We are finally going to get a house! It has been a long 6 months. People said that it was a "buyer's market". I disagree. While it was a market from February through July where there were not major bidding wars among buyers, there were other obsticles. Price. The prices for homes really stayed the same. Sure, they dropped about 7% to 12% in some areas from all time highs. But for the most part, sellers were hugely reluctant to sell for lower prices. We found a situation where the sellers were financially solvent and actually wanted to sell. So, they gave us a good price. I still would have liked to see prices drop more. (Sorry homeowners). Then there was location. Then there was what was really on the market. A lot of people didn't even put houses up for sale. I secretly believe they are waiting for the market to improve. It was a buyers market in the sense that once a house with "curb appeal" went on the market, it was only a matter of hours before offers to buy started rolling in. We missed out on one such house. I'm not sad at all though. Making a fast decision when buying a house is really hard to do.
We ran accross a home that we really liked just after making an offer on the one we got. As we started going through the process of making an offer and getting it inspected we found out some stuff. (You don't really get to learn much except what is on the flyer until you pay $300 for an inspection). The sellers were on the brink of financial ruin due to jobs lost. The house was a money pit once you looked past the paint. The roof had original cedar shingles with 4 layers of composite on top. Eek! So, we were uneducated about this before hearing about it. It meant that to repair the roof it would cost a lot more. Each layer has a tear-off price associated with it. Then the cedar tear-off would include new plywood and maybe even new framing if anything was warped under there. Eek! We also learned that you can get a "sewer scope". Which is really cool. A camera is snaked down the sewer line to look for damage. Well, they found some holes in the sewer line. Yuck! With all that repair work looming to be done, the selling agent had the gall to say something along the lines of, "well, they can still live in it." We ran and didn't walk away from that one.
Our new house has its share of things to work on. But that is what is nice about it in a sense. It is all internal cosmetic kind of work. Plus the total price to own it is far less than the others we looked at. If we are smart about it we can really improve the value of the house with fairly low effort. I'm talking about painting, moulding, bathroom tiles, and hardwood refinishing type of stuff. The only major structural thing we'd like to do is put a door and a small porch off the back room. We'll upgrade the electrical and roof in good time but not right away. Basically, we are going to be able to focus on living well in this house. It will be ours on Wednesday or maybe even in time for my wife's birthday. :)
We are happier about it daily.