Buying Under the Radar Can be Highly Profitable

Martha and Anthony were first time buyers soon to be married. Before starting their home search, they wisely talked to our in-house mortgage agent for their purchase price limit.

Their REALTOR® explained the entire buying process. They also talked to friends, searched the internet, attended open houses and, in their exuberance, were caught up with looking at any home they could get inside.

In spite of advice to take their time and not get into a buying frenzy, every time they viewed homes, they found one they wanted to buy.

They first found a well decorated older two-story home. They asked Martha’s father to look at it. The house, on a corner lot, hugged the intersecting streets so closely he had visions of a car smashing into it some dark snowy night. Plus there was nowhere to park and the noise from the nearby stamping plant reverberated throughout the home. Anthony happily talked about finishing the basement, yet it was definitely quite wet and far too low to be useful for anything but storage. Their offer did get accepted but on hearing the home inspector’s concerns, they opted out: too much work and expense.

They found a second two-story--a “for sale by owner.” Questioning the price,Martha’s father reviewed area sales. Yet inside, the main floor and basement were skillfully decorated. “But where is the furnace?” he asked. “Nowhere,” he was told. The home was heated with two lovely gas fireplaces.

Not only were Martha and Anthony considering a home glaringly overpriced in a less than desirable area, it needed a furnace, not to mention the work needed to install and hide the ducting in the walls. As beautiful as the home was, the area sales convinced the young couple to look elsewhere.

A third home, in a nice area, already had two offers to be presented. Our couple offered $500 more than asking but the home sold to others for $5,000 more than list.

Frustrated, they now re-evaluated and stopped their scattered approach to home buying. Their agent would only look in favored areas. They agreed to look under the radar. That is, finding a home that was structurally sound, yet, because it needed decorating, was ignored by most buyers. It would likely be a better deal too. Anthony and his Dad were willing to tackle any needed finishing and minor work.

Home Number Four: Within a week the REALTOR® informed them of an estate sale bungalow in a desired area. The home was sound and the kitchen was remodeled. Yet the bedrooms needed new carpeting and all the walls needed painting. It had a deck, large back yard and a good unfinished basement. Everyone but Martha felt it had all the right ingredients.

The home had gotten only a few showings and no offers. According to the listing agent, other buyers claimed it needed too much work. Our couple purchased the home with a newer stove, plus a washer and dryer included.

With the decision made, Martha now got into the spirit of shopping for paint, carpeting and accessories. Before long, the bedrooms sported new carpeting, the walls were freshly painted and the home was move-in ready. Martha was ecstatic. A year later, Anthony’s father helped finish part of the basement for hockey night get-togethers with friends.

With a little direction and patience a good buying decision was made. Four years later they sold and cleared a cool $50,000.

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