Hello new and I think I might be insane.

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by 1stTimeDIY, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Nov 16, 2013 #1

    1stTimeDIY

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    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.
     
  2. Nov 16, 2013 #2

    CallMeVilla

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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 ...

    flood.jpg
     
  3. Nov 16, 2013 #3

    1stTimeDIY

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    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.
     
  4. Nov 16, 2013 #4

    oldognewtrick

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    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.
     
  5. Nov 16, 2013 #5

    1stTimeDIY

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    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.
     
  6. Nov 17, 2013 #6

    nealtw

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    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.
     
  7. Nov 18, 2013 #7

    bud16415

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    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.
     
  8. Nov 18, 2013 #8

    1stTimeDIY

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    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.
     
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  9. Nov 21, 2013 #9

    1stTimeDIY

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    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.
     
  10. Nov 21, 2013 #10

    bud16415

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    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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  11. Nov 21, 2013 #11

    1stTimeDIY

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    I have been kinda of Crazy with this home search. To the point my husband is like i don't care just pick one. The money we are using is money of mine from a settlement from my fathers wrongful death I had to go to court to use it 10 years early so while i was held up in court proceedings in two states i started research.

    A very good friend of mine grew up in the area, she is also animal control and is dispatched through the police. She has been a HUGE help in this process. She lets me know what areas are safe or not, and if a home I'm interested in is in her area and vacant she will stop and get photos and even talk to the people next door if she can.

    I have been through about 5 realtors before working with the one I'm now dealing with. With my friends info I would call realtors about homes I knew were in a bad area, or had major obvious flaws not shown or mentioned in sales adds. Some realtors didn't even return calls, others did there best to sell me homes knowing they were not what i wanted or where I wanted. The one I'm working with now Is the broker of the company and has been working this area for 20 years or so. He is totally honest and has yet to make me feel like he is pushing me in the wrong direction.

    Zillow realtor.com and google maps have all become my best friends lately. Any home I'm interested in i find out sales history, i use zillow to find out prices of homes surrounding it ect. Google maps is great because I can street view the house as well as the homes surrounding giving me a basic idea as to how well kept the homes in the area are. I have honestly taken homes off my list because although the home looked great the properties surrounding it were in disrepair and or the yards looked like junk yards. Im also able to mark homes i liked watch them sell and compare asking price VS final selling price. so far about 80% of the homes have sold well under asking price. What I can afford down there is so much better then what I could afford up here as well.

    I have toyed with the idea of moving down and renting till i find a place, but with two toddlers i just cant handle the idea of moving twice in less then a year. The boys are also why I'm so torn on turn key VS fixer upper. I just don't know if i can realistically handle fixing up a home, working full time and taking care of them.

    I will keep everyone posted and I'm really hoping to make a decision this week or next and make an offer. My husband is planning on leaving his job in the next 2-3 weeks so he can help me start packing and getting this home ready to be listed.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2013 #12

    bud16415

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    On realty agents or realtors the guy that listed the house we bought said at the closing this will be his first and last short sale. I think he got a great deal feeling some accomplishment at the sale but he also got so little commission it wasn’t worth the effort. I joked with him because we paid 24k for the house is it 10 times harder selling a 240k house? He said not really its most times much easier selling the 240k house.
    When we first contacted him as he was the listing agent he was kind of using that house as a jump off point for lots of first time buyers. Show them the crappy house and then say well for just double that plus a little I could show you this, and get them with the upsell. People mostly want to know what the payment is going to be and that’s it. As long as the payment isn’t much more than their rent they say why not. Reality agents are really working for the seller something to keep in mind.

    Whatever you do figure out your time and your cash flow and be realistic about it. In our case we paid cash for the house so we knew the initial outlay was done and all the cash we make or had saved for this could go into the house. The opposite would be the move in ready place where you just have to gage your payments. Sometimes the worst case is in the middle. You have a payment but also a house that needs cash. It’s easy to underestimate in that case.

    Sounds like your friend is being a great help with this. I know how you get to the point your husband is with just buy something, but keep fresh in your mind every day is the first day of your house hunt. Buying for the sake of buying is never a good idea. The best deal most likely will take the longest, and when it comes along you might have to act fast on it.
     
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  13. Nov 30, 2013 #13

    1stTimeDIY

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    Well we put in an offer on one of the "turn key" homes the day before thanksgiving. A little bit of negotiating yesterday and everything is signed. It will be inspected Wednesday or Thursday and if all goes well ( fingers crossed) we can potentially move the closing up from the current closing date of December 30th!!!! Meaning we could potentially be in our new home before Christmas!! I'm hoping this inspector is as good as he sounds. I spoke with former clients of his, and when I mentioned him to my realtor he told me that is the inspector he would personally use and has had family use him as well. My realtor will let him in for the inspection. This guy will send me the normal on paper report as well as e-mail me color photos. He also video records all his inspections as he is doing them. I guess it helps him for making his report to make sure he dosent miss/forget anything. I will also get a copy of this video to watch and then can call him with any questions and or concerns. I can't physically be there for it but thanks to technology it's almost the same!

