless you're used to
having your house torn up you will have a lot of aggrevation in
getting it up to livable shape. Don't expect a home inspector to tell
you much of import, they only go by what they can see and aren't
interested in spoiling too many deals with things that aren't obvious.

IleneB
July 9th 03, 06:02 PM
In article >, Fritz M
+> wrote:

> Do you
> have the time and money to mess with an old house?

Carpets and appliances are one thing. But what about wiring and
plumbing? Old wiring might be a fire hazard or a hazard that makes
renting undoable or a legal problem. Cosmetics are one thing, and the
guts of the thing are another. Could be the former tenants were family
members or some other sort of arrangement that sidestepped the safety
as a rental. And if one unit was empty for years, what does that say
about anyone's ability to either get a tenant or legally (safely) have
one?

Ilene B

IleneB
July 9th 03, 06:02 PM
In article >, Fritz M
+> wrote:

> Do you
> have the time and money to mess with an old house?

Carpets and appliances are one thing. But what about wiring and
plumbing? Old wiring might be a fire hazard or a hazard that makes
renting undoable or a legal problem. Cosmetics are one thing, and the
guts of the thing are another. Could be the former tenants were family
members or some other sort of arrangement that sidestepped the safety
as a rental. And if one unit was empty for years, what does that say
about anyone's ability to either get a tenant or legally (safely) have
one?

Ilene B

Dennis P. Harris
July 11th 03, 08:31 AM
On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 13:13:04 GMT in misc.consumers.frugal-living,
"j647" > wrote:

> Walk away.

i agree. the first alarm bell should have been a real estate
agent telling you that you could violate zoning laws. you should
report her/him to your state real estate commission for
suggesting to prospective buyers that they should become a
criminal.

this deal stinks. better to pay more and get a livable house.

Dennis P. Harris
July 11th 03, 08:31 AM
On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 13:13:04 GMT in misc.consumers.frugal-living,
"j647" > wrote:

> Walk away.

i agree. the first alarm bell should have been a real estate
agent telling you that you could violate zoning laws. you should
report her/him to your state real estate commission for
suggesting to prospective buyers that they should become a
criminal.

this deal stinks. better to pay more and get a livable house.

Neil
July 11th 03, 06:21 PM
Slugbug > wrote in message >...

There are two main things I see wrong with the house:

* Bad design (no closets, tiny kitchen, etc.). You can't fix that.

* The condition of the house sounds terrible. Fixing that all will be
expensive and a hassle, and there are probably further problems you
can't see. It's a waste of time to fix a place that's badly designed.
Everything wears out eventually, even houses, and must be scrapped.
This house sounds worn out.

Would you buy a badly-designed, worn-out car? Or a badly-designed,
uncomfortable, worn-out pair of shoes?

No, you wouldn't, and those things are much cheaper than a house. So I
suggest you look elsewhere for a house.

Also, do you have a real-estate working for you as a buyer's agent? If
you do that, then that person can be looking and let you know when
he/she sees something that suits your needs.

BTW, the seller will eventually have to either keep the house, or else
lower the price enough so that somebody will be willing (or foolish
enough) to ignore all the problems and buy the house. Another
possibility is that if the location's good enough, someone with deep
pockets will eventually buy the house, destroy it, then build
something decent on the site.

(snip)

> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment,

If you mean that you could sell it later and make some $$$, I
disagree. The hosue sounds very undesirable. The houses that are
easiest to sell are the houses that are selling at the median prices
in your area, not run-down, badly-designed houses like this one.
That's why it hasn't sold. Nobody wants it.

And I doubt that you'll find tenants easily either, because the house
has so many problems. I wouldn't want to live in a place like you
describe. You might have trouble attracting anyone willing to pay
enough rent for you to make this worthwhile. And if the rent you
charge is very low, you may attract people who can't afford to rent a
better place and may have trouble coming up with the rent they owe
you.

BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
desirable to most people.

>and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months.

I suggest you save your $$$ and get something where you'll get your
money's worth.

I think you're maybe overthinking this house. It's badly designed
(which you can't fix) and it's got many problems (known and unknown,
and all will cost plenty in terms of hassles, $$$, and time). All of
the above problems make it undesirable.

There's no shortage of houses. Keep shopping.

(snip)

> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time? Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k,

If you want to make an offer, make it very low, and be willing to walk
away and forget about it. But I wouldn't make any offer.

(snip)

> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,

We went through a long shopping period also. We didn't seem to be
getting anywhere, so we took a break for 6 months or so, looked again,
then we bought.

