Here’s the situation:
I periodically like to check to see what my house is worth. Basically, I do this by looking in my townhouse community, checking what they are assessed for for tax purposes and comparing that to recent selling prices. Within the past year, there have been about 4 sales in the complex, all for $30-60K above the tax assessed value.
I knew the family next door were looking to move. In January, one day a moving truck showed up and they appeared to be moving out. I didn’t see any For Sale signs or signs of open houses etc. I didn’t see the family but people did come and go.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a new person in the driveway and a lockbox on the railing. The man told me he was a property manager who was upgrading the home so it could be sold. Since that time, there have been carpet installers, appliance deliveries, etc. I figured that they were upgrading to get a better sales price. I knew that they had already done the big-ticket items (new roof, all new windows) so there couldn’t have been too much to do. The trucks have left, so I wanted to look to see what they were listing the place for. When I checked the records, I found that the family had already sold the house in January, for $120K less than the assessed value. The buyer is listed as living in Pennsylvania (we are in Virginia).
A few theories for what was going on came to mind:
- They had a job change or a family emergency and had to move quickly and sold at a loss.
-A quick google showed that they not only were staying in the area but apparently had purchased a much more expensive house for 40% more, and then had apparently torn down the structure and built a new house on the lot bringing the new value to >$1 million more than the sale price of the first home.
- They couldn’t afford the mortgage payments so had to unload it quick.
-Unlikely, since they bought a much more expensive house as above.
- They didn’t check appropriate comps and listed it for much less than it was worth.
-Not likely since these are fairly intelligent Ivy League-educated lawyers.
- The house was a relative fixer so sold for a lot less than assessed value because so much work needed to be done.
-As noted, they already did the big-ticket items. I can’t imagine there was more than a few thousand in upgrades and even a totally dated home in this area shouldn’t sell for $150K less than comparable houses.
- They couldn’t find a buyer so had to sell at a (relative) loss.
-There is a big demand in this area. I get unsolicited flyers from people wanting to buy in this complex. As noted, 4 houses have sold in the past year (out of about 40), all for significantly over the assessed value. I can’t imagine the bottom dropping out so soon.
Anybody have any other theories? I feel like my house value just dropped $100K since this is the house next door and it is screwing up the comps royally. Even the county property tax site has a footnote on the sale saying it is not comparable with comps in the area. I just hope that this guy from PA (? flipper) sells it for a better price.