The Time I Bought a Foreclosed House

June 17, 2013

Everything has a beginning. A period of intrigue, of possible indifference, of curiosity. For us, it happened gradually.

We saw this structure, home or duplex we couldn’t tell, in bad condition and wondered about it. We noticed the house since it was on the same block as our apartment. We asked questions when we saw no life in it. We called the phone number when a piece of paper was posted on the door. We peered through the windows when we thought no one was looking. We were curious.

Our real estate agent emailed me on April 6 when I was on business in New York.

Subject: I think this is the one you called about!

Hi Beck,
I think this is the property that you called me about.
It was just listed.
Let me know if you’d like to take a peek at it.

On April 8 my now-ex-husband walked through the house; on April 9th, I walked through while my real estate agent stood outside and complained about still smelling the dog urine. The carpet was thread-bare in a loop that appeared to be a dog run while the rest of the carpet was thick and sticky. There was graffiti written on the walls. We found out later the water pipes had frozen before the house was winterized and the previous tenants had put toys and gravel down every single sink. The walls were blood red or hot pink or neon green. There was actual animal feces still in one room. In a separated part of the house, it looked as though someone had shaken up a 2 gallon bottle of soda and then opened it up and sprayed it over the ceiling and walls.

The house was foreclosed. The house was disgusting. It would take lots of money and years of hard work before it could be returned to a state of living… and yet I saw the potential: I saw a duplex.

To my realators disbelief, we put an offer in on April 10th.

I won’t go through the details about how the sellers wrote a counter offer that was essentially the same as our offer, minus a few minor details the sellers agent mussed up. I also won’t go into details about how we countered the mussed-up counter offer, how the seller opened the bidding back up, how we re-offered and were re-counter offered to.

Really, all that is in the past. It’s just part of the dating game.

The real battles are with the insurance companies (uninsurable house), the contractors that will renovate our house, the work we’ll do to avoid the contractors, the sales shopping and family and friends who will offer to help and throw appliance contacts in our direction, the journey that we’re about to embark on: Our First Home.

So no matter how bad things look and smell, and believe me: they do look and smell like the worst trash in an alleyway with a hundred dogs and cats living in it, it will be ours.

The closing date was the last day of spring, June 20th, 2013.

This is the story of my first home.

June 20, 2013

At 3:00 PM today we’re signing on to be the caretaker/maker of this large, forlorn house. And already at 4:00 PM we have a contractor coming to talk about our plumbing plans, which makes me smile: I haven’t had plumbing plans before.

About ten years ago, so the stories go, an addition was added to the house for a home business. One of our future contractors remembers bringing his kids to the hair salon. It’s an interesting space, and we are quite intrigued with the possibilities we see in the second side.

I am looking forward to curling up on the back patio in the morning with a cup of coffee and a book. I hope this will happen this summer yet.

Today I’m giving you the gift of a quick once-over, a few “as we see it” shots. Never mind our incredulous facial expressions, the looks that say I really can’t believe someone (and their dogs) lived here like this and I’m afraid if I breathe through my nose I’ll pass out.

After Photos

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