    The home has new flooring laminate/carpets ect. The kitchen is redone but needs all appliances. What was formerly the garage was enclosed finished off and turned into a bedroom, bathroom and a laundry room. I'm slightly concerned because two of the bedrooms that were pre existing have damage to the door frames (seems like previous owner may have had kids who kicked the doors in). It looks to be cosmetic and a simple fix. That just worrys me about the hvac, water heater, electrical system. I worry that all the work was just done to the kitchen/ garage area and the rest left as is. That is why we are getting an inspection though and those concerns will be addressed.

    I already have projects I'd like to do to make it "home" but those will have to wait till after our current home sells. For instance I'd like to add a backsplash in the kitchen. Also I'd like to custom make an entertainment center. Put a fire pit in the back yard. Possibly remove or at least shape and trim two evergreens in the front yard. I also REALLY wanted a fireplace. Adding an actual fireplace just isn't cost effective in the near future. What I did find tho was a faux fireplace on pintrest that's wood framed in then faced with brick or stone. No I can't have a fire but I could put candles in it. Sooo I'll still be all over the forum as I DIY my own personal touches.
     
  14. Dec 1, 2013 #14

    dthornton

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    1stTime> I applaud your desire to do some hands on fixing up of your own home. Let me take a little space here though to share personal experience. My wife and I bought a Fannie Mae home (cheap) 2 years ago. It was built in 1890, so our plans are to gut it and rehab while we live in it. We paid for a thorough home inspection - we told the inspector that we already know it's a "fixer-upper", we just wanted a professional assessment of what items needed attention. Termite inspection went fine (THAT will be VERY important for you in south GA). The only water we had for the first 6 weeks was a hose faucet in the basement (we made arrangements for a plumber to replumb the whole house). The roof was replaced including new sheathing about 10 years ago, the furnace is a high efficiency gas unit 10 years old, and the brick foundation (full basement) is in good shape for its age. The first thing we did was gut the kitchen (down to studs and subfloor). Two years into our project, the kitchen is about 95% complete, the laundry/mud room (off the kitchen) is about 99% complete, and the half bath on the main floor is 100% complete. Upstairs, we converted a very small bedroom into a "master" bath (99% complete) and walk through closet (gutted) off of the "master" bedroom (have plaster and lath pulled off of 2 walls). We had custom maple cabinets built - about $7k, and about $3k in appliances in the kitchen. The rest of it we did ourselves. Let me say wholeheartedly that WE WOULD NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! There is great satisfaction in everything that we have done (and will still do), however, in a year's time, you'll be damn tired of living in a construction zone! Want a good laugh? When we bought the house, we thought that by now we'd have been 100% finished! It will take you far more time, and money, than what you can anticipate. What you think will take a day, will take you at least a week. What you think something will cost you - multiply that at least X4. I'm not telling you don't do it - as I said, there is a lot of satisfaction in completing projects. Just be sure that you are VERY aware of what you're getting into. (And if you do it - please post some pictures!) It is a lot more difficult than you realize to work on the house when you have a full time job, and that's not even including having a family at home to take care of. We are both very fond of the DIY shows and have learned a lot from them, but I've found that you can learn how to do almost anything by going onto youtube and doing a search for whatever project you're planning (the DIY books at the home improvement stores also help). Good luck! :beer:
     
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  15. Dec 7, 2013 #15

    1stTimeDIY

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    Well the search continues. The home I offered on had some issues. Upon inspection water damage and mold was found, the roof needed to be replaced, outlets were not properly grounded, AC unit needed to be leveled, missing attic insulation, exhaust fans in the attic didn't work and there was live exposed wire in the attic. The Reno wasn't too bad but they somewhat neglected the rest of the home. I asked that the seller either come down on price or fix the roof and electric. Seller felt they had come down enough in price as it was. They did come down quite a bit but the home was priced incredibly high in comparison to the other homes in the development. Anyway I terminated contract. But with the bad news comes some excellent news. As I have stated I have been watching the areas market closely for several months. A home I LOVED but has been very high in my range and needing work was just drastically reduced into my range.

