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1stTimeDIY 11-16-2013 09:07 AM

Hello new and I think I might be insane.
Hello everyone,

My name is Liz. I bought my first home 5 years ago as a single 23 year old woman. 3 years later I got married and had two kids 13 months apart. Now my 1,015 square foot house feels like living in a walk in closet. I'm pretty new to DIY. Sure I have done simple things you know fixing a leaky sink, toilet tank that leaked. Replacing flaps and floaters in the toilet. Stripping wallpaper painting ect. Now I'm undertaking something that could be the most epic of all good decisions. Or I'm gonna end up in over my head with a huge mess.

7 months ago my husband and I decided we wanted to move from north east pa to south west GA. So I started my home search, I started looking for turn key homes, but I wasn't finding anything I liked. So I started watching the HUD listings. Finally last week what I have been waiting for was listed.

It's everything I wanted and more. 2,631 sf 5bd 3bath on .86 an acre. It's in a nice subdivision in good schools. Here is the catch it's an uninsured home. Financing is not an issue as it's below my price point and I'm paying cash. I also have funds for updating/repairs but I'd like to DIY much of it. Partly to stay on budget, but also for the "I did it myself" bragging rites.

And here is where the insanity comes in. I'm bidding sight unseen. Well not entirely but I personally will not physically be on the property till after close if we purchase. I have an amazing realtor who is going above and beyond for me. Detailed photos of homes and problem spots, video showings and total honesty about the condition of the homes I have looked at. Off course an inspection will also be done.

So here is what I'm aware of so far. 3 of the 5 bedrooms only have sub flooring down. Some tile in one of the bathrooms is cracked and broken. Some dry rot on the window frames and sills also on trim. It will need appliances as well. Also it has an unground. Pool that is covered. I do know the home has sat vacant 2 years., and was previously owned by a real estate agent who defaulted. Oh also it's covered in the ugliest wall paper I have ever encountered. But it was built in 81.

We place our bid today !! From what I understand bidding will last 5 days. So we will see. So if we get this home I will be on this forum quite a bit. Oh. Yeah all work being. Done will be done with. Us living in the home. Two children age 1 and 2. Me working full time and my. Husband in school for welding ..... Pretty sure I'm insane.

CallMeVilla 11-16-2013 09:26 AM

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Welcome to the Looney Bin ... Many similarly afflicted people here who have gotten in very deep.

However, buying a house sight unseen? Oh my. I would have invested a few $$$ in a highly reccomended home inspector to prepare a comprehensive review and cost estimate for DIY repairs.

That said, I expect you WILL be here quite a bit since the winter is hitting GA and you have windows, insulation, heating, flooding, and the zombie apocalypse upon you ...

1stTimeDIY 11-16-2013 09:38 AM

Thankfully the home is not in a flood zone. I have lived in the area we are moving to before so I know the area. And the sight unseen I know I'm taking a huge risk I even ripped into my brother for doing the same when he purchased a condo sight unseen earlier this year. I'm about 80% sure my bid won't win the home. It's in a highly desired area, close to the elementary school and YMCA ect. Today is the first day bidding for owner occupied, and the selling agent made it known the home has generated quite a bit of interest. I didn't feel I needed to make a high offer to outbid. I'm more of if we get it awesome if not no sweat I'll keep looking.

oldognewtrick 11-16-2013 10:18 AM

First off :welcome: to House Repair Talk!

Good luck with your purchase and if this one doesn't work out, another one will. Keep us updated.

1stTimeDIY 11-16-2013 10:56 AM

Well offer has been submitted, if I did my HUD research correctly from my bid conformation number we have 16 higher bids in front of ours... Oh well better keep looking.

nealtw 11-17-2013 02:16 PM

You can be sure most of the sixteen looked at the house, you would be in real trouble if you out bid them. Good luck with your search.

bud16415 11-18-2013 06:54 AM

Hi Liz welcome to the forum.

We bought something similar a short sale we have been working on and living in for the last 6 months. As others have mentioned these abandoned properties that have been sitting without power and heat have to be gone over carefully and in person. A home inspection can be very useful if the one doing the inspection is good. I have seen some where they missed a lot though and I personally only trust my own eyes. For example the house we bought looked pretty good on the outside and the inspector would have found maybe 10 items to correct. On the inside his list would have been in the thousands. They are geared more to live-in ready homes I think and can find those things “flaws” that are better hidden and the casual buyer would miss. Our home was not insured also and in buying it we went to get insurance and the purchase price was so low it caused all kinds of red flags. They look at taxable value and comparable values and who knows what else and here we are with maybe 1/5 of what the value should be invested and they are reluctant to write a policy. They came out and made their own list of corrections and they were not the items that I thought were high on my punch list. But I stopped what I was doing and made corrections as best I could to not give them reasons to drop us or not pay if something did happen.

Next I would say be very honest with your abilities to do the work required to the point of even being conservative. Your labor is free but at a cost of time. Too many people watch these 30 minute home makeover shows and it’s more like a year or two taking up all your evenings and weekends. Many times once you throw in the towel the cost to hire the work done will put you over the top of the budget and you could have bought one closer to move in ready.

