The first house we bought this year took longer than expected to rehab. We overcame obstacle after obstacle like long distance trail runners, clawing and scratching our way to making things right. It was important to us to complete this project with integrity and ensure it was solid, safe and beautiful inside and out. We went above and beyond to improve the comfort and functionality of the house, even if it meant costing us more money in the end. We ensured permits were used so the house would be properly inspected and we called in trustworthy sub-contractors to complete their own specialties. Throughout the project we stayed mindful of measures to improve the efficiency and re-purpose materials to be as environmentally friendly as possible. I am proud to say we achieved what we aimed for, as you can tell from the listing photos.
Mirroring the challenges we overcame to rehab the property we are also facing obstacles in the real estate market. It had been our goal to complete this rehab in the spring, assuming it would sell quickly in the hot spring market and be closed by early summer. Unfortunately due to so many complications, the construction delays meant we were set back from completion a few months. By the time we were almost finished, we were over eager to have it sold and went ahead with listing prior to the final electrical touches being completed. We disclosed the work yet to be finished and crossed our fingers buyers would understand.
Within two days of being “live” on MLS there had about a dozen showings and two offers – it was exactly the response we had planned for and were so thankful others were seeing the beauty in this property. We were under contract by the weekend and looking forward to closing by mid-August. During the inspection, we held our breath anticipating the report, knowing it is an inspectors job to find imperfections not to reassure buyers and encourage sales.
Sure enough, something had gone horribly wrong. During the inspection the buying couple, realtor and inspector all smelled the aroma of burning on the main floor. They canceled the contract. I don’t blame them, it would have panicked me too if I had been in their shoes. But from where I stood, it was beyond frustrating to have this burning smell occur on inspection day instead of any other day in the last six months.
Thank goodness we already had an electrician scheduled to work at the house the following week. We removed our listing from MLS in order to complete what was already planned and to find the source of the smell. In hindsight we should have waited in the first place to list it until we knew for sure it is 100% ready, this lesson is just added to the 4,593 other lessons this house brought us.
It was necessary for the city shut down power to the house to complete the scheduled updates. Unfortunately the timing of this work synced with major power outages across Kansas City with storms and flooding rain. Inspections and restoring power to the house took a painful and agonizing two weeks. Finally with the power back on, the electrician was able to sniff out the source of the burning smell. He found the issue in the master bedroom with the original light/fan. While the fan was trying desperately to turn the blades, instead it was burning its motor and causing the frightening smell. He was able to replace it the same day and the source of the burning smell was extinguished like the original contract.
Finally feeling confident in the completion of this project, we once again returned to live status on MLS. Only this time we were without the big rush of “first day on the market” excitement. In the last two weeks since we resumed showings, we have had steady traffic and received a lot of positive feedback. There has been compliments about the finishes and various reasons why the property won’t work for certain buyers. On a few occasions we heard the house was being considered between two and on those few occasions those buyers opted to make offers on their other choice based on square footage or location – things out of our control. We know we will have buyers for this house who will love it and make it their home, so for now we wait.
This house brought so many lessons, including growing patience preparing for the real estate market. There are so many unique people in Kansas City and so many redevelopment companies. Unfortunately, not everyone or every company is honest and knowledgable about what they are doing to their properties. Buying a house is typically the biggest investment anyone will ever make and because of this there are measures in place to help protect people and their decisions, like backing out of contracts. No one can take our word for the work we have done or what we plan to do before signing at the closing table. We have to demonstrate the ethics and trustworthiness of our company and the houses we redevelop by making a good first impression, because with other houses on the market to compete with we may not get that opportunity again.