Everyone else who’s house hunting these days is probably seeing a lot of foreclosures for sale like we are. We’ll admit we were torn about whether or not we wanted to consider them. It’s one thing to buy a home from a willing seller, but to take a home that someone else didn’t want to lose seems so sad. Especially given all of the recent issues coming to light about houses being foreclosed on when they shouldn’t have been. But we decided to tour this one, even though it was a little outside of our comfort zone, just to see what it looked like inside (since the outside was pretty charming indeed).
- Age: 1960
- Home size: 2,659 square feet
- Lot size: 0.4 acres of land
- Bedrooms: 4
- Bathroom: 2.5
- Extremely inexpensive
- In need of TONS of work (which is a plus for us)
- Slate roof and gorgeous hardwood floors throughout
- Nice private backyard
- Great neighborhood (near family and awesome schools)
- Smells heavily of smoke inside
- Sagging drywall in nearly every room (re-doing drywall isn’t as fun as most DIY projects)
- It’s huge (and we prefer a more modest footprint that’s easier to clean)
- Can’t be purchased with a contingency (meaning we’d have to sell our house before putting in an offer)
- Foreclosures can be a good deal, but they make us sad (and may even be a liability given the murmurings of “foreclosure fraud”).
So even though the pros seemed to balance out the cons (in numbers, at least) we just couldn’t get past how virtually uninhabitable it would be while we tried to fix the drywall and rid it of the heavy smoke smell. It’s certainly not something we’d want to move Clara into before that (and since we’d have to sell our house before even making an offer, we would most likely have to figure out interim housing which seems complicated and unnecessary if we can persue other homes that will accept a contingency instead). But we’re glad we toured it just to know what’s inside and rule it out as an option for us. After all, every house that we enter without getting that “this is it” feeling means we get to cross it off the list, which hopefully brings us closer to The One.
Psst- Help! Over on BabyCenter we’re calling all moving experts for tips and tricks to help keep our upcoming move organized and efficient- especially since we’ll have an under-a-year-old baby along for the ride. Any varsity movers with advice for keeping things as uncomplicated as possible! Share them right here.
Ashley @ sunnysideshlee.com says
It doesn’t sound like you guys are really excited about this property like the others. So on that fact alone, I’d pass on it. Foreclosures can be tricky and be a loooong drawn out purchase process…and, if you’re not looking for as much room … you might want to consider something else. The plus side is with all that room, you can expand your little family with tons of room to spare!!
My husband and I were just musing on foreclosures last night! We looked at a few as well and they just have… I dunno, bad vibes or something. A new house should be a joyous thing and you shouldn’t have to constantly be reminded of a family that no longer has a home.
That being said that house is HUGE! And I can just see some adorable shutters on all those windows.
Jackie Hintz says
Hi Guys, Our neighbor’s house was foreclosed on. The new neighbors well, not like the old. If our neighborhood would have known the problems the neighbors who moved out were having, I believe we’d have made a loan to them so they could have stayed. Hate the idea that they are gone and these people took advantage of the former owner’s fate. So that’s another aspect of taking on a foreclosure that you may not have thought of. Yes you have no part of what happened to the owners, however feelings are real! So if I were you, I’d speak to the neighbors first before considering a foreclosed upon house.
Great advice Jackie!
Jessica @ How Sweet says
I don’t think I could ever deal with the smoke smell. That lingers EVERYWHERE.
Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says
The cigarette smell alone would make me think twice about this house. I don’t even know how in the world you would go about getting rid of that!
Its a great price but you’re not in love with it. We bought a short sale earlier this year in Arizona, and the house was in perfect condition, a rarity. Most of the houses we looked at had been trashed. It was a long process but so worth it…its where we will live in the winters in a few years, but for now, its the only place we vacation :)
The one thing about the house in your post that would turn me off…the smoke. I don’t mind doing drywall, plumbing, electrical, but I can’t stand the smoke.
We inherited a china cabinet and hutch from my heavy smoking great-grandmother. We tried EVERYTHING to get the smell out of the wood, wiping with vinegar, baking soda, airing it out…
The only thing that finally got rid of it totally was time. Unless you have years to wait or are going to strip all the woodwork etc. out then it’s good you passed.
