Thursday, January 25, 2007

Real Estate or Fake Estate?

As I continue to look for a home to purchase, I have broadened my requirements. No longer do I only want a 3 bedroom home with 1.5 bathrooms, a dining room and a decent sized living room and kitchen. I want even more! I want a home that has an actual kitchen, not a sink and 3 cupboards with a refrigerator in the living room. The bathroom has to not clash; a tub that has a cream glaze peeling away to reveal the original candy apple red color with a non-matching mustard colored toilet is over the top.

The basement must have a cement floor – basement floors that are made of dirt and have a hole in the ground that could go all the way to China only hastily covered by a piece of plywood, are not acceptable. I draw the line there. They even had the laundry down there! What woman would go do laundry down there? As soon as I went down, I came right back up – it was a very, very scary place! I also need to be able to stand up straight in the ‘den’ found in the basement. I am not an extremely tall woman, and if I have to stoop over to change the channels on the TV down there, it doesn’t qualify as a room of any sort.

Railings for open staircases have to be taller than 2 feet. There’s nothing quite like climbing a set of rickety stairs and having to bend over to hold onto the railing. My one and half foot tall niece is that only one that would find this railing useful. If the master bedroom is a ‘loft’ there must be more than one small window in the ‘loft’, the staircase going up needs have less of an incline than Mount Everest and you shouldn’t arrive in the kitchen upon decent. Although, if you can make it down the stairs without falling it would be convenient for midnight snacking!

And no longer shall I be duped by realtor mumbo jumbo! For all of you looking for a home, here’s a translation of what they are really saying so you don’t waste your time looking at horrible homes:

Investor’s Special! – Dump your hard earned money here!
First time home buyer’s special – Cheap, poorly constructed and no one has ever taken care of it. Run while you can!
Cottage – Ridiculously small.
Quaint – Old and falling apart.
Handy man’s special – Everything on the inside is broken and needs replacing.
Lovely / Gorgeous – Has multi-colored mold growing behind the tub surround and in the basement.
Character home – This home will build your character…
Great rental property – We’ve been renting it out for years! Don’t fix it up and let some poor people that can’t afford to purchase their own home live here and deal with the chaos you may or may not choose to fix.
Newly painted on the inside – The outside of the house is rotting away and you have to replace the siding and roof the day after you move in.
Excellent Opportunity – For us, that is…ahem…not you the home buyer!
Fixer Upper – At least they are being honest. I almost want to go just to see how a fixer upper is different than a “Character home”. I appreciate that they aren’t being covert about how much the house is lacking.
Ready to move into – The previous homeowners were evicted and the house was condemned, but you could move in as soon as you dump 30k into updating it so that it can pass the health inspection.
Newer wiring and hot water tank – It was updated around 1940. It’s newer than the house, so I guess technically they’re not lying….
Look no further – This listing usually doesn’t have a photo available, and after you’ve looked you won’t look any further due to the depression about the state of the homes that you’ve looked at so far.


J Man said...

One thing that may help when looking at older homes is to have someone who can estimate the actual cost of fix-up before move-in. Many times, if you can prove to the lender that you can make improvements for X amount, and that would increase the value of the house Y amount, they'll give you the difference in trust so you can do the renos before you move in.
Again, if you need help finding a good lender, let me know - I'll hook you up w. a great mortgage broker.

Ron J Davis said...

Part of a Realtors job is to know the inventory in the market. Speak to a few of them face to face and pick one....tell them what you want.
Have your Realtor preview some for you and then tour them yourself with or without the Realtor. If they don`t do their job, fire them verbally and move on.
If they do well, and they help you make an offer, they will get paid properly by the listing Realtor.

J Man said...

I agree with Ron. When we bought our last house, our realtor was worth his weight in gold. I didn't have to look at houses that I didn't like, and actually managed to get in to view the place that we bought first - we were in before anyone else, and were the 1st offer! It totally paid off!
Realtor fees are generally paid by the seller.

Anonymous said...

John Gruber graciously referred me to your latest posting and I just had to read it and laugh.

Since I have been selling Real Estate for 11 plus years now, I just wanted to make sure you understand something with all clarity about what you wrote.

YOU ARE 100% RIGHT! :)

There was however, a few you missed.

COZY = 600 sq. ft or less with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, a laundry room, dining and family room and "spacious" kitchen.

" Not a drive by" = "No, don't drive, or walk, or run, just don't bother at all".

Custom home = Someone actually built this house and thought that royal blue would be "a good thing" on the kitchen counters, walls and floors. Then, they thought,"Everyone else will want this too"!

Completely Updated = This house was built in the early 1970's and really took the expression "Retro is back" at face value when they listed.

Close to amenities = The dump (the neighbors yard and driveway just LOOKS like the dump)
Pharmacy (meth lab in the alley)
Schools ( The corner of the culdesac is a teen hang out, and their getting "schooled" all right.

Great rental investment = You will never lack for things to replace, repair, and renovate for this rental that never quits sucking up your investments.

Pristine = A "Martha Stewart" lives here. Her house is cleaner than everyone else's and she believes that makes it worth at least
$30,000.00 more than the identical one across the street.

You've captured it in all your other definitions.

I wish you lived here.
I would find you a great place to buy and I'd make sure you didn't get a dive.

I do have a bias, but I always recommend a realtor. They really can save you money when you find the house you love, and advise you along the way.

I am SO excited that you wo are buying though. GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Thanks for making me laugh tonight!
Love ya kiddo!

Kimberly Gibson