House Hunting: Brady Bunch House

1614 Fairway Circle, Garland, TX 75043

Ok, keep in mind that I love 70’s architecture.  I do. I don’t know why.  But this house:  this screams 70’s Brady Bunch house. Love that!

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

The pictures on this listing suggest that the house is in need of some basic updating, but it really doesn’t look too bad.  In fact, it looks pretty groovy.  I mean, I thought the bathroom looked kinda small, and wondered why there weren’t pictures of the “cabana”…but the crime stats for the area looked good, the property values in the area were outstanding, it’s almost walking distance to the gifted and talented academies, and I could keep FIOS service.  I was actually really excited.  I don’t mind project houses when the projects aren’t overwhelming. This house though…I would have to own my own construction crew to make this even match the listing agent’s verbiage, who is a very creative writer.

For example, he didn’t happen to mention that the roof is 40 years old, there’s termite damage, the house has been rental property, there’s standing water in upstairs closets, there’s no air conditioning upstairs unless one counts the window unit being held in by silicon caulk and prayer.  The pool pump and heaters were broken, the “cabana” was some rotted fencing material around antique plumbing fixtures, and the dog run was chihuahua sized and filled with dog poop.

The trees so visible in the pictures are on the other side of the fence and don’t belong to this property.  The house hadn’t been cleaned since the last tenants moved, there was junk in the closets, the carpets were filthy, the drawers were dirty, the ovens hadn’t even been wiped out…frankly, ewwwh. The house has been on the market for over 100 days, there has been plenty of time for them to at least vacuum and wipe down the counters.

The few updates that had been done in the house had been done by either by the owners or the tenants, but no professional contractor could possibly have been responsible for those disasters.  At least I hope nobody got paid for that hot mess. The master bath configuration was the strangest thing and the only cure would have been to nuke it and start over.

Who knew?

Dial up microwave

The kitchen had ridiculous amounts of water damage and cabinet separations, and I don’t think it had been updated since the builder put it up in 1970.  Dig the groovy dial up microwave! It also had a working intercom system, that was a total throwback to how some of my friend’s parents used to call us all to dinner back in the day.  I actually love the intercom.

The rest of the house…not so much.  My realtor, whom I adore and have known for decades, is married to a fantastic general contractor.  I’ve used him to build various things around my current house, and to fix stuff in my old house before we sold it.  Both Annette (my realtor) and I are pretty experienced in building out and remodeling stuff, and have a pretty good head for running estimates as we tour properties.

Now, keep in mind, that at this price point; I expected to have to do renovations.  Nobody expects a house in this neighborhood, at that price point, to be perfect.  You do however, expect that they would have kept the house in a condition that means a bank would write a loan on it.  No bank anywhere is going to write a residential note on a house with a 40 year old roof, and standing water in water heater closets. Renovation note, yes. Residential note? Oh no.  And no flipper or renovator in the world would touch this monster at that price point.  Even fully repaired and remodeled, the top sale price you could hope for is around $300k…and that’s unlikely, with brand new 4000 square feet homes going in around this house at the $325k point.

Anyway; we took notes, and figured that it would cost over a thousand dollars just to get it inspected; house, pool, sewer and structural engineer…all of which you have to do with houses this old built in Texas…the ground moves here, often taking foundations with it…and then easily 80k in renovations; roof, kitchen, bath, new ducts and air units, so the upstairs was air conditioned, flooring, painting, drywall, fixing the pool, rebuilding the “cabana” …all of that assuming that there was nothing seriously wrong with the structure, the wiring, or the pipes.

Bless his heart, the listing agent for this property is a damn fine writer…but I can’t see this house selling for more than $125k to any knowledgeable buyer.

The quest continues.

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