We have been dealing with the most frustrating situation with a house we are/have been/maybe considering buying and we honestly can’t even decide if we are interested any longer. Unsure of what to do I decided that obviously I should come here and see what the dope has to say about the whole mess.
In April of this year we sat down and ran the numbers and decided that we honestly can’t afford to own or rent in the city in a decent school district so we started looking at houses just outside of New York City that might be more affordable and with better schools. After a few weeks of searching we found a place we loved in the first week of May and made an offer. Thus began many, many, many months of being dicked around by the selling agent and the bank because apparently that is just what you do on a short sale. I’ll go into the specifics of this in a bit.
The house is HUGE and the elementary school the house is districted for is phenomenal. The house has four bedrooms, two and a half baths, full basement and finished attic, chandeliers built into almost every room, etc. The interior decor is horrifying but we weren’t too worried about that since there is a lot you can do with a couple of coats of paint and some new carpet, you know? The downside is that the house has been neglected over the years and since the people who owned it moved out when the bank took it over they have done literally nothing to maintain the property, which means that the gutters have filled with leaves, drains are blocked up, a minor mold problem became a much bigger deal than it was originally, etc. Also the middle school and the high school the house is districted have much lower ratings than the elementary school so we would either have to put our daughter in private school or sell the house and move to a better neighborhood in 8 or 9 years when she gets to a point where that becomes a concern.
After we made an offer in May (dependent upon the inspection and stuff of course) they accepted it and we brought in an inspector. They refused to turn on the water or electricity so the inspection was only partial and the inspector found some fairly serious problems with the house. Without even seeing the water or electric they found what a couple of contractors later determined to be about $35k worth of repairs, $20k of which was absolutely necessary (mold removal, masonry repair around furnace, installing a drain along the side of the house to prevent future mold and water issues, etc.) After hearing the numbers we balked a bit, especially considering we hadn’t even had a full inspection of the utilities yet, but the inspector and every contractor we brought in all said the same thing, basically, “Wow, this place does need some work but it is amazing. If it were me I would totally buy this house.”
The biggest selling points of the house are the size, the elementary school, and the house is walking distance to the train and several stores so we wouldn’t need to buy a car to live there. The school and the train are really big deals and are the reason we are continuing to deal with the stupid bank. After we had the inspection and the contractors gave us estimates we told the selling agent that we were reducing our offer by the $20k of absolutely necessary repairs and that we would do the rest ourselves. They refused our offer and we walked away and started looking elsewhere for another house. A few weeks later we got a call from our broker saying that they bank called him and said they wanted to know if we were still interested in the house. We said yes but that because of some big stuff that had happened we were not able to make the same offer we had previously and offered them about $10k less than our last offer and we gave them 2 weeks to tell us if they were accepting it or not because we were in the process of moving into a new apartment and we were accruing several thousand dollars worth of expenses to do so and we didn’t want to spend that money and then turn around and move again in a couple of months. After the time limit we gave them came and went we assumed they were not selling us the house so we went ahead and paid movers and deposits and all that jazz and moved into our new place.
Then in August I got a call from our real estate attorney because they called her to find out if we were still interested in the house. We talked it over with her and she told us to give them a crazy lowball price and see what happens so we told them we would offer $160k for the house with the stipulation that we had to see the water and electric turned on and that there could be no new damage to the house. We figured that they could call us if they ever actually decided they wanted to sell this fucking property. We assumed they would just laugh at our offer and go on their way and that appeared to be what they did…until Friday. They called and said that $160k was too low but that they would counter us with $180k which is still a phenomenal price for a house in this area.
We are considering their offer, but we are a little :dubious: about the fact that they came back to us to sell it at what is a stupidly low price right after a hurricane. I’m going out there tomorrow and I totally expect to see the roof has been blown into bits or that raccoons have moved into the house to escape the weather or something but the question that we are contemplating is what to do if the house appears to have survived with no real damage to speak of last week. Do we tell them to get the utilities turned on so we can do an inspection because we want this house or do we tell them to fuck themselves because obviously they’ve either found damage we can’t see or moved some indian burial ground underneath the house in the last two months or something?