Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
I thought I would show this house I am curious what was going on when this house was made/furnished. When I saw the outside I expected a standard colonial, but was surprised by the layout, the fall in the bedroom, and some of the furnishing choices...
HB, those are some of the oddest color combinations I think I have seen.
HB,The finishes on the inside are certainly surprising.This house in Warrenton just went under contract for 85K less than the owners paid, or about 15% off. Not bad. Also, it was the model, so I assume the sellers were investors and didn't lose their shirt. (Ryan would have rented it from them for several years). It's hard to say exactly what the owners paid, even with the tax record, because of the peculiarities of model investing.Here are the last solds for that neighborhood. Most are in the low to mid-300s, so 500K was a bit surprising.
Harriet-I agree that is not too bad of a loss seeing that they bought it near the peak of the market. It does appear to be a little bigger than most of the comps, but no where near enough to make up for the difference in price. I wonder if the house will appraise high enough to get sold.
Realty Trac1332 Sundial, Reston, VA.Shown as bank-owned, not even updated to "for sale".Trustee sale 1/22/11It's been UC for a few weeks now. Should close any day.Thanks for the "head's up" RT. Tell us about the shadow inventory numbers again?
Hey all, would appreciate some input here. Have a ratified contract in on this house and are awaiting our home inspection to confirm some of the things we saw when we checked it out and figure out if we can swing the needed renovations. Wiring in the basement looked like a patched-together job with some aluminum thrown in. The electrical unit looked to support a lower number of amps and is probably in need of upgrades. There was definitely water coming in due to the land in the front of the house settling and so even though it's a walk-out we'll be looking to install perimeter drain tile and waterproof the below-grade parts of the house. There appears to be asbestos wrapped around the heating ducts that is already torn (!) from a part of the system being replaced recently. Maybe it's not asbestos, we haven't tested it, but it sure looked like it. The kitchen and bathrooms are in completely vintage condition. We have an idea for removing the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to put in a breakfast bar and extra ceiling mounted cabinets.The wood floors and brick appear to be in good shape, as does the foundation. The roof and chimney don't look awful, although the roof is definitely not great. The windows aren't new but do have storm windows in place. The whole place needs a good scrubbing and painting, but compared to everything else that seems totally minor.If we're right on all our hunches, is this a totally bad idea? We can do things like frame walls in the basement and probably hang cabinets, but have no electrical experience, etc.
Katie,Your house, with it's numerous list of issues, sounds a lot like my situation in 2009. I welcomed the discount on my property in exchange for a known list of things to fix that I would have wanted to personalize anyway.Having said that, does the house have a fuse box or a circuit breaker panel? I had a lot of trouble getting home owners insurance with a fuse box. Also, I went ahead and had acoustic ceiling tiles in my basement tested for asbestos before I closed. Fortunately, there was none in my house but that is nasty stuff that you'll want pros to remove. I would suggest getting it tested before you close if you can.My $0.02
mytwocents, thanks for the heads up on the insurance issue, which I did not know about. I believe we just have a fuse box, which we have budgeted to upgrade to a breaker panel with more capacity. Much appreciated.
Hi, Katie, your house sounds something like my current one when I bought it, like mytwocents'. If the inspection confirms what you thought, I agree it's do-able, but I would strongly consider:(a) whether the contract price fully reflects the value of the house compared to others, given the expense and trouble of these changes(b) whether the house may make more financial sense as a tear down, for you or for someone else. After you make all those improvements, would you get anything close to your investment, if you have to sell before you expect to do so? I don't know what the answers would be - only you can answer them for you - but these are the things I would consider very carefully.