That being said the reward is nicer than you can imagine. In our case we are far from done. In 6 months we have new kitchen, floors, walls, ceiling all plumbing and wiring. A first floor bath and laundry all remodeled. The living room is totally done as is a media tv type room and one second floor bedroom and walk in closet. We replaced and added windows and doors to the exterior. Sanded and finished hard wood floors etc. we still have a bedroom to go and a second floor bath that is just roughed plumbed now. In the spring we need to do part of the roofs and the whole garage roof and maybe build a deck. I mostly worked alone or with the help of grandpa a 85 yr old retired builder. When he wasn’t helping he was motivating. So it can be done and giving up a year of our free time and some help from friends and family you are forever free and clear of that dreaded mortgage payment and we have a nice home for less than the price of a small car.

Good luck if you don’t get this one keep looking you guys sound like the type of people that can make it happen.

1stTimeDIY 11-18-2013 10:30 AM

Thanks for the input! I'm pretty sure our bid will not win. If by some act of awesomeness we do win it, I have 15 days I believe to have an inspection done. I have already been researching home inspectors in the are as any home we purchase will be inspected.

Irefuse to bid any higher then what I did. I love the house but not enough to blow all my money to buy it. If we get it at my bid we will have 20k in savings for appliances and work. I also own my current home free and clear. Once we move I will be listing this home so what I get from the sale will increase our budget ( but I know it could take a while to sell)
This won't be a gutting the whole home project or I wouldn't have even taken a 2nd look. I promise I'm not as stupid as I sound but I totally understand I probably look like a complete idiot right now.

I know I will probably need to contract out for some work depending on what we encounter. I also know that even with an inspection things will come up. Things always come up.

On the DIY side I have a tiny smidgen of an advantage. My mother has Alzhimers and when she first started getting bad, she went on an all out shopping spree. I have an entire room in my basement filled with tools. Table saw, sawzall and blades, BOXES of sand paper, two sanders, a pressure washer, drywall patches, stud finders, levels ect Plus my fathers old tools. So that helps just a tiny bit on the cost side.

I do know it's going to take work time and money to do this. I do love myself some HGTV but I'm also aware real life is a much bigger picture.

But thanks again for the input. I do have another home I will offer on if this falls through. As well as a backup, both turnkey and okay but not wow.

1stTimeDIY 11-21-2013 07:41 AM

Well we didn't get the home. The city actually swooped in and got it at asking price. I was also informed there were about a dozen bids way over asking price so I had a snowballs chance in summer of getting it. I kind of went into my bid knowing that. It was a home in a community that the most inexpensive home was worth 125k. This home was listed by HUD at 49k. So back to my search it's now a choice between two turn key homes and a fixer upper. Turn key 1 has 4 bedrooms and lots of privacy and a huge kitchen it's a recent flip. Turn key 2 has 3 beds but 400 sf more a garage and a fire place. But the kitchen is so so very small and no way to fix that with out taking down walls. The fixer upper Is huge and on an acre lot very private again in an area where home values are quite high but it needs work and it's been on the market over a year.

I have been watching this market for almost a year now. Saving homes I liked then consulting zillow when they sell to find out what they sold for. I'm just so ready to offer and move already. I'll keep you all posted when we make a decision as to what our next move is weather it's turnkey or a house that needs some love.

bud16415 11-21-2013 09:02 AM

Depending on the area of the country I’m hearing the housing market is turning around or still flat. That IMO will also reflect back into the foreclosure / short sale markets etc. Where I live there is a major city and then a smattering of smaller town out to the reasonable commuting distance. All these little town also once had thriving economies that have been lost. Some of them found new life when a prison or some other government run thing moved in and some became almost retirement communities as the old people stayed and the younger ones moved closer to work. Around here you can draw a circle on a map and pretty much see the change in desire to buy a distressed property. You can go 20 miles one way and a house is worth 150k and 20 miles the other way the same house won’t sell for 20k. The speculators and flippers want to at least be able to rent them when they fix them up and they like to keep their rentals in a close area also. The towns that are just a little too far away from the major job centers won’t rent for the same reason they won’t sell.

It sounds like you are doing the right thing becoming educated to the area you desire to move into. It’s much easier to judge value when you are actually there though. An example is where I used to live a house and cottage on a couple acres in not that bad of shape was up for sale due to a divorce for about 6 months. It was a beautiful location wooded property and all, but the asking price was so high we all thought to the point of absurdity for this area. Low and behold it sold. Shortly after I met the new owner and he proudly told me he had moved in and stole the property for just under the asking price. When I found out the back story they had moved from south Florida and I’m sure a comparable down there would be 10 times what he paid. So his perspective was much different than ours.

Being a DIY guy I would always lean to the project house after seeing if it met the tests of logic. First I guess would you like to live where it happens to be. Is commuting reasonable based on other expenses like taxes and such to be closer. Then look at other ready to move in places values close by and will you not exceed what the area can justify in total cost when you are done. Then most important is there a lot of hidden problems you need to find before you start in.

Good luck and I hope to hear a happy ending to your story.

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