Monday, October 19, 2009

On buying forclosed property.

I still feel a bit unsure about the whole process of buying the house.  The realtor told us that she couldn't tell us anything about the other bids on the house, and she expected us to put a bid in after walking through the house once for about 20 minutes.  Supposedly no inspections were allowed until after our bid had been accepted and our earnest money handed over, which, quite frankly, sounded like a bunch of bull.  I think, were I to do it over again, I would insist on some sort of inspection, and I certainly would have been more forceful.  Don't be afraid of the people selling the house, even if it's a nameless, faceless bank, if you feel like they're pushing you around push back; they want your money more than you want their house (ideally).

Anyway, like I said it was foreclosed, so we bought it as is, warts and all.  The property originally listed for almost double what we finally paid for it, but I think the reason they lost so much money on it was that the reality company neglected to properly winterize the boiler system and the radiators blew out when everything froze up.  Now, had we not been first-time home buyers we probably would have been somewhat scared off by this too, but we put it in the contract that we wanted the heat fixed, and the bank said no, so we dropped $5000 off of our offer.  Yea! We have a house.

But it turns out that $5000 isn't enough to repair a 70 year old boiler system in this part of the country.  Radiators are not cheap, nor are they plentiful.  One company told us that we could get a new hot water convector for somewhere around $2800 to replace one of the broken radiators, or we could get a refurbished radiator similar to ours from somewhere in Massachusetts for about $8000.  Another, more helpful, guy guessed the boiler needed about $1500 worth of work to bring it up to code, all eight radiators needed new valves at $150 each, and used radiators could possibly be found online for $350-500--we needed three giant ones for downstairs and at least three smaller ones upstairs.  But even with all of that investment, we still wouldn't have air-conditioning, and our 70 year old boiler would be running at about 40% efficiency.

Anyway, I was starting to feel like Tom Hanks in The Money Pit about then, but we'll let that part of the story stand for a little while and move on to some photos of the interior before we moved in.

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