The Big House Buy

You may have noticed that things have been somewhat slow at lately. This is because, in addition to writing a book and co-authoring an issue paper, I closed on a house on Wednesday. My wife and I closed on a house, I should emphasize. Our experiences may offer some insight into today’s housing market.

The price we paid will bring down the averages: the sales tag was $145,000, not bad for a three-bedroom house at its location. However, we are paying for that low price in other ways. Consider:

* The process took eleven weeks. During that time, we had to put most of our stuff in storage and live in a temporary situation.

* The siding was a complete disaster; it hadn’t been painted in many years, and much of it was bare. To qualify for the loan, I had to spend my own time and money, prior to closing, to scrape and prime the house. We also had to fix two windows. I have never heard of a real estate deal where the buyer fixes the house before closing.

* There’s quite a lot wrong with the house. In addition to the siding repairs, it needs new paint inside and out, some patchwork to repair old water leaks, a new hot water heater, a complete landscaping job, bathroom repairs, and so on. So, even though the price is lower, this largely reflects the time and money that we’ll have to put into the place.

* The previous owner had the place rented and those parties had some sort of dispute about the place. For my first inspection, I couldn’t get access to the house, so I had to pay extra for the wasted trip.

Put simply, very few people would have had the time, patience, or resources to buy this house. On several occasions I was convinced the deal had fallen through. So bear that in mind when you hear averages of housing prices. My guess is that we are approaching the point where marginal buyers will start to feel more secure about the market, then they’ll buy, buy, buy. Once all the difficult houses are off the market, real estate values will improve nicely. But that’s just a guess.

Need a Loan?

The buy would not have been possible without the dedication of our loan officer, Elsa Wohlford of Premier Mortgage Group. She went so far beyond the call of duty that I’ll be forever grateful. (I get nothing for promoting her other than the satisfaction of doing so. Readers should not assume that she endorses any of my views or positions.) If you’re looking to buy a house via a loan, or refinance, you could do no better than to sign up with Elsa.