Warning: This may turn into an epic rant.
The hunt for the perfect farm continues, but it’s now become the hunt for a property that is just kind of acceptable and we’ll fix it.
We looked at one farm that shared a driveway with an active cemetery, which wasn’t a dealbreaker for us, but their realtor refused to show up for the showing or answer any questions we had about the property. Pass.
We looked at another property that was lovely on the outside, but the house was filthy and smelled like cat piss. I know horse people aren’t the greatest housekeepers, I’m a horse people myself and my house is far from spotless, but if you’re scheduling a showing on your $1.5 million dollar house you need to run a vacuum and spray some Febreze on that shit. Maybe wipe down the counters while you’re at it. You can’t show a filthy, stinky house at that price point. Also, the wood floors, window sills, and doors were rotted, so even with a thorough cleaning it had issues. Fences were nice, though!
The last house we looked at took the cake, though. This is the description from the listing:
We started outside. The barn was a complete tear down. It was rat infested, and the rats had excavated holes big enough to bury a small dog or break a horse’s leg in every corner of every stall. Then we moved on to the pastures. See where it says “mostly fenced” in the listing? There was fence, but no gates. It’s not much of a horse pasture without gates, so I asked the listing agent, “Where are the gates?”
She eyed me with disgust, then huffed, “You can BUY gates!” Never one to back down from a fight, I replied, “For a million dollars, it should have gates.” This occurred about 10 minutes into the showing, and things did not improve from there.
We moved on to the house. It looked like a time capsule from 1970, which wasn’t a problem since we knew it needed updating. The problem started when we looked up at the ceiling. Every single room had water damage on the ceiling. As we were discussing this amongst ourselves, the realtor suddenly interjected, “They just put on a new roof!” That’s great, but that also means that the old roof was bad for a long time to get to that level of ceiling damage.
As we were inspecting the water damage, we noticed another interesting thing: none of the light fixtures or ceiling fans were hard wired into the ceiling. They were all plugged into extension cords. The extension cords were stapled into the ceiling, then plugged into wall outlets. This is not even close to legal, and also means the house cannot be lived in legally until it’s repaired. It’s a condemned house, for $1 million dollars. When we pointed this out to the realtor, she became offended and actually called our realtor later to complain about us. Clearly, we’re terrible people.
That’s actually been a recurring theme in our house hunting adventure: the seller’s realtors keep telling us that we’re “out of touch”, “unreasonable”, and “don’t understand real estate”. Why? Because we won’t pay their asking price for a house that won’t pass a building inspection. And it’s not like the market is booming in the area we’re looking at, these houses have been on the market for years.
Reality Check: If your house has been sitting on the market for 5+ years, maybe it’s time to lower the price. Also, don’t get offended when somebody tells you your house isn’t worth $1 million because all the fences are falling down, or the foundation is cracked, or it completely lacks interior wiring.
I’m beginning to think it’s a symptom of a greater problem in the horse industry itself, the problem of equestrians being absolute idiots with money. I mean, just look at how ridiculously overpriced our equipment and apparel is. Especially the apparel! An athletic sun shirt costs $10 at Target, and $40 at SmartPak. It’s the same shirt, same material, same quality, but because one has a horse logo on it they charge 4 times as much. And horse people will buy it! No wonder horse people think their stinky, falling down horse farm is worth 4 times the actual market value of the property.
Rant over, for now….
Stay tuned for the next rash of overpriced garbage that NJ has to offer.