Will another get away?

The living room of a big fixer-upper we did *not* bid on.So that house I mentioned the other day? It got away. The seller refused to drop below $100k so we let it pass. Good thing, too, because yesterday two more good options popped up on the market. The living room for one of them is pictured at right. Check out the huge size and that beautiful wood trim! And a fireplace! The house has over 2500 square feet! And a fenced yard for our dog and a 3-car garage! And it’s mere blocks from L’s job!

Now I know what you’re thinking: We could never afford a great place like that. But we’re talking Montana, here, where all that and more can be yours for little more than $100k! Now do you understand why we’re moving to Montana?

But, ok. Let me be honest. All of the above is true, but also true is that this house is a major “fixer-upper” that probably needs most of a new kitchen, a major rebuilding of the staircase leading to the second floor, and various other things too numerous to mention. And we don’t even know the condition of the plumbing, electrical system, furnace, roof, or foundation—you know, the important stuff. So that explains why it’s so cheap. But still, it’s pretty tempting. Just look at that living room! The dining room and one bedroom are in about that condition, too. The rest of the house? Another story altogether.

So we didn’t bid on that house. Instead, we bid on another which is almost in the same block. It’s much smaller but it has everything we’re looking for in terms of location, yard, dishwasher (very important!), garage, price, condition, etc. We’re currently waiting to hear if the buyer is going to respond to our offer. But while we were on the edge of our seats all of last weekend because of the anxiety of our first bid, now that we’ve been through it once we’re trying harder to stay relaxed. House hunting is just like going to the mall, only bigger, right?

As for the issue w/the statutory broker v. the buyer’s agent, we solved by simply asking our realtor about it. She explained that she can act in either capacity but had chosen to act as a statutory broker on the first deal b/c we were dealing at a distance and she thought we might prefer that b/c it meant we would not be obligated to use her as our agent if that particular deal fell through. However, for better or worse, we decided to contract w/her as a buyer’s agent (aka, a buyer’s broker) in order to make sure we’ll benefit from the additional obligations such a contract implies.

See all this stuff they don’t teach you in law school?
[tags]homebuying, real estate, montana, realtors[/tags]

11 thoughts on “Will another get away?”

  1. Good to know where the new site is so I can keep informed about what’s going on with you guys.

    Um — why did you have to sign a contract with the buyer’s agent at all? She gets a fee from a seller — you’re under no obligation to work exclusively for her — she makes her dime by getting you into a house you want and hoping she does a good enough job that you’d use her to sell/refer her to others. She sounds shifty – I’d drop her.

  2. We actually learned about the broker/agent stuff in Property.

    “House hunting is just like going to the mall, only bigger, right?”

    In Montana it is, apparently! Out here it’s more like adopting a kid… you pray, and keep looking and looking, and spend tons of money, and go through lots of uncertainty. (But considering the market these days, unlike a kid, we’re probably sinking more into our house than we’ll get out of it.)

  3. wow! That’s some place! Quite a long ways away from yer humble box in U City or L’s leaky condo. I’m so jealous. And of this blog as well. Pretty sweet. I’m trying to teach myself PHP, mostly so I can write frontends for databases that I don’t have anything to put in to. Being unemployed sucks. And what’s with Rob Brezsny? I used to read “Free Will Astrology” all the time but I seem to have drifted away from it. Good luck on your house hunt. And the job hunt, though I suspect your prospects are probably better than mine.

  4. That is some place… Montana looks pretty good! I don’t even want to think what a place like that would cost in Chicago. :)

    I also like the new home on the web… one problem, though. Your feed links at the bottom of the page don’t work…

  5. So true that things always work out in the end… I’m sure you’ll end up with a fantastic place that will be the envy of all of us living in shoe boxes.

    Good luck!

  6. Thanks everyone! I’ll be posting an update on the house in just a minute.

    M: We didn’t have to sign the contract w/the agent, but it’s sort of complicated. As far as what a buyer pays to any agents in a transaction, my understanding is that that’s generally negotiable among the parties, although I’m guessing some states might regulate that more specifically as a consumer protection measure. So far things seem to be working out, though…

    Famous P: Teaching yourself PHP!? Are you insane? I thought you had other, um, diss-stractions to occupy your time, eh? I know how it is, though—if you have a big project, just about anything else looks like more fun—even PHP.

    The Brezsny book was a gift. I used to read “Free Will Astrology,” too (it used to be in the Octopus, didn’t it?), but haven’t seen it in years. Brezsny may be a paper-pants hippy, but sometimes there’s nothing better than some serious blue-sky optimism.

  7. Yeah, I don’t understand why you guys had to sign a contract with the buyer’s agent. We certainly didn’t have to, but maybe things are different in Montana. House hunting is hard enough, but to have to do it at a distance? Yeesh. I’m sending you good house-buying vibes. We actually went through something similar when we bought our place, in that we made an offer on something else but it was turned down. E., never having done this before, was upset about it, but I figured it was all part of the process. And sure enough, the very day our offer was rejected we found our current place…and it’s a WAY better house. (And isn’t it great to live somewhere with decent housing prices? Woo hoo!) Good luck!

  8. Cross posted with ya. :) You answered the contract question, but I just wanted to add that we paid our buyer’s agent nothing. Nada. She got paid by splitting a commission with the seller’s agent (who is now our neighbor!)…though I think b/c she was the neighbor, the seller’s agent actually did the job for a small fee and our agent got the standard commission. But you’re right–it’s often one of those negotiable things.

  9. I guess real estate prices in Billings are more reasonable than they are in western MT. Bozeman, Missoula, Helena … it’s hard to find a decent house for less than 200k in those towns.

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