This is a huge purchase and there's no need to buy now. Maybe there's
just nothing available now that works for you. So take a break and
wait awhile. If you buy now, just because you've invested 9 months in
shopping, only you can decide if that makes sense to do.

> and my wife is impatient to find a place.

I think you should both take a break.

>However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something.

The way I look at homebuying, everyone needs a roof over their heads,
so you might as well buy, but don't buy a house that's junk.

(snip)

> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc.

Exactly. Nobody wants it. Whoever buys it will have a big headache. It
may be on the market much longer.

An agent once told me "There's nothing wrong with a house that
lowering the price won't fix." But I disagree. If a house is bad
enough, it will be very, very hard to sell it, because no one will
want it.

> However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.

Not your problem. As you point out above, it's undesirable.

> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.

Get yourself a buyer's agent, then have your agent do the looking and
screening. Your agent will split the commission with the selling
agent, so it doesn't cost you anything extra to have your own agent.
Ask your friends, co-workers, etc. for recommendaions for an agent.
Then contact the agent and ask her/him to work as your agent. Make
sure the agent is willing to show you anything that fits your needs,
not just what that agent is selling. Having a buyer's agent will make
things easier for you.

Don't waste any more thought on this house. Even if the price goes
down, I don't think that's enough reason to buy a poorly-designed
house that's in lousy shape.

Like I said before, you wouldn't buy a car or shoes that are poorly
designed and in lousy shape, so don't buy a house like that.

Neil
July 11th 03, 06:21 PM
Slugbug > wrote in message >...

There are two main things I see wrong with the house:

* Bad design (no closets, tiny kitchen, etc.). You can't fix that.

* The condition of the house sounds terrible. Fixing that all will be
expensive and a hassle, and there are probably further problems you
can't see. It's a waste of time to fix a place that's badly designed.
Everything wears out eventually, even houses, and must be scrapped.
This house sounds worn out.

Would you buy a badly-designed, worn-out car? Or a badly-designed,
uncomfortable, worn-out pair of shoes?

No, you wouldn't, and those things are much cheaper than a house. So I
suggest you look elsewhere for a house.

Also, do you have a real-estate working for you as a buyer's agent? If
you do that, then that person can be looking and let you know when
he/she sees something that suits your needs.

BTW, the seller will eventually have to either keep the house, or else
lower the price enough so that somebody will be willing (or foolish
enough) to ignore all the problems and buy the house. Another
possibility is that if the location's good enough, someone with deep
pockets will eventually buy the house, destroy it, then build
something decent on the site.

(snip)

> It is probably worth $66k. It might be worth $70k. It would almost
> definitely be a good investment,

If you mean that you could sell it later and make some $$$, I
disagree. The hosue sounds very undesirable. The houses that are
easiest to sell are the houses that are selling at the median prices
in your area, not run-down, badly-designed houses like this one.
That's why it hasn't sold. Nobody wants it.

And I doubt that you'll find tenants easily either, because the house
has so many problems. I wouldn't want to live in a place like you
describe. You might have trouble attracting anyone willing to pay
enough rent for you to make this worthwhile. And if the rent you
charge is very low, you may attract people who can't afford to rent a
better place and may have trouble coming up with the rent they owe
you.

BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
desirable to most people.

>and I know for a fact that it would be
> better than staying here renting for another 6 months.

I suggest you save your $$$ and get something where you'll get your
money's worth.

I think you're maybe overthinking this house. It's badly designed
(which you can't fix) and it's got many problems (known and unknown,
and all will cost plenty in terms of hassles, $$$, and time). All of
the above problems make it undesirable.

There's no shortage of houses. Keep shopping.

(snip)

> Should we hold off and just fax in a new offer every couple of weeks,
> maybe $1k higher each time? Or would it be better to simply make a new
> offer of $60k,

If you want to make an offer, make it very low, and be willing to walk
away and forget about it. But I wouldn't make any offer.

(snip)

> Part of me is impatient - we have been house hunting for 9 months now,

We went through a long shopping period also. We didn't seem to be
getting anywhere, so we took a break for 6 months or so, looked again,
then we bought.

This is a huge purchase and there's no need to buy now. Maybe there's
just nothing available now that works for you. So take a break and
wait awhile. If you buy now, just because you've invested 9 months in
shopping, only you can decide if that makes sense to do.

> and my wife is impatient to find a place.

I think you should both take a break.

>However, I also always want to
> feel like I've gotten a good deal when I buy something.

