So, moving from the midwest where housing is varied and really affordable, it took us about a year to get over the idea that we would be spending from 300K-400K to buy a 'fixer.' Considering I bought my very first house for $14,000 in Indianapolis, and paid $88K for the condo we sold to move out here - well, sticker shock is a mild word for it.
So the houses we are looking at are all in need of work. When I told my mother that I was looking to buy a house, she said, "Well, I hope you find your dream house." I had to tell her that there was no way I was going to find a dream house, but with any luck, we'll find something that we can make into a great home. We are primarily looking at short sales because southern California had a huge real estate boom then bust and people found themselves mortgaged hundreds of thousands over the value of their homes. Our agent is fabulous and ready to jump on things in a heartbeat. He told us that short sales may take 4-5 months minimum, and that around 50 percent of the short sales he's worked on end up with the buyer pulling out, so we should put in an offer even if we aren't the first offer selected. So that's how I ended up being the back up on two homes.
This is the kitchen of the house we are hoping to get. This is the best possible view they could have taken, and even so, you can see 1970s era linoleum and horrible cracked tiles on the counters. But you can also see a nice bit window and a pocket door on the left (I love pocket doors!)
We got a text from our realtor today saying that we should be expecting to hear about this house tomorrow, so with any luck, we may have found our fixer.
Strangely enough, this one was not a short sale, but a standard sale, so there's some room for negotiation. Fingers crossed!