Smoke is such a downer. We are renting a place where the last inhabitant smoked (not even indoors, just outdoors) and now, 15 months later, it STILL smells of smoke and we still smell faintly of it ourselves. We even washed the walls with vinegar and re-painted trying to get rid of it but nothing seemed to work. Ugh, it’s so gross.
We’ve heard that using oil-based primer on the walls (and pulling up carpets and refinishing floors) seems to be the best way to rid a house of that nasty smoke smell. To bad it’s such a big to-do list to get rid of that pesky stench!
My husband and I purchased a foreclosure. We didn’t get the back story on the home until we met the neighbors and they shared what happened. It turns out in our case the owner had lived there for years and years and owned the home outright. He got into financial trouble because he started renovating (at all hours of the night) without permits and was fined repeatedly to the point where he could no longer afford to pay the fines. My point in sharing is that each foreclosure is going to be a unique story and while many of them are sad some of them are calculated decisions by homeowners after looking at the numbers or mistakes that were avoidable. By the time the home reaches foreclosure it is too late for the previous owner. It may afford you an opportunity that otherwise never would’ve existed. We were able to get into a neighborhood that we would otherwise probably not been able to afford by buying something that needed work and was a foreclosure.
Also, I’m not sure about the laws in your state but your title insurance policy should protect you from issues steming from the foreclosure issues that have been in the news lately. What we may start seeing is title companies unwilling to issue policies until they review foreclosure proceedings which could slow down the purchasing process for foreclosures.
Why didn’t you mention the location or schools on this one?
Keep up the good work…I keep wondering if you already found “the one” and are just a couple weeks ahead on the posts…I can’t bear the suspense! Best of luck!
We actually mentioned the location and the schools in the last bullet on the pro list. It’s in a great neighborhood with amazing schools! Definitely an important pro in our book.
brandt @ New House on the Blog says
We’ve seen some foreclosures that we really nasty and beat up (like the one you guys looked at), and ones that just needed some TLC. The one we’re putting an offer on today is in wonderful structural shape (at least it looks like it), but needs a lot of touching up. In my mind, it’s 50% looking past the previous owner and 50% accepting the house as-is.
Keep looking! We’re starting on our 3rd month of looking, and after 1 rejected offer on a house from a bank and the debacle of a short sale from a seller, we might have finally found “the one.” It’s true what they say, though – you’ll know it when it’s “your house.”
I feel your pain on the sheetrock work. You have to be born in the sheetrock to really work it like the pros. However, don’t be discouraged by tearing out every inch of sheetrock in the house. Richmond has several sheetrock companies that all they do is sheetrock 24/7. The work isn’t as expensive as one might think and the pros could finish a house in 2 days max! I was shocked to see a pro sheetrock company work. They use a special quick dry joint compound that allows them to apply multiple coats over the course of a few hours. You would save money by doing the demo work yourself and allowing a company to come in behind and rock the walls. New sheetrock has to be primed before painted and you could always prime and paint yourself. I have seen Mike Holmes (Holmes on Holmes) even sub out his sheetrock work. So don’t feel like you’re giving up on the DIY work.
My wife and I bought a foreclosure in Richmond and it has been a true learning experience. We had an attorney do our closing to prevent any future claims. Knock on wood, the bank is still saying it is our house and they gladly except our mortgage every month.
Rebecca @ the lil house that could says
Ooh another pretty one! I could only imagine what you guys would do to up the curb appeal. Maybe lighten the trimwork, add some shutters? I think we need a photoshopped potential after picture! :)
We purchased our home as a foreclosure and it needed work. It was such a good price that we could get a larger home and give each of our 3 children a bedroom of their own. It makes me sad that someone lost it but it did open an opportunity for us. In retrospect, if I were to lose a home that we loved, I think it would give me some comfort in knowing that it was well cared for by people who also cared about it even if I couldn’t have it anymore….I think anyways. Any house you purchase will be in that category and then some.
Amy Button says
We bought a house four years ago that had been a rental. We had it inspected and the inspector didn’t catch the termite damage in the drywall (apparently the vermin like to tunnel under the paper on the drywall). Anyway, drywall work is the worst ever and I would never buy a house again that needed it. Chalk it up to my first house enthusiasm. Oh, and wall paper…never, ever again.