    The home has amazing square footage and is in a nice area. It seems to have had some updates done. The master bath in petecular (jacuzzi tub anyone?) double vanitys separate potty room and shower not to mention the master and master bath are the size of a small country. Open floor plan and very large bedrooms. A den with a fireplace(personal want of mine since I was a child).... It has some issues first off there was water damage in the laundry room but the drywall was removed and replaced to prevent mold from starting. It has not been finished off. Some tile is missing in the master bath (3-5 tiles) they look to be a very genetic white and probably easy to find replacements. The carpet in the master was poorly layed and will need to be replaced. Other carpets in the home are stained, but with two toddlers I'm in no rush to replace it just yet. The kitchen is pretty dated and akward, BUT is a huge open space with great potential for future work. It's by no means unusable just dated. We will need appliances but we can handle that and prefer that. Some rooms the paint is ugly and old but that again is an easy fix. It's only a 3 bedroom but has an "office" that could easily be converted to a guest 4th bed with private acess. I'm super excited over this home as I market it as one I wanted months ago but couldn't swing work and the asking price. It's a bank owned forclosure we are offering a bit lower then asking but even at it's current asking price we can handle the work. Of course this again will be pending an inspection but quite frankly unless it has major structural issues we would be able to handle some big issues (or well have a comtractor handle it).

    I'm feeling good about this and I'm gonna stick to my theory that things happen for a reason and my other two offers didn't work so that this one would. This is like I said a home I have watched and loved for a while but financially couldn't go for it.
     
  16. Dec 7, 2013 #16

    nealtw

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    Step back a little, it's not wise to fall in love after one or two dates. Buying a house is like speed dating and you end up buying what could be the best of a bad bunch. Love for a home grows with time and memories. You have to look at the bones, the heart and sole of the house. Does it have enough to help you and your family succeed and do you have what it takes to help the house succeed. Good luck.
     
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  17. Dec 7, 2013 #17

    1stTimeDIY

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    I love it because it has potential to over time become perfect. I by no means feel as though I'm rushing. Like I said I have been watching the market for almost a year. I have in all honesty over the past year found about 40 homes that I liked enough to look further into. Such as past sale prices, google mapping the area, distance to my job and husbands school. Talking to friends in the area to get more info. Out of those 40 many have been taken off my list due to area it was in, or it sold, or realistically it was too much money to do what was needed. My realtor has gone out to 7 homes now this one included. Given me floor plans and photos ect. I promise I'm not just sitting online going oh that one looks pretty let's make an offer on it. I have also in my list saved homes like this one, that I liked a lot but was out of reach financially for me. This one just happened to fall into a place I feel I can buy the home and have money left for what we want done or to do. Also I have lived in this area before so I'm not moving somewhere totally unknown to me. If I was rushing and buying emotionally I would have bought a place I found a while back that on an emotional level I loved but in comparison was priced too high with too many issues.
     
  18. Dec 7, 2013 #18

    nealtw

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    I think you are doing fine, until you say "love". That's when people tend to throw common sense aside. If you can go with the inspector or find someone to go with them is always a good idea.
    I went with a friend when he had an inspection done. The inspector did a good job it looked like (4 hours and nice report) he found one problem that resulted in a discount but I found two issues and my friend found two issues and the inspector assured us that these weren't problems and some had been repaired, they did not show up on his report. Now six years later all five issues have had to be dealt with. Their offer should have included a plumbing inspection that would have allowed a plumber to open a wall here and there. All said they still love the house but they fell for it to soon.
     
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  19. Dec 17, 2013 #19

    1stTimeDIY

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    Well we got the place I most recently posted about!! The bank that owns it had given me a sheet with a work estimate. It came up to about 12k in work including materals and labor. I spoke with my Inspector before he went out and gave him the name of the guy who did the estimate. He informed me that he has worked with him in the past and his prices are fair and he knows what he is doing. With that he told us we had a very good chance of not finding anything major on inspection. He was correct there were a few little things that the inspector brought up that weren't on the work estimate. we will have to contract out to get the electrical system looked at as the breaker in the house is old and the company had a class action lawsuit. Not an issue really as it was never upgraded after additions were added and we would like to eventually get a tankless water heater, so we would have to upgrade anyway. The HVAC system will also most likely need to be replaced as its older and was not working correctly again not an issue as it was from before the additions and I want a system that can handle the square footage.

    Many of the issues are cosmetic. structurally the house is in great condition and the additions were done properly. The roof is new but for some reason they did not put gutters on the house. With what we paid for the home all the things that need to be done ASAP can be done right away and we can even start on some of the cosmetic things before our current home sells. Im so thankful the offers on the other two homes didn't work out. I'm also glad this house was price dropped into my price range and the bank was willing to accept my offer. We close January 3rd and head out of the snow covered north east to the south they are expecting temps of 78 this weekend!!!!
     
    inspectorD and bud16415 like this.
  20. Dec 17, 2013 #20

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
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    Congrats on the deal.:)
     

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