Home Buying in Fairhill>Question Details

Bill, Home Buyer in Philadelphia, PA

I found a row home that I am very interested in, but the 2 homes on either siade are in terrible condition.

Asked by Bill, Philadelphia, PA Sun Mar 9, 2008

Should I even bother to make an offer on this place? Will banks back the loan? If I purchased the place what can I do about the fire hazards on either side of me? ive heard that I can contact a city office but what can they actually do and in what timeframe?
Many Thanks

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Tough question, tough answer. Comps and neighborhood as a whole could dictate your financing situation. Ask your realtor for comps and you should get a good idea if the whole area is in shambles. For future reference: close to schools, rec center, main arteries, etc... are you going to occupy or rent? What is the desirablitiy of this neighborhood and how does it suit your intentions. How long do you intend to have the property? The only certain thing you have control over is your decision; city (and others) can take their time regardless of yourt intent. Simply, do some more homework and your gut will lead the way.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
Honestly, that situation sounds kind of promising as an investor. I'd be inclined to get all 3 homes (if possible), rehab, and flip or rent them all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
Hi Bill,

Gosh! It can really depend on your intentions - are you going to buy it and live there - and it's 50% below nearby sold comps? Are you planning to buy it and rent it out? It's really tough to even start to ask the right questions or provide advice without knowing more.

Naturally my instinct is to say, "walk away". I'd usually recommend buying a property at discount in a good neighborhood. Eventually you'll want to sell and have fewer objections by potential buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
Unless you can get this property at a great price and you gotta have it, the city most likely will not take any aciton on the properties on either side. Plenty of inventory on the market, pehaps you will find something better. good luck
Web Reference: http://www.phillyreo.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
I have found that the key to getting the city to act quickly is if there is an imminet safety or public health concern. These tend to generate a more immediate reponse (although that can stil take weeks to months).

L&I is the place to call, but this is likely only to generate a "clean and seal" - in which they will basically board up the property and post a notice on it. this can only be done if the homes are abandoned.

Homes that are lived in may well be current on taxes and simply kept in deplorable condition by the tenatns (not necessarily owners). Take into consideration whether or not you want such people for neightbors if the homes are occupied.

Often, I have found that many poorly kept properties are rented out and the tenants have illegal electric, gas or water connections. This will only impact you if they are tapping your electric, and/or if the illegal gas connection is leaking (you would probably smell gas but not be able to identify the location of the odor).

The city offices are overwhelmed and there are too few inspectors for the number of complaints and concerns generated. You will probably meet with the best response by directly contacting your Disctrict City Councilperson - their staff often can expedite issus like this. Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
This a good question. It can be a quandry in some cases if the next door properties will always stay vacant and be an eyesore for your property. It can also be more difficult to obtain financing on your property of interest, but I have seen many deals close with abandoned buildings next door or a shell. Sometimes the mortgage company might ask for a structural cert or something of that nature.

The bigger picture I see as a realtor and as an investor is opportunity. I think buyers can negotiate a good deal for these properties that are next door to eyesores. The opportunity is in the future that chances are a new owner will purchase your next door property and rehab and do something great for the property. This type of turnover creates great neigborhood and can skyrocket certain neighborhoods. We live in Northern Liberties where over the years the people that purchased properties with shells on the blocks and abandoned properties have participated in one of the greatest appreciation areas in all of Philadelphia. There are still some shells available and when they sell, they will sell for more than many rowhomes in the rest of Philadelphia.

Hope that helps a little. I think it basically comes down to the block and location and the level of developement that is going on in the area. If you gave me more of the specific location, I could better answer the question.

Also, feel free to visit our website for more helpful hints ! Good luck !!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 9, 2008
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