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I Hate Linux

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What’s Wrong With It?™

I drive a 2002 Pontiac Aztek and due to the power of mass production, there are thousands and thousands of Aztek’s on the road just like mine. Some may have OnStar, others with more advanced sound systems or leather seats. No matter their differences they still come from the same basic shape and design.

Should my Aztek blow up one day (due in large part to the 30k miles a year I put on it (granted, I’ve only had it for a year, but should that trend continue it will die a horrible death)), it would be pretty easy for me to go down to the lot and find a new one. Once I’ve identified a number of potential replacements, I can then get nit-picky on mileage, appearance, etc, because the fundamental basis of them all is the same.

When looking at real estate listings, you rarely have this simplicity. You rely on ads that tell only the most basic of facts, and to get anymore in depth you need to call the agent involved or see the house it’s self.

That brings me to my game show idea, its called: “What’s Wrong With It?™”

The premise is simple, you subject potential home buyers to listings from the internet, news papers and MLS listings and have them try to guess what is wrong with the property in question.

This weeks property, a nice little place in Tea, SD, currently listed at $79,900. I ran across this one a couple weeks ago and wondered; “it has about 2000 square feet of floor space… and is under 80k? What’s wrong with it?™” So, I called the agent on it.

I learned that it is former military housing and was moved to its present location in 1975 from a local Air Force base along with 5 other houses which are also still in the area.

Interestingly, at least in South Dakota (I cannot speak for other locations) if you move a house to a new foundation, you are able to list its year of construction as the year it was moved, which is why this obviously much older home is listed as being constructed in 1975.

One of the recent former owners did completely redo the kitchen and install new windows throughout the house, it has a lot to offer, but does need some work too. Lacking a paved driveway, a garage and sheetrock inside (still has plenty of wood paneling), it is a great fix-me-up and no doubt for the handy inclined with some time and money to burn, would be a great way to increase equity.

Unfortunately, I have neither the time, money, nor skill for sheetrock, painting or other key parts of home improvement.

In my searching I’ve noticed a few other properties that scream “What’s wrong with it?™”, and will try to post on some of them another day.


  • Interestingly enough, I have noticed a lot of ads in the last couple years for "we buy ugly houses for cash". Seems there are a bunch of investors who thrive off of buying trashed, old, and "needs work on" houses, and then they fix them up and turn them into a profit.

    It is supposed to be about investing, but it seems more to me like a job as a fix-it-up type of person. There is definately money to be made, but you have to like that sort of thing.

    By Blogger tarabyte, at 7:25 AM  

  • Also: it's in Tea.

    I work for a realtor off/on. It's all about location. A rather shoddy home on 69th St. Sioux Falls will sell for a ridiculous amount, whereas a lavishly constructed home near downtown will be more reasonable.

    Secondly, avoid the "we buy houses for cash" deal. A co-worker purchased a home through one of these programs. Basically, predatory businessmen advertise to people who are about to be fore-closed on, giving them exactly enough to pay off their mortgage, but not accounting for any of their equity. For low-income, or those with interesting accounting habits, this is much preferable to being foreclosed on.

    The businessman will then throw as LITTLE money as possible at the house, using unskilled, unlicensed labor ( and making repairs without building permits ) and then co-sign the mortgage loan, often "gifting" the down payment to the buyer. He might spend $10k on repairs/paint and put $2k "gift" down payment down, but he bought the house for $40k and sold it to you, Mr. Unsuspecting Buyer, for $110k. That's still a pretty tidy profit for him. And, with your low income or shady accounting, you won't be taking him to court when the house falls apart, will you?

    Look around Hartford, Brandon, Tea and Harrisburg for good homes for a reasonable price. Homes built before 1970 were actually probably constructed better than homes today that are pre-fabbed in a Ronning warehouse somewhere and shipped out to the site. Also, it's your first home. Buy a shithole, invest $15k - $20k over the course of your tenure there, and sell it for a great deal more. Real estate is the one place where you're usually guaranteed a return on your investment.

    Better yet, buy somewhere reasonable, make some repairs, build some equity, and a few years down the road when you make more, rent it out. Let someone else pay off the previous home while you pay for your new one. Repeat ad infinitumGood luck,
    Linux rules,


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:52 PM  

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