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What's wrong with this house?

August 26th, 2012 at 08:38 pm

I've been poking around real estate listings lately, mostly because of the article about prices recovering in Minneapolis. I started out looking for other units in our building that had sold (none have too recently), and ended up looking around our neighborhood to see what single-family homes are going for.

I ran across this listing and was puzzled but intrigued. On the market for $93K but with a Zestimate of more than twice that. There are no photos of the interior, and some of the exterior shots are of a very unkempt lawn. I wonder what other things are probably wrong with it?

It's a block or two away from daycare, so I will probably take a small detour at some point, out of curiosity.

Our current plan is to stay in the condo for a few more years. If a path to England becomes clear, we'll hold off buying a larger home and just save up for a move. If at some point we think England is a long ways away, we may set down roots here in the form of a non-condo home. (We're kind of longing for a lawn and garden and such.)

But with such a cheap place in such a desirable neighborhood, it does feel kind of tempting to take a leap now. Our current mortgage is at $162K. I value our home at $160K in my calculations, but if I'm forced to be honest, in the past year they haven't sold for anywhere near that. It may get to that point again fairly quickly if the market really is improving, but I would guess the value is somewhere between $125K and $145K. Don't know if we could even sell it for that with its dated kitchen, bathroom and other finishings (compared with some of the more updated units for sale in our association).

The thought of ditching this mortgage for a less than $90K one, even if we were still on the hook for part of our underwater mortgage, is very tempting. But I'm sure if that house is so cheap, it would need a TON of work that we wouldn't be able to afford. We can't invest a ton into living here until we know whether or not it's for good. Buying w/intention of "flipping" in a few years seems like the kind of risky move we're just not equipped for. And then there's the problem of ditching the condo. And, I do still love our condo, so I think I'd only want to leave it for something I loved equally or more. Though the lower payments would help us get farther faster.

This is not really serious. But I am going to walk past the house at some point, just to see what's up.

7 Responses to “What's wrong with this house?”

  1. Wino Says:

    We found a house in a great neighborhood. It was about 4500 sq ft. It had a pool, a pool house, a tennis court... all the trimmings. It was going for "lot value."

    We never got a 100% answer, because it was a bank foreclosure, and banks don't ask about anything, so they can plausibly state they "know of no defects" on the disclosure. Then they throw in the "as is" clause on top of that.

    Our agent said that the rumor was it was an ex meth-house. Depending on the damage a meth lab has done, the house could have reasonably needed new plumbing, new flooring, new electrical... plus a special company to come out to insure it had no chemical traces.

    Be wary of deals that are "too good to be true." A lot of this kind of thing has moved into good neighborhoods, because it is easy to hide, and the cops tend to look in the crime-ridden neighborhoods for criminals.

  2. Another Reader Says:

    That house is under contract. It was part of an on-line timed auction. See the Altisource listing here.


    The price listed was the starting bid price.

  3. Another Reader Says:

    That house is under contract. It was part of an on-line timed auction. See the Altisource listing at the altisourcehomes.com website (apparently I cannot put the entire link in the comment).

    The price listed was the starting bid price.

  4. ceejay74 Says:

    I found it on a list of foreclosures on our county website ... November 2011. So that's at least part of the story.

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    I think sometimes people inherit homes in a part of the country they don't live in and just want to be rid of them, too. They aren't close enough to do upkeep on the lawn and can't afford to hire people, so it starts looking run down fast. I've seen a lot of houses in that condition. But the insides are just beautiful.

  6. patientsaver Says:

    Well, it could be an inheritance property as LuckyRobin said, but i think it's more likely that the reason there are no interior photos featured is because the place is a wreck inside, for whatever reason. It's an old house and could be quite outdated.

    There's also a small chance the realtor just didn't have time/get around to posting more pix, and i see it's only been on market for 14 days, but i think this is less likely.

    They probably figure they'll sell it to someone who will gut it and renovate, then flip and didn't bother with room by room pix becus it's all in such poor shape that won't be important to someone who will gut it anyway.

  7. My English Castle Says:

    I'd love to know--one of my friends lives on 27th and Harriet--I'll see if she knows...

  8. snafu Says:

    If you feel your condo needs updating to maintain or increase it's value I suggest you start making a list of the changes you could DIY. Painting is usually the least expensive, DIY project with the most 'bang for the buck.' If existing cupboards seem outdated, they can be undercoated, painted and protected with Varithane over a few weekends. Most expensive is new hardware but even that disadvantage can be overcome with a bit of luck at Habitat's Re-Store.

    If you dislike flooring, the new laminates are relatively inexpensive and the big box stores regularly offer classes to prevent error.

    Please understand there is a huge difference between a home and a property prepared for listing/staged/showing.

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