I'm not in a creative writing mood, but I wanted to post this. I was here on Thursday. It was in the paper, on the radio and even on the local Fox news! "Get 'em while they're hot."
The scene was chaotic. A combination of investors and potential homeowners were lined up to get into this gated community. By the time I got there around 40 of the 100+ homes on the "clearance rack" had been sold.
When I was a kid my mother would take me to Filene's Basement in downtown Boston. Those were the days before malls or outlets, when you took the train into the city and walked for blocks to the major department stores. At that time Filene's Basement was very unique and sold clearance items from their main store with an automatic weekly discount system. Anyway, the reason I mentioned this store is I remember some scenes in the 50s where women played tug-o-war with a bathrobe that was 75% off or undressed (no dressing rooms in the store) in public. My very prudish & modest Mom would drop her jaw as we walked by women in their bras & panties trying on dresses. (I wonder how many businessmen stopped by during their lunch hour? lol)
Okay - enough rambling. Back on topic..a house isn't a pair of pants and I wonder how much buyer's remorse there will be after the mad rush is over. This pretty gated community is in the middle of nowhere, and over 100 houses and townhomes were sitting there empty. Some had barrel tiled rooftops and professional landscaping. A few of the homes priced $70K or more below the original builder's price had granite countertops and upgraded carpet & tile, even a jacuzzi tub. So is it because of our failing economy, the mortgage crisis, or is there another reason this builder filed for bankruptcy and now the houses are selling for less than it probably cost to build them? One wealthy investor recently bought all the properties and hired a real estate company to move them in a few days. They had lenders on site ready to run your credit and make the deal and the TV news said "it's like a buy one/get one sale."
Who the heck can shop for a house this way? What I had to do (after I finally found a place to park) was register at the sales office and pick up a current list of available houses and a map and then go on treasure hunt. This can't be a brand new development since every address was recognized by my GPS, yet only 3 homes were occupied on the street where most of the houses I toured were listed, at least the ones in the lower price range. They were very close together so (to me) they were detached villas, since the lawn care was included in the approximate $278/mo HOA fee. Not a bad deal, since it included exterior pest control, basic cable and high speed internet, security, use of the community pool & clubhouse. But will it always be $278/month? What about the taxes when the homes are reassessed? Will they go up or down? Who is going to manage the community? Maybe I just have one of those 'Enquiring' minds. lol
Side note: Am I the only person who notices how rude people are these days? One woman in a monster Cadillac tried passing me on the left driving down a small side street. It didn't do any good, but I put down my window and told her to go...well, we'll skip that for now.
Did I make a big mistake by not grabbing whatever was left during this deal of a lifetime? Maybe so. Guess I'll never know, but I tend to believe in the old saying "there's no free lunch" as someone commented on a local blog. I found a home I liked and started to measure the rooms and take notes. By the time I got back to the office to ask a few questions, it had been sold. I drove & walked around the community for hours and found another home with similar features. When I found someone to answer some questions, it was too late. On the way out, I asked the broker to take my name in case one of the deals falls through and he tried to explain that it doesn't work that way. I'm a little confused, and I've had some mortage training, but he told me it was on the spot financing so nothing is contingent. Here's the latest report.
Why is this in the news as a story? Isn't this free advertising for the seller? There are some homes for sale by residents for higher prices and I bet many of them will lose prospective buyers or even pending contracts because of all this media coverage.
The reason I posted this is because it's frightening to see what's happening in this country. I put more thought into choosing a lipstick than most of these buyers put into financing a house.
By the way, if by some coincidence an LP member is one of the new homesowners, I wish you a lot of good luck and many years of happiness.