Yesterday Bobby sent me an instant message, saying that a realtor had asked if he could put a sign up on our lawn - he was doing an open house on foreclosure around the corner. The 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,200 sq. ft. house just went on the market for $304K, but the realtor said that if someone offered $290K, they'd probably accept it.
Now, I know that $300K would buy a giant house in many parts of the country, but the houses in my neighborhood sell for $425K+... sometimes way ++. At $300K, it is actually the lowest priced house in the area by far.
Bobby also sent me the address, so I could look it up online... which I did, and in the pictures - it's an absolute dump. That in combination with the fact that it's a foreclosure, I can totally see why it's so cheap. Dump or not, we decided to walk over and look at it when I came home from work.
Bobby and I want to buy a house, especially knowing that prices are lowering. We are really hoping that in the next 6-9 months we can position ourselves to buy. Very wishful thinking at this point, but we are in the process of making some changes that will hopefully help us get there.
After I got home and we had some steak fajitas (one change we've accomplished pretty successfully - starting about 3 months ago, I've been making dinner almost every night instead of us eating out twice a week or so; we are really bad with leftovers, so lately I've been working on making something new out of them - we had leftover steak - steak fajitas! I feel very responsible), we walked the 2 1/2 blocks to see the house.
Since the picture posted online they had mowed the lawn - instead of long dead grass, it was recently mowed dead grass. Amazing what a difference that makes, but it does. Other than that - still a dump... but clearly a dump with potential. You could see how with some very basic changes it could be nicer - paint the walls, replace the floors, water the lawn. And with a few larger changes it could be really cute.
And then I started thinking - when we are ready to buy a house, we really should buy a fixer-upper. Not anything we need to re-do the sewer or anything, but something that needs some work to make nice. With this theoretical first house, we need to be able to improve the value initially more than the market will on it's own.
Someone is going to scoop up that house, make a few cosmetic changes, and see an immediate increase in the value. We couldn't buy it - with running the business out of our house, this one is too small for us anyway - but it would be great if we could buy it to rent out.