Welcome! I am a mom to two wonderful kids, a lovely retired greyhound, and a wife to a great husband. Needless to say, there are a lot of daily messes to clean up around our house. Daily Messes is my blog to share ideas on things to do with your kids, snack and meal ideas, crafts, and holiday fun. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

We've Moved! Part 1: Looking At Buying A Foreclosure

We're finally moved! Well, we moved in the summer but are finally getting settled and into a routine again. It has been an interesting journey. This moving adventure has taught a few things along the way too.

We moved for several reasons: to be closer to my husband's work (he was driving about an hour each way, every day), to be in a better school district (see my Moving...School District Help post to learn how you can get a map of a specific school district), to get the boys in their own bedrooms, and to achieve my dream of at least two bathrooms so that I can go in peace without having a little boy come running up saying he has to pee while squirming and doing the pee dance in front of me.

It's been a crazy, sometimes stressful journey. We were being a lot pickier about this house because we saw it as potentially being the last house we bought. It took us awhile to find what we wanted in our price range.

At one time we found a foreclosure that looked perfect. Well...not perfect the way it was. We saw it as an opportunity to live in a great neighborhood with a large house within our budget. There were several things wrong with it that we could see outright, but the home inspection brought up a lot of new ones. The short list is that it needed all new siding (it was part of a recalled batch many years ago and parts of it were missing from the house), several new windows because the frames had rotten or were really close to rotten, drywall repair, pest mitigation (we could hear creatures in the attic), new furnace and air conditioner, new water heater, and garage door repair. There were still a few unknowns, such as if the gas fireplace would work since the bank wouldn't turn them on and any damage under the soggy siding. What in the world was I thinking, right? When I walked in the house, I could see it being a great house for us. The layout was perfect, it had 4 bedrooms, the master bathroom was awesome...it was everything we could have wanted except with a lot of problems. We were willing to tackle those problems. However, the bank wouldn't play ball. We found out from talking to the neighbors that it had been vacant for 5 years, not the 1 year the bank had stated. We kept trying to schedule our home inspection, but the bank dragged its feet turning on the heat and water. It took a month until it was turned on. When we finally got the inspection, we shopped around and got quotes on the major repairs. We sent the quotes on to the bank with a new offer based on the cost of repairs, unknown mold issues, and potential further damage under the siding. The bank said take it or leave it at the original price. With so many unknowns in repairs, we walked away. My real estate agent said that this one went pretty well and somewhat quickly. The listing agent actually called her back and responded to messages, which apparently doesn't always happen with foreclosures.

However, I learned a few things about foreclosed properties:
  • You have to have lots of patience because it is an extremely slow and frustrating process. The government owned properties don't have to play by the same real estate rules and timelines as normal houses.
  • Write in the contract "contingent on a whole home inspection" to give yourself an exit and still keep your earnest money if major problems present themselves. We had it in our contract and they still tried to keep our earnest money!
  • Get a home inspection! Foreclosed properties do not have to disclose anything. We also had radon and termite inspections done because of where we live. If the house has been vacant for awhile, a mold test might be a good idea too.
  • Talk to the neighbors. While we were having our home inspection done, one of the neighbors came home and we walked over to say hello. We learned all kinds of things that the bank holding the property would not tell us. Plus, it gives you a feel of the neighborhood and your future neighbors.
I was heart broken for awhile. It seriously could have been the house, you know the one you always dream about. However, logically I knew that the probability of other problems (such as lots of damage under the soaking wet siding or mold) coming up were high and it would stretch us financially, so we probably couldn't afford to take it at the bank's asking price and make the necessary repairs.

After awhile, I started looking again and found another house. This one wasn't quite as big, but it had sidewalks and was in a cul-de-sac. There were lots of trees for shade and a tiny little creek running behind it. It was tucked away in the neighborhood, but minutes from stores and playgrounds. The boys would have their own rooms and I would get my separate bathroom. This process had a few hiccups too, but nothing compared to dealing with the foreclosed property. So far the house is working out great and I get to take a shower without someone coming in to tell me they have to go poo...ah, the little things in life. :)

There are still a few things that we have on our to-do-list. Most of them are little and we are tackling them as they come up.
**These are just my opinions and what I learned. I am not a professional in any way, so please do your research when looking at buying a foreclosure home.

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