shower in need of repair

Time for a shower

Foreclosures. Great deals, huh?  It’s always great to take advantage of someone else’s misfortune especially if you can get a house at a bargain basement price.

Except that they really aren’t such great deals. In fact, if you ask me (and since you’re reading this I know you want to ask), they’re horrible deals.

A Recent Hunt For “A Deal”

I have a client who has a family member who can only get a mortgage for so much.  It’s a low number. They want a single family house. A townhouse will not do.

In fact, we looked at some townhouses in the price range these folks could afford and there really wasn’t anything great there, either.

Part of the problem is that housing inventory is pretty slim.  It’s been pretty slim for a long time. That means there are more buyers than there are houses to buy. That’s a probalem because it causes upward pressure on prices. As a result, people who can’t get big mortgages go after foreclosures. How bad can they be?

It turns out these foreclosures are pretty bad.

The shower over to the left is just a small example of the types of things that needs repair. In fact, the repair list can be quite extensive…and expensive. It can be anything from a new roof to completely new kitchens and baths and new flooring and drywall.  Bottom line: they’re a mess.

falling down pergola

I guess the weight of the vines collapsed this one.

So, I always ask: “Would it be better to buy a house that’s about $50,000 more expensive but someplace you can move into and live or buy a foreclosure that’s $50,000 less expensive but probably needs $50,000 worth of work just to be able to move in and live.”  Still people are constantly looking. It’s kinda too bad, in a way, because these homes are homes that real estate investors – flippers – won’t even touch because they’re so high priced for the amount of work you have to put into them.

Rent vs Buy

There are lots of reasons people prefer living in a home that they are buying than renting.  It’s a sense of ownership and you don’t have to worry about what the landlord says it you want to paint your house a certain color or get upgraded appliances or what have you. Sometimes it’s the schools or neighborhood or closeness to the METRO.

Now, with the new tax law, it’s hard to say whether or not it will be cheaper to buy or not.  One thing for sure. The prices some of these foreclosures are going for really want you to think twice about whether or not they’re even worth a look.

Beltsville, MD Pricing Trends

One thing that is worth a look are the pricing trends for the single family homes in Beltsville, MD

About Ken Montville

Ken Montville is a Realtor® and Associate Broker with RE/MAX United Real Estate in the beautiful Maryland Suburbs of Washington, DC. He has been selling nice homes since 1999. Way back in the 20th Century.

When Ken Is not doing the real estate thing he can be found all over social media in places too numerous to mention and he listens to jazz, reads a little (mostly non-fiction), hangs out with the Rotary Club of College Park, MD and can be found blogging at