Author Topic: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?  (Read 2524 times)

YummyRaisins

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First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« on: March 10, 2019, 01:21:34 PM »
I've got some questions for more experienced folks on the particulars of buying a home that has great potential for expansion (I think). Bonus points if anyone has experience from the perspective of a first time buyer.

We just got back from an open house for a small 3 bedroom 1.5 bath home (~1,300 sqft, built in 1940) The location is great, the size doesn't bother us, and it may be overpriced based on comps (see below). Thing is, it's quite dated and has a very small kitchen. 1 counter with stove, sink, and fridge with counter space limited to the bits between each. There's a 1/2 bath that would have to be relocated to expand the kitchen into the adjacent dining room and a fireplace on the other inner wall that isn't going anywhere. The alternative would be to demo the outer wall and expand out, maybe even connect to the detached garage in the back yard. My naive thinking is that the cost to expand would increase the home's value beyond what we spend.

My hesitation is part financial and part impact on quality of life. These remodels/additions sound expensive and time consuming. Plus, I would think we couldn't live in the home while all that was going on. However, this seems like a good opportunity to buy a home below market in a nice area, make the changes we like, and (maybe) get some ROI in 5-10 years.

Would jumping on this be a bad choice? How long do renovations like these take and what do they cost? Should we just keep looking for places that need mostly superficial changes (e.g. paint, appliances, siding)? If we did do it, should we plan to keep renting and do the remodel before moving in, or do it down the road?

Comp Table (sorry for the crap formatting)

Date of last salePricesqft$/sqftBedroomsBathroomsGarage?Basement?Lot Sizeother
2/1/20143119911496208.550131.5YesPartial3049No pics
10/1/20143800001501253.164631.5NoPartial7841Dated, but larger kitchen
11/1/20163810001114342.010832NoPartial1742Central air, smaller, but still a bigger kitchen
8/1/20164010002232179.659541NoPartial3484veeeery dated. Red carpet and Jesus.
7/1/20184135002698153.261763NoUnfinished5227Needs finishing work, no appliances
4/1/20174400001440305.555621.5NoPartial2614No pics
5/10/20174635001368338.815831.5NoUnfinished2614remodeled
12/1/20184800001674286.738431.5YesPartial6969remodeled
For sale now4990001323377.173132YesPartial7840small kitchen
7/1/20165160001730298.265931.5YesPartial4791remodeled
11/1/2018540000250021632NoUnfinished1745weird kitchen layout, but spacious
3/1/20165525003060180.555653YesPartial4791Historic, built in 1767
1/1/20195750002063278.720342.5NoPartial3049Historic, built in 1824

rockeTree

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 02:18:31 PM »
You don't say how much they're asking, which makes it hard to evaluate the comps -none of the things in the table seem to match your description.

From the numbers you do have this seems like a really expensive area (440k for 2 beds!) - how much of a stretch is buying one of these for you?

Unless you are yourself quite handy and eager to oversee or do significant amounts of the work yourself I think it is rare for homeowners to come out ahead on extensive renos like you are describing - your market may vary but I bet this is an expensive city to get work done in, and most first time buyers don't have a great idea of what stuff should cost or a great contact list of quality contractors so there's a lot of fumbling around finding people and reasonable sources of supplies and fixtures and getting attached to $750 showerheads that won't work with the 80 year old plumbing without upgrades and the like. If both you and your partner work the disruption and delays get especially tiring too; decisions to be made, folks to contact, references to check, on and on and on.

I would only recommend considering it if you just loved the place and the renovations would make it your dream home for at least ten years. If you think it's getting you savings and there are other homes that will meet your needs as well, in particular a renovated home within spitting distance of your purchase costs plus twice what you think improvements will cost... maybe not? If you think the underpinnings of the property price boom aren't solid enough to make half million dollar houses of this size sustainable, maybe not.

