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Old 11-13-2013, 06:55 AM  
bud16415
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We just bought a home that was a short sale and not quite the same situation as yours not knowing the details of how or why the previous owner trashed the place to the extent they did, but it seems to be a trend when people lose a place they take out their frustrations on the house. In our case it wasn’t as much deliberate damage as walking away leaving everything a mess and doing nothing for several years. The bottom line is the same though, and that is how far do you go?

The house you show looks to be structurally sound and has promise. The question always is how far do you go and where do you spend money and labor but not get into the situation where you are improving it beyond the market value.

We selected the project house we are doing based around our labor is free to us and the repairs needed were high on labor low on materials. The house flippers were passing on our place because of location (depressed market) and the amount of labor. That kept the place on the market for a couple years and brought the cost way down. I suspect you got a great deal on this place for similar reasons. Drywall and mud is cheap and gives a big bang for the buck as long as you provide the labor. Demo is free if you provide the labor. Too many people don’t do the math first and have unrealistic opinions of their abilities and the time required to do all these tasks. I doubt you will need to rewire the house. You might want to add a few outlets or change the floor plan when you have it opened up.

I started ours by making a detailed floor plan and also a project list in order of importance and assign some cost and time estimates. Projects have to be done in some order and depending on if you are planning to live there or flip it or rent it how quickly you need to be done etc. Cash flow is also a concern. The house we are doing is a testament to building on a shoestring and Craigslist shopping. On the other hand don’t get carried away with demolition and reuse and recycling can save you a lot of money. Contractors have a totally different set of factors governing how they have to work. As soon as you add labor cost there is no reason to reuse old materials most times at least it’s much different in terms of real cost.

The house looks like a very good DIY project house IMO as its one story with a simple roof line that’s not steep. Basic construction, deck looks ok, etc. Zero landscaping and not the greatest curb appeal but has lots of opportunity to change that. How is the basement and roofing?



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Old 11-14-2013, 02:14 PM  
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
We just bought a home that was a short sale and not quite the same situation as yours not knowing the details of how or why the previous owner trashed the place to the extent they did, but it seems to be a trend when people lose a place they take out their frustrations on the house. In our case it wasn’t as much deliberate damage as walking away leaving everything a mess and doing nothing for several years. The bottom line is the same though, and that is how far do you go?

The house you show looks to be structurally sound and has promise. The question always is how far do you go and where do you spend money and labor but not get into the situation where you are improving it beyond the market value.

We selected the project house we are doing based around our labor is free to us and the repairs needed were high on labor low on materials. The house flippers were passing on our place because of location (depressed market) and the amount of labor. That kept the place on the market for a couple years and brought the cost way down. I suspect you got a great deal on this place for similar reasons. Drywall and mud is cheap and gives a big bang for the buck as long as you provide the labor. Demo is free if you provide the labor. Too many people don’t do the math first and have unrealistic opinions of their abilities and the time required to do all these tasks. I doubt you will need to rewire the house. You might want to add a few outlets or change the floor plan when you have it opened up.

I started ours by making a detailed floor plan and also a project list in order of importance and assign some cost and time estimates. Projects have to be done in some order and depending on if you are planning to live there or flip it or rent it how quickly you need to be done etc. Cash flow is also a concern. The house we are doing is a testament to building on a shoestring and Craigslist shopping. On the other hand don’t get carried away with demolition and reuse and recycling can save you a lot of money. Contractors have a totally different set of factors governing how they have to work. As soon as you add labor cost there is no reason to reuse old materials most times at least it’s much different in terms of real cost.

The house looks like a very good DIY project house IMO as its one story with a simple roof line that’s not steep. Basic construction, deck looks ok, etc. Zero landscaping and not the greatest curb appeal but has lots of opportunity to change that. How is the basement and roofing?
I have been living in a condo, and had bad experiences with neighbors. Sharing ownership and space can be very convoluted. That house has a 1 acre land and I can not even see a neighbor's house since it is surrounded by trees, and such type of environment did attract me the most. Besides the house was built in 1985, so it is not too old either.

