Matt walked into my office at Lake of the Pines and said:
“I want a realtor who will write as many low ball offers as it takes for me to get a house.”
“I’m your man. It sounds like you’ve been working with another realtor?”
“Yeah, but I fired her.”
“She wouldn’t listen to me. I told her I only had so much money, that’s all, but she kept showing me houses that cost more than I had.”
“How much do you have?”
“One hundred and thirty thousand dollars. Can you get me a house for that? All I need is a foreclosure at Lake of the Pines that I can fix up for me and my three kids.”
Matt told me that he was a single dad with a job as a groundskeeper at a nearby country club. He had a daughter at Cottage Hill Elementary School, a son at Magnolia Middle, and another daughter at Bear River High. Those three schools are adjacent to Lake of the Pines, so it was easy to see why he wanted to stay in the community where he was currently renting a home.
But, by limiting himself to Lake of the Pines, a gated community with about 2,000 homes, his selection of fixers-for-sale was also limited. Even more problematic, these foreclosures were mostly in the $150,000 to $170,000 price range.
Taking a deep breath, I began to write offers, typically $120,000, sometimes $125,000. Over a two-month period we presented offers on 9 different homes, with an additional half dozen counter offers—when we could get the bank sellers to respond to our first foray.
We both became discouraged, and a little frantic. The only way Matt could make this work financially was to take advantage of a first-time buyer program, and that money was drying up.
Then, a miracle. The bank owner of a unique Tahoe-styled 3 bedroom cabin on a quiet cul-de-sac street at Lake of the Pines ran up the white flag, surrendered and accepted our cobbled-together offer of $135,000 with a $6,000 credit back to the buyer for a total purchase price of $129,000.
This home was a 3 story, gambrel-roofed construction, not typical of the single-story homes preferred at Lakeof the Pines, but it fit Matt and his kids like a well-tailored suit. The top floor had a modest master suite for Matt with a bedroom, his own bathroom, and private balcony overlooking a shady back yard. The main floor had the kitchen, living room, bathroom, deck, and two bedrooms, one each for the two youngest kids. The lower floor had a studio with private bath, and private entrance for the teenage girl.
Last night, I had the great pleasure of giving Matt the keys. Today he, the kids, his brother, and his mom and dad are painting and fixing stuff. Tomorrow I’m going to there replace a window and do some wiring. Monday, they move in to their own home.
Ain’t that a good story!
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