When I was looking in my current neighborhood (all the houses are basically the same, different sun angles, some maybe 10% bigger, differing levels of basement finishing, and a very few with a half bath on the main level) I tried to buy a run down place with the coveted fireplace + half bath + 10% bigger combo. It fell through because it was a short sale and in the end the bank said they wouldn't even sell it at the list price. Every time I walk by it (because I did buy a couple blocks away) I am glad I didn't go through the drama of fixing it up. Having watched the market, I think it would have raised the value by about my costs, with nothing for the time and trouble of the whole production.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 06:33:18 PM by rockeTree »

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 03:10:08 PM »
Apologies, I should have pointed out that the house I'm talking about is listed in the comp table as "for sale now". The asking price is $499,000. It's the most expensive by $/sqft of the comps I could find. It sits on a larger than average lot, though I'm not sure it's buildable. It sits on the outskirts of a historic district (as do all the comps) filled with much older and more stately homes. It's easy walking distance to downtown and to all the amenities my family frequents.

The price is within our budget, especially if we can get the price down. We already made an offer on a slightly more expensive place that had all the updates and ~700 more sqft, but we were outbid. Our market is still relatively hot, even as the general RE market is cooling.

My handiness does not extend beyond panting, patching dry wall, and lifting moderately heavy things. Electrical, plumbing, demolition, and construction would not be something I could do my self.

Would the updates make this my dream house? No, but I also don't know that I have a dream house in mind. My wife would probably prefer something closer to the ocean, but then we're talking even bigger money. This property just struck me as having upside because very little has been done to in ~40 years. Instead of buying a flip or condo, which are the mostly of what you find here, we could buy a place and make our own decisions about how to update/add on to it.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2019, 03:33:52 PM »
Theres a real estate section.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2019, 03:47:37 PM »
I'm aware of that.

I chose to post here after googling similar questions on the forum and where they were posted.

The RE section seems to focus more on investing and landlording.

Edit to add: I also posted there not to long ago on a related topic and got no response. Figured I'd get more eyes on my questions here.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 03:53:00 PM by YummyRaisins »

Freedomin5

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2019, 05:02:55 PM »
A similar listing (3 bed 1.5 bath) on a similar lot size is listed for almost $200k less than your listing. Id say your listing is overpriced. Especially because in older houses, there may be unseen updates that may be needed. Id get a good inspector to walk through and list all the potential problem areas, then drop the price accordingly to account for the time and money needed to update / fix things.

Renovating a kitchen is a big endeavor. Be prepared not to be able to use it if you plan to demo a wall and tear out all the cabinets. You could probably still live in the house but youll be eating out for a couple weeks. Several years ago, we demod a wall between the family room and kitchen and completely updated the kitchen. I think it cost around $30k, but that was many years ago and it was a big kitchen and the cost is dependent on your location and the finishes you select. Id call around and get a few comps from contractors.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2019, 06:49:31 PM »
I agree that it's overpriced. I'm considering asking our realtor about what to offer. Would the sellers bring the price down 10%? I'm not sure. Buyers in our market are still irrationally exuberant and bid over asking on stuff that you wouldn't expect them to, so this whole exercise could be pointless.

The place is livable as it is, I just know that at some point the kitchen is something we'd want to tackle. The listing agent also let us know that the furnace, while in working order, is quite old, so that another thing to keep in mind.

So there big ticket items to consider and I don't know if they should be disqualifying in our case.

Freedomin5

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2019, 10:00:19 PM »
The other question is how long the listing has been up, how many offers they have already had, and how desperate are they to sell?

If the market in your area is cooling, you may want to hold out. If you think it's overpriced, there may be other buyers who also think this one is overpriced.

Also, expanding may not increase the house's value. If you already own one of the most expensive houses on one of the biggest lots, you may upgrade yourself out of the target market for the neighborhood. For resale, you really want to have the smallest ugliest house in the best neighborhood you can afford, because then, even when you upgrade, you will still be within the 'average' range for your neighborhood.

gooki

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 12:50:42 AM »
Weve lived through renovations. Its not too bad if your crew are well organised, and you split your projects up. The only time we moved out was when renovating a bathroom in a one bath house.

Id highly recommend living in the place before starting renos. Youll get a better feel for what will work after being there a while.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 07:47:02 AM »
The listing is brand new and this past weekends open houses were the first showings.

