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Thursday, July 6, 2017

The House Next Door

Well, the house next door has been for sale for several months.  I have considered buying it as a rental property.  I don't really want a rental property, but there were reasons for this one.

1.  It is next door.
2.  I would like some control over who my neighbor is.
3.  I want to remove the trees shading my garden.
4.  I don't want a neighbor with dogs.
5.  I want to reclaim my property line.


The houses behind and on the other side are well separated from me.  This house is really close.  The trees shade my garden 1/3 of the day.  My cats like to wander in that yard, and if the new residents have dogs, that could be dangerous.  There are trees and invasive shrubs and vines I would like to get rid of.

When I built my fence 25 years ago, I set it inside my property line by a foot on the advice of my Dad (he said I needed to do that to assure I had a legal right to get on the other side to repair my fence).  It was bad advice; I essentially gave up that part of my yard through Common Law.  The neighbor at the time immediately built a small side fence that connected to mine, shutting me out.

The junk trees shade my yard, the row of forsythia I originally planted in naive ignorance as a property-divider invade my flowerbeds, and a maple tree planted in the side yard has sent surface roots ruining the lawn and making mowing like driving over railroad ties.  The roots are reaching my foundation.  I lose 3 hours of desperately-needed morning sunlight in my gardens, and I want the gardens.

Last Month:

I hesitated to bid on the property.  I don't think of myself as a "landlord".  I could do without the trouble involved.  My investments are uncomplicated; I have CDs and Index Mutual Funds.  I'm financially secure.  The "For Sale" sign was still on the property.

But I looked up "Buying A Rental Property" online at  few sites.  There are rental management companies that handle everything.  And being next door would be convenient for maintenance and repairs.  It wouldn't be as difficult as I thought, and if there were problems with the renters, I would know easily enough.

It's not for profit.  It's for protection and control.  Zillow suggests the house as a rental would pay for itself in 5-10 years free and clear.

I submitted a back-up bid on the property, but revoked it a week later thinking I had WAY overbid at $185,000.

2 Weeks Ago:

I called the seller ( foreclosure company).  They say the house was auctioned off last week.  DAMN, DAMN, DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!

I waited a week too long after 6 months of dithering about it.  I submitted a backup bid $10,000 above the apparent selling price i(the "earnest money" down payment was 5%, so I could calculate the purchase price) in case the auction sale falls through.    That would be trivial in the long run.  Zillow estimates the house to be $30,000 underpriced in 5 years. and that's not counting the rental income.  I probably couldn't have actually lost money buying it last month if I had tried.

Dear Deceased Dad made me hesitate.  He had a couple rental apartments and complained about them all the time.  But he didn't buy them for the reasons I wanted this property.  I should have realized that sooner... 

I don't want to go into money here too much, but I could just write a check for the house.  I bought stocks at the bottom in 2008.

My dithering has probably cost me decent sunlight, control over who my neighbors are (and some there have been bad - late night parties and constantly barking dogs), the ability to eliminate invasive shrubs and trees, and a decent investment (though I don't need it).

I'm probably going to regret not acting sooner, but I have no one to blame but myself!

Last Week:

I hoped the current sale fell through.  It was certainly bought as a rental.  Maybe I can buy it from the new owner.  Who wouldn't like a quick profit if it is merely an investment to them?  Or maybe I could pay the new owner to let me have those trees cut down at my expense.  I could even agree to replace them with small ornamental trees.

There are still some possibilities...  But I'm sitting here kicking myself for not having acted sooner.


The sale to another went through and it turns out it was just $3,000 less than my backup bid.  I thought the highest bid was $157,500.  If I had left it, they MIGHT have found a way to accept my bid.  But the For Sale sign is gone, and I saw someone walking around the property looking like they owned it. 

Dithering and second-guessing yourself is the worst business decisions you can make.  I may never have another chance at controlling this property. 


Just Ducky said...

Talk to the new owner, they may be interested in what you want done by taking trees out and replacing with nicer trees.

pilch92 15andmeowing said...

My Mom had rental property and it was always a headache. Everything happens for a reason so don't stress about it. I hope they don't have dogs though too- don't want to scare the kitties.

Megan said...

Mark - I was concerned when I read this post several days ago as I am someone who is also 'nervous' about new neighbours. (In my case, it's how noisy they are.)

If you don't really want to be a landlord, then I think it's probably for the best that you haven't bought the house next door. I imagine that it could become the case that you'd find yourself always over there doing some work on the house and neglecting projects in your own place that you'd prefer to make progress on.

I think it's probably a good idea to be warm and welcoming when the new people move in - invite them over for a barbeque on your deck or just drinks and snacks. Find out a bit about them and after they've been there a little while, raise the issue of the trees and see what they say.

Good luck!

Sydney, Australia