Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Swirling Around the Real Estate Toilet Bowl

If it seems like we're going in circles, it's because we are. Today one full loop was completed as we considered putting an offer in on a home we already tried to buy this spring.

"Experts" claim that Pittsburgh was not hit as hard by the drop in real estate values because it didn't see a big boom. This might be true because we sure aren't finding any bargains.

After selling our townhouse in April, we were two days late to put a bid on a forclosed Maronda home. Incidentally, this home was stripped and trashed. Even if it had been pristine, the idea of living in a Maronda plan makes my inner child die a little.

The next try was for a short sale on a home in Fox Chapel. The offer was accepted. The seller's agent even thought we could have bank approval in time for our townhouse's closing on April 22nd. She was wrong.

Our nervousness about homelessness if we waited on the short sale led us to Hampton Township. I was charmed by a ranch home built on a slab. My father was not. In spite of his resevations we withdrew the short sale offer and signed a contract for the Hampton ranch.

The home inspection revealed my dad was right, the house really is worth only what the empty lot would sell for. With no house to move into and our month renting back from our very nice townhouse buyer, I paused here for a good sobbing cry. Tim thought I was dying, but sometimes there's nothing to do but sob uncontrollably.

The apartment scene has been good to us, but we're not meant for living close to other people. Hearing neighbors tromp around above us and listening to barking dogs is more than our tender nerves can bear. The promise of a house in a year sometimes isn't enough. We want to know definitive plans.

So we started searching for land. Every day it seems our preferred county changes. Sometimes we want to live in Butler or Westmoreland. Today we're back to Allegheny. Land is hard to find, expensive, often on a steep grade and doesn't suit our love of low traffic streets.

No matter what builder we visit, the cost of the home is the same. Modular, stick built, Lincoln Log, Lego - they all cost exactly the same. Then you have to pay more for a basement.

Maybe we should look again at existing homes. That short sale would work for us now. We're in no hurry. We could wait ten months. I call the realtor only to find out they accepted an offer two days ago.

Short sale house is gone, around we go again.