The House Next Door

The House Next Door

Short form: the deal fell through, and it is not ours.

Long form: the seller is convinced that the place is worth $75,000. we believe this conviction is partly the result of bad information from her retired friend-of-the-family realtor, who we recently learned was witholding documents & information from her, as well as telling her that anybody would pay that much for a place in that bad a condition in this (largely rather poor) neighborhood. he also told her that the place was worth more because it’s right on Isleta Blvd (a noisy rural highway with a ton of traffic–i believe this to be the opposite of true), that it was zoned commercial (Bernalillo County says it’s zoned Agricultural), and that the land value itself was 75k, even without the house.

alas, these things are untrue. comparable properties (1500 square foot houses on .3-.5 acres — note the same acreage) in the area are selling for an average of 70k if they are 100% move-in ready, and about 42k if they are fixer-uppers — and this place is a VERY serious fixer-upper. empty land sells for 80k per acre down here — this is 1/3 acre, so purely as a field, no money-sink house involved, it’s worth about 30k. the house does add something, as long as it doesn’t have to be knocked down and rebuilt (a possibility). this is just data off MLS; we didn’t make it up. we just looked. which apparently Jerry never did. so we offered less than she wants. though we’re willing to be somewhat flexible on that, tens of thousands of dollars exceeds our tolerance for dropping our hard-earned money into a hole in the ground.

properties sell VERY VERY slowly down here. she wouldn’t believe any of that from us, but we just cannot let ourselves be taken to the cleaners in the price of this place when it is going to take on the order of $40k to fix it into habitable condition. and we are watching how houses down here just don’t sell. they sit and sit and sit and sit. same signs, same places, for years. even places with more land, nicer houses.

the home inspection revealed *significant* structural issues. we knew there were some, and the inspection was largely unsurprising, but it was worse than we thought, particularly in that he diagosed the house as having probable foundation problems. we knew the subfloor needed to be replaced, and probabyl some joists, but the foundation is another matter. the inspector suggested that the livingroom might have to be knocked down and rebuilt. eep. but we couldn’t be sure before pulling up the floor and letting a contractor take a look at it. there’s a crack you can see daylight through in that room. all that, and then Linda’s realtor withheld the inspection from her.

and when we talked to her about it–she asked me to call her, so we did–she stuck fast to that 75k. she said, send me the paperwork and submit your new offer. so we did. she rejected it and terminated the sale.

we are collectively dismayed, but feeling like we made the right decision — we can’t allow ourselves to be beggared by someone who thinks she can get more than the market can bear for a place that is going to absorb tens of thousands more dollars from us. goddess knows we WANT the place. we want the land. we want the possiblities, the expansion. but we need it to be good for us. it needs to be fair. and that is not a fair price. i feel sad and defensive about it. and unwilling to be played for a fool.

and — damn it, we’re Witches. if this place is going to come to us, then it is going to come to us. the Universe will find the right way for it to happen. we have been acting as fairly and openly as we know how through this whole process. it seemed to want us to let go, so we are letting go.

my best hope for the property now, is that Linda will get a new realtor (we learned after the termination paperwork came through, who will do an actual market analysis for her (Jerry certainly never did, since the one our realtor-friend Beth did diverged so completely from his back-of-the-envelope, ten-years-ago expectation of housing prices — dude, the market tanked, did you not notice? and this is the Valley, not the Heights, and certainly not Denver [which is what Linda’s got in her head, we expect, that being her stomping grounds]. nobody wants to move down here; it’s “far”.) and give her a realistic expectation of what she can ask for. That she will then list the property with that realistic estimate in mind, and we can put in a new offer. Or, that she will simply call us back and say, hey, my new realtor says 50k is about all i can expect for it, given the inspection results. can we put this deal back together? and we buy it. that is what i am hoping for. touch wood.

so keep your fingers crossed, folks. positive energy this way would be very helpful and appreciated.

i certainly hope she reads that inspection. because Jerry was so shady in his dealings around it (he never forwarded it to her, nor did he send her our entire second wave of paperwork, which was his legal obligation as her realtor), we printed out the inspection and left a copy in the kitchen before returning the keys to the across-the-street neighbor, Julie. and of course i got my irrigation supplies out of the garage (and put some more cat food down for Furdre, who is an innocent bystander here — though i am also feeding her in our barn, and continue to hope to lure her into permanent residence in said barn, as she is a mouser of unparalleled excellence).

so there’s all that. i need to upload photographs and update the farm blog, which is like two months behind because the Witches’ Ball ate my head. i hope it tasted good.