Good luck with your house hunt!
While this house does seem like something you aren’t up for, don’t give up on foreclosures. My hubs and I just bought our first house earlier this year and it’s a foreclosure. We were really surprised (compared to all the terribly run-down homes we looked at first) that it was a foreclosure at all. I was really apprehensive about getting foreclosures for a lot of the same reasons you are but it’s the only thing we could afford and the one we found happened to be about 8 minutes away from my work and in a great neighborhood. You never know…you may just stumble upon one that fits you!
But I totally agree about getting the “this is it” feeling. VITAL in house hunting!
Good luck with the rest of the search!
I certainly wouldn’t necessarily feel sorry for everyone who went through a foreclosure. Our house was a foreclosure and we keep learning more and more information that shows us that the previous owners were dishonest and irresponsible. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them.
I would just take it for what it is, a great deal, if it’s a house you really love. If we avoided looking at foreclosures when we were house hunting, the pool of houses would have sharply diminished (we’re in MI).
our first home was purchased from someone who had smoked 3 packs a day in it for 16 years…the smell gets into everything (including wallpaper, carpets, etc.), yuck…it took us a long time, and lots of effort, but after repainting everything, removing all of the wallpaper and window treatments, wiping down all of the woodwork, the smell was gone…however, on some damp days, I swear you could still smell smoke faintly…yuck!
Most of the houses we looked at were part of estates, meaning that the owners had died and the children were selling. This didn’t seem sad to me at all, but foreclosures really did. And now the legal complications would give me pause as well. My brother just bought a house on a lot of acreage as a foreclosure. He isn’t living on it yet as there is a lot of work to do, and he’s had problems w/ repeated vandalism, which the neighbors feel is likely the former owners. Just recently, he found out that it wasn’t foreclosed on properly, and might even be a case of fraud- it’s a long, complicated story. Anyhow, he will probably either get the property or his money back, but he has had to hire an attorney and is having to slog through various legal actions. Even if your title insurance covers this, it’s still a long, stressful process.
Cait @ Hernando House says
It’s a shame that this one looked so nice from outside and was so bad inside. The smoke alone would be a deal breaker for me and my asthma for sure!
I live in Miami and you have no idea how lucky you are that you can even put an offer on a house with such a contingency. My husband and I just bought a short sale and it has been 5 arduous months of hell (no other words can describe). The day of closing, we went to the house to change the locks, toast to our new home, etc. and we found the previous owners had taken the AC unit. Not an expense we were planning on making.
The neighbors gave us the background and the previous owners were terrible, they were even growing/dealing with drugs at one point in the house.
We are learning to see past this and appreciate the great deal we got and see how many great memories will come with this new house. A lot of primer and cleaning needed :)
I hope you find what you are looking for and while I always say don’t settle (from experience, we didn’t), I still believe that something’s got to give and at some point, some “con” will have to be accepted.
A lot of the houses we looked at when we went house hunting were foreclosures just because of the price range we had set for ourselves. We looked at a lot of houses and a lot of the foreclosures were trashed or in terrible condition but a couple just had minor issues or just needed some updating. Right now there are so many foreclosed homes out there that can really get you quite a deal. We got everything we wanted in a house and more because it was a foreclosure.
I do somewhat understand your hesitation in buying a foreclosure (even aside from the cig smoke, ick). However, to play devil’s advocate, if everyone is reluctant to consider short sales/foreclosures, how do we ever clear the foreclosures from the market? In my neighborhood of townhouse-style condos, many buyers purchased as investments, were never residents, and later foreclosed. As a longtime owner/resident, my property value has greatly diminished. It makes me so happy to see young couples and families purchasing the neglected homes in our neighborhood and sprucing them up. It only contributes to the market rebound and – hopefully! – an eventual rebound in our own property values. It does take motivated new homeowners to right the situation. Anyway – regardless of the sale status of the home you choose, I am excited to see where you guys end up!
The heavy smoke smell would have turned me off….is it even possible to get rid of that nasty aroma????
Allegedly it can be done with a lot of hard work! Just scroll back through the comments for that info (I chimed in with it a while back).