It's definitely not the prettiest house on the the block, nor is it the biggest. The exterior is old white aluminum siding, not wood like most others, and it's just 1,320 sqft where most are 1,600+. The lot size is well above average. The 2 car garage isn't very common since we live in a very old city (we only have 1 car though). The house sits 2 blocks over from what is considered the nicest part of town. I think upgrades wouldn't put it outside the average, which for this street would probably be in the $550-650k range.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2019, 09:25:27 AM by YummyRaisins »

Lmoot

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 09:10:04 AM »
 I was a first time home buyer on a single income who totally gutted my house and replace everything . It needed a complete electrical re-wire I recently had it re-plumbed sewer line fixed, new roof, new AC, new water heater On and on and on. I also did a partial remodel on the kitchen and full remodel on the bathroom.

I did it in order of need Or more realistically an order of which failed first. I did a lot of it through Home Depot so I could utilize the credit card which has a lot of 0% promotions built in depending on how much you spend. I also used many other credit cards to get me through. At one point I was almost $50,000 in credit card debt. But I came through the other side owing no interest. I really just needed to buy time. I would not suggest doing this if you have an issue with credit card spending, or feel insecure in your employment status, and do not have a large emergency fund.

It would have taken me forever to finish my house and be able to live there without credit cards.The pros are you get to customize everything to your personal taste and upgrade things since youre taking the old one anyways. You also get to learn a lot about your house from the ground up, which may help with assessing future maintenance needs. But in order for it to be profitable you really have to watch your expenses and most importantly get a good price for the house. I got a good price on my house so I have a very low mortgage, so every time I have a large bill I just repeat the amount of my mortgage in my head and remind myself that Im still ahead even though I have this large bill to pay

historienne

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 09:56:46 AM »
We've done something like this twice - bought houses and gutted the kitchen, once before moving in and once two years after buying.

Given the numbers you've posted, it seems unlikely that it makes financial sense in this case.  Kitchens are expensive, and additions even more so.  You need the original house to be cheap in order to make the numbers work. 

Even then, it's a lot of hassle.  We did this twice because we wanted a very particular location - down to the specific block.  But if I could have bought a place with the renovations already done, for the same total price, I absolutely would have done it.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2019, 11:22:21 AM »
Our realtor got back to us and they think the place is $20-30k overpriced.

That would bring it down to $469-479k. Not sure if applying the difference in price to uogrades would get it to where we would like it to be while staying affordable.

affordablehousing

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2019, 12:05:39 PM »
Additions are usually not money good, because.... you can just buy a bigger house. BUT, it can also be the only way to get a house designed the way you want. Only you can know the value of that. If you like the location, like other aspects of the house, it can be a good way to make the house yours. Do CAREFUL research on zoning, the planning process and the permitting process. In our market, that takes a solid 12 months.

yachi

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2019, 01:24:25 PM »
I had a kitchen that I thought could not be enlarged without losing a bathroom.  That was not something I wanted to do as it would go from 2 bathrooms to 1.  It took a while to realize the best way to expand was into the hallway.  Now the kitchen links all of the bedrooms and there is no hallway, but boy is that kitchen large!

six-car-habit

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2019, 01:37:22 PM »
It sounds like a nice neighborhood, and being just a few blocks from the most stately homes in that town, a great thing. Tackle the projects slowly if you buy it.  It seems like a kind of area with very few open lots, maybe more urban that suburban ?  If so i think  the 2 car garage and large lot are big plusses. Plenty of room for garden / play area. And the seperate garage could maybe get tied into the house as part of house renovations. Or it could stand alone and be a great workspace / small addtional dwelling unit, etc .  As opposed to the other comparibles without a garage -  since the structure already exists, should be cheaper to permit changes to it.
  A lot of the future costs of renovation will depend on your layout desired / tiling- flooring / appliance upgrades. Smart choices here will offset paying a professional to do some of the harder / specialized work.
  Walk the neighborhood again, go there at night, analyze the neighbors - situation on that block. The one thing you can't change [ very easily ] is the negihbors and how they maintain there properties. A house could be the nicest in a 10 block radius , but if the surrounding houses and community is depressing or crime friendly, you'll not change that without a multiple year struggle.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2019, 05:54:20 PM »
The more I think about it, I might be more interested in the potential of the house than the house itself. It's been a quiet winter and maybe I'm just overreaching.

