Finding An Affordable Home Shouldn’t Be This Hard
My family and I have been looking for a house to buy for the last year. With the economy in the shape it’s in, we assumed that more houses would come onto the market and we would have a better chance of finding something that fits our needs. What would be ideal is to get one of these abandoned four family units that are peppered throughout the north side of the city. And considering how many times our minivan has been tampered with since we purchased it, we need secure off street parking.
The four family flat next door was abandoned a few weeks ago. We’ve been keeping an extra eye on the property so we can put a bid on it whenever it comes on the market. Our realtor keeps us apprised of what is coming on the market. And we make sure to search the real estate listings on realtor dot com virtually everyday. We thought we had our bases covered.
Early this afternoon the realtor sent us an email of new properties. The four family was in the list and it was going for a really good price. It has been vandalized in the past few weeks. No doubt pipes and water heaters are missing. No doubt a lot of damage was done in the short time it’s been empty. But we could easily pay cash for the house and repair whatever needed repairing with our cash. We could stay where we were until the house was minimally ready. Mom stays right across the street if we needed her for anything. It was a match made in heaven.
We clicked on the link on the email to read the details. But when we found the house on the real estate listing website, the building already had a contract pending. In essence, it came on the market as already sold.
And then it dawned on me. The reason that we can’t find any real bargains is because the only houses we can find are the houses that are already picked over by people with much better connections. Yeah, we can find an abandoned four family in need of a lot of work for about forty grand. But the person selling it for forty probably bought it for five grand and is simply sitting on it until they can find someone willing to pay a seriously handsome profit.
So did we have a fair shot at the house next door? I don’t think so. And I am beginning to realize we didn’t have a fair shot at any of the houses we’ve made offers on. Every time we’ve made a bid the realtor would come back with the news that the house was no longer on the market. We’ve done our homework. We’ve gotten letters of credit, saved money in an account unaffected by the market slump. We’ve gotten a realtor to help us with our search. And the houses are sold from under us before we can even have a chance to step to the plate. What’s the point?
Last week, I saw that this building was being vandalized by a couple of thugs and called the police. Now, I feel like what was the point? I should have helped those vandals load their truck. All I was doing was saving this building for somebody else who was doing a deal behind doors. I think I could understand if we were given a fair shot and simply didn’t have the capital to compete. But like I said, the asking price for this piece of property was so low I know we could’ve been a contender. And now all we can do is watch as other people are given pick of the litter to buy up our neighborhood. Even in a down market people in this black community are getting screwed and are being left out of whatever is going on.
I will write my alderman and complain. I will write this article and post it in my blog to help me vent my anger, frustration, and disappointment. I will continue to look at other properties and do my best to put my family in a position where we can take advantage of some other opportunity that comes up. We will continue to look harder and longer while other people use their connections to buy these houses and sit on them to make an easy yet impressive buck. But who cares as long as people are in a position to make money?
The problem is that I care. I would love nothing more than to buy the house and repair everything on it and in it. I would continue to care about my neighborhood and would stay for years to come and not just put the house on the market for an inflated sale. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll get the chance, at least not with that house. We just have to continue to look harder and longer and run around in circles while we do it.