It’s official, I am an armchair real estate investor

After all of my speculative talk about buying the duplex next door, four months later, it’s still for sale. Still vacant, too. AND, when I came home from work today, its front door was adorned with a lovely blaze-orange sign notifying the would-be residents that the water will be shut off soon. No buyers in sight, AND, the owner apparently isn’t paying his bills, either. (How much could the water bill really be in a vacant house?)

A couple of weeks ago, I overheard some people who appeared to be contractors walking around the duplex — measuring windows, talking about the supports on the deck, and there was some mention of a garage. Could be that the owner, seeing that the duplex isn’t attracting a buyer in its current state, is planning on making some exterior improvements to attract a sale. Nothing has happened yet, so who knows if he’s actually having work done or not.

All of this to say that the owner is desperate to get out of this house, which I suspected was the case. Why haven’t I taken advantage of the possibility of a deal? I’m not sure that I could get a good deal on a loan right now, as I was self-employed for most of last year, and don’t have much for a down payment. Also, I know that they’ve been tightening a lot of the requirements on people, in light of the whole subprime mortgage situation.

On a slightly related note, a friend of mine currently has his house up for sale. It’s been up for four weeks, and not a single showing! And this is a pretty nice house in the suburbs. His realtor’s company currently has 100 houses on the market, and has only had 3 showings in the past month. How’s that for a housing market?

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