Here's the place for anyone curious: link

six-car-habit

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2019, 10:05:30 AM »
  In your comp list-  the houses priced in the low 400's read like they all need more work just to get to the current nice condition of the white house you like.
   The one at 480, probably close in condition.  The ones in the 500's had smaller lots, although 2 were historic and have a premium built in for that designation.
  That white house could have a lot more curb appeal with a couple thousand in trees / plants , bushes / fenced privacy area, etc., put in a few hundred $$ in materials a yr, do that work yourself, so it has mature trees/ bushes in 5 years, if you buy it.

 Knock out / Open up the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, behind that microwave on a table. Remove the second table out of the kitchen proper, and put counters / shelves/ or appliances on that wall that backs to the fireplace, where the 2nd smaller dining table was. Maybe put a "peninsula" counter where the removed wall was, with 2 way shelves under the countertop. Line up the big dining table against the far wall, under the window that faces the garage and pull it away from the wall when all table sides are needed. Leave the pantry/ closet as is for now, it makes a nice sunny corner sitting spot off to the side like it already is. Minimal wall movement/ framing issues , doesn't mess with bathroom plumbing movement, will open the area a lot for relatively little cost. The rest of the house looks really nice, and it is move-in ready as is.

merince

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2019, 10:36:38 AM »
The listing is definitely overpriced, and the house is about 400 sq ft smaller than your comps. Here is a comparable listing https://www.redfin.com/MA/Salem/1-Berube-Rd-01970/home/8366033 that is bigger and cheaper.

All of the upgrades you're are thinking of are a major pain. For a first time buyer, try to find something as close to perfect as possible. What you're thinking of becoming is also a first-time rehabber. Both of those are some serious learning curves, so keep it simple.

Here are some basic suggestions:
There is a book out there called The Book On Estimating Rehab costs. Read it and use the highest bracket estimates suggested there to estimate your costs. Then add an additional 30% or so "tuition".
If something needs to be replaced (for example roof is leaking) deduct this from your offer.
To estimate values, use only the last 6 mos or so of sales. The condition of the house is already priced in the sale price. Use only arms-length transactions, not foreclosures, sheriff's sales or short sales. Do not use new construction.


YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2019, 11:25:53 AM »
The two  comps that are just below this white house are completely remodeled, which is likely why my agent is suggesting that this place is about $20-30k overpriced.th others are similarly dated, but have layouts that wouldn't require extensive renovation. They also sold a few years ago and the Salem market has been appreciating rapidly.

The Berube Ave property is one I've looked at. If it we're closer enough to downtown and the parks to let us stay a 1 car family it would he a more viable option. However I agree that it would be better to find a place like this that is dated, bit doesn't need anyajor work. Unfortunately, if you were to move the Berube Ave house over to the location of the house I'm considering, the price would jump to over $500k.

Thank you for hook suggestion, I will look that up.

merince

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2019, 11:58:22 AM »
I personally would suggest Trulia.com - look up this house on it and browse the comparables. It also gives you recent sales, so you can do a better comparison. According to the comps there, the closest to the 47 Broad St house based on square footage is 23 Trask Rd, Peabody, MA. It sold on Feb 22 for 450K. Look at the pictures - that house has all the upgrades you've been talking about already done.

Based on the comps, the property is $100 per square ft overpriced. At 1323 sq ft, this gives you 132,300. I would offer 366,700 at most and most likely start 20-30K lower to give you the negotiation room.

Don't fall in love with a house. Also, prime time for listing is about May. You may see a lot of listings coming up in a few months.

Finally, drive or walk the neighborhood. You may see "For Sale By Owner". Talk to the neighbors and give them your contact info - they may give you leads about someone who is thinking of selling or in the process of getting their house listed.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2019, 05:12:08 PM »
If I could get the house for $366k I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't think an anchor that low probably will be taken seriously by this seller seller until it's been on the market a while longer. Maybe a month would be enough for them to consider it and negotiate.

Definitely not in love with the place, just saw more opportunity in it than maybe there really was. Listings are coming online more frequently recently, so something's ng better may come along in the meantime.