The way I look at homebuying, everyone needs a roof over their heads,
so you might as well buy, but don't buy a house that's junk.

(snip)

> On the side of patience, the place hasn't sold in over two months. Most
> people don't want a duplex. Most people also don't want a place that
> needs a lot of work, such as new furnaces, stoves, carpet, etc.

Exactly. Nobody wants it. Whoever buys it will have a big headache. It
may be on the market much longer.

An agent once told me "There's nothing wrong with a house that
lowering the price won't fix." But I disagree. If a house is bad
enough, it will be very, very hard to sell it, because no one will
want it.

> However,
> if I wait and assume that we can eventually get them to lower the price,
> the place may eventually be snatched up, like a couple of other places we
> were looking at.

Not your problem. As you point out above, it's undesirable.

> This will most likely be the largest single purchase that we ever make
> in our lives, so I would really appreciate any suggestions that you have
> on this, or any ideas you might have about ways to approach bargaining for
> the house.

Get yourself a buyer's agent, then have your agent do the looking and
screening. Your agent will split the commission with the selling
agent, so it doesn't cost you anything extra to have your own agent.
Ask your friends, co-workers, etc. for recommendaions for an agent.
Then contact the agent and ask her/him to work as your agent. Make
sure the agent is willing to show you anything that fits your needs,
not just what that agent is selling. Having a buyer's agent will make
things easier for you.

Don't waste any more thought on this house. Even if the price goes
down, I don't think that's enough reason to buy a poorly-designed
house that's in lousy shape.

Like I said before, you wouldn't buy a car or shoes that are poorly
designed and in lousy shape, so don't buy a house like that.

Neil
July 11th 03, 06:22 PM
(Dennis P. Harris) wrote in message >...
> On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 13:13:04 GMT in misc.consumers.frugal-living,
> "j647" > wrote:
>
> > Walk away.

(snip)

> this deal stinks. better to pay more and get a livable house.

Agree.

Neil
July 11th 03, 06:22 PM
(Dennis P. Harris) wrote in message >...
> On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 13:13:04 GMT in misc.consumers.frugal-living,
> "j647" > wrote:
>
> > Walk away.

(snip)

> this deal stinks. better to pay more and get a livable house.

Agree.

lpogoda
July 12th 03, 03:37 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
>wrote:
>
>>
>>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
>>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
>>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
>>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
>>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
>>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
>>desirable to most people.
>
>Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
>make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.

He said "most people". I'd tend to agree. All things being equal, I'd
rather pay less than more. But things are rarely equal, and if paying less
means getting less than I want -and- can afford, I'd rather pay more.

>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>(b) add on to it.

My Dad added a bathroom. In his case, that meant getting a zoning variance,
which among other things meant getting permission from the neighbors, then
building the bathroom space from the ground (below ground actually, for the
foundation) up to the roof. It took weeks, the rest of the house was a mess
like you wouldn't believe. The contractor did a good job, the end result is
a small, nice but by no means luxurious bath that cost only $30,000 or so.
(I don't know if that seems high or not, but my folks know how to squeeze a
nickel, and I'm sure he got the best price possible for his situation.)

He did it for my mother, who was deteriorating with Alzheimer's to the point
where she was getting lost when she got up to go to the bathroom in the
middle of the night.

His situation was a special case. If you're buying a house and want/need two
bathrooms, I'd sooner pay more to get one that has the baths than less with
the intent of adding one after I'd moved in if I possibly could. The same
goes for any other amenity.

lpogoda
July 12th 03, 03:37 AM
Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
>On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
>wrote:
>
>>
>>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
>>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
>>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
>>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
>>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
>>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
>>desirable to most people.
>
>Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
>make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.

He said "most people". I'd tend to agree. All things being equal, I'd
rather pay less than more. But things are rarely equal, and if paying less
means getting less than I want -and- can afford, I'd rather pay more.

>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>(b) add on to it.

My Dad added a bathroom. In his case, that meant getting a zoning variance,
which among other things meant getting permission from the neighbors, then
building the bathroom space from the ground (below ground actually, for the
foundation) up to the roof. It took weeks, the rest of the house was a mess
like you wouldn't believe. The contractor did a good job, the end result is
a small, nice but by no means luxurious bath that cost only $30,000 or so.
(I don't know if that seems high or not, but my folks know how to squeeze a
nickel, and I'm sure he got the best price possible for his situation.)

