House On The Hill (Pix Heavy)

triciaeOctober 14, 2008

Throughout the summer I've had several requests for updates on our "House On The Hill" saga. Yes, there's been movement & progress. We've located the trustee responsible for servicing the property. Whew, what an ordeal that was!

In January '07 the house was listed @ $850K as a fire sale by the owner/flipper. We first 'discovered' the house early Feb. '07 & the builder had lowered the price to $759K. (There might have been a price between those two...frankly, I can't even remember it's been such a mess!) I won't repeat the entire story but by the time of the foreclosure sale (June '07) but before the AHM bankruptcy filing the price was somewhere around $650K.

We were at the auction with a $60K check but the attorney conducting the sale didn't allow us to bid. Ahem. We spent the next 12+ months trying to locate the owner when the lender went toes-up a week after the auction. There was a heated but polite & fun conversation here on the forum about us possibly resorting to adverse possession.

We are now in the $459K range & it'll go much lower. There's no CO on the house. The town is playing it close to the vest as to whether they'll even issue a CO. The builder/flipper pulled permits but never called for any inspections. The house was built circa 1825. Major renovations were done by the builder/flipper (also a source of great debate here on the forum).

Anyway, just thought some might like to know what's going on with the property. We're getting closer...our goal is $200K-$225K...basically site value. This property has certainly tested our patience! We still feel it has tremendous potential but we have to get that price down so if it takes $300K-$400K to get the CO the deal still makes sense.

Time is on our side & we're in no rush, thank goodness. If we can't make a deal before the Holidays that house will sit thru another New England winter empty. Come spring, we'll be back...but at closer to $150K-$175K.

Here's some pictures of the inside:

This is from the kitchen looking through the first floor showing the infamous pillars we discussed here on the forum. There are 3 rooms to the right of the pillars (2 with fireplaces). On the left is a 1/2 bath & a weird empty room about the size of a half bath (nothing in that room). The bowling alley affect is quite dramtic in person but, again, decidedly not c. 1825! Yet, all of the trim, windows, doors, fireplaces, etc. remain intact.

Here's a couple shots of the kitchen that in no way matches the aesthetics of a c. 1825 house but is very nice, if too dark for my tastes.

There's a fireplace in this room. We'd use it as a TV area.

Here's the window in the master bedroom we talked about here. Also very un-1825'ish. Ahem.

I have lots more pictures but I know it's gets hard to load for some people.


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WOW!!! I hate to sound like a giggling, excited predatory vulture... but...


My heart goes to those who've been legitimately trapped in bad situations....

*AND* I applaud & celebrate the "return to sanity" that brings forth these amazing opportunities to those of us who played it responsibly even when the markets were having an orgy.


Dave Donhoff
Leverage Planner

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 8:06PM
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Tricia, every time I hear about "sliced and diced" mortgage complexities I think of you and your house. Hoping your patience is rewarded.

But those columns have gotta go! (Sorry, if you love them, but my old-house-loving soul recoils. Ditto for the faux Palladian window.)

It's remarkable that someone hasn't broken in and stolen the high end fixtures.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Thanks for sharing. I hope things work out for you according to plan.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:16PM
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Yes, Molly, we do love the pillars which is for the good since they can't be removed. They were installed to support the was in dire danger of collapse. :)

The house sat for over a year wide open but is locked now. Our crime rates are very low. Some kid did shoot a hole in one of the kitchen windows late fall/early winter '07.

Thanks, Dave! It's very hard to never allow our emotions into this deal. Every once in a while I catch myself wondering if a piece of furniture will fit in a certain location. lol If we do end up living there we'll have LOTS of funny stories to remember how we ended up with the house! We actually really like the builder/flipper. He's a classic residential builder...would give you the shirt off his back but would also cheat on shoring up the foundation. :) Ya gotta love 'em.

Everything moves in slow motion with this house. Communication with the truste is by pony express. Seriously, it takes weeks to get each issue resolved. The trustee obviously feels no sense of urgency in selling the property. It's nothing more than another file to vested interest. (Sigh)

I'll post a couple more pixs tomorrow.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 9:48PM
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I have to echo Housekeeping"s sentiments. Your experience is what comes to my mind every time they talk about repackaging mortgages. This house deserves to have people who care about it and you and your husband deserve the house-especially at a great price.

Do you know if there are other people who are as interested in it as you are?


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 11:17PM
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Thanks for the update. I'm afraid to ask the questions I have about how you'd re-do things because you don't HAVE IT...yet! LOL So much could go wrong -- sigh! I really hope this can get resolved before another whole long winter's wear. At least the envelope sounds intact and the utilities are off.

Please show us another exterior 'front page of listing' type shot -- and one of the view!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:59AM
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I still remember the first exterior picture you posted and the house is to die for in the setting. Wishing you luck in this venture. If you get it I want to come see it!!!!! Oh and I have no doubt you will find perfect placements for you antiques.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:56AM
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Here's the view. DH took this ducking under the trees. It's unobstructed during the winter. For year around view we'll need to remove two of the maples. Oh well, New England will never miss a couple trees! ;)

The exterior has deteriorated something awful. I'm a master gardener with the State Cooperative Extension & seeing lovely gardens suffer as these have makes me want to cry. But, we can whip them back in shape within a season or two. Perennials are pretty hardy & weeds can be pulled.

The rock walls are exquisite...4' tall & surrounds the entire property with only one small rear section needing repairs. The walls alone add significant value to the site. I'd sure hate to pay somebody to cut the stone & wrap the site in 4' of granite!

Here's the front...we removed the flag hanging over the pediment. In our opinion, the condition of the property after sitting all last winter dishonored the flag so we removed it. Hopefully, after we purchase this house it will once again proudly fly its revolutionary flag!

I like the granite in this bathroom...

There are two of these built-ins for the master closet. It will take a lot of creativity to blend the old with the modern in decorating this house but I'm very much up for the challenge!


    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 10:05AM
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What a shame how they butchered that house.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 12:39PM
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We LOVE that house! It has the best of both worlds.

Would you have preferred it was bulldozed to the ground?

Today, it proudly carries its past while being dressed for the 21st century. It was not butchered. Yes, some aesthetic license was exercised. But, it was crumbling. The supports had to be added to save the house.

I'm rather like that house so I have a lot of sympathy for the old gal. My age shows through wisdom obtained from life but, BUT....I also need to shop foundations & keep my wardrobe updated! :)


    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:02PM
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Thank you for updating- I followed the original threads with great interest and have often wondered what was happening. I hope that the house will be yours in the not too distant future. The views, the walls, the charming exterior- what a special place to call home.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 6:17PM
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    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 10:12PM
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Positive vibes coming your way. Beautiful house & view to die for.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 7:00AM
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OMG this place is beautiful. Best wishes in your endeavour!!!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 2:23PM
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Thanks for the update. Been wondering if you'd moved in yet....

Good luck - can't wait to see the pictures with your things inside!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 7:03PM
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