I'll give Trulia more use. I go with Zillow and Redfin mostly out of habit. No real preference beyond that.

tralfamadorian

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2019, 07:09:48 PM »
Knock out / Open up the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, behind that microwave on a table. Remove the second table out of the kitchen proper, and put counters / shelves/ or appliances on that wall that backs to the fireplace, where the 2nd smaller dining table was. Maybe put a "peninsula" counter where the removed wall was, with 2 way shelves under the countertop. Line up the big dining table against the far wall, under the window that faces the garage and pull it away from the wall when all table sides are needed. Leave the pantry/ closet as is for now, it makes a nice sunny corner sitting spot off to the side like it already is. Minimal wall movement/ framing issues , doesn't mess with bathroom plumbing movement, will open the area a lot for relatively little cost. The rest of the house looks really nice, and it is move-in ready as is.

+1,000,000

Reading the OP's first post I thought there was too much to do but seeing the pictures, this looks like an easy change.

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2019, 07:20:51 PM »
It's not easy to see in the pictures, but the wall on the dining room side is wider than the same wall on the kitchen side. Maybe just 2 feet on the kitchen side. Could put a shallow counter and cabinets for storage, but no appliances. Dishwasher for example. The wall on the other side of the fridge is a half bath. I thought it was a closet from the pics.

The difference is that the fireplace is behind the wall in the kitchen, and I assume that is immovable.

merince

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2019, 12:03:34 PM »
I usually start with a very low price, so when the seller arrives at their "minimum that I would sell for" it feels like a win for them. They probably arrived at the current price by selecting the most favorable comps, and padding 10 or 20K for wiggle room in the negotiations.

You can include your comps in your offer:
12/1/2018   480000   1674   286.7384   3   1.5   Yes   Partial   6969   remodeled
11/1/2018   540000   2500   216   3   2   No   Unfinished   1745   weird kitchen layout, but spacious
1/1/2019   575000   2063   278.7203   4   2.5   No   Partial   3049   Historic, built in 1824

Then tell them you're tossing out the 11/1 outlier (I bet they included the 5/10 sale which is also an outlier) and coming up with 282.73 per sq ft. Offer them 374,051.79. You can deduct 20K or so for siding repairs, and bringing the kitchen up to date.

See if they counter. Give them a day or so to respond. The worst that can happen is they can ignore. Then you can come up with a slightly higher offer.

frugaliknowit

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2019, 01:17:46 PM »
I would NOT even consider making an offer without contractor estimates on what you want done on the house.  This is not a guessing game!

If you are doing some work yourself (i.e. painting and patching), that's gravy.  If it does not make financial sense (cost versus comps of updated houses) don't do it (unless you want to make a purely emotional purchase).

MustacheAnxiety

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2019, 02:39:28 PM »
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/09/04/how-and-how-not-to-buy-a-house/

Have you checked out the MMM article?  It is a lot of good advice for the first time buyer. MMM's recommendation to only look at houses that you really want to buy and look at them (and make an offer) the day the go on sale is a good one.  I know it is a pain when working, but it is how you get the place you want. You also avoid being tempted to buy a house that doesn't fit your needs just because you might get a deal.

It sounds like you are not under the gun to move out of the place you are renting.  If there is no rush, this seems like a pass.  It is priced high and has only been on the market for a few days, so I doubt they are looking to drop the price down much.  It seems like you mostly want to buy the house because you are sick of looking for a house (at least I remember feeling that way 4 months into the home search). If you want a deal, go for something you can rehab: think dirty and needs paint and flooring, but still has the right layout ideally something newer.  As another poster mentioned older homes tend to have a lot of surprises after you buy (lead paint, bad wiring, bad plumbing (especially the sewer line from the house to the street).

YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2019, 06:33:47 PM »
I wonder to what degree low-ball offers are taken seriously in a hot market? I've considered it, haven't talked to my realtor about it though. I'm sure they would go with whatever we decide, but there would for sure be push back.

I did give that blog post a read and it was helpful. Coming up with an offer right away could be a good strategy. Do realtors let you look at a property the same day it's listed, or do you go by the posted pictures and what you can see from the outside? I've seen some listings where the agent sets an offer deadline of Monday or Tuesday after the opening weekend. In that case, I suppose being first still gives an advantage.