He did it for my mother, who was deteriorating with Alzheimer's to the point
where she was getting lost when she got up to go to the bathroom in the
middle of the night.

His situation was a special case. If you're buying a house and want/need two
bathrooms, I'd sooner pay more to get one that has the baths than less with
the intent of adding one after I'd moved in if I possibly could. The same
goes for any other amenity.

silvasurfa
July 12th 03, 06:33 AM
"lpogoda" > wrote in message
...
>
> Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
> >On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
> >wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
> >>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
> >>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
> >>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
> >>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
> >>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
> >>desirable to most people.
> >
> >Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
> >make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.
>
> He said "most people". I'd tend to agree. All things being equal, I'd
> rather pay less than more. But things are rarely equal, and if paying
less
> means getting less than I want -and- can afford, I'd rather pay more.
>
> >If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
> >(b) add on to it.
.. If you're buying a house and want/need two
> bathrooms, I'd sooner pay more to get one that has the baths than less
with
> the intent of adding one after I'd moved in if I possibly could. The
same
> goes for any other amenity.
>
>

The exeption is when you buy a rundown but structurally sound small house on
a large block of land that is very well suited to an extension, in a very
good location. A classic example of this where I live is the style of house
locally called a villa... a single level house consisting of a corridor with
rooms either side. Most of them were built of bluestone in the late
1890's/early 1900's... and have high ceilings and large rooms, and a built
on lean to kitchen/laundry added in the 1930's. A classic 4 or 6 room villa
with the lean to kitchen knocked down and replaced with a large family
room/kitchen, a nice bathroom, ensuite bathroom to one of the back bedrooms,
utility room etc makes for a very nice house indeed.

Of course if you are going to do this, the smart thing is to shop for the
sort of house this can be done to... not to find the cheapest house on the
market and then wonder what you can do with it.

I wonder whether the OP has the resources to do some speculative
building.... buy a block of land and get approval to build some row house
style townhouses. I have no idea how this would work in the USA, but where I
live this sort of accomodation is popular for those who want a reasonable
but not huge amount of respectable housing on a small block of land, and
townhouses are quite nice to live in too... good light and the all the
advantages and disadvantages of 2 storey living. Very very popular with
childless couples. And a good way to turn a dollar out of real estate,
because (at least where I live) you can sell the townhouses as individual
housing units so long as there is a firewall, seperate plumbing etc. If the
OP has a good income but not much capital to lose should it turn out
unprofitable and bankruptcy be needed, it might be worth the risk to do
this.

silvasurfa
July 12th 03, 06:33 AM
"lpogoda" > wrote in message
...
>
> Pat Meadows wrote in message ...
> >On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
> >wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
> >>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
> >>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
> >>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
> >>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
> >>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
> >>desirable to most people.
> >
> >Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
> >make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.
>
> He said "most people". I'd tend to agree. All things being equal, I'd
> rather pay less than more. But things are rarely equal, and if paying
less
> means getting less than I want -and- can afford, I'd rather pay more.
>
> >If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
> >(b) add on to it.
.. If you're buying a house and want/need two
> bathrooms, I'd sooner pay more to get one that has the baths than less
with
> the intent of adding one after I'd moved in if I possibly could. The
same
> goes for any other amenity.
>
>

The exeption is when you buy a rundown but structurally sound small house on
a large block of land that is very well suited to an extension, in a very
good location. A classic example of this where I live is the style of house
locally called a villa... a single level house consisting of a corridor with
rooms either side. Most of them were built of bluestone in the late
1890's/early 1900's... and have high ceilings and large rooms, and a built
on lean to kitchen/laundry added in the 1930's. A classic 4 or 6 room villa
with the lean to kitchen knocked down and replaced with a large family
room/kitchen, a nice bathroom, ensuite bathroom to one of the back bedrooms,
utility room etc makes for a very nice house indeed.

Of course if you are going to do this, the smart thing is to shop for the
sort of house this can be done to... not to find the cheapest house on the
market and then wonder what you can do with it.

I wonder whether the OP has the resources to do some speculative
building.... buy a block of land and get approval to build some row house
style townhouses. I have no idea how this would work in the USA, but where I
live this sort of accomodation is popular for those who want a reasonable
but not huge amount of respectable housing on a small block of land, and
townhouses are quite nice to live in too... good light and the all the
advantages and disadvantages of 2 storey living. Very very popular with
childless couples. And a good way to turn a dollar out of real estate,
because (at least where I live) you can sell the townhouses as individual
housing units so long as there is a firewall, seperate plumbing etc. If the
OP has a good income but not much capital to lose should it turn out
unprofitable and bankruptcy be needed, it might be worth the risk to do
this.