Our experience with foreclosures (in Texas, anyway) is that the banks are sitting on properties and are really unwilling to budge on the asking price, despite the condition. Most that we looked at needed more work than the prices reflected and in the end, we bought a conventional sale, which surprisingly, gave us more bargaining room.
It’s sad that so many have lost their homes due to unethical banking practices and even more sad that there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for either the victims or the perpetrators.
I don’t see purchasing a foreclosure as taking advantage of someone else’s misfortune. I actually have friends and even family who had purchased homes they KNEW they couldn’t really afford with zero down and zero interest loans, and then once the houses value plummeted, simply packed up and walked away. I agree with the previous poster’s comment that every single situation is going to have it’s own unique story – but you will likely not get the full story (even from the neighbors after the fact).
We have purchased foreclosures as investment properties (and this was a few years ago even) and it’s actually fairly simple and straightforward. Short sales, not so much. Foreclosures, just take a little longer. But can get purchaed for a great deal.
If everyone were to look at foreclosures as taking advantage of someone else’s bad situation, quite frankly, we’re going to be in a housing glut for a long time to come.
Sounds like this isn’t the house for you. What about short sales instead of foreclosures? I think with short sales the owners are working with the banks, as opposed to being kicked out. But I could be biased by my experience.
We bought a short sale. As we went through the process, we discovered in bits and pieces that the owners had divorced. Talking to the neighbors after we bought, we found out that it was a rather nasty divorce. We bought the house from the husband (with a letter certifying that the wife no longer had any legal claim on the house) and he was looking to get a fresh start across the state. I felt bad for the kids going through the divorce, but the sale of the house was more of a side effect of the divorce, so buying it didn’t bother me.
On the non-emotional side (or less emotional, anyway), here are a few things I learned: getting a lawyer who knows his stuff and is experienced in short sales is a huge weight off your mind. Still read through everything carefully, but our lawyer was great in explaining that this mass of intimidating words boils down to xyz, these pages mean that, etc. Don’t even think of doing a short sale without a lawyer. Having realtors on *both* sides who are experienced with short sales will also help facilitate things. Definitely get an inspection, even if things look okay, because I have yet to hear of a short sale that allows for contingencies. The inspection is the first step in learning your house, especially for us DIY folk. :-)
All in all things went very quickly for us because the bank was motivated to sell and so was the owner, and we gave them their asking price and didn’t ask for any contingencies. And by very quickly I mean we made an offer mid-August and got the keys the first week of October, IIRC. We’ve been fixing and painting ever since.
Good luck to all you house hunters out there!
Short sales won’t accept contingent offers just like foreclosures, so logistically they’re complicated (since we’d need to sell our house, mover into interim housing, make an offer, and then move into the short sale). Of course if the right house came along we might consider it…
We just bought our first home a year ago, and it was a foreclosure. At that time in our area there were no houses on the market that weren’t foreclosures!
This is what we decided. It does seem sort of icky to buy someone’s house when they were forced out of it, but think of it this way – in a lot of cases, a foreclosure can actually be a blessing. When someone really cannot afford their home, it gives them a way out. Lots of people in our area are walking away intentionally because of decreased home values – they make the decision to leave. That’s what happened with our house – the couple who owned it got divorced and neither one could afford the payments on their own. They owed more than the house was worth, so short sale or foreclosure was the best option, and they decided to go with foreclosing and be done with it. That’s a pretty typical scenario from what my real estate expert friends tell me.
By buying a foreclosure, you are helping the housing market and getting a good deal at the same time. Win-win. Although it does sound like this particular house is not ideal, I wouldn’t rule out foreclosures in the future. Just my experience. :)
Oh – and we once bought a home as a rental for my brother that had a horrific cat pee smell. We were worried it was into the wood floors/subfloor and once we pulled up the carpet, it was gone completely! Often times a really great primer will get rid of the smoke smell (as well as lots and lots of fresh air), both of which are not easy to do with little ones underfoot and winter approaching.
We are shopping for a new home now too. In Arizona, the housing bubble was super high and now super low. This means there are a lot of housing situations and stories out there. Some people legitimately have sad stories of failed business ventures, medical bills, etc. that forced them out of their homes.