The basement was ok, needed copper pipes (since he broke some of them, so no water supply upfront), lacked water heater and furnace too; but other than that it was in very good shape. The roof seems uniform and intact too.

Thanks a lot for your insights!


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Old 11-14-2013, 02:16 PM  
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I have condo in MI, so I have a place to live in the mean time. But gradually the plan was to fix up everything and then move in. I made an offer of US$18000, and it was accepted. I am mechanically inclined and have all tool and means to fix such things, but I certainly would undergo a learning process and experience. Besides I would cater the house to fit my own preferences and needs (floor, electrical, etc), so I could see lots of benefits.

Closing was scheduled for 11/13/2013 (yesterday). The day before around at 9pm I received via email a copy of the HUD and instructions on how to wire the money. The place whereon the closing would take place is about 3 hours from my residence, and the house I was about to buy is about 2:30 hours. Once I received the HUD up front I detected errors (such as the amount I paid in earnest money), but the most outrageous thing (which I then assumed could not possibly be true were the property taxes, especially if you consider that Indiana has a very low property taxes overall compared to other States). It was clearly stated since the very first beginning that the property taxes for the property were US$917 p/ calendar year which actually is high for that area (you easily find home whose taxes are less $300), but since it was a 1 acre home I accepted the higher amount. Nonetheless on the HUD it was showing an outrageous amount of $4500, so I assumed it was another error; but it turned out that it was not. The buyers agent blamed the listing agent and the bank for providing the wrong information, and ultimately the deal feel through. Lots of distress and waste of time, but maybe it was better that way.

Thanks to everybody who chimed in!

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Old 11-14-2013, 06:23 PM  
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I don't know the prices there but the lumber alone in that house is worth $20,000, land for free still sounds like a bargen. Let us know when you start your next project.

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Old 11-15-2013, 05:29 AM  
bud16415
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Sorry to hear about the problems. The good news is for you there are many such houses out there and don’t give up on the idea of owning a place clear of a mortgage and putting in the sweat equity to have what you want.

Last night I had an eye opening experience. We looked at two places in the town we are living one a short sale we ended up with and the other a foreclosure both being sold thru the same reality company different agents. The house we bought the short sale was listed around 60K as was the other both abandoned for several years. I did an inspection of the other and it would have taken 30K to make it right showed my report to the agent and said we would offer 20k for the house and was laughed at and not allowed to even submit my bid. The second agent on the short sale and the better house structurally with newer systems was just a mess of garbage and junk inside and required more labor than anything else. I did a similar review and we offered 22k and after 3 months of haggling and figuring out all the liens that had to be forgave or paid off we got it for 24K.

Well last night more than a year after we made the offer on the first place and got laughed at it was up for auction and we stopped in to look at it again and see what it went for. We were there one nosey neighbor from next door and only one real buyer. That’s after advertising for a couple months. The auctioneer assessed he only had one buyer and said well make an offer. The guy said I’ll give you 7K the auctioneer said they won’t accept that they told me to take offers but not to sell for less than 20K. LOL was what I did I guess as he said is that funny and I said it is to me because I offered that 18 months ago and got laughed out the door. He looked down and said it would be funny if he didn’t hear that same story about twice a week on other places. The guy that bid went outside on his phone telling him he would find out what the highest they would go was came back in and said my boss said not a penny over 9K that’s the bottom line. The auctioneer grabbed a form and said lets submit it and see what they say or maybe they will sit on it another couple years. It’s been 4 years empty without heat and the mold problem was not to bad when we looked at it but was really getting bad now.

I think you made the right move with those taxes in 10 years you would have outlaid 45 k in taxes. Around here taxes seem to be low on old houses ours being 1900 were like you said in the $600 range for all taxes including school tax.

Keep looking and when you find one come back and let us know.



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