By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, September 1, 2020
By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, September 1, 2020
I helped my buyers Brooke-Lynn and Ivan sell their classic mid-century in Rose City Park back in March. They loved their old 2 bed 1 bath home, but were ready for something bigger and in closer-in NE Portland. When they sold their home they had multiple offers and were able to get a buyer who gave them 2 months of rent-back. Once late May came around, they still had not secured their next dream home, so off they went to stay at friends houses, then AirBnB’s.
In late July what they thought was their dream home came on the market in Overlook, but after a fierce multiple offer battle, they didn’t feel comfortable going as high as the house ultimately sold for. They were sad, but determined to find the next dream house. And then along came a house that had just had a $70k price reduction which put it within their budget. From the outside, for all appearances it was a classic brick one level sprawling mid-century facing Wilshire Park in NE. We went to take a look and inside it was even bigger than it looks on the outside. All of the rooms were huge and airy and one room in the basement was huge with a fireplace, built-ins and 9′ tall ceilings. The house felt 1950’s all over, but the year built was listed as 1920.
While checking out the house we figured out there had been a little 1920 bungalow, but sometime in the 1950’s, someone built a huge mid-century around it on 3 sides. The location across from the park is dreamy, so it’s easy to see why someone built out the house. It wasn’t the perfect house, but by removing a wall between the dining room and kitchen, it was clear that this house could be everything they had been looking for.
The house had originally been listed for $125k more than the new list price, and was now being sold as-is. Brooke-Lynn and Ivan loved it enough to put in an offer knowing that the house needed a lot of work on the systems and mechanics which were all well past their prime. We also knew that it had a terrible looking roof that would need to be replaced and an in-use oil furnace from the 1950’s with an underground oil tank. But even at the list price, it was a great opportunity for someone willing to put the money into it to bring it back. And Brooke-Lynn and Ivan decided they were those people. We wrote up an offer and the sellers accepted it right away.
And then came the inspection. And it wasn’t just the roof and furnace. It was everything- plumbing, electrical, rats, foundation, sewer, an oil tank leak, and more. After sleeping on it, they decided that too much work was needed and to get it up to par would cost in the $60k-$70k range- and that was before any cosmetic work. For the house to work for them, the price would need to be another $75k lower- so $200k under the original list price. We were pretty sure that the sellers wouldn’t go for that, so with a lot of sadness, we terminated the transaction. And then, what do you know, the sellers agent came back to us and asked my buyers what they would be willing to pay for the home. The sellers were older and had health problems, and given the state of the house, they really didn’t want to risk going back on the market. After weighing their options, they decided to come back to us. The listing agent and I scrambled to get bids for everything so my buyers would have an idea of the cost of all the needed repairs. My buyers decided that if the sellers would pay for the roof, do a pest control clean-up and abatement with the help from wildlife control in Houston, and get the leaky oil tank cleaned up and registered with DEQ, that they would be willing to pay $45k under what they had been in contract with. We thought there was no way that the seller would go for it, but go for it they did.
So about 2 weeks after we fell out of contract, we went back under contract, and 2 weeks after that, we closed. During the second transaction my buyers were able to line up all the contractors for the plumbing, sewer replacement, furnace replacement, electrical work, and the sellers pre-paid for the new roof and gutters. My buyers had a fantastic lender- Jake Planton with 2 Rivers Mortgage, who was able to get them an appraisal waiver and revive the dead transaction under the original lock and loan terms. I have never had a transaction where my buyers terminated and we were able to get back on track with terms that were acceptable to my buyers. My buyers had been so discouraged after they terminated on the house, that they were literally a few hours away from making the decision to move away from Portland for the time being. Once my buyers get the house back into great condition by dealing with all the systems upgrades and deferred maintenance, they can move on to the fun stuff including taking down a wall and re-doing the kitchen. I can’t wait to see magic they in store for the house!