Our Neighbor’s House Is For Sale!

Buy Me, Please.I can’t believe it, someone’s actually selling a house in our area instead of foreclosing! The heavens have opened and are smiling upon us ;)

It sounds sad, but seriously – this gives our neighborhood so much hope. We’ll actually be able to tell what our houses are WORTH now since they’re pretty much exact molds of each other. And what makes this even more interesting is that I’ve heard their asking price is WAYYY higher than reasonably expected. I’m not sure if they’re just disregarding the foreclosures or if their realtor has even approved (and agreed!) to it, but either way it’s better than starting out too low, that’s for sure. Just some more extra rays of hope, baby!

My only fear here is that the closing price shocks us into reality. A good quarter of us bought close to the peak of the market, if not AT the peak (*ahem*), so it’s gonna be scary to see that real life non-zillow number hit us straight in the face. 3 years ago our places were going $350-$370k (we settled @ $360k), but the last estimate I was given was around $300k – the number I use when calculating our net worth. If I were a betting man though (a non-lottery-or-poker-playing-betting-man, of course), I’d say anything over $280k would be considered a win. And something tells me we’d realistically get only $280k. Which pretty much BLOWS, but I’m over it at this point. I blogged it all out of my system last year, and now ready for the recovery :)

And who knows. Maybe we’ll get lucky and some spendthrift bastard will come along and save the day! All we need is one person to plunk down the money to pump up the rest of our values – as crazy as that sounds. So I’ll keep ya posted, friends! Fingers crossed and happy thoughts up in hurr…

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  1. Brandi April 13, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Good luck! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that someone with some serious cash just laying around happens upon the house and decides it’s ‘perfect for them’.

  2. Young Mogul April 13, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    It is unfortunate about all of the foreclosures and what it does to home values. But, on the bright side, at least they are starting to slow. I am lucky, I live and bought a house in a part of the country where home values remained constant and, as a result, my area had none of the highs, but also none of the lows. But, I’m also in the south.

    I bought my house at 84k and now it is up to 88k. But, for the area, it will never appreciate past 90k.

  3. Abigail April 13, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Are you guys considering moving?

    If not, then falling house prices are good for you, since it will lower your property taxes. (I would especially take a look at the estimated value there and probably appeal it since it’s bound to be higher than the foreclosures would make it.)

    I understand being a little worried in general about housing prices, but so long as you’re not thinking of moving, I really can’t understand why it’s that big a deal.

  4. simple in France April 13, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    You know, it’s interesting how transparent things are in the States. Here in France, you can usually only find the listed price of houses–sales prices are much harder to come by. And an appraisal is not needed to buy and sell a home here (the bank will fund you for up to 1/3 of your income so they don’t worry as much if they house is overpriced or not–weird huh?)

    But what we’ve seen is that some houses will sell for close to the asking price (if they are in a great location, for example or have great layouts) others will sell for 30% less than that. . .

  5. Investing Newbie April 13, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Crossing fingers!!

    @Abigail: Really? Is that a DC thing? Because in NY, everyone’s up in arms that mortgages are underwater but taxes haven’t headed south at all.

  6. J. Money April 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Nope, no plans on moving anytime soon but I’d really LOVE to! :) I want to get all hardcore simplistic and move back into a 1 or 2 bedroom condo….closer to the city preferably. In fact, I’d even go back to a 600 sq. ft studio if I could. I don’t think the wife and/or our cats would be too happy with me though…so for now it is what it is.

    @Young Mogul – That is awesome. Isn’t it crazy that the same house could cost hundreds of thousands (even millions) more simply due to location? Pretty fascinating, at least to me.
    @simple in france – Woah, 30%?! Wow….i might have to come out there and visit one day :) only if you meet me for coffee though.

  7. Erica Douglass April 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    “either way it’s better than starting out too low…”

    Uh, yeah, unless you want to actually sell the house.

    Here in SoCal we have a local real estate agent who has coined a term for the owner-occupied high-priced houses with clueless local real estate agents: OPTs.

    Overpriced Turkeys.

    They either sit on the market for months with no sale, or they “follow the market” all the way down. Some of them have been on the market here in CA for 2 years or more. And here in San Diego, at the right prices, houses can garner up to 20-30 offers. Here, if there’s no offer within 7 days, you better drop by at least 10%. Don’t know if things are that hot in your area, but if it’s on the market more than 30 days, you can safely say it’s more than 10% overpriced.


