Thursday, October 24, 2013

Finding the Elusive Livable $100k Home

So the bank said they'd loan you a 100 large. Well then, let's find you a home. What was that? You are really hoping for a single family detached house? Hmm, you are not going to make this easy, are you?

My first question is this; How do you feel about central Alabama? The Crimson Tide is ranked number one in the AP football poll. Perhaps Greater Detroit, the Motor City? No, you really want to stay here in the 'Couv'. Yeah, I understand, America's Vancouver is pretty tough to beat. Do you have any money in the bank, say another 75 grand? No? OK.

I am helping a wonderful client right now to find a house that can be financed by the VA (which means livable BTW) and our budget is in the $100k range with maybe just a little bit of wiggle room. This is a challenging task, but not as impossible as you might think. I have already found several homes that would be a little tough to get FHA or VA financing on, but are livable and under that $100,000 price point. These mind you are very small houses. "Cozy", we like to say in the real estate world.

This was listed at $99,500, It sold really fast!
Multiple offers over list price but still close to $100k
Vancouver USA has a nearly 200 year history and was quite robust during WWII. After the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, the entire Fruit Valley neighborhood was erected in 1942 by the federal government to house civilian ship builders. These were small houses with roughly 700-1000 square feet. These homes can be had for reasonable prices. There are other areas with smaller homes, but I think Fruit Valley has the largest collection of affordable houses in the 'Couv'. The neighborhood has gone through a renaissance of sorts over the last ten years. There is the additional bridge over the rail yard at 39th Street. The park was renovated and quite a bit of modern new construction has been added.

Fruit Valley also offers close proximity to Downtown and the Port of Vancouver. My hunt for a $100k house definitely starts here. But Fruit Valley is not our only choice. One may prefer a more ancient home. There are 100 year old homes in Rose Village that can be had for a song. And if I look really close I may find a spattering of homes across many neighborhoods in that $100k range. Those are often hiding in pocket somewhere.

This is listed at $85,000. It is very nice and tidy inside.
It needs siding, but is still financable
Once our general economy starts to really roll again, the $100,000 house will disappear. Maybe forever. The full mortgage payment with taxes and insurance on a house like this is around $700. That is still about $300 less than you would rent it for. I am amazed that we don't have an even larger rush of entry level home buyers snatching these up.

These types of homes may not be as comfortable and modern as a comparable sized condo, but they will have better resale in general and do not have HOA dues. A condo with $200 a month HOA dues is like adding $40,000 to the price. Yes I said 40 large! The mortgage payment on $40,000 is about $200 a month. So a $80,000 condo with $200 a month HOA dues has the same payment as a house that costs $120,000. These little charming homes in America's Vancouver have provided families with shelter for over 70 years. These are a great opportunity for first time home buyers or even a first time investor. All hail, the $100,000 house, the Holy Grail of Real Estate! Eureka!

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