Rocky Roads

Today wasn’t the happiest of days of recent and I’ve found myself pushing forward with the mindset that tomorrow will be a better day. Just this week I have encountered two of my listing which are solid family homes being battered by an appraiser who insists that he’s doing his job according to “lender standards.” It’s not that the homes are not appraising for value, it’s because there are work requirements that the appraiser is calling for to be completed prior to closing or the bank will not issue the loan. In all my years of selling homes, I have never encountered until recently the picture perfect condition that some of the lenders are requiring. Believe me, I know of homes out there that have been glossed over and appear to be picture perfect but going below the surfaces you will find shoddy workmanship and inferior materials. Many years ago I used to do what they called broker opinions for an area savings and loan association. After a number of years working for them, they realized that when I did my valuations, I not only gave an “as is” value but also a “as repaired” value. They found that I was keen in creating a win-win situation for both the seller as well as the end buyer. I had qualified contractors on call to make the needed repairs and after they were completed, the foreclosed home would go back on the market and almost always sold to an owner occupant. Now we find the opposite. Trashed bank owned homes go back on the market with radically low prices and often times get sold to investors who turn them into rental properties. Every time I see this happening I bristle. I think to myself, how many more entry level first time buyer homes will be gobbled up by investors until there will be little from which our young will will be able to choose. One of my colleagues in real estate whom I spoke with some days ago about this situation remarked, “The young buyers should buy at the top of their range and get everything done. Then they are making one payment on the house and improvements.”

I was shocked to hear such! Is that any way to get ahead. Plug yourself into a mortgage that has your finances so tight that you’ll have to eat macaroni sandwiches for the next 30 years. Those that have gone before me would emphatically and without resign say, “No, that’s not the way to create equity!”

Fact, the young must learn by trial and error just as we did. Fact, there will be days when they want to throw in the rag. Fact, nearly everyone who has traversed a rocky road in first home ownership will say, “It was a rocky road, but we’re glad we did it.” I wish every day, that there will be more and more timid tenants turning into rocky road riders in our community. They are our future.

Joe Chodur

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