Our focus area is pretty narrow at the moment and our budget is set to ~$550k or less (preferably much less). We're month-to-month with our current lease, so no rush unless our landlord give us notice to move out. Our needs are 3 bedrooms, walkability to downtown, library, museum, parks, and to not be house-poor.  I wouldn't say I'm sick of looking, as we haven't looked much and we've only made 1 offer. Just getting impatient with the limited inventory. Gotta get those emotions in check.

I'm thinking now that we'll pass on this one for now. If it's still on the market in a few weeks, or they drop the price some, we'll revisit making a reasonably low offer. Unless of course something better comes along.

daffodil2001

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2019, 09:01:17 PM »
I just got done house hunting in a very competitive market (our offer was accepted; closing later this month). Im also a first time home buyer and certainly not an expert, but from watching a lot of listings and looking at about 40 houses in person it seems like whether you should consider making a low-ball offer depends on the house itself and whether its priced appropriately for the market. Most of the houses that were in decent shape had an offer on them within five days of being listed. The ones that sat on the market tended to be badly dated and poorly maintained. If you plan to low-ball be prepared to miss out on a lot of houses. Your realtor should be able to give you information specific to your market.

If youre open to buying a house with a dated kitchen, you might have less competition from other buyers. Our kitchen is original to the house (late 1970s) and the cabinets and counters are in poor condition, but the rest of the house has been well maintained. Were planning on doing a full kitchen renovation after weve lived there for 6-12 months so we can get a better feel for the house before we make decisions. Well move the fridge to a different room, do dishes in the laundry room sink, and eat a lot of crockpot meals and salads until its done.

Kayad

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2019, 01:57:57 AM »
It feels like you saw this house, got a crush, and now you are reverse engineering a rationale to buy (ambitious rehab plans).  I know how it can feel as a first time buyer, but there will be more options out there.

FallenTimber

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2019, 06:04:05 AM »
Looks like a nice home, but the cost per square foot is insane. As Merince said, its more than $100k overpriced. Thats not to say that the home wont sell at that price. All it takes is one buyer. But my advice would be to let someone else overpay for the house, while you remain patient and wait for an opportunity that makes more financial sense.

I know thats easier said than done, so I wish you the best of luck and hope you find the perfect opportunity in the near future.

Dicey

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2019, 10:05:25 AM »
Every house I've purchased, no matter what the condition, has been something I've just known in my gut was the right house. I don't get that feeling about this one from your posts.

I am also surprised at what you consider dated. I was expecting much worse.

My suggestion is to keep looking at everything that is on the market. That way when the right one comes along, you'll know it in your gut. BTW, my first house had excellent bones, it was just cosmetically ugly. Indoor/outdoor carpet in a red with pink and gold accents stained-glass pattern in the kitchen, anyone? The red carpet abutting the blue carpet from the living room and the gold carpet from the family room? Yes indeed.

One thing that worries me from way over here in the land where it doesn't snow is the lack of direct access from the garage to the house. That would be a total deal breaker for me.

Keep looking, keep learning. If you don't have to buy right now, shop all summer, but hold off buying until the fall or later when demand and prices typically drop.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2019, 10:46:36 AM »
Drop the remote and slowly walk away from the HGTV show....

Sorry, I always wanted to say that. There are a plethora of shows which easily make such changes and at such low prices. If you (like me and my wife) see such shows, take it with a pinch of salt.

For a first timer, I would pick a house with good bones but is butt ugly. You can easily fix wall paint issues, replace carpet with hardwood, replace appliances and swap out Formica for granite countertops. Making structural changes and major changes need quite a bit of more experience and more importantly, know reliable and good tradesman who can do the work for you.


YummyRaisins

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Re: First-time buyer and remodeling - recipe for chaos?
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2019, 08:23:24 PM »
We're in a good position to wait on this one. I had no illusions that I could do any of the work myself, but was curious if there was a deal hidden here. Since it would involve extensive work, it seems that answer is no.

I haven't watched HGTV in a very long time, but I have apparently read too many posts from folks who found great deals on fixer uppers in the post recession years and turned their investment into equity. Those days seem to have passed around here. The market is overheated and any good deals get snatched up by flippers and converted into gray/white faux-luxury condos at a much steeper price tag. Lame.

Something will come along eventually. And if not, we've got cash to buy once the top is truly in and that recession everyone keeps talking about finally hits.🤣