Real Estate and Mortgage

Why I’m not buying your house for sale

house for saleBUY MY HOUSE……


There are reasons why I won’t buy your house for sale unless it was up for sale at a fantastically low price and here’s why.
Since spending months looking at open houses only a few years ago before we bought our current home my wife complained that I was too picky.

I’m pretty sure her views have changed now over the years of learning more about the home buying process.

I blogged the other day about how to avoid home buying mistakes the first time but this post goes a bit deeper into what we saw and what we were looking for in our first home.

I swear she thought we would never buy a house at one point and the real estate agent was probably getting a little annoyed too.

I can’t even remember the amount of houses we visited but it was quite a few although the reality is I didn’t want to buy a house just because it looked pretty.

If you have a house for sale and are wondering why your house hasn’t sold yet you might want to look at some of the obvious.


Wrong MLS information


These houses we looked at didn’t include all the ones we’d previously dismissed earlier just because of the marketing information provided by the real estate listing agent led us to believe it wasn’t even worth looking at.

The same goes if you plan to sell your house privately, make sure you list it properly and ask for advice on selling a house or risk losing potential buyers.

To be honest our current home was listed with no parking when in fact we can park 4 cars in our driveway.

One of the main reasons we went to look at this house is because my wife questioned the parking because she knew the area where the home was located.

Sure enough the real estate agent didn’t properly market the house and potentially sent buyers away listing no parking with street parking only.

The other problem was the homeowner obviously didn’t read the MLS Listing online to realize the error to alert their real estate agent.

I guess we learned if it sounds odd don’t be shy to ask a question to your real estate agent or do a quick drive by and check yourself.


Buying your house for sale


I don’t think we are much different from other house hunters but I didn’t exclusively listen to my real estate agent because ultimately the final decision was up to the both of us.

If you ever go to an open house you will hear every selling agent say how perfect the house is and exclude the problems.

Not every agent is like that but let’s be honest, real estate salary for an agent is just as important as your own. How many people do you know market their products with defects unless they are mandated by law?

If you buy an apple and don’t like it you can’t bring it back after you’ve taken a bite. Make sure you have a solid relationship with your own real estate agent built on trust and friendship.

We visited houses new and old, two storey and bungalows because we really didn’t have a particular style that we were leaning towards.


Poor renovations


It wasn’t the decorating style that turned me off of a particular house for sale but a combination of stupidity, over the top pricing and poor execution of renovations.

As a handy guy I can look past the painting and decorating in nearly every open house for sale we visited. Although they say presentation can be the winning key to selling a property, presentation alone will not convince me that it’s a great house to buy.

General condition was a key factor for me because if a homeowner didn’t love the house that they poured their hard-earned money into because being a homeowner is not cut and dry. You don’t just buy it and forget it.

Did someone take care of the house they called home, or did they just let it go?

If I’m going to buy your house for sale I want to see evidence that your home was maintained or installed correctly.

When you upgraded the carpeted floors to hardwood I want to see seamless joints and edges to the baseboard. The fact of the matter was, we saw some of the most poorly executed hardwood flooring installations ever.

Having looked at massive gaps at the edges or between planks which either left you dumbfounded about how they thought that was a nice job or how on earth they expect potential buyers to not notice.

In one house for sale that we visited with our agent the homeowner had even cut out an entire wall and yet forgot to drywall the newly created edges. What they did do was they had painted the exposed wood studs just to jazz up the place.

Strangely enough, that wasn’t the biggest concern I had in that particular house for sale it was the fact that if they didn’t have the knowledge or skills to finish up the renovation job they started did they support the cut-out correctly? Probably not.




Bedroom size was an important factor for me in every house for sale that we looked at. Having previously lived in a very small house in the UK, I didn’t want to recreate the same issues I’d experienced before.

Although I did say if I had to live in a micro-apartment or small house I could but if I don’t have to by choice I’d rather not buy a house that was too small for us.

Having noticed that some houses for sale have a large master bedroom which is great yet then you have a look at the remaining bedrooms which can be quite small.

We held out to find a house for sale that kept the other bedrooms fairly large too so if we ever have guests or children that they would have a larger size room. That was by choice.


My first garage


The garage space and amount of parking was an issue too like I mentioned above when looking at every house for sale that we visited.

I’d never owned a house with a garage before so having the opportunity to buy a house with a garage was new to me. We had seen houses with single and double garages which seemed to be fairly straight forward, you’re able to park one car or two in them.

Having viewed a number of houses for sale with a garage and a half, it seemed like a waste of money and/or space.

One was more like a garage and a quarter leaving you enough room to put a large waste bin in the one remaining corner by the garage door and the car. Call me strange but if I’m paying for a garage and a half, where is the rest of it?




Basement renovations seem to be the most common living space addition that happens in the home here and can add a fantastic area in any home. That is except the some of the ones we visited.

One basement had two nasty issues that were glaringly obvious as soon as you walked down the stairs. Having the basement listed with a bathroom rough-in, you’d expect that to be a simple install of sink, toilet and shower.

Not in this house, for some reason the builder had decided that the toilet waste pipe should be installed at the bottom of the stairs.

Why the original home owner didn’t complain or get it moved is beyond me. It was too late though because the basement had been “Professionally finished” which was odd, considering the entire basement, lights and sockets included ran off of one light switch. Something tells me that’s not professional.

The basement laundry room in one house for sale made me laugh when the floor drain was actually higher than the floor level because of someone’s installation. I’m guessing it was to allow a certain amount of flooding, but not enough to destroy everything.