The vast majority of foreclosed homes, however, are people who are ticked that their house is no longer worth what they paid for it and are letting it go. Or they used their equity as an ATM machine to buy quads, boats, remodeling, etc. and therefore shifted the debt on the house too high and again, are upset that their house is no longer worth what it used to be, so they let it go. Nevermind that they used their equity irresponsibly and got themselves into the mess on their own.
I personally know several people who planned to “let the house go” (strategic default) and went out and bought a second home to move into while they still could and their credit wasn’t jacked, moved out of their first home, let renters move into that home month to month, collect rent yet never pay a mortgage, use the rent money to remodel their kitchen or put in a pool at the new house, and when the foreclosure finally happens, they are all settled in their new home with a new kitchen and pool without a single bit of regard for the other home or the renters they took advantage of either that never knew when they might get kicked out.
That is the situation here, anyway. And really under reported. I am looking at a foreclosure tomorrow. They sell faster than short sales but usually need more TLC. There are a lot of homes that have been trashed by seemingly decent people who want to stick it to the bank. Pulling all appliances and selling them on craigslist, even cabinetry, while walking away from the house, I have heard of homes having concrete dumped down the toilets, holes punched in walls just for fun, and these are in high end neighborhoods. Not just shady areas.
It is really sad on so many levels but because what I described is so prevalent here, I have a hard time finding time to be sad for the chance that someone legitimately lost their home falling on bad luck.
Oh, and our house was in excellent condition. The previous owners even left us a little note with the garage door opener code written on it!
The smoke smell will come out. Our house is nearly 100 yrs old and for the past 40 of them, someone smoked in there and the nic stains were horrific, to put it mildly. We did rip out all the paneling and strip off 4-6 layers of wallpaper, taking the walls town to bare plaster. We also pulled up the carpeting and the floors needed redoing anyways. We primed everything with oil-based primer, which I prefer anyway. That stuff covers anything. We did have to live off-site for 5 months, but we knew that going in. We had temporary digs at a friend’s extra house. It wasn’t glamorous, but it sure helped us out.
As our new house needed all new systems and we knew that going in, we were willing to take on the nic/tar stains. The house doesn’t smell now, thankfully!
There was a foreclosure in my neighborhood as well, but the new neighbors are really fixing the place up. They built a new fence, cleaned up the yard, fixed the broken deck… Considering that you guys are probably in the ‘good neighbor’ category I wouldn’t worry to much about a foreclosed home. But you would still might want to talk to the (potential) new neighbors about it if possible.
Also I moved into an apartment that used to house a smoker. It was all hard wood floors and freshly painted, mopping with Murphy’s oil then vinegar water really helped. I also aired the place out thoroughly and vacuumed everything three times. It’s not noticeable anymore.
Our home was a foreclosure and there are definate pros and cons. Our home had sat empty for a year and been “flipped” so the feeling of “stealing” someones home wasn’t there for us thankfully.
I did feel really bad about finding joy in getting a great home for a really great deal. Then the previous owners daughter just stopped by one day. She was so happy to see we had put love and care and time into making her home our home. Our neighbors were also thrilled to have the house sold to a couple who cared about it’s appearance as that hadn’t been the case previously. So while there are emotional cons to buying a foreclosure there can be some great pros as well!
My husb and I just looked at a foreclosure similar to this one just last week. unlike many other homes we’ve looked into, this one would require quite a bit of work before we could move in (due to mold, etc). we had a really tough time weighing the pros and cons since the cons mainly involved upfront expenses to get the house into living condition.
the pros were amazing: a dream layout (plus pitched ceilings, wooden beams, skylights), great fireplace and exposed brick wall, hardwood floors, acreage, and prime location for us. plus, its large enough that we would never need to add on.
for the cons, we just ended up totaling a large list of expenses for the work that had to be done and seeing if that amount plus the list price exceeded our budget. make sense? the cons/expenses included price of inspection and mold removal (drywall replacement etc), purchase and installation of gutters(the house has none!), and finishing some projects left undone by the previous home owners (a bathroom and kitchen half reno’ed), etc.
i guess my question is, how do you guys approach this sort of thing? are there any qualities/shortcomings in a potential home that make you turn and run the other way? do you tend to see run down/unfinished places as a DIY dream or a construction nightmare (dealing with/ fixing previous owners mistakes, etc)?
