Saturday, August 4, 2007

Contemplating a Fixer

Hubby and I used to joke around when referring to our previous house, we called it our practice house. It was our first house....well okay it was a townhouse that had neighbors attached on either side. It was built in 1979 and didn't have a single square wall, but it was right near the last metro stop in the D.C. suburbs of Virginia.

We called it the practice house because we (well, really 80% hubby and 20% me) practiced all our home improvement techniques on it. In the end, it sold within days of listing since the location was great and the home was completely updated compared to others.

Today we saw an opportunity to put that practice to good use. The home is almost everything we want, enormous lot, single story, easy freeway access, nestled in the hills, seasonal creek in the back etc etc. The caveat, its a heavy fixer, much more so than our last house. And while I know we have the ability to do it, I am not sure we have the desire.

As far as ability goes, hubby worked construction growing. His dad is a top quality tile mason (who needs work in case anyone needs a referral), and his brother is very handy as well. As far as desire goes, my children are young. They are at that stage where all they want to do is spend time with me, sitting in my lap, playing with toys on the living room floor. Do I really want to squander this special time to work on a house? After all, I already work 40 hours a week.....our time together is precious.

Sigh....sometimes this housing obsession makes me loose perspective. But oh that house would be fantastic once we finished with it.


Another Average Buyer said...

Average Buyer,

If you're not interested, would you mind posting the address and info? (My wife and I have been looking in this market for quite some time also... it seems like the wait never ends! Your description of this property sparked my interest.)

Thanks much!

buying time said...


This is much more than your average fixer. The lot and location are the asset, and might even be worth more if there were no house! 2840 Strolling Hills in Cameron Park is the address. It has been on and off the market for a really long time, so we figured the bank might be flexible on price. For 5 acres we figured it couldn't hurt to take a look. Good luck.

another average buy said...

Thank you so much! We're going to take a look and see what we think. I'll let you know what happens.

Thanks again!

landwhore said...

Hard decision. I just had to make the same choice. My house in question needs a new roof and there is slight water damage inside. I put a roof on my old house and vowed to never do it again.

Well, I submitted a very low offer not thinking the bank would take it. The bank took it, and I get to curse my realtor's name with every hit of the hammer. It will turn out great when done and I will be happy.

The property you are looking at seems close to the freeway to me. Lots of noise and pollution.

Good luck on your decision.

buying time said...

LW -

That was my fear as well....that the bank would take our lowball offer. A house down the street sold for 200k less than the list price and it wasn't nearly the fixer this was.

The freeway noise was a problem for me...why have all that nice property if you can't enjoy the peace and quiet on your back porch. But at the same time it was my only shot at some property, its way out of our price range otherwise...sigh.

Cmyst said...

Another thing about acreage is that you have to be ever mindful of fire risk during the dry season.
I had friends who owned several acres near Dutch Flat; they bought when they were far from retirement (they still are) but with an eye to building a dream retirement home. After about 3 years of all of us camping up there, clearing land, taking down old/hazardous hunting shack, etc. and their growing awareness of the fire danger, they decided to sell and buy the condo on the golf course instead.

landwhore said...

I will throw these out there for the people that are looking:

MLS#70073684 and MLS#70011319

Both are just south of Auburn.

The first is 4.2 acres with a 1758 sqf house that sold for 850k on 4/06. The bank "bought" it for 693k and has it listed for 500k.

The second house in on 3 acres with a 2167 sqf house that the bank "bought" for 550k and has listed it for 499k.

I have no connections to either house. I came across them as I was searching for my own house.

Steven said...

We viewed the property on Crater Hill (MLS 70011319) before the bank took it back.

It's a nice piece of property and the house isn't too bad. The above ground pool needs to be demolished.

The major problem that we had with this property is that it is down (and up) a dirt road with at least one creek crossing that looks like it gets the road wet and muddy in winter.

another average buyer said...

Well, my wife and I looked at the 2840 Strolling Hills property and decided that the close proximity to the freeway is a deal breaker for us. Just a little way up the road, hills block the freeway but that particular property is below the freeway and you can see cars driving by from the front yard through the trees. (Unfortunate in deed. The Acreage is great, and I love the trees / land itself!)

I did e-mail the agent, for this property, requesting a little more information but they didn't even bothered to reply. Actually, I've been very surprised at how long it takes most agents to return calls or e-mail queries. Out of the 6 I've contacted recently (we're looking for land in the foothills area) only 3 ever returned the call / e-mail, and at that is was always at least one day later. Very strange considering the market. You would figure they would be all over an interest in any property they have listed. Not so. Maybe they're too busy trying to move all the extra homes they've purchased in the last few years?

Thanks for the tip though! Great blog!!!