3.23.2009

Home Buying and the Internet

As most of you probably know, Nate and I are looking to buy a house when our lease is up. I'm am so fascinated by how much information you can find to research home purchases. I knew you could pull up sales data in the public records, but I had no idea about how much detail is there. You can even pull up the scanned documents.
This got us wondering about this odd little wooden house that keeps turning up on our searches on real estate sites. It looks like the exterior is completely made of wooden shingles and the interior is gutted down to the wood frame. Of course, this is what shows up for single family homes in our price range! Still, this property is sold pending inspection. Who would purchase such a strange little house? We had to know.
Cue King County public records website. We find the sales history of the property and see that a lady flipped it in 2 months and made $90k on it. Holy crap. The guy who she sold it to is the current seller and taking a huge loss on it. So we became intrigued about this woman and her house flipping. Was it a one-time occurrence or her business? So we looked that up! An hour later we learn that she started a business of buying up homes at a steal before they went into foreclosure and flipping them for profit. Even ran a blog on how to avoid foreclosure. Last month two of her properties were foreclosed on and one of them is still on the market for way less than she owes on it. Nice upgrades to if anyone is looking for something in South Seattle. It's been foreclosed on twice now. We think viewing it would cross a weird line.
Still, we had a fun time with our public records soap opera. And we did gather a lot of useful information too about which properties we've seen were overpriced and which were priced about right. And I'm glad to finally know the history of the little wooden house.

6 comments:

brother noves said...

first of all, public records are freaky. right after we moved into our house we started getting packages for somebody else, the previous owner, we assumed. out of the blue one day, an old friend of mine sends me an email saying some lady in dallas is looking for me. turns out she was the one sending the packages to a relative that used to live here. she's a lawyer for an oil firm and used real estate records to find out who bought the house, and then emailed my buddy, who had the only email address she could find connected to me. that was odd.

secondly, a completely gutted house is an amazing opportunity.

Nathan said...

i think we should buy the wooden house

Leighann said...

I don't even know where to begin. First, Nate, no.
Second, Doug, it's a great opportunity for someone with the skills to rehab the house or with enough money to pay someone else to help. We are neither. All I really want is something where the stuff isn't going to break in the first couple of years so we'll be able to build our savings back up.
Third, it's already sold pending the inspection. I'm not sure how you inspect a gutted house. It's not claiming to do much.
I will be watching to see what the sales price ends up being. I'm guessing $240k but we'll see.

Nathan said...

i should also mention that most houses are wooden - so my comment could mean anything

Leighann said...

Don't pretend you don't know which one I mean. It looks like kid's woodshop project.

brother noves said...

...she's married for like, eight seconds, and she's laying down the law......