Marc VanHeyningen
July 12th 03, 08:39 AM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
>wrote:
>>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
>>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
>>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
>>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
>>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
>>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
>>desirable to most people.

Or, alternately, the house isn't desirable to most people, which is the
reason the price is so low.

>Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
>make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.

Only people who are interested in a "fixer" of some variety. This seems
to be a regional thing; there are some areas where there are so many
people looking to get a bargain on a "fixer" that they drive the price
up to the point where it's no bargain.

Also, a low price is mainly going to appeal to people who don't earn a
lot. Many (not all!) people who don't earn a lot are not looking to buy
at all.

>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>(b) add on to it.

....or (c) use the money you would have spent doing (a) or (b) above, and
instead buy a house that is better to start with. That's the option
most people prefer.

Marc VanHeyningen
July 12th 03, 08:39 AM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700, (Neil)
>wrote:
>>BTW, we used to live in a 700' sq. house. One of the cheapest houses
>>in the county, both when we bought it and sold it. The price was low
>>when we bought it and low when we sold it, because it wasn't an
>>average-size house. When we put it on the market, we had some
>>difficulty selling it, because shoppers were willing to pay more and
>>get a bigger, better place elsewhere. A low price doesn't make a house
>>desirable to most people.

Or, alternately, the house isn't desirable to most people, which is the
reason the price is so low.

>Whoa. You sure about that? I'd think a low price would
>make a house very desirable to a whole lot of people.

Only people who are interested in a "fixer" of some variety. This seems
to be a regional thing; there are some areas where there are so many
people looking to get a bargain on a "fixer" that they drive the price
up to the point where it's no bargain.

Also, a low price is mainly going to appeal to people who don't earn a
lot. Many (not all!) people who don't earn a lot are not looking to buy
at all.

>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>(b) add on to it.

....or (c) use the money you would have spent doing (a) or (b) above, and
instead buy a house that is better to start with. That's the option
most people prefer.

Marc VanHeyningen
July 12th 03, 11:19 PM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 06:39:35 +0000 (UTC),
(Marc VanHeyningen) wrote:
>>>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>>>(b) add on to it.
>>
>>...or (c) use the money you would have spent doing (a) or (b) above, and
>>instead buy a house that is better to start with. That's the option
>>most people prefer.
>
>What did you say the name of this group was again?

Frugal living, but it's about being frugal with time as well as with
money. Unless you're skilled at fixing up crappy houses and enjoy
doing it, I think it's usually more frugal to buy a half-decent house
to start with. This is doubly true if you're a first-time homebuyer who
is inexperienced with buying and fixing up a home.

With interest rates very low, it becomes triply true -- if you buy
a better home, you can finance it over 30 years at low interest,
while the cost of fixing a newly purchased home must be paid up-front
with cash you may not have.

In my part of the country, the big lose is with "cosmetic fixers",
houses which are in OK shape but need some maintenance and updating.
Trouble is, there's so much demand for them that they aren't much
cheaper than other houses. The big win is the increasingly popular
concept of the "low maintenance yard."

Marc VanHeyningen
July 12th 03, 11:19 PM
Thus said Pat Meadows >:
>On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 06:39:35 +0000 (UTC),
(Marc VanHeyningen) wrote:
>>>If the price is low enough, you can (a) repair a house and
>>>(b) add on to it.
>>
>>...or (c) use the money you would have spent doing (a) or (b) above, and
>>instead buy a house that is better to start with. That's the option
>>most people prefer.
>
>What did you say the name of this group was again?

Frugal living, but it's about being frugal with time as well as with
money. Unless you're skilled at fixing up crappy houses and enjoy
doing it, I think it's usually more frugal to buy a half-decent house
to start with. This is doubly true if you're a first-time homebuyer who
is inexperienced with buying and fixing up a home.

With interest rates very low, it becomes triply true -- if you buy
a better home, you can finance it over 30 years at low interest,
while the cost of fixing a newly purchased home must be paid up-front
with cash you may not have.

In my part of the country, the big lose is with "cosmetic fixers",
houses which are in OK shape but need some maintenance and updating.
Trouble is, there's so much demand for them that they aren't much
cheaper than other houses. The big win is the increasingly popular
concept of the "low maintenance yard."

