Brandt’s Craziness and Other Issues

by brandt

Short version – I’m picky because I’m over analytical with life.

A few nights ago, one of my friends sent me about our housing situation.  During the ADD nature of our text conversations (between mutually agreeing that Detroit Lions suck, the University of Michigan needs to fire Rich Rodriguez, and Brock Lesnar will hold the UFC Heavyweight Title again), he asked an interesting question about our little situation with the houses.

“So…now what?”

I leaned back, wondering how to frame my response in a 160 character text.  All I could think of was this: “We’re in a holding pattern.”  Then the conversation went back to more man things (funniness ends at the 46 second mark), like dirt, and grease, and ‘workin for the man.’

Naturally, Ashley wanted to know what we were talking about, and the first thing I brought up was the house situation.  She asked me what I thought about the whole thing (her normal response – I swear, the girl could be a psychoanalyst…or I’m just a crazy person who needs to get thoughts out).  I told her that we’re waiting right now until the right house comes up.  She asked me how long we were going to wait.  And I couldn’t answer her.

I made the analogy last time about waiting for my home run pitch.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why Barry Bonds was such as good power hitter in baseball (aside from his “extracirricular activities) was because he only swung at pitches that he liked, and knew (from playing for so long) would be home runs.  That’s where we’re at.

It all stems down to 3 major issues:

  1. Brandt is straight crazy
  2. We were spoiled early
  3. We now know what we like

1. Brandt is straight crazy

I’m sure this comes as a surprise to all.  I obsess over things.  I’m overly analytical.  As a matter of fact, one of my friends in high school had a name for what I do to myself: The “What-If” game.  Granted, that was in the context of teenage angst and adolescent drama, the theory is that you sit there and question “what if” this happens, or “what if” that would have happened, and drive yourself crazy at analyzing possibilities instead of living life.

I got a grip on my craziness, and made it through those dopey teenage years, but I learned how to hone my analytical skills to help me out.  And so when it came to house hunting, I unbridled myself and went hog wild.  I poured over MLS listings and locations of houses.  I created elaborate spreadsheets with all the information on the MLS listings including previous sale prices I gleaned from other websites.  I looked at the landscape of the real estate market, and realzied that not only could we get a great deal on a house, but we could actually make some good money on it as well.

All that being said, I’m looking at houses that have the highest potential for resale.  There are houses out there that are 1200 sq ft ranches, 3 BR 1 BA that are 50+ years old in not-too-desirable areas of town with less-than-ideal schools that we could move in to in 30 days.  I mean, getting those kinds of houses isn’t a big deal at all.  However, those houses not only have some qualities that hurt resale (only 1 bathroom, small square footage, ranch-style home, age of home, location, and school district), but they are on the listings week after week.  Nobody is buying those houses.  And there’s a reason.

Then you look at Lake Orion House #1, the one we lost by $150.00?  The bank didn’t accept offers for 1 full week, and while we made our offer first thing the morning they accepted offers, by that evening there were 4-5 other offers on the house.  There are lots of people like me willing to sit and wait for the great deals out there, not just for the most bang for their buck, but making a profit as well.

And I drive myself nuts over these numbers.  I have a weird obsession with spreadsheets, and sorting the numbers, analyzing the numbers, looking for trends, etc.   But I’m hoping the craziness pays off not only in getting the great deal, but in also getting the great sale as well.

2. We were spoiled early.

You might be thinking to yourself “Now wait a minute, Brandt.  The house you described isn’t a bad house.  As a matter of fact, don’t John and Sherry Petersik have a house just like that over at YoungHouseLove?”  As a matter of fact, they do.  And they’ve done an absolutely marvelous job at fixing up a house that some might have scoffed at.  And if things on our house journey would have been different, we might be looking at houses like theirs as well.

We started our search without a clue.  Our agent asked us the normal questions (“What are you looking for in a house,” “What are your most important features,” “What is a definite deal breaker for you”), and we didn’t know anything because we were new to this whole game.  We saw normal, ordinary houses, a few clunkers, but then we started realizing what we wanted (or at least Ashley started realizing it).

Then we saw what we wanted.  Houses that needed a bit of TLC.  If they were priced at move-in ready condition, they would be about 50-75,000 above our price range.  And once we saw that houses like these were available, we were hooked.  Other houses we would look at after seeing some of the 15-year old houses that were in wonderful subdivisions and had huge spacious floorplans seemed…well…underwhelming.

My agent admitted as much.  We tasted the good life.  However, we keep it in perspective.  We have time.  It’s now become very slow for the market.  Obviously, there were deals to be gotten.  We just needed to get them.  And when Ashley reads that, she’s not  going to be happy at my atrocious English.

3. We now know what we like.

This is actually the biggest thing that keeps us in that “holding pattern” that I told my friend about.  I would say we’ve looked in close to 30 houses so far, and we might be looking at more (depending what comes on the market).  But it took about 30 houses to find out “style.”  I mentioned Sherry and John Petersik at YoungHouseLove before.  They’re style is the older 1950s/1960s houses based on their structural bones and the style of house.  I’ve known people who love the old antique feel of farmhouses.  We even toured an extremely contemporary and modern house here in Michigan, which was a bit too…contemporary.  But after going through all the houses, we were finally able to pin down what we want.  And we also got to the point where we knew what things to look for (remember my advice about “looking past the previous owner”?  That was a rough lesson for me to learn).  When I scour the listings, I know what area to look, what search engine terms to use, and (as weird as it sounds), how to view the pictures.

So that’s our holding pattern.  There are great houses out there.  But I don’t want to jump into anything that won’t maximize my return on investment.  I also know from looking at the listings what exactly we like, and what our style is, and while we can tour houses until the cows come home, once we find the right one, we’ll know.

Here’s hoping the MLS listings have some interesting things for us come Monday!

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2 Comments to “Brandt’s Craziness and Other Issues”

  1. You will definitely know when you find ‘the one’! Even if it’s not completely perfect according to your criteria (we had a list too), you’ll have this feeling of.. if I don’t get this house I will crawl in a ball and cry for 3 years. If you’re relieved to cross one off the list, then it’s not right. If you can’t stop thinking about it, keep it on the list.

    • Thanks for the support, Rebecca. The 2 we’re still holding out on are the 2 that we’ve felt “that loving feeling” on. Now it’s just a matter of getting the sellers to work with us. They’ve got their price point set (both of the houses), and while we’re willing to negotiate, they’re not willing to reciprocate the favor.

      But they will…I just might have to “make them an offer they can’t refuse.” Muahahahahah.

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