October 11, 2010
When we first moved to Florida, we thought that buying a house would be super easy. Orlando is one of the cities in the U.S. hardest hit by the current housing crisis and there is a lot of inventory on the market.
Unfortunately, all of the houses in which we are interested are owned by people who can't afford to sell them.
In the past four months, we've made offers on five different houses, all of which are in the same very nice, well-maintained, large master-planned community.
House # 1: Short Sale
The owners of this house are both professional chefs, which explains why they ripped out three perfectly good bathroom vanities and replaced them all with wine racks. There are frogs in the pool, the yard is a mess, someone or something peed on the living room carpet, and there are several bad words carved into the drywall in various rooms in the house. Other than that, it was in pretty good shape.
After three months, we heard back from the bank. Their counteroffer was for $65,000 more than any house in the neighborhood has sold for in the past year. The bank wouldn't move and the house is still on the market.
House # 2: conventional sale
The current owners bought the home in 2007 for $200,000 more than the house is currently worth. Ouch. For understandable reasons, the owners are trying to minimize their losses. We negotiated for over a week, but ultimately had to walk away after the owners held firm on a sales price that was $75,000 more than any house in the neighborhood has sold for in the past year. Almost four months later, the house is still for sale. Two weeks ago, the owners increased their chances of selling the house by RAISING their asking price by $15,000.
House # 3: conventional sale
This house is located three doors down from house #2. We signed the contract and felt pretty good about things until the home inspection revealed that the oven and microwave didn't work and four windows wouldn't open. Oh, and there was also a leak in the roof and a massive problem with the pool. And the home appraisal came back significantly lower than our purchase price.
House # 4: same situation as house # 2 except that in addition to an unreasonable asking price, the homeowners also hadn't paid their home owner's dues for five years and, as a result, they have a massive lien against their house.
House # 5: Short Sale through Bank of America
Need I say more? It's been almost four months, and we've heard zippo.
House # 6: We looked at this house on Saturday. We liked it and told our agent that we wanted to make an offer. When our realtor contacted the listing agent, she learned that the owners have stopped paying their mortgage and home owner's dues. Rad. The house is currently occupied by renters who own five dogs. Double rad. If we were willing to pay the list price, and close in December 2011 (when the renters' lease expires), then they would consider selling us the house.
This housing market is a mess.