I had been reading about the current shortage of real estate inventory. Because of it, people have been offering to pay more than the listing price for houses. As I perused the real estate listings, I found a house for sale in the 1400 block of North Parkside. The listing price was $125,000. Based on the pictures accompanying the listing, it was easy to see that the house needed at least a minimum of $50,000, maximum of $100,000 in work. At minimum, it would need a complete gutting of the interior, with a new kitchen and bathroom a must. I would presume the heating system and hot water system would need to be replaced. Repairs to the front and back porch would also be a necessity. And a new roof.

The listing said the house was “hot” and would sell quickly. Being a skeptic, I wondered if it would. So every couple of days I would check the listing to see what was going on. In just over two weeks, the listing went from available to sell pending. And another quick check of the listing a couple of days ago showed it’s now reported as having sold. The fact that it closed that quickly means it was probably paid for in cash. And the closing price was $20,000 more than the asking price!

Truthfully, I was amazed the house sold for that much. But it was probably purchased by an investor type who will be rehabbing the house to resell it. And the resale price is going to be an interesting one. So fair warning to people who try to sell their homes outside the current real estate agent market. With the housing market and the final sale prices going out the roof, you could be cheating yourself out of thousands of dollars if you accept a low cash offer. Rare is the property in Austin that should close for less than $100,000, no matter the condition.

I had the opportunity to be in a local home improvement store and checked the price of lumber. It is not a pretty sight! But when work has to be done, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just pay the cost. I am fortunate in that the majority of my projects currently do not involve needing to purchase lumber.

With the real estate market in Austin booming, it is imperative to take care of the property we already have. Thus, I spent two weeks removing Home Depot’s Behr brand DeckOver paint from my deck. Since I am the one who painted it in the first place, my only anger was at myself for having been lured into the belief that the stuff would last for 10 years, maintenance free. It barely lasted four.

For the past couple of years it had been peeling in various spaces. I tried putting paint stripper on it, but even after an hour it would not get that stuff to come up. It was gummy like melted crayons. I was forced to use a heat gun and supplement that with a paint remover pad on a grinder. Finally I was able to make progress. I got the stuff all up and I’m currently resealing the deck with waterproofing sealer.

I currently do not have plans to sell my home, but when I do, I expect top dollar for it.

Arlene Jones writes a column for our sister publication, the Austin Weekly News.

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