I’ve been haunting the real estate ads lately, looking for the right opportunity to move closer into town. And one house in particular has caught my eye, but… there are some mysteries about it.
It’s a house I’ve noticed several times before, as I’ve biked through that area. It’s an attractive house; it catches the eye. When I spotted the ad for it online, I started thinking about it much more, and started looking more critically.
I paged through all of the photos on the online ad, and oohed and aahed over how gorgeous the place looks. When I showed the photos to someone else, she noticed that each photo had a little copyright in the corner “© 2005”. Hmm, that’s weird. Why wouldn’t they use current photos?
Then I looked at the price history on the house. It was initially listed for sale a little over a year ago. The price was dropped after a month, dropped again two weeks later, and again two weeks after that. And that’s it; the price has stayed at that level for a year. Strange.
I decided to check the place out in person, just walking around the property. I pull up and park in the driveway. Hrm, the cement is buckling in a number of places; that’s going to have to be replaced before too long. The back gate is ajar, so I continue up the driveway and into the back yard. That gorgeous back deck from all the photos? Completely rotted through in a couple of places. Oh look, and there’s a sleeping bag and a couple of pieces of clothing on the deck; some homeless guy has been camping here. Thank goodness he’s not here right now.
There’s a one-car garage with a massive roll-up door made entirely of glass panels. Reminds me of Cameron’s dad’s garage in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. (Yeah, I’m dating myself.)
Peering through the windows of the house, there are scenes of work abruptly stopped. One room has a few dozen scraps of Cat 5 cable littering the floor. The kitchen appliances are missing. Another room has cans of paint sitting in the middle of the floor. I can’t say why, but none of this feels like current work. This all feels like scenes of renovation started a year or more ago and abruptly abandoned.
There’s a basement level, but I don’t see many windows that reach down there. How dungeon-like is that space?
Hrm, some of the wooden fencing around the property is also rotted and falling.
But still, the basic house is very handsome, and looks intact; no signs of decay are visible. The location is pretty great. And given that the price was set a year ago and the list of repairs even my untrained eye can see, you’d think the price could be negotiated down even further.
So, I’m cautious, but still intrigued. I guess the next stage will be to look through the house with a realtor. And if I’m still interested, walk though it with Contractor Dan, and get him to make a list of things that would have to be fixed before moving in, things to fix within the first year, longer-term projects, etc. Let’s see how this unfolds.