Home Buying in 16601>Question Details

Jeff, Other/Just Looking in 17055

My son is currently renting in Altoona PA and has been offered to buy a house for $5000.He says the house

Asked by Jeff, 17055 Fri Jan 25, 2008

needs work and I advised him not to sign anything until an inspection can be done. He wants to go ahead regardless of what the inspection results are because he was told the house is worth $12,000 (appraised value). I find this very hard to believe and am very concerned about the market and condition of the house.

Is this value of a house in the Altoona city (14th ave) consistant with the market?

Help the community by answering this question:


HI! I would NEVER buy a house without an inspection, no matter what the appraised value is.

He should consider things like condition of the foundation, floor supports, termites, water damage, windows, heating system, water pipes, electric (fuses vs. knob and tube).

I can see how he would want to purchase a house for $5,ooo, but by the time he puts all the money into the house, it maybe more than if he were to buy one already completed. OR the house may be so magnificant that when he goes to sell it - he may get WAY less than invested do to the location.

He should also think about how much he knows about the above things. If he is VERY handy and knowledgeable about electricity, heating and plumbing - those tend to get VERY expensive. Also does he have friends that will be able to help him in any of those areas? If not, it may be "more than he can chew" doing it alone or with very little help.

Another thing to think about is how much cash he has readily available to put into the home. One thing he can do is estimate the cost of finishing the home before and especially after the inspection. He can make a list of the things it needs, go to Lowes or Home Depot (Altoona has both) and start adding up the estimated cost.

Remind him NOT to forget about the "little stuff". Shower heads, ceiling, floor & window trim, sinks, fixtures, ceiling fans, harware and accessories for the cabinets, paint, doors, etc.... Those "little things" add up in hurry.

I'm not a proffesional in any way, but when i bouoght my house and it needed a few things - it cost us more than the house was ever going to be worth and we lost alot of money.

I hope this helps :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 15, 2008
Hi Jeff
Lisa, the "home buyer" is absolutely right! $he I$ right on the money!$! She is an experienced home owner that found out the hard way! Call a Realtor and ask for Buyers representation before purchasing a house. Realtors will advise you about inspections, then you can get an idea of how much money you will be investing in a 5,000 property. You may be shocked how much you need to make a 5,000 property "livable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 6, 2013
Hey Jeff. I sell a lot of homes in this area. I sell many to investors that usually flip or rent them out. I am not sure if this is something he plans to live in or rent out. That may make a little difference. However, I really like to last 2 answers that were given to you by 'Lisa' and 'Liloldme'.
Have your home inspection and determine what costs are involved for fixing it up. I have found that many $5000 properties in this town just need torn down. Distressed properties are pursued by many savvy investors throughout and they all usually have one thing in common......LOCATION. You can easily spend way more money on a dwelling to finish it than it may be worth when finished. So, not only have you wasted your money, but your precious time as well. Re-read the last two answers ...they are some good advice. By the way....who told him is was worth 12k? You may need to look at that avenue as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 4, 2012
I live in this area and have bought and sold a bit of real estate. Here is the problem your son faces. While five thousand sounds like a steal in most places around here its not that rare. Especially for a house that needs a lot of work in a less than desirable area (like 14th ave). What he needs to look at is the comparable sale prices in the area (I would guess they are in the 25-30k range) and/or the rentability of the place. Lets say houses in the area sell for around 25k and your son pays 5 for it. Can he complete the rest of the repairs for 20? No matter how handy you are with the price of materials these days you can cruise through 20k in no time. If not he will over build the neighborhood and never get his money out. Also this isn't the kind of neighborhood many people would want to settle down in. Renting is another issue as Altoona has a pretty strict code for the conditions of its rental homes. Its too bad because a lot of the homes in the area are beautiful old homes but its just not sensible financially to put money into them. Another thing he should check is days on the market for homes in that area, if its high (as I am betting it is) he could be sitting on it for a long time if he wants to sell. There are plenty of homes in the 15-20k range in the area that are fixer uppers that are worth putting money into. I purchased the home I live in for 25k spent less than 5k on repairs and upgrades and recently had it appraise for almost 70.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 26, 2011
Hi Jeff,

Unless this is written up as a "as is", the seller in PA usually is responsible for the CO (Certificate of Occupancy). So, if that is the case here, it might be worth going ahead with an inspection. How handy is your son?

Thing is - this is one heck of a buyers market - and even more so in a tertiary market like Altoona. If he can find a decent house that doesn't need much in a good neighborhood with a good school system - with a distressed seller ... that's a gem. And he should buy more house for his money - the payments on $30,000 are SO cheap.

An idea might be for him to buy something like this: MLS 0024670. And then rent out some rooms to pay his mortgage. So long as he makes enough to buy a better house now at a discount that's perhaps his best option.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
Having an inspection done will only help him. I know of one other property on 14th Ave. That is for sale for 18.5k I'm saying its worth it, Idon't know. Your son should look at the homes onthat same block also when consedering the value. Would he have a problem living in that area? If not and the inspection doesn't turn up more than he can handle, I would say go fore it. Don't be afrade to offer less!!!
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 17, 2009
He should check with township building codes department that the property has not been 'red tagged' i.e. Condemmed !. It may be and somebody simply pulled the notice off the door. If it is condemmed he will not be able to get any public services turned on until the problems as seen by the inspectors are resolved ( which can take time in itself. Additionally, it seems 7 grand in profit is not that much considering the undoubted headaches he'll encounter getting it 'up to speed' . Hope it's not too late ! :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 5, 2008
I would contact a buyers agent that specializes in that area. That way you can get an independent assesstment from someone that could potentially represent your son. It might even be worth paying that realtor if the seller does not agree to pay a commission. Or you can contact a local appraisal person that could do the same thing. It seems like it would be a wise investment to make sure the decision is a wise one or not. Good luck !
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 25, 2008
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