  8. Peter April 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    We’ve been watching as our home value dropped as well. We bought for about 276k at the height of the market. Homes exactly like ours are now going for closer to 220k or less – although our home was recently appraised for about 236k when we refinanced. In any event a nice chunk of value has dropped away.

    On the bright side the townhouse we sold in order to move into our new house has also dropped, by about 50k or more, so we did OK by moving I suppose since our house only dropped about 40k.

    Also on the bright side, as mentioned above, our property taxes are dropping this year for the first time in like – ever. I guess they couldn’t keep denying how much values were dropping.

  9. ctreit April 13, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    I will keep my fingers crossed. We also bought our house during the real estate frenzy, but we did not top-tick it. When we refinanced recently our estimate says that we are back to the purchase price plus almost all the money we put into the house. No loss for us, at least not so far. But we never bought a house to make money. We bought the house because we loved it and because we wanted to live in it. It is primarily meant to be our home.

  10. Samurai April 13, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Good luck J! It gives hope and fear. One of those things where I’d rather not know until I plan to sell.

    At least you’ve set your expectations low at 280K and have moved on from our a&& kicking we got (i feel your pain too as I have a vacay property). But, tis life!



  11. Anthony April 13, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    @simple in france: I’m curious. The bank will only provide you a loan for 1/3 of your income?! That seems awfully low (from a USA perspective). We purchased our house for $160k, and our income is $100k/year. I would wager to say that almost all Americans buy a house greater than their annual income.

    Am I missing something here?

  12. jake April 13, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Anthony: Simple must mean Debt to Income.

    What did a recent foreclosure sell for? Is there any reason that a non-foreclosure is worth more, except perhaps for some minimal damage that can be repaired for a few thousand?

  13. Ninja April 13, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Keepin’ my fingers crossed that house sells for more than $2.80, oops I meant $280,000 :)

  14. donkee April 14, 2010 at 7:23 AM

    Keep us posted! Curious to see how much foot traffic your neighbor will get and what the final sales price will be.

    Sounds kind of like snooping, eh? Nah, call it being neighborly and enthusiastic!

  15. Lucille April 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Oh that sounds like me. I bought at 429 in 2005 and have watched that Zillow graph go down and down and down….now it’s at 300 like yours. But I wonder about that. Should have sold 3 years ago when I could have but didn’t (sentimental).

  16. J. Money April 15, 2010 at 11:43 AM


    This seems MUCH more reasonable than the $375k I heard the other day. If they can close anywhere above $300k you better believe I’ll be one happy bastard. I’m deathly afraid if it dropping under that level…not because we’re selling anytime soon, but just so we can have OPTIONS to at least do so if we want.

    Thanks for all the well wishes, friends :) Fingers crossed indeed…

  17. Single Guy Money April 15, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    I know how you feel J. It seems like there is a new foreclosure in my neighborhood everyday. Most of the homes up for sale now are bank owned and are listed for unreal prices. There is one that is exactly like mine that initially sold for $198k, it’s now listed by the bank for $129k. Even at that price, it’s been on the market for a few months. I wish you luck man.

  18. Funny about Money April 19, 2010 at 9:50 AM

    What they ask and what they get usually not the same. And one house selling above market price doesn’t necessarily push all the other cookie-cutter houses back up to market value.

    The loan officer at the credit union where we hold a mortgage for a small house we bought when we thought (wrongly!) prices had dropped as far as they would go said that foreclosures usually depress prices for several months, but then as people sell houses in a more normal way, prices return to normal. However, in our case ALL the sales of surrounding houses have been foreclosures. No one has made a regular, normal sale in two or three years. No one has tried. Consequently, prices are very depressed and have stayed depressed, while in other close-in districts prices have remained stable or even risen.

    If you’re not planning to sell, the fantasy sale price doesn’t matter. You don’t realize a loss until you sell, and as a commenter above remarked, at least you have a shot at lower tax rates. That’s not true in our neck of the woods: the assessor lowered tax valuations, all right…but then the strapped state and county raised tax rates, so our taxes will go up even though our houses are worth less than we paid for them.