So, I got some goodish news on Friday from my mom. For a few years now, my husband and I have been contemplating buying my dad's aunt's house. It's diagonal across the street from my parent's house and it's in pretty poor shape. My aunt and uncle lived there forever, I believe they actually built it many many many moons ago. When I was a kid, I was always there in the summers swimming in my uncle's pool. It was a very old cement/concrete inground pool, and it was always cold. As soon as you got in, your lips turned purple, but it was a sweet treat for us in the hot summers. My friends and I were there everyday. My mom says in the summer I lived in my bathing suits, I even slept in them! My uncle was older (it was my dad's uncle) and he loved having us kids around. He loved his pool...it was his bread and butter. The kicker? He never learned how to swim. But he took such great care of that pool and loved having the neighborhood kids over. Around noon time, the mailman Bernie would come in the pool during his lunch break and do laps. Everyone in the neighborhood had an open invite to the pool. My uncle would make us all lunch and bring us snacks and drinks for when we were done swimming...then of course after we ate, back in the pool we went! He had a dog, Trixie. She was a tiny dog, but boy did she bark. She was our babysitter for when my uncle would go into the house to get us our snacks and food. all the home movies we have of us at the pool all you hear is Trixie barking. I don't remember my aunt coming out much, but to my uncle, that pool was his life.
As I got older and didn't have time in the summers to go there everyday (school, work, boys, etc) my uncle kind of let the pool go to the wayside a bit. He was too old to really take care of it, so he rarely opened that pool in the summers. When the whole west nile thing started, some neighbors across the way on the other street complained to the township b/c he had stagnant water on the top of the pool cover, so after a battle, my uncle lost and had to pretty much fill in the pool or open it back up.
Since he was too old to open it, he decided it was best to fill it with sand and close it forever. He was so depressed...that pool was his life. That summer, my uncle passed away. I believe it was my dad that found him on the steps leading to where the pool used to be. I guess he died of a heart attack, but we all know he knew it was his time, and he wanted to be near his lifeline, his pool.
My aunt was still alive so she was in the house by herself. It was a hard time for the whole family. She had an aid come in for awhile, but she herself was getting up there in years and she passed a few years after my uncle. So the house was empty for awhile. My dad would keep up with the yard work and make sure everything inside was functional. Then my grandmother in Florida passed away. That was a tough time...so my dad's cousins (his aunt and uncle's daughter) said that my grandfather can stay in the house, since nobody was in it anyways. My grandfather stayed there for a few years until it was his time to go into a nursing home for constant care. That was over 2 and a half years ago, and the house has been empty since.
Now that it's been empty for so long, I really want to buy the house. It's a family house, so any ghosts inside of it are my family and they are friendly ghosts...yes I believe in ghosts. My parents have them at their house, but it's all family. My great grandfather built that house and it's been in my family since. Every since my grandfather went into the nursing home, my husband and I would casually discuss the house, and even bring it up to my parents, since they talk to their cousins more then me. The house is in bad shape, it's very outdated and anyone that would want to rent it or buy would need to do some major renovation. On 4th of July, my BFF (our mechanic, handyman, my second husband, etc) and I were chatting about the house. My dad came into the conversation and my BFF Jerry said he'd like to see the house since if we did buy it, he'd do all the work. So my dad got us the key and we walked over. It has some great potential and my husband and Jerry can do a lot of work on the first level, like blowing out walls, redoing the living room, etc. My friend is a godsend and blessing to my husband and I. With so many issues in our condo, we would have paid a TON of money OOP to do repairs. But he does it for free, and all he asks is to be fed. So it works out, I get to get my stuff fixed and can keep up with my cooking skills :)
So fast forward to recently. I lost my job, so I put this to the back burner since we were just down to one income, and taking on a second mortgage was not feasible. So I stopped begging my dad and mom to talk to them. Then I got a job a few weeks ago and it's pretty stable. We all went out to eat with my parents and my in laws and brought it up. My dad had to call his cousins the next day to discuss the house. I think my dad pays the bills for the house then gets a check once a month from his cousin. So my dad said he called her, but she wanted nothing to do with the house. She is getting up there in age and has failing health, and her husband's health has been failing for years now. so my dad didn't say anything. Then my mom ran into the cousin at the store and they got to talking, and my mom, who doesn't beat around the bush came out and asked about the house. The cousin said she didn't want to deal with it or have anything to do with it. It's been empty for so long and they still pay taxes and all on it. My mom said she knows someone that wants to buy it (me) and my cousin was shocked. My mom explained that I loved that house, and the pool and I would love to buy it. The cousin said there's a lot of work and my mom said that our friend and husband is willing to do a lot of it and wants to build a full second story and of course, put the pool back in. She also said the second lot in the back comes with it and suggested we put a garage there, to which my mom said, oh she already knows she is putting a garage there. So it showed my aunt or whatever she is to me that I have really been thinking hard over the years about the pool...but the one thing I AM definately doing is putting that pool back in....almost like a middle finger to the neighbors that complained. For some reason, they never liked my uncle. I guess because all the kids came there and we all played and had a great time in the pool, he didn't like it. He hated kids that man. He never even answered his door on Halloween, but we all saw him in his living room ignoring the doorbell.
So now, this may become a reality for us. I'm crossing my fingers. My aunt wants to sell, her husband wants to rent....but in order to rent a ton of work would need to get done and the person to do that would be my dad. My dad doesn't have the time to do that, nor does he want to. Since his heart attack over the summer, he's really been watching himself and doesn't want to take on a project like this. So I told my dad to get on the horn with the uncle and persuade him to let us buy it.
Then comes the pricing. Jerry says if they will sell it to us for 100k or less, it's a good deal...but if they want more, then to walk away b/c it's not a good deal to buy it for more then that, then have to put so much more to fix it up. I'm hoping that we can get it for that price, or less and we can start on the repairs on the first floor. That will take awhile, which I'm cool with. I need the market to go back up so we can offload our condo. Worst comes to worst, we can fix up the house, then rent out the condo and move into the house while the contractors build the second level. And that way, I'm not paying a full 2 mortgages. Oh, and we're in the midst of refinancing our condo now, so all that extra money we are saving each month is going into savings for the house.
I have been worrying all weekend...can we afford another mortgage, plus taxes, plus repair costs? My friend won't charge us labor, but whatever itmes we need (sheetrock, etc) will need to come OOP. We started saving for a downpayment last year or so, so we have about 20k, so we would wipe that out if we got the house for 100k, that leaves us with nothing to fix the house...which wouldn't be so bad until we can save and a do a little at a time...and meanwhile putting equity into the condo. I did look up renovation loans, so we can take out a line of credit against the new house once we are ready to build up, and that's based on what the value would be AFTER the remodel. It's a lot of work, and I imagine if we take it slow and do it right, it will take years to fix....but it would be our dream house. And it's right by my parents which is good and it's the neighborhood I grew up in....and who knows...maybe one day I will be like my uncle and have all the neighborhood kids over to swim in my pool......