House #5: The DIY House

December 17, 2008 · 2 comments

It’s been a while since we’ve bought a house…but not for a lack of trying. Since my wife got her real estate license last month, we have put offers on 8 houses, but weren’t able to reach a compromise with any of the sellers. Last week, we put an offer on #9, and after some back-and-forth, we’re in position to get it under contract in the next 24 hours.

While it’s not a done deal just yet (there is another offer on the table), the listing agent (the agent representing the bank that is selling the property) believes that our offer will likely win-out, and we’re just waiting for final confirmation one way or the other. The interesting thing about this house is that — just like The Second Chance House — we had previously put in a higher offer that was rejected. In fact, back in September, we put in an offer $11,500 higher than the offer that is likely to be accepted this week. But again, for some reason, neither the seller nor the agent ever came back and asked if I was still interested in purchasing the property at that original price; instead, they lowered the price to below my original asking price, and waited for me to resubmit another offer. In fact, because I was working with a different agent on the original offer, the listing agent probably doesn’t even realize that I’m the same person that offered $11K more three months ago.

But, I’m certainly not going to argue with the folly of buying REO properties; I’ve learned that more times than not, the process isn’t rational, and if the irrationality works in my favor, I’m all for it.

I’ll save the details on the property for if/when I actually get it under contract. The reason that I’ve decided to call this The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) House is that my brother and I plan to be very hands-on with this one. As I’ve mentioned previously, my business philosophy is all about NOT being hands-on with the rehab, but given that things are slow this month, and given that my brother and I are both very interested in learning how to do some basic renovation tasks (drywall, basic plumbing, basic electrical, etc), we thought this would be a great opportunity to get our hands dirty and gain some experience.

I like knowing that if we have a minor issue on a project after the contractors are gone (let’s say we need to patch a sheetrock hole or swap out a plumbing fixture), that we will be able to do it ourselves. It’s just not always worth the time and effort calling a contractor, waiting for him to get there, and then paying for little stuff like this — and knowing how to DIY these sorts of things will make our lives much easier in these situations.

So, while I’m certainly not changing my business philosophy, if we get this house, I’m planning to get my hands dirty and learn as much as I can. Of course, we’ll also have contractors come in to help us, and to tackle those things that we never want to do (roofing, siding, major electrical/plumbing, etc); so it’s not like we’ll be completely on our own…


2 responses to “House #5: The DIY House”

  1. Bilgefisher says:

    I think what you learn here can help save you thousands of dollars and hours down the road. Good luck with it. I look forward to hearing from the school of hard knocks on some of the hands on work.

  2. J Scott says:

    Either that, or I’ll end up spending twice as much on the project by having to buy a whole second set of materials for the contractors to do over again…


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