Last year, my experience in the housing market was not a positive one. I planned to invest in a home that could offer a return when I flipped it after a few years. With a goal of moving across the country in the next five years, my husband and I felt that buying a home, instead of renting, could make sense if we went about the purchase, with the right intentions of being able to flip it and at least break even after spending money on interest. Looking for homes, we prioritized the school district, curb appeal, privacy and neighborhood, which were all things that we would be unable to fix after the purchase. When we found the home that we wanted, we jumped on making an offer immediately, and we breathed a sight of relief because we thought that the complicated part was done.
My Experience With The Home Buying Process
Placing an offer on the home, I began imagining the projects that the home would need. Luckily, plenty of things were perfect about the home. For instance, the school that the home was zoned for was a 10 on the Great Schools website, and it had excellent standardized test scores. No weird perverts lived anywhere near the home, which was incredibly important to our family. Crime didn’t happen in the small, isolated town. The neighborhood was very desirable.
Even though the home had excellent curb appeal, with a nice brick exterior, beautiful windows, and a Magnolia tree in the front yard, it lacked some of the modern amenities that home buyers expect. Carpeting in the bedrooms had pee stains from a dog, which disgusted me as I imagined my small kids crawling on the ground. In the kitchen, the sink was chipped. Appliances were outdated. The living room fireplace needed to have an updated exterior to make it more aesthetically appealing as well as to make it safer.
After getting an inspection on the home, I learned some bad news: mold. There was a small problem with surface mold in the basement, which meant that the home might need French drains. Groaning, I made a small list for the seller to fix to make the deal. Fixing the mold was high on my list of priorities. Flipping a moldy home might never happen, especially if the mold was in the walls.
While the seller agreed to split the cost of the French drains, I could already picture the huge amount of costs that buying a house would really mean. Flipping the home to break even financially was a big risk. As the seller worked to correct the drainage, I dropped by the home periodically to ease my nerves about the purchase. Looking in the backyard of the home that would soon be mine, I was completely at peace. One of the best things about the home was the privacy. In the backyard, a thick wooded area blocked the home from other neighborhoods. With the home being on a cul-de-sac, few strangers drove past the area. Although the interior of the home left a lot to be desired, the location was great.
When signing day came, I was still assured that I could flip the home to break even or even make a profit. Something wasn’t right. I had a gut feeling to stand on the back porch for an extra minute before signing. Loud sounds broke all hope I had. After some quick research, I learned that the perfect backyard was going to be ruined in a matter of hours. In the subdivision, the neighborhood had come to an agreement to start a massive construction project. Most of the trees in the backyard would be ripped out to build another home looking right in the home that I was about to purchase. The cul-de-sac was going to be extended into a new section of the subdivision.
Because the home lost value with the loss of privacy, the purchase became a bad deal. Suddenly I pictured all of the home projects I would have done in vain. Nobody would want a home that had no privacy. I didn’t even want to live in the home anymore. Loud beeps of construction would have given me constant migraines. Even with the perfect sink and the best carpets, the home wouldn’t be easy to resell. Frustratingly, the real estate agents threatened a lawsuit on the signing day to try to coerce me into making the purchase.
If I were to go about buying a house again, I would choose an agent who was eager to disclose everything about the home. Risking money on an investment puts people in a vulnerable situation. Obviously the purchase was not meant to be. In the future, I would spend more time researching the neighborhood’s plans for construction. I would talk longer with the neighbors to find out more about the neighborhood. Personally, I might only look at homes that border national parks, which can’t be built on, before making a home purchase in the next few years.