We love DIY! So we welcome most projects and actually put a house that needs lots of work on our pro list since it’s what we love to do. Of course other people probably think they’re crazy because they’re looking for something turn-key, so it’s really all about knowing yourself and deciding if you like projects and DIY or if you’d rather find a home that’s already pretty close to being done.
My in-laws had a neighbor who had their home foreclosed. They had been paying their morgage every month, on time and the full amount, but it turned out that the bank they had been paying to had sold their morgage to another bank without telling them, so for months the first bank was just pocketing the money and the second bank wasn’t getting paid. With no warning, the second bank said they were foreclosing and they had to move within two weeks. After all was said and done they got a good settlement from the bank and they like where they ended up, but it was pretty crazy for them! The whole thing really made me unsure about foreclosed houses, but I agree that many times people made conscience choices that resulted in them losing their homes.
I’m glad that you realized that this house wasn’t for you for several reasons. As much as I would love to see some drywalling tutorials (I’ve actually drywalled once, but it wasn’t the best job…), redoing every room seems like a lot with the little one on your hands!
lana @ make a house a home says
we had the same feelings when house hunting for our vacation home. we found an amazing key west style cottage in south fl, put in an offer, then learned what was going on with the seller. details aside, we backed out. we figured we may have helped him by buying him more time. it just didn’t feel right, kinda like kicking someone when they are down. you know? :/
I agree with some of the other posters. Don’t give up on forclosed homes. I do agree that it can be sad to feel like you are “taking” some family’s home…but that is not always the case with forclosures. My husband and I bought a forclosure. The previous owner had passed away and the family wasn’t able to keep up with the responsibility of another mortgage. The house was rented for awhile, but eventually went back to the bank. This is our first home and we were able to get something a little bigger and nicer than we would have been able to had it not been for the forclosure. My point is, don’t assume that you are taking advantage of someone elses’ misfortune. That is not always the case…try and get the back story, especially if the house of your dreams is a forclosure.
I hear ya…it does seem like a sad thing.
Pam @ diy Design Fanatic says
We are having the same predicament…We have been looking at homes in near new condition, ones that need some updating and a few that need a total tearout! We really aren’t interested in the near new condition homes…what would be the fun in that(being a diehard diyer?) The homes that need a total remodel are ones I couldn’t live in the way it was until it was fixed up and would probably end up costing as much in the end as a near new home!
One thing you should consider if you haven’t already is…going from a smaller house to one that is almost twice the size….your energy bills will be almost double, too and your project cost will also take up more of your budget!
Kathy Z says
My DH and I were house hunting for our first home about two years ago. The idea of buying a short sale or foreclosure felt odd at first, too. But most of the houses on the owner to owner sales were very overpriced – people expected to get the same price as their house was worth at the top of the bubble. I think that’s changed in the last two years.
We did end up buy a foreclosure in pretty good condition. In fact our inspector said it was one of the nicest he’d seen.
According to our neighbors, the old owners were immigrants who abandoned the house and moved back to their home country when they had some legal troubles. We didn’t feel bad about buying the house after that.
I realize I’m probably in a very small minority on this one but dealing with a smokey house would NOT turn me off. Mind you, it’s nasty and it takes a lot of elbow grease but in the end you benefit with a fatter wallet! I just helped my mother-in-law clean a house that had been smoked in for 30 years. It was disgusting and took about a month but the stink and stains are all gone thanks to TSP and some good primer. The month of work put about 30k worth of equity in her home (as she was able to purchase it for way below the value of the house sans smoke). Plus, the befores and afters are exponentially more dramatic ;)
I wanted to give a serious warning about homes that smell of smoke. It is a fact that drywall (and certain types of insulation, too) actually absorb smoke and other toxic fumes. Oil base primer & paint will seal up the problem, but it is not actually removed. Ductwork often needs cleaned from the inside with a liquid detergent. Even the coils in air conditioning & furnace units are known to absorb smoke particulates and re-release them into the air. With the drastic increase in childhood respiratory disorders likely linked to schools and homes with extremely poor indoor air quality, I would shy away from any home that smells of smoke for Clara & Burger’s sake. Just my two cents.
FYI, check out a physicians advice on this topic at the site below; type MDCDO to find it quickly.