Katie,Or should I say neighbor! LOL. I live in the same neighborhood about a block down and a block over from that house. I didn't get a look at that house, but the Westwood Park homes are pretty much the same except for a few layout differences. When I looked at the pictures I was surprised they didn't really do more with the basement. We have two bedrooms (matching size to the 2nd and 3rd upstairs), a 3/4 bath and a nice-sized family room down there. If you finish it, you'll be quite happy - especially in the summer!Pros:-Neighborhood has held value quite well, and getting in under $500k is great. We refinanced last Fall and were appraised for $538k despite not having updated baths or kitchen. Other recent sales on Fairwood have been $560k+. -House is built solid. Brick and I-beam beats stick built any day.-Good lot, super close to the school, and since the house is perpendicular to Shreve any traffic noise shouldn't be bad at all. -Nice neighborhood with friendly people. There is a civic association that puts on a Christmas Party and 4th of July paradeCons:-The electrical panel. But you already know that. ;) That was our first major expense. There's actually several weird electrical things that we did or wanted to have done. In our house there are no overhead lights in the bedrooms and each of the bathrooms only had one outlet, and it was attached to the light fixture. Not convenient.-Insulation. Or lack thereof. There is literally nothing in the walls. Plaster over drywall attached by furring strips to the brick/block. Not much you can do about it if it is already covered. Strongly encourage you to insulate the basement when finishing it since much looks to be uncovered. The attic insulation is also inadequate, but a couple hundred bucks of pink stuff will take care of that. The attic is easy enough to move around in that you can do it yourself if you want.Let me know if you have any other questions. :)
After re-reading your first post, I have more :)1) Heating ducts - We didn't have anything wrapped around ours. Maybe it was a later add-on, since I doubt the previous owners of our house removed anything like that. Hopefully that means it isn't asbestos. What is likely asbestos are those terrible tiles in the basement, but you can just cover those and not worry about it.2) I absolutely recommend removing the wall from the kitchen area. Ours was originally built w/o the wall, and all of the neighbors are jealous of it. 3) A bunch of the houses in the neighborhood have had to have the main sewer line from the house to the street replaced due to roots growing in. You don't have a front tree so that may not be a problem.
Fred,Do you know how much the new sewer line work cost? I imagine it involves digging a trench in the front yard and having new piping put in. I've had some issues with roots in my yard and I'm afraid I may have to do this at some point.Thanks,My $0.02
I asked the same of my neighbor across the street. She said that 10 years ago it was $8k. I don't know if inflation would have taken the up recently, or if more players are in that game now to keep costs reasonable. We haven't had problems, but when we redo our front walk, I'm definitely going to get somebody out here to look at it with a camera. If we're going to dig up the front yard anyway, might as well do it all. Just the proximity of our maple makes me worry, but I think they have a more shallow root system. I saw one take place a block down the road. Couldn't believe how deep they had to go, maybe 12'-15' for that house, but I think they did it all in a day. Basically just dig it out with a backhoe, replace the pipe, put the dirt back in, I guess.
Fred, thanks a ton for the helpful info. We weren't sure on insulation so it's good to have an insight into it.We were actually one of the bidders on one of those homes that sold for $560K+ and didn't get in on it. Depending on what the inspector says we think this could be roughly equivalent to the others we saw last year for a roughly equivalent total cost.We'll see what the inspection turns up, though.
Katie,That is funny. Presuming you offered on the same house (halfway down Fairwood on the cemetery side), one of my wife's former co-workers bought that place after he asked me a bunch of questions about the neighborhood. Man, maybe I should start a side Realtor business ;)
Fred, it took all my self-control not to come on here talking about our experience with the offer process on that house. It was not good but it did make me appreciate our realtor's honesty and sense of justice.Long story short: our offer was in at least 2 weeks before the house went under contract and (counting seller subsidy) it was for the same amount as it eventually sold for.
Katie,Sorry to hear that. What a weird situation, but I can't say that I understand much about the whole process. We were dealing with an estate and it was a relatively clean negotiating process. Here's hoping that the inspection turns out well and you don't have to worry about it anymore. If you see a 30s aged guy walking a Sheltie, or happen up by a house on Allan with a goofy weather station in front, say hi. :)
Blogger housebuyer said... I thought I would show this house I am curious what was going on when this house was made/furnished. When I saw the outside I expected a standard colonial, but was surprised by the layout, the fall in the bedroom, and some of the furnishing choices...Owner is Steve Buckhantz, mouthpiece for the Washington Wizards.Wiki Entry(Note the Vienna, VA current address)
Fred, one final question as I thought about your lists: is there space to blow in insulation in the exterior walls? Thanks!
Katie,I don't know. I've read online that some places want full studded walls (2x4 spacing) to do it, but I talked to a guy at the Home and Garden Expo who suggested that it was possible with just the 1" furring strips we have. I haven't put much time or effort into researching it yet, though, so I really can't give you a good answer.
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