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Old 01-05-2011, 10:52 AM
 
6 posts, read 11,394 times
Reputation: 10
Default Would appreciate advice about buying a home in Roanoke/Salem area

So my husband and I are relocating to Roanoke, and we have begun our home search. (*Please note: I am new to City-Data, so please be patient, and I grew up in Roanoke, so am very familiar with the area, but I've been away long enough and am young enough to not know the housing market)

We found a home that's technically Roanoke Co. but with a Salem address that is literally perfect for us and our needs, and we would LOVE to grab this home. Our situtaion that we need help with:

1. The home is listed very high according to Zillow values/comps (our mortgage broker-who we've used in the past successfully and trust-says though Zillow not held in good regard by a lot of realtors, but is actually a major source of value info for lenders). We'll say the Zillow valuation is $245,000. I don't know what to think of this or how much stock to put in it. It looks like a similar home with a little more sq ft and more land sold for $315,000 in 2009 and one a bit bigger with more land sold for $340,000 in 2008 before housing bubble burst. Other than those, the houses are either new enough that people aren't moving yet, and people in homes built in 2000 and 2002 don't really leave either.

2. They paid we'll say $300,000 (just easy example #, not actual #, but close) and began in July by asking $310,000, then dropped to $305,000 (in Aug.), and now dropped to the tax assessed value of $295,000 (in Nov.)...so less than they paid, and they updated some.

3. Newer house (built within last 5 years) in pristine condition, in GREAT neighborhood with great schools, and there's not much on the market in Salem...

4. It's on slab w/ no basement, which is a factor our realtor says probably factors heavily into why it hasn't sold yet...I come from the land of flat red clay, so almost never basements...buyers know and accept this where as the heavy majority of houses in Roanoke/Salem have basements...is that really a big deal for resale?

We are unsure how much we can offer under list. We were thinking 10%, so we could grab our max price of $275,000, but again don't know the martket enough to know whether that's appropriate. We also worried that it won't make appraisal at what they're asking or what we want to offer.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:03 PM
 
75 posts, read 118,221 times
Reputation: 49
Do you have a realtor working with you? He/she should be able to guide you on this one... Concerns about making appraisal are certainly valid, and also viewing a home purchase as an investment is a good idea to keep you from over-spending. I know that it's hard to keep emotion totally out of it as my husband and I just bought (several months ago) a house in Rke Co as well and he had his heart set on "the one".
I would say since I've been here there are several houses that were on the market when we bought that have dropped significantly in price that are STILL sitting on the market months later so what a buyer bought it for in the past has no relevance today. I don't think you have anything to lose by making an offer--it depends on how desperate they are to sell as to if they'll negotiate much off their price.
I know it's not particularly specific to this location but the city-data real estate forum was very informative in general regarding buying a house and obtaining a mortgage in the current economy...
Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions since buying a house is a huge investment. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:25 PM
 
468 posts, read 586,912 times
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You can offer as low as you want. The house has been on the market since July so they may take a low-ball offer, but they've still only come down $15k on a $300k house so they may be willing to wait out the market. You won't know unless you ask.

I bought a house last summer in Roanoke city for $20k less than the assessed value. It is a perfectly fine house but it had been on the market for 10 months and the seller was ready to take all offers. I had given my realtor a list of 4 houses I'd make low offers on, and rather than draw up low-ball purchase offers for each one, she simply called the listing agents and said "here's my buyer's top number, is it worth it to put together an offer?" The first two said no, their sellers had firm bottom-lines, but the one I bought was 3rd on the list.

It's a weird market, you can try nontraditional approaches (my realtor was reluctant at first because that's not typically how they work, but in the end she said it was great because then she had more info for her other buyers about the other houses, and it saved everyone time and headaches).
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Roanoke,Virginia
174 posts, read 302,196 times
Reputation: 42
I do not trust Zillow at all. I find them to be quite inaccurate. My husband and I have sold 3 houses and bought 4 in the last 5 years and none of the data for those houses has been accurate on zillow.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:20 AM
 
6 posts, read 11,394 times
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Thank you very much for all the help! We do have an agent, but he's doing a HORRIBLE job, which is sad because our NC agent was AMAZING....one of those super close family friend situations that we couldn't avoid without causing major drama.....that's the downside to being from the area originally I guess. I really like the idea of our agent calling to see if he should even bother...we have several houses we like and would be happy with even though this one is probably our top choice.
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Old 01-25-2011, 07:42 PM
 
7 posts, read 8,833 times
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Wakegirl, what size house do you need? How many bedrooms would you be interested in? Salem is a nice area. I'm sure you'll like it.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:50 AM
 
6 posts, read 11,394 times
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@littlejohn

I know we'd love Salem if we could get in...I'm from Roanoke originally...took some classes at Roanoke College over the summer a few years ago. We're looking for 3+ bedrooms and 2+ baths. Somewhere around 2000 sqft would be nice, and we prefer 2 stories. Even though I grew up around Bent Mountain with a huge lot with trees and views of the parkway, we prefer a smaller lot as we do not have time to put a ton of work into a yard... and our HOA in NC has cured me of ever wanting a big yard.

I know there's a lot that fits that description out around Bonsack or back past Vinton, but I will be taking classes at Tech, and my husband works downtown, so we need a location that won't give him more than a 30 min and me a 45 min commute...lol, which took SW co. pretty much out of the equation for us.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:29 PM
 
468 posts, read 586,912 times
Reputation: 225
Driving into downtown from Bonsack/Vinton every morning would drive me batty (and I cut my teeth on the DC Beltway!)

Stick with Salem, maybe rent for a while before you decide, that's what I did (in SW Roanoke) and it worked out great!
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:35 PM
 
6 posts, read 11,394 times
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@headnsouth

Oh I wasn't saying we're going to buy there because we're not....I know how horrible the traffic in and out of those areas are just to get to Roanoke, much less Blacksburg. I was just forstalling anyone from suggesting those areas as I already know there are a ton of homes that would be perfect except for being out there...much slimmer pickings around Salem, and SW Co is pretty much out for the same reason...I'm not interested in 2 hrs/day of my life being spent in commuting, especially since we're considering having a baby.

We also have no desire to rent for several reasons...there's not much listed for rent around roanoke...we don't like throwing $ down the drain....and very few landlords would welcome a household with 5 pets. Thank you very much for the suggestion though! I'm glad it worked out for you.
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:14 PM
 
7 posts, read 8,833 times
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Wakegirl, I know of a house in the county, but with a Salem address, which is about a mile from the Sheetz on Main Street, if you know where that is. It is not on the market yet, so you have not seen it. This house is ideally located to take advantage of the neighborhood goodies, like a full gym with lots of bells and whistles, an in-ground pool, a playground, walking trails, a clubhouse, etc. I believe the place could be had for 300,000.
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