Our near misses grew to include the three offers mentioned in previous posts, and six opportunities that had slipped by us too quickly. Some slipped past by way of strange deals; an awesome lot was up for auction but had accepted an offer before the auction. Uh, how’s that work? Several amazing deals eluded us as I looked into neighborhood covenants for design restrictions, or talked to design review boards to gauge their tolerance of modern design.
Our final consideration was a house that several friends had hyped up—a couple that wanted to move soon, but weren’t yet on the market. The home was in need of some updates, so there was room for improvement. But best of all, it backed up to the Monon Trail! We were both stoked at the idea of being back on the trail after having such great access from our Broad Ripple home!
We scheduled a visit and what we found was a house in need. Perfect, right!? The owner walked us through the various improvements, such as the new septic field, unmarked and right behind the house (where an addition might go. Hrmph). He also had all of the ducting redone, and a new fangled garage spring neither of which really added value. He also shared that he used the same type of wood in the backyard play set that the Kennedy family used on theirs. …I’m not even sure how to respond to that. “Erm, good on ya, buddy?” He did have a whiz bang water filtration system and that was a plus.
However, he had torn out the kitchen in hopes of remodeling it and had given up. New appliances were waiting patiently in their cardboard corner guards and plastic, but there was essentially no kitchen. I could get behind that. (It turns out the wife had disclosed in a side conversation that the kitchen had been like that for their entire ownership of 8 or so years!) The back patio was a crumbling slab (hello fun deck design-build opportunity!), and the master bath had fallen to a similar fate as the kitchen.
The house didn’t quite meet our criteria (such as a basement; it was on a crawl) but it was on the Monon and we’d consider it for the right price. During the entire tour, his wife kept looking at us with a silent pleading, “Get me out of this house!” She disclosed to my mother-in-law who was with us at the time that her husband had a penchant for starting projects that he was in no shape to finish, and she was highly-motivated to sell the place and transition into a no-maintenance rental situation.
The owner said he would e-mail me an asking price as soon as he and his wife had discussed it.
A week went by. He was savvy enough to dangle reminders that it was coming, but hadn’t quite worked out the number. Meanwhile, we compiled the value of all the homes up and down the street to figure out what the max renovated value should be.
Another week went by.
Finally… a response came. It listed a number and said “minus the kitchen, bathroom, and patio.” What’s more, that number was at the high end of the values we had compiled on the neighborhood. I responded what number we had assessed the house at, considering how much work needed to be done. He responded that he “understood” but didn’t make any moves to negotiate.
This was more or less our last straw.