Sadly, foreclosures are a fact of life. Although they are a bummer, SOMEONE has to buy the thing (it’s worse for everyone if no one does!). The damage has already been done (to the original homeowner) so I don’t think the buyer has a whole lot to do with it.
Maybe you could try looking into HUD homes? That’s what mine was, and it had been vacant for years. They love to see people come in and fix them up, and they are usually a great deal. (Especially if one of you becomes a fireman, policeman, or teacher- then you could get one for 50% off, hehe.)
My husband convinced me to buy a house that was about to go back to the bank because he wanted to rehab/flip it. Unfortunately, the previous owners spent a good 20+ years of smoking in it. He ripped up all of the carpet, took down all blinds, started washing and priming rooms 6 weeks before we moved, but the first time I showered I noticed orange trails of nicotine that pooled and ran down the walls. It was like a horror film. Who smokes that much in the shower/bathroom?? Anyway, we sanded down every door, installed new flooring throughout the entire home, 2 coats of Kiehls 2 coats of paint in every room, all new baseboards, new kitchen cabinets, new fixtures, curtains and had the air vents cleaned. Unfortunately I do think the smell soaked into the concrete sub-floor so we should have spent more time scrubbing the floors. The only time that was an issue was when it rained – that’s when you noticed a faint smell of smoke when you entered the home. Good news was that we managed to get an offer and accept it 4 days after we put it up for sale, but I don’t think I’d ever feel very comfortable living in a home with that much smoke damage.
Jenn L @ peas and crayons says
It’s going to be so ridiculously exciting when you guys finally find the perfect house! =) You should try to get on HGTV’s house hunters show! How fun would that be!? =)
My husband and I purchased a short sale property. The couple was actually on the balcony when we toured it. I felt pretty badly about it. They were upside down on the condo and obviously didn’t want to sell it for 1/2 of their purchase price. My husband said there was no changing their situation and if anything, we were helping boost the economy by purchasing it.
You know, I was a facilities manager for a looooong while and while at that, I had a machine that got rid of the smoke smell in rooms…no matter how bad it was.
I have a scary story regarding our house in California.
First, I certainly don’t feel sorry for the former owner of our house (a foreclosure). Our neighbors told us that they were very irresponsible and liked “BIG TOYS”. They had 3 Mercedes and a nice boat parked in front of the house (Google maps-street view). They payed a fair price for the house (198K), however they refinanced it 3 times (up to 570K). The house has some really nice features, but for sure not nearly 1/3 of the money was used into renovation.
Right after we moved in, somebody left in the front yard a picture taken in front of the house of the former owners and 4 kids! Needless to say how my husband and I felt. They also would drive by our house on the weekends (my neighbor saw them more than once doing it). Three months after we moved in, they bought something online and had it delivered at our house (probably by mistake). The guy went there to pick it up and asked me if he could see what we have done to the house..I said we were sorry for what happened to his family, we were not responsible for that and I wouldn’t feel comfortable by letting him see the house, so I asked him to leave. He clearly was not over it..We changed all keys 3 times. They also did not change their mailing address, so all the collecting companies were sending letters to my house for months.. We were paranoid.
Our house was in a really nice condition, but you never know what a foreclosure come with.
We love our house, but took a while to feel that it was really ours.
My husband and I bought a foreclosure about 4 years ago (before the market fell) and did go back and forth between feeling like vultures and loving the house. It was an adorable brick in need of mucho work.
When my uncle and I started tearing down walls and carpet to make it more “us” we found a couple of stashes of drugs! Six months later my husband and I were awakened with the house surrounded by cops shining bright lights into all our windows looking for the former owners (they had continued to use our address).
So- 4 years later, we LOVE our home and don’t feel any vibes from the former owners. We think the house loves having us create our nest there.
Snickrsnack Katie says
I hate the smell of smoke!! I smoked for ten years and quit over a year ago (YAY!) and I never smoked in my house – but I DID smoke in my car occasionally. It just took a good amount of time and air freshener and getting my car detailed to rid the car of the odor. I would figure it would be the same with a house, although there are a lot more penetrable surfaces in a house. KILLZ works really well, apparently.
I don’t know – the look of that house is just sort of weird. I know it is blurry, but I just get a weird vibe from it. I think it is good that you passed on it.