HIB commenter submitted this guest post about his recent visit to an open house in Plainview.
Spouse dragged me to an Open House on a Plainview split-level over the weekend. Listed at $425,000, low for the area, I guess. Nonetheless, my strongest thought was that the slimy used-house salesman should be sued for malpractice for listing it that high.
As I approached the house it reeked of neglect. The first thing that caught my eye was the row of bushes along the side of the house with a line of ice draped across them looking like it was the goal line in a football game I’d rather have been watching. Looking up told why… there was no gutter along the edge of the roof. One need only wonder where else the runoff water was lurking. The aluminum siding on the front of the house was faded, accented only by the rust/paint stains that ran down several feet from each shutter, themselves hopelessly faded. The shutters and stains showcased the windows in dire need of replacement.
Inside was no better. Grandma sat in the living room breathing oxygen with her nurse at her side. The family must have been hoping to get enough to pay off the last refi and get Grandma into a nursing home. They had clearly done nothing to make the place show-ready. Small rooms and closets were highlighted by the fact that the latter were boxed-out and the former were piled high and deep. The flooring, appliances, cabinetry, window A/Cs, were all in decrepit condition. Little if any of it touched in the 60 years since construction, save for layer upon layer of paint, the last coat of which was too long ago. If it was located anywhere BUT the most overpriced suburb in the country, it would have been a complete tear-down job — and it may yet be.
The sad thing is that the owner (her family?) fail to realize that they actually sold the house piece by piece over the years in deferred upkeep. Don’t want to spend $3k to replace the gutter? Don’t want to replace the siding for $8k? Windows for $5k? Don’t want to update the appliances? Or stain/seal the floors? Just put it on the bill, which comes due on sale, right out of the price. Pay now or pay later.
We saw this one and another open house that was admittedly in much better condition, though itself still horrendously overpriced considering what we’re currently renting that essentially the same living space at 1/3 the monthly cost, in a location at least 20 min. less commuting time to Manhattan.
I was concernd that the spouse was caving just when the market itself was beginning to move our way. Fortunately seeing these two houses convinced her to do two things: 1) Start looking for better/cheaper rentals than what we currently occupy, and 2) look for those rentals off of Long Island.