Friday, July 28, 2006

Hard things to admit:

We love the cabin and the land. It’s a part of the whole idyllic rural life fantasy. It’s hard to price intangibles. I think it’s important to note that everyone who has been to the property with us has fallen in love with it – both the land and the house - and they can begin to see possibilities in every direction. I can park my school bus; we can put in a greenhouse; we can develop a bed and breakfast; we can build guest yurts; there can be fields of lavender and forests of fruit tress. But we’re both forced to conclude that while the house is at the edge of our financial possibility, the house plus inevitable massive repairs is beyond us, in both time and money. The house also might be fun at first, but if our long range plans involve further education for both of us then H is not where we need to be dropping anchor in so permanent a way.

There is a listing agent working for the sellers who I have taken to calling the shyster. He has maintained all along that there is another buyer interested in the house with a cash offer. His low counter offer was a play on that bluff. We think that either there is no other offer or that the other offer is significantly lower than the asking price. When we went to town yesterday and looked exclusively at other property we called his bluff. Magically the sellers appeared when the shyster had told us were out of town and could not be reached. They wanted us to meet the shyster at the house so he could show us that many of the repairs suggested by the building inspector were not really necessary. We declined the offer, to further imply that we were off his proverbial hook.

The shyster called again and maintained that they would do no repairs, but that we should come up with a price we could live with and submit a counter to their counter. Well + foundation + septic + AC + electric = at least 30K. The septic does have a tank, but the drain off of that tank is leaking – I saw that for myself with the inspector – and the drain pipe isn’t buried. There is no dispersion field, just a pipe. The shyster claimed that the settings were wrong on the well pump which is why the well appeared to be running out of water when we ran it for an extended period of time. It’s possible. However, re-drilling the well would inevitably be an expense.

The River Card: The bank appraisal came in at ninety thousand, with three thousand in required repairs. They put the land value at ten thousand an acre, which is more than we had anticipated: location, location, location. So the “as-is” appraisal is effectively eighty seven thousand. The bank’s list of repairs necessary to approve the loan is oddly cosmetic and does not match our list of structural concerns. They want the electric repaired upstairs, which is fine, but they also want some closet doors replaced and they want the fake brick fireplace anchored to the cabin walls. We were planning on ripping out both the closet doors and the fake brick so replacing or repairing them would be a waste.

Conclusion: we are going to make a low counter offer. If they decline it we walk away. I’m used to the drive at this point and for the foreseeable future we keep looking and I commute.


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