Sunday, September 21, 2008

Looking at Houses

I have been showing a bunch of houses lately, and you would not believe some of the things I've seen. Several of the houses are "short sales", which is when the seller owes more on the home than it is worth. They start to fall behind on payments, and the bank allows the home to be sold at a loss, hoping to minimize money lost. Foreclosing on a home is very expensive, and can take 9 months or longer from the first missed payment. Crazily enough however, if I put an offer in on a house in short sale condition, I can wait between 2 weeks to 4 months to get a response from the bank. You'd think they'd be in a hurry to resolve things, wouldn't you? I did put an offer in on a short sale Friday, so we will see how long it takes for the bank to respond.

Because the owners in a short sale will make absolutely no money, and they're probably not thrilled to be getting kicked out, they don't do much to prepare the property for sale. There's usually a ton of garbage or clutter. It's made me rather smug in my mediocre housekeeping skills.

As I've taken clients through homes, I've seen some very loose definitions of "bedroom". I'm wishing now I took pictures. Maybe I will bring a flashlight AND a camera next time I'm looking at houses with clients (another downside to short sales is many of them have no electricity, ergo, no lights). I've seen a couple bedrooms that have the furnace/water heater/other utilities located in a closet in a bedroom. My dad informed me that this is against code. As I've researched it further, I guess a furnace can be located in a closet in a bedroom, but it has to be a high efficiency direct vent furnace which special closet doors, and nothing else in the closet. Suffice it to say, this was NOT the case in the house my dad happened to come along on.

I saw a "bedroom" yesterday with no window. You'd be shocked at how claustrophobic that feels. That same house claimed the downstairs had a mother in law apartment. There was no outside access to the home, no door even at the bottom of the stairs. The "kitchen" was so small it made my travel trailer kitchen look GIGANTIC. Seriously, it was practically the size of a linen closet. Their real kitchen wasn't much better. It was quite small, and then they had this masssive fridge. It was so big that you couldn't open the oven door all the way. We didn't try opening the dishwasher, but it shouldn't have been a significant problem as it was located in the dining room (it was portable).

The worst offender was another home though. The MLS sheet bragged that it had 5 bedrooms. However, three of their "bedrooms" had no closets, and if you added a small closet, I am not sure a bed would've fit. The flooring in most of their house was those dollar tree peel and stick vinyl squares applied inexpertly. They also converted their garage to a... room. It was the length/width of a single car garage. That part wasn't so bad. But the windows were all almost at the ceiling. Then, the floor was vinyl. All of it. It was just a weird room. There was also shelving along the length of one wall. It was like a gigantic pantry. I honestly don't see what someone could use it for other than a pantry.

So, note to other agents: A bedroom MUST have a window and a closet. I don't care if it makes your listing a 2 bedroom home instead of a 5 bedroom home, please be honest in the listing. ARGH!

1 comment:

Chardell said...

I admit that cheating was tempting to me with my listing that has 1 bath because it's plumbed for a second bath. Most realtors automatically type 3 bd. 2 ba. min. when pulling up a search so for the most part my listing is overlooked.