Binyamin Dissen
July 13th 03, 01:53 AM
On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700 (Neil) wrote:

[ snipped ]

:>Would you buy a badly-designed, worn-out car? Or a badly-designed,
:>uncomfortable, worn-out pair of shoes?

:>No, you wouldn't, and those things are much cheaper than a house. So I
:>suggest you look elsewhere for a house.

Unlike your cases of the car and shoes, a house consists of the structure and
the property upon which it was built.

The fact that the current structure is bad will have an effect on the price
but even with a bad structure the land has value. That is why one does not buy
insurance for the property value - one buys it for the cost of rebuilding the
house. A home with a value of USD$1 million in downtown Chicago needs less
insurance than a USD$1 million home in Lincoln, Nebraska since in the Chicago
case much more of the value is in the land and much less is in the structure.

Many times investors have bought properties, gutted them, rebuilt them and
made nice profits.

[ snipped ]

--
Binyamin Dissen >
http://www.dissensoftware.com

Binyamin Dissen
July 13th 03, 01:53 AM
On 11 Jul 2003 09:21:10 -0700 (Neil) wrote:

[ snipped ]

:>Would you buy a badly-designed, worn-out car? Or a badly-designed,
:>uncomfortable, worn-out pair of shoes?

:>No, you wouldn't, and those things are much cheaper than a house. So I
:>suggest you look elsewhere for a house.

Unlike your cases of the car and shoes, a house consists of the structure and
the property upon which it was built.

The fact that the current structure is bad will have an effect on the price
but even with a bad structure the land has value. That is why one does not buy
insurance for the property value - one buys it for the cost of rebuilding the
house. A home with a value of USD$1 million in downtown Chicago needs less
insurance than a USD$1 million home in Lincoln, Nebraska since in the Chicago
case much more of the value is in the land and much less is in the structure.

Many times investors have bought properties, gutted them, rebuilt them and
made nice profits.

[ snipped ]

--
Binyamin Dissen >
http://www.dissensoftware.com

silvasurfa
July 13th 03, 03:36 PM
"Marc VanHeyningen" > wrote in message
...

>
> With interest rates very low, it becomes triply true -- if you buy
> a better home, you can finance it over 30 years at low interest,
> while the cost of fixing a newly purchased home must be paid up-front
> with cash you may not have.

In Australia a lot of banks are willing to lend for renovating and extending
a home in a similar manner to the way they lend for building... in stages.
So you initially borrow to buy the place, then extend the homeloan to do the
internal fixes, then to do the new addition etc. So long as you are pretty
much willing to live on a building site this works OK. The only extra cost
in doing this is usually they will want to send a valuer out to check the
property and OK that after extensions your total debt will not be more than
a set percentage of the after renovation value of the home. This costs a few
hundred and is no big deal.

If you buy a house that isn't great but is solid and livable, with the
intent of renovating, extending etc, you have the advantage that you have
secured title to the land... the land being the thing that really
appreciates in value. I would rather buy a $150,000 home with potential to
renovate in a neighbourhood full of $300,000 homes than a $150,000 home with
no renovation potential in a neighbourhood of $150,000 homes. The potential
to renovate is a valuable option.

That said... if you want this sort of house then that is what you shop
for... you don't find a place and then think you can do this, because you
are likely not to get the best deal.

silvasurfa
July 13th 03, 03:36 PM
"Marc VanHeyningen" > wrote in message
...

>
> With interest rates very low, it becomes triply true -- if you buy
> a better home, you can finance it over 30 years at low interest,
> while the cost of fixing a newly purchased home must be paid up-front
> with cash you may not have.

In Australia a lot of banks are willing to lend for renovating and extending
a home in a similar manner to the way they lend for building... in stages.
So you initially borrow to buy the place, then extend the homeloan to do the
internal fixes, then to do the new addition etc. So long as you are pretty
much willing to live on a building site this works OK. The only extra cost
in doing this is usually they will want to send a valuer out to check the
property and OK that after extensions your total debt will not be more than
a set percentage of the after renovation value of the home. This costs a few
hundred and is no big deal.

If you buy a house that isn't great but is solid and livable, with the
intent of renovating, extending etc, you have the advantage that you have
secured title to the land... the land being the thing that really
appreciates in value. I would rather buy a $150,000 home with potential to
renovate in a neighbourhood full of $300,000 homes than a $150,000 home with
no renovation potential in a neighbourhood of $150,000 homes. The potential
to renovate is a valuable option.

That said... if you want this sort of house then that is what you shop
for... you don't find a place and then think you can do this, because you
are likely not to get the best deal.

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