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Old 01-07-2019, 02:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buying a house not on the market

Well I just wrote a letter to a family that owns a house near my grandmothers camp. The family has owned it since they built on the mid/late 90s in that 20ish years Iím not sure I have ever seen a single person in it. I asked around with the people with live year round in the area and they said they have maybe seen someone in it twice.

For the area itís new construction and to be honest it looks pretty well built. The outside could use a power wash and paint but other than that it appears to be in good shape. Of course this is all from a look on the outside. My only major concern is the shingles are starting to grow lichen but my brother and I are capable of putting a metal roof on. But I am getting a head of myself I havenít heard anything from the owners and even if they are interested the inside could be mold ridden or infested with critters.

I am hopeful the interior is in good condition because from my quick inspection it is still being plowed and the propane tank is being filled and heat left on. I hope itís just on low to keep the pipes from freezing and not to invite all the local squirrels in.

Before moving forward I would of course get a home inspection etc, and check out the local market a bit. Itís pretty low at the moment I bought the vacant lot directly across the street from this house two years ago, itís about the same size and I got it for 25% of the tax estimate.

Anyone else have any experience with buying in similar situations, ie a cold call or a house that has been sitting? Anything I should look out for etc?

-Duncan
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In most areas, there is a way to hire a realtor working as a "transaction broker." In that capacity, they will do the paperwork for a low fee. Lawyers can also do all the paperwork.
I try to give people as-is or cash offers if possible. Many people are burned by the "second round of negotiations" that often happens after an official inspection. I think these second rounds can be unethical, so I try to get a really good initial price essentially promising there will be no surprises from me as a buyer.

Because no one uses it, it makes me think it may be tied up in an estate or the owner has money to burn. Best of luck. It's definitely worth it if you have a chance to get the house you really want.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Buying a vacant house for a long time you'll have a lot of issues. Aside from dirt, mold, and general wear you'll have to fully inspect the piping, electrical, sewer, and if there is no paperwork available you should update that as well (plot, additions, year built etc...).

If it's been sitting long enough and there is no historical value to the home, often it is the same or cheaper to tear down and rebuild.

Hopefully the sewer and water is still good, electrical was installed properly, and you just need to turn things back on, check for leaks, and replace broken items. Lichen on the roof isn't necessarily a bad sign if it's under a lot of trees (moisture accumulation).

Worst case is it's totally trashed and vandalized and you have a family of cats living inside... which you should just rebuild at that point.

Often the hardest part is just being able have someone sign the sale papers so you can look inside.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That could be a really good deal depending on how it pans out. The nice part about off market deals is that you can get around having to pay agents a percentage to close the deal. That usually is between 3 and 5% of the total cost so you can save that from both sides by just having a real estate lawyer draft the closing documents. Are you buying this to live in or just a flip deal?
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What state are you looking in? Everything should be in the town records. Let me know if you need a little help digging things up.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It would be in NH I have the tax records. But I am not sure if I said the current owner built it and has owned it since building it so no sale records. It would be to keep as its near my grandmothers camp and a lot of family goes up there.
-Duncan

Last edited by dkv23; 01-07-2019 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i recently bought a house that was vacant for about a year.

gutters were clogged pretty bad and there is some external water damage due to the water overflowing from one of the gutters for so long.

lots of bugs, spiders, that sort of thing.

There were a bunch of mice i could hear scurrying around but we made short work of them.

And the lawn was a mess with moss. No one to cut the grass or rake the leaves.

Aside from that, there were no major problems from the house sitting.

don't know if that helps or not.
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Old 01-08-2019, 09:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah this house doesn’t have gutters just a very steeply pitched roof. I picture there being mice but that’s nothing a bucket of water and some peanut butter can’t fix.
-Duncan
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Does it have a basement? No gutters means all the water is pooling around the foundation. Not a big deal if there is no basement. Good grading will also keep water away from the foundation but if the yard was not well kept it's anyones guess. Make sure the home-inspector actually does a thorough review. I found out recently that some inspectors do enough to meet requirements but mainly so that the house goes under contract... Kinda shady but its the world of realty.

Basically if the inspector notes something, then its wrong and you should look at it, even if it's "nothing to worry about".
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I believe it’s a finished basement but the whole house is set into a hill so the grade is likely good enough to prevent pooling. As far as home inspectors I grew up in the next town over and my neighbor is a contractor I will likely ask he for a solid recommendation if and when it comes to that point.
-Duncan
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