The House Thing June 17, 2000
Saturday June 17, 2000 11:04:13 PM

Evidently, it has somehow escaped report in this forum that for about two months now we have been interacting with a brother and sister real estate development team to purchase a particular house.

We just happened to be driving one afternoon looking for buy-able homes when we saw this one. From the size of the place, we figured it was a longshot but worth a try. So we met the sellers and walked through it. It was in kind of rough shape and they wanted to sell it as-is for $43K. We asked if they would be willing to sell it contract-for-deed. They said that they had never sold a home in that manner before, but that it was a definite possibility.

They explained that they needed to refinance it to pull a big hunk of change out of the property to use on other projects. We discussed the down payment amount, and while they definitely weren't impressed by the number we mentioned, they didn't tell us to jump in the creek. They said they would talk with their lender and keep in touch with us.

In a few days they called back and told us that in order for them to get the kind of money they needed out of the house, they would have to do extensive work on the property to raise the value to the neighborhood of $60K. Our reply was that by the end of the next month, the amount we had for down payment would be about double the unimpressive number we had mentioned before. They told us to keep in touch and we said we would, but we felt as if we were probably out of luck and started driving around again looking for another possibility.

It was almost a month later when, out of the blue, they called us to see if we were still interested. We were, of course, and told them so. We then arranged to meet them and walk through it again. They showed us the work they had done so far and said they expected the remainder to take 2-3 more weeks. We reiterated our continued interest and told them we would get in touch with them close to the time they expected to be done.

We called them back about 3 weeks later. In the interim, I had been driving by the house on my way home from work just about every day, and frequently what I saw made me glad things had turned out as they had. For instance, I was delighted to see a water heater out by the curb at the house one afternoon. "There," I said to myself, "is probably $400 that I won't have to spend." When we called back, they said that another project had taken more time than they had expected and that it would be another couple of weeks or so, but that we should walk through again and see the progress they had made.

When they listed all the things they had done, I was even more pleased we had not bought the house "as-is". Aside from the new water heater, was a good deal of plumbing and the removal of the top of the chimney and the repair of the surrounding rooftop which had been leaking water! We said we would call back after another couple of weeks had elapsed.

After this two weeks, we arranged to have another look at the house, this time on a Thursday afternoon. I had taken the day off to go to "Friends and Family Day" at Play Pals, a class Isaiah goes to on Thursdays. When we arrived, the brother of the team was there and working on the house, but the sister, the one with whom we had mainly been dealing was not.

We walked through and made positive comments about many of the continuing improvements the brother pointed out and left. Later that afternoon, the sister called and asked what we thought. I said we were ready to discuss a contract and we made an appointment to meet them both at the house on the following Saturday afternoon.

The meeting went astoundingly well. We were all speaking the same language monetarily and the sellers made the remarkable comment that after the house was done and had been appraised, there was really no reason we couldn't go ahead an move in and possibly pay a month's rent until they had closed the deal with their lender and all the paperwork was done. Then the sister said that we could go with her to the carpet wholesaler and pick out the carpet that would be laid the following Friday. The color selected was "Windsor Prairie Tan". After we chose the carpet, we asked if we could test her indulgence one more time by allowing us to bring all our local relatives on a tour of the place. She said yes, and we did so last Thursday evening, at which time we gave them $500 earnest money to begin the process of writing the contract as soon as the appraisal is complete.

We passed by today and had a gander through a window at the carpet which looks very good. We are very excited about the prospect of not only a different place to live, but living in this neat (big) old house. Last Thursday when we had the family walk-through, I told the sister that although it might be unrealistic, we had been thinking it would be pretty cool to have a 4th of July barbecue at the house. She said she did not think it was unrealistic to expect to have moved in by then!

So- keep your fingers crossed, and, if you are the praying kind (like we are), please remember to mention us and our house buying endeavors.

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