That was the same house with live electrical hanging down from the basement ceiling. Another basement you’re paying for twice over, once for the house purchase and then again for getting it all ripped out and re-done.

If you’re planning on buying a house with an unfinished basement, try to envision a finished basement and how the space would work.

Does the furnace need to be moved?

Is it possible to install the laundry near the roughed in plumbing? 

These questions may seem slightly weird, but you’d be surprised what some builders get away with.

I found one house where the furnace and hot water heater was so close to the stairs that it would have all had to be moved 6 feet around the corner just to make a wide enough walkway from the stairs to the main basement living area.


Things N’ Stuff


There was other amazing things wrong with other houses which were listed as a popular feature yet were a complete disaster.

The deck on one bungalow that had warped and had been forced upward by the frost and was left with an almost eight inch drop towards the house.

It was just another example of something included in the price of a house sale yet was just another cost being passed on to the potential buyer.

Sure the home inspector might catch this and you can negotiate the price but do you really want to invest your money in a home that was not maintained?

That’s only a question you can answer and whether you are willing to soak up any surprising costs that could pop up that you can’t see.

It’s probably another reason I’ll aim for hiring tradesmen to come in to do specific home inspections if we were to ever buy a house for sale again.


Do what’s right for you


Don’t get me wrong and think I’m just being some kind of a house snob. I just wanted to make sure our money was being put into a house that we didn’t have to tear apart what we just paid for.

There were plenty of well-kept houses for sale but they just weren’t right for us due to location, size or other priorities not being met.

Yes, we’ve had a couple of unforeseen problems in our house, but you can’t see everything that’s going to happen.

However, if you can see existing problems right in front of your face and yet it still hasn’t deterred you from buying that particular house for sale you may want to consider what you haven’t yet seen.

Oddly enough we bought the home that was not properly marketed by the real estate agent and have enjoyed our time spent in our new home.

When you go and look at houses for sale do yourself a favour and spend a little time looking past the fluff and shiny stuff and invest a little time looking into your potential future home.

After all, you’ll be left with the bill for getting it all fixed if something goes wrong that you could have easily prevented.

What’s some of the worst things you’ve seen when you were looking for house to buy?




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  1. My son looked at a house that seemed pretty good. It had been on the market for a while at a decent price. Then they saw the basement. The owner had “renovated” it to look like a nice room. Then they noticed one wall was a little odd looking. They tapped it and it was hollow. Turns out the outside stone wall had collapsed & they tried to hide it with a new wall. No wonder the house hadn’t sold!

  2. Great article Mr. CBB! I’ve never tried to look for a house to buy because I’m just a student, but when the time comes that I do, I will definitely look into the bedrooms and bathrooms of that house first. I want to live in a house with a good size master bedroom and adequate number of bathrooms.

    1. You have all the time now to do your research so when the time does come you are making informed decisions. Smart move if you ask me. Cheers Mark.

  3. About 5 years ago, when we were still in our rental property accumulating stage, we viewed a lot of properties. We always started in the basement. If that didn’t pass, we didn’t look at the remainder of the house. For us, that was the most important part. Painting and other cosmetic stuff, is easily remedied.

  4. I hear you loud and clear on issues with looking at houses to buy. We were limited to what we could afford when we bought this house to mostly fixer-uppers. I will say our agent was good, he could and did point out things that were not great and explain how it could be fixed. I would have no problem using him again, we found him to be well informed and honest.
    We saw some ‘interesting’ basement reno jobs in the process… We saw wires hanging from the ceiling, more than once!! One place had a kids playroom down there…all I could think of looking at it was ‘Bring in the dumpster…..’
    Then there was this place… we got it on a power of sale, meaning the previous owners lost the house to the bank for non-payment. Heard tell from a neighbor this wasn’t the first time either. Clearly they didn’t give a crap. We knew the house needed all new wiring. One of the first things we did was to up-grade the service from 60amp fuses to 200amp breakers. this was inspected as the work was hired out. While the inspector was here we gave him a tour. His only comment was that he was glad we were re-doing it all. The light in the attic was one of those big floreseant shop lights, wired in with an old extension cord with it’s ends cut off to wire it in. No joke. The wire was just swinging in the breeze. Ever plug outlet was broken/cracked in some way…Every…Single…One…. We also had the neighbor ask us how we liked the wood stove in the house the first winter we were here. What wood stove?????? The previous owners had taken it with them when they moved out!!!! So much for the rule that if something is physically attached to the dwelling it stays there when you sell.
    That was not the funniest part…. The mother of our daughter’s best friend was a hair dresser and had a small salon in her house. She cut my hair one day and we were having a lovely chat. About our house. She and her hubby owned a 4-plex and lived in one unit, renting out the other 3. The couple that had owned our place had looked at one of the units thinking to rent from my friend. The woman was bragging about her son who was quite the artiste to hear Mom tell it. OK, we had found a drawing of the Calgary Flames team logo on a wall upstairs but it gets better. Seems this son had his bedroom in the basement. He had drawn a life size drawing of a goalie in the net(Flames goalie of course!!) right on the wall!! I was asked if it was still there. I didn’t remember seeing it but I’d look. I had a look when I got home. Didn’t find the drawing. I did, however, find a spot on the wall where it looked like someone had cut out a piece of drywall…. just a little bigger than a goalie net opening………Yup, they cut out a chunk of wall and took it with them……… I kid you not…they cut out a piece of the drywall so they could take the kids artwork with them!!! We had to laugh, what else can you do???

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