This weekend I hit the road to look at some houses and land in a small town. Something my broken heart yearns for. I had a number of potential candidates printed out so I spent the day on the road.
The first house I looked at was the best match with what I am looking for. It is a partially dilapidated, home-built, country house located on 6.8 wooded acres of land about 15 miles away from my small town of choice. I usually do my house shopping on my own first before contacting a realtor because I don’t want to waste his/her time with my window shopping.
Looking into an open window showed that the house was empty and surprisingly did not smell exceptionally horrible as I expected. A little pet urine but nothing really nasty. The front door was locked and had a sticker on it with words about tress-passers being shot. A little scary but there was nobody there. I walked around the outside to the back where I found a large step past a missing deck to the back screened patio door which was not so much a door as a piece of highly worn plywood. The screened porch area contained a nasty washer and dryer. I was surprised to find the back door not locked and hanging open. “Come on in.” it said.
The house is only 1000 square feet consisting of a large living room, good sized kitchen, big enough bathroom and a good sized bedroom with a strange office/2nd bedroom just of the first bedroom. I would use it as an office.
The metal roof has been leaking in a few places and the ceiling had collapsed. Not too bad though. The structure looks good and a new roof and drywall work will fix it right up. The floor is a mess. A hodgepodge of mixed media from nasty carpet to bare sub-floor. Not a big deal. I can do flooring. The hot water heater seems to have sprung a major leak at one time. It was located in a small box in the bedroom closet. Due to the leak, there is mold on the closet walls. I can fix that. The leak must have been large or went on for a while because some of the dirt under the house in that area had been eroded by the flow to about 6 inches deep. It doesn’t seem to have compromised the pier foundations. That’s good.
The bathroom was pretty messed up. A large but fancy tub was rigged with an electric on-demand water heater sitting on the sink plumbed through a gaping hole in the drywall. I guess the water heater was gone for a while, while people still lived there. They tried to make do but were obviously not plumbers. It looked bad but nothing I couldn’t fix. I would replace the tub with a walk in shower and replace the sink and toilet and put down new tile.
The kitchen was also a mess. The old cabinets would have to go. I would get rid of the bar and move the sink from the wall to look out the window. After a remodel it would make a nice sized kitchen that would suit me well. There was the 4 foot square hole in the ceiling where the leak was. Parts of the drywall was falling where the seams were. I would replace it all anyway.
The living room is not in bad shape. Replace the old carpet, remodel the fireplace wall a bit to remove some built in bookcases and paint would be sufficient. A large sliding glass door leading out to the missing deck would be replaced with a nice french door and a new deck and stairs.
I was a little surprised to see that there was no air conditioning or heating system in the house. I don’t know how anyone can live like that. I would put in two high efficiency Mitsubishi split heat pump systems. One in the living room and one in the bedroom.
The exterior is not high quality but in decent shape. I would probably replace it with cement board siding anyway.
The house is set back maybe around 100 feet from the road and completely not visible from the outside except to passers by the driveway entrance. The driveway leads through the brush offering nice privacy so I can run around naked at all times. The tall pine trees are alien to me and were scary. I like them though. It’s one of the things I like about the area.
I braved a walk through the brush and fallen trees toward the back of the property which is the largest area. About halfway I found a seasonal stream that would run when it rains. On the other side, more forest. I didn’t go any further. Satellite images show that it is rather thick. If I cleared out the underbrush in the middle it would be pretty cool. I would build a bridge over the stream.
Back at the house I found a outdoor shower and a decent sided shed that would make a good workshop and tool storage building. I might put in a larger one. An old MG convertible car sat low on the ground. I wonder if that is included. It is probably not easily revive-able but I might give it a shot.
The place needs a LOT of work but it is actually around 80% what I am looking for. The other land and houses I’ve looked at over the last few years have been in the 5% or less range so 80% might be a keeper. I like the fact that it needs remodeling because that will give me something fun to do.
Now I have to decide whether I am man enough change my life like I want to. I could easily move and take a year or two off to remodel then look for a job in the town. Maybe I could get into something completely different than computers like house inspecting or real estate. I wonder what is involved in getting started in that? It would be nice to work on my own schedule for my remaining years.
I would only be 1.5 hours away from my mom so I would not feel so bad about leaving her like I would if I moved to Colorado. Technically, this plan is a go. Mentally…not sure yet. I’m sleeping on the idea for a while before I do anything rash.
The asking price is $99,000. More than I think it is worth in that condition but I might try to see if they will accept $75,000. If they sell for 75-80 I would feel OK with the deal. I have 89K in my extra money investment portfolio so I could pay cash for the house and skip the mortgage.
I could sell my current house for $140K or rent it out for a few years and make $1100 a month off of it. Sell later. Maybe. It would be nice to have the income if I wasn’t working. It would at least pay my Obamacare bill plus more.
I wrote to the realtor on the sign but he hasn’t responded. If I don’t hear from him in a few days, I’ll try a different realtor. He isn’t even local to the town for some reason. I would rather deal with a local anyway.
I’m taking it slowly. In the shape that it is in, I don’t think there will be too many buyers right away. It has been on the market for around 160 days as is. Maybe that will help me get a good price.
The more I think about it, the more I like the whole idea. We’ll see.