We’ll make an offer on anything, but that doesn’t mean we buy everything.

We got a call from a seller with a house in a small town near our office. She said she wanted $25,000 for the house and already had an offer for $20,000. It was an interesting proposition. Her asking price was much less than the tax appraisal, and the taxes were current. She really wanted to sell the house, she said. She had tried to owner-finance it, but that didn’t work out. She ended up spending her kids’ school supply money to keep the house out of tax foreclosure.

She needed cash for the house. As you know, that’s what we do.

Unfortunately, sometimes a house just isn’t salvageable. That turned out to be the case with this one.

Rustic homemade desk with cow skull fixture.
This makeshift desk was the most charming part of my exploration inside the house. The skull decor is appropriate.
  • The roof was bad, bad, bad. There were three different types of roofing materials: two types of asphalt shingles and corrugated tin, none of which look to be water tight.
  • Two different types of siding adorned the exterior: board and batten and what is probably a fourth type of asphalt shingle.
  • The wrap-around porch was ready to fall off the structure.
  • Rats had made themselves very comfortable throughout the house. That’s not a deal killer, just another expense and a health risk for our crews.
  • Daylight was visible through the walls (other than through the windows) from the interior.
  • The floors had more waves than the navy and more flex than a contortionist. I was afraid I’d fall through in places.
Porch steps with a lot of trash.
The steps up to the rotting front porch not only foreshadow the interior of the house, they bend drunkenly from lack of a center support.

I’m always saddened when I see a house in this condition. I saw very little option other than to demolish the house and build anew. Repairing the house would cost more than that. And while it would be possible to make money with new construction on this beautiful lot, it isn’t feasible. You don’t build houses on spec in rural America. There is just too much cheap dirt around where someone else can build what they actually want.

After going over the numbers carefully, the best offer I could justify was less than half of what our seller said she already had in hand. I could only give her one bit of advice. Take the other offer before they change their mind. But if they didn’t already have that higher offer, I would have made one.

What does this tell YOU? Please call us before your house is in such bad shape that even we can’t work on it. We want to help everyone, but we do have to be able to fix it.