Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Real Bargain

161 Crawford Road
Downingtown, PA

This is our former home in Downingtown, PA.  It is located in East Brandywine Township, four miles outside of Downingtown, on 6.875 acres of a wooded hillside.  Bill and I brought the land in 1976 and had the house custom built to our specifications in 1980.  In the twenty-five years we lived there we added many additions, like the sun room (see picture above), brick terrace, and extensive landscaping and three ponds filled with goldfish.

Because I couldn't keep up with the ever increasing Pennsylvania school taxes and the other county taxes which were rising at the rate of 20 to 25% a year, I put the house up for sale in January of 2006 for $695,000.  Four days later I had an offer of $640,000 which I laughed at and refused much to my later regret because this was the beginning of the downtown of the housing market.

I eventually sold the house for $500,000 in November of 2006 and moved to our newly built house here in Delaware (where I am typing this blog from).

The new owners of our old home (a couple from Florida with two young daughters) bought our house at the great bargain of $500,000 and promptly refinanced it for $567,000, thus netting a tidy profit. I had sold the house for less than its value just to stop the pain of carrying two mortgages.

The new owner upgraded the house by putting in a new master bath and finished off the room above the garage for a home office.

For whatever reason, he could no longer keep up the monthly mortgage payment (I think there was a family discord but I don't know that for sure), so he simply abandoned the property in early 2009.  The property has been sitting vacant for almost two years now.

All of my lovingly planted shrubbery was left to grow and grow.  The ponds fell into stagnation.  I don't even want to think what happened to all the happy fish who used to reproduce in those ponds.  That was one of my problems, what to do with all the fish I was producing.

Last August the house went into foreclosure.  It was auctioned off.  I don't know who the new owners are but I do know they have been trying to sell it for the past six months.  They are selling it "as is."  Well, let me tell you the "as is" just means the grounds were let go.  No leaves were raked, no branches picked up, no shrubs trimmed.  The inside of the house is just as solid as we left it, even more so because I put in many upgrades, including $4,700 for all new top of the line granite counter tops in the kitchen (what was I thinking)?

The past few months Bill and I have been watching the price of our former paradise (which Bill still loves) go down and down.  Here is the latest price:

Folks,                         THIS IS A BARGAIN!

 $379,900?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If I had the money (which I don't) I would buy this in a snap!  I'm playing the lottery.  Maybe lightening will strike and I'll win the BIG BUCKS!  Then I would make Bill's dream come true, he could go back home to the place he has never stopped loving.  

Bill sitting on the terrace he built late August 2006, a few months before we moved to Delaware


Tiger Chanter said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to win! ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear about this. It is a loverly house for sure. Maybe, with all the space, you could invite good friends to live together and share the expenses. Of course you'd need at least one young guy to help out with the chores. (Just dreaming...I know this never works out.)

slugmama said...

What a big house! It doesn't look that large from the photo but there is alot of house in
I bet all that acreage makes the property taxes higher than the other houses around there w/out the land.

I'd love to have more land but I can't wait to downsize to a smaller home.

It's a shame y'all had to sell and a shame you didn't have a crystal ball to tell you to take that 1st offer. 8-(

Mark in DE said...

Aw, that must be so sad to see a place you loved be neglected. I hope someone purchases it soon and restores it to its former beauty.

Amanda said...

I just finished reading the last 3 posts and still have to take a look at the "Larry, Ron and Stuart reunion" video.
I wish money could grow on trees so you can buy back your gorgeous home in Pennsylvania. It is just heartbreaking!

Ron said...

My fondest wish is to buy our old home back. I feel like we abandoned a child.

Ron said...

Thanks tiger. Not much chance of that happening though. I'm playing a few more weeks then that's it. No more lottery. I can't even win $3.00.

Ron said...


Share expenses? Would never work. I've already had "good friends" live with us. They never contributed a penny. Doesn't work. And the "young guy helping out with chores." That is a myth. Even if I was a billionaire, there wouldn't be enough money for one of those guys. I've been down that road too. At this point in my life I am MIUCH wiser about the realities of the world.

Ron said...


At that price, our former home really is a steal. Someone is missing a BIG opportunity. I know the condition that house is in, it is excellent! The only things that needs to be done is trim the hedges and clean up the fallen branches and maybe some paint touch up. I can't believe people are that dumb to let an opportunity like this pass them by. If I had the money I would buy it back in a second!

Ur-spo said...

I've learned not to look back at past homes, for I want them to stay as they were when I left them; and seeing how they are now is always a disappointment. Better to let go, and live with the memories; and nurture what you have.

Ron said...

Good advice Dr. Spo. Unfortunately, Bill keeps wanting to go back. He misses it so. He loves the woods. I prefer the open spaces where we are now. I hope someday he will grow to love the coastal plains of eastern Delaware.

Ron said...


It was a big house. That was another concern of mine. How would I take care of the house and grounds should something happen to Bill? I had to consider that fact too as well as the ever increasing taxes. I had no choice. As far as not accepting the first offer that falls under the "would've, could've, should've" category. I have a lot of those in my life! :)