As you can see, we're not the only ones trying to take advantage of the dip in the price of real estate. Prices are down, and sales are up.
You should see some of the sorry houses on the market (at least in our modest price range).
The sweet older two story house, where you could stand on the ground floor and look through the gigantic hole in the second floor up and see the sky through the hole in the roof. The house that smelled so badly of animal waste and vomit that both the realtor and I almost threw up. The houses whose back yards abut the freeway. The beautiful baby Victorian, located directly under the BART tracks. The houses in neighborhoods you wouldn't want to drive through. The house whose bottom floor was ankle-deep in standing water. The moldy houses. The sloping houses. All of the "what the hell where they thinking?" houses.
Pretty much every house we're looking at is a foreclosure (where the bank has seized the property) or a short sale, (where the buying is trying to sell the house for less money than they owe on the mortgage, and avoid foreclosure). One can't help but "reading" the narratives as you walk through these houses. We see a lot of houses where people started ambitious renovations, got part of the way through, and then went broke.
It's pretty daunting, because the only houses we could hope to afford are in such rough shape that we would be eating Ramen noodles every night for the next few years in order to pay for all the necessary repairs. You think I'm kidding, right? Just about every house we've looked at needs a new foundation, and since they're all bank owned, and sold "as is" we'd be the ones paying for the repairs. We've looked at houses that had $75,000 in termite damage. Or houses that had no heat. Houses that were sliding downhill, and cracking into pieces.
Still, we're irrationally hoping that somehow we'll find a gem of a house, and that nobody else will love it the way we do.
And when that happens, you'll all be invited over for a "Before" party.
My collection of vintage etiquette books tell me that a jackhammer makes a perfect hostess gift.