Friday, July 8, 2011

100 to 125K Range

I put together two deals at the end of June. Both are primary home buyers and both emails were almost identical. They were looking for something in the 100K to 125K range, three bedrooms, and little bit of a yard, and they weren’t too picky about anything else.

An email like that three years ago, and I probably would have responded with a “Sorry can’t help you.” At the height of the craziness, even the 150K range was tough. But now things have changed. Once I started pulling up listings and sending them out, I was pleasantly surprised at the inventory.

Now in this range, you do have to expect some compromises. Both of these buyers wanted to see a lot of houses and between the two I showed around twenty-five scattered all over the county. It was nice getting acquainted with homes in this range again and I feel I have a pretty good grasp of what this range has to offer.

And if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be paneling. I am fairly certain that every house I showed (including the two that I have bids on) had some evidence of paneling, and some, the entire interior was paneled, from kitchen to bath to bedroom, walls and ceiling—A faux wood grain with fake knots and varying sized dark strips. And it all looks exactly the same. It is like everyone from 1975 to 1985 bought the same paneling from the same store.

I have seen people paint paneling which seems to work pretty well. Also unless it has been applied over plaster or sheet rock and attached with glue, it is pretty easy to remove and replace. Both of my buyers were pretty blasé about the interior. They understood that at this price range things are not going to be perfect, and really wood paneling is a small, easily changeable compromise.

But other than the paneling epidemic, I was really surprised at how much house you can buy in this range. All had three bedrooms, many had more than one bathroom, (a few had three) and I would say thirteen hundred square feet was the median. Some had garages, and outbuildings, and the taxes ranged from $4,000 in Liberty, to less than $2,000 in Fremont. It is nice to see that Sullivan County is affordable again. That is where we need to be to compete with our more glamorous counties to the south and east.

There were 14 sales reported in the last week in the Sullivan County MLS Click Here

My pick of the week is one of the houses I showed in the 125K range. It is in Liberty Township, so the taxes are a bit high at $4,000.  The outside of the house is a non descript board and baton sided looking ranch, but it is on a really nice lot, with great open views. And once you get inside, you forget all about the rough exterior. I would love to know the history of this house, because it is reminiscent of the Sears "Modern Home Starlight" series from the '20's and '30's (which is when this house was built). It has ten foot ceilings, a big kitchen, original doors, trim and windows. The downside is there is only one bathroom and it is tiny, but for a little second home getaway, it is hard to find something in this price range with this much character. Liberty Home

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