Essay To Buy A Home

Buying A House Essay

My husband and I had been married for almost two months, when we started thinking about buying a house. We had been living in an apartment for about four months, and we knew we wanted a bigger place. We wanted to have a backyard for our son and all the other commodities that come with owning a house. We were a little scared about committing to a house note for so many years. However, our logic to that was that we were paying almost as much for an apartment that would never be ours. Therefore, we decided we wanted to have our own place, to which we could change, add or do anything to if we wanted to. Subsequently, we began the search for our new house! The search was difficult in the beginning and time consuming. We had to decide on a price range, how much we wanted to pay a month, and also consider interest rates, which at the time were up and down. We looked for a couple of weeks, then one day we were driving down a street and we noticed this cute little house for sale. The front yard looked nice, and the house seemed to be the right size for us. We took note of the information and the next day our Realtor arranged an appointment for us to see it.

It is no wonder that people say to keep an open mind when looking for a house to buy. That was the advice I received from a friend that had done this before. She told me that when looking at a house for the first time, not to be disappointed if I saw something I did not like, as long as it could be fixed or changed. Therefore, I kept that in mind when my husband and I went to see the house the first time. When we first walked in, the living room was pretty spacious, but it had hardly anything in it. The people that owned the house then, had a desk, a table (not a coffee table or center table) just a table, that looked like a picnic table, and a couch. As a result, I had to try to picture the living room with our furniture and our things and try to imagine how it would look. Next we noticed the carpet was in pretty bad shape. We could not tell if its original color was gray or blue. The carpet would definitely need to be changed.

We then continued on to the back yard, which was not attractive at all. There were a few nice bushes, but they needed to be trimmed. Then there was also a dog that had dug most of the grass out. Despite all this, my husband and I knew the backyard had potential if it was well taken care of.

Next, we went back inside to see the rest of the house. There were three bedrooms, two medium size bedrooms on one side of the house and the master bedroom on the other side. We looked at the smaller bedrooms first and I immediately knew if we decided to buy this house, which bedroom I wanted for my son. Again, our first impression was not a perfect...

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Mr. Bares and Ms. Lavorgna are among a small group to try this unconventional sales method. In 2015, for example, an innkeeper in Maine dispensed with her bed-and-breakfast through an essay contest; she had acquired it in the same fashion in 1993. Such contests are uncommon largely because they involve serious legwork, with no guarantee of success. Rather than hammer a “for sale” sign into the lawn and wait for the open house, these sellers have to set up and run a contest, generating enough buzz around a single property to convince thousands of people to gamble on it. Already, Mr. Bares and Ms. Lavorgna have had to extend their deadline, originally set for Jan. 31.

So far, Mr. Bares and Ms. Lavorgna, who live in New Jersey, have spent about $40,000. They hired a lawyer to establish rules and guidelines, judges to read the entries and a publicist to spark interest. They built a website with a promotional video showcasing the property and its surroundings, located in a gated community called the Chapin Estate. They declined to say how many people have submitted essays, as the contest is continuing.

The contest strategy has the potential to appeal to far more potential buyers than might otherwise purchase homes in the area. “I’m absolutely amazed by who enters these contests,” said Sara F. Hawkins, a lawyer in Phoenix, who has handled about five similar competitions, including the one in Bethel. “They’re from all over, all walks of life.”

In the promotional video, set to inspirational music, Mr. Bares and Ms. Lavorgna walk hand-in-hand through the wooded property, roast marshmallows at a campfire and play horseshoes with friends. They have been trying to sell the property because they rarely visit it, which is due in part to the fact that they own two bed-and-breakfasts in Cape May, N.J. The house, just steps from a lake, has a log cabin-y feel, with vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace.

The video makes it all seem so dreamy. But it also poses the question: If no one was willing to buy the property when it was listed for $825,000 in 2015, why would 5,500 people want to bid on it now?

It all comes down to money, Mr. Bares said.

“I do believe that there are at least 5,500 people who would be willing to pay $149 for a vacation house that’s within two hours of one of the great cities of the world,” he said. “I think that the pool is huge.”

But Christine Vande Vrede, a saleswomen at Chapin Sotheby’s International Realty, with offices in the Chapin Estate, doubts that the pool is so vast. “I don’t see this happening in this neck of the woods,” she said. Unlike internationally famous vacation spots like the Hamptons, people who buy homes in this part of the Catskills “have a regional knowledge,” she said. (Unless, of course, you consider Bethel’s claim to fame, as the actual location of the Woodstock festival in 1969.)

The Chapin Estate has sprawling Adirondack lodge-style homes spread across 20,000 acres of forested land with lakes and mountain views. One listing asks $6.75 million for a 14,400-square-foot compound with two homes, a horse stable and riding arena. A more modest one asks $775,000 for a three-bedroom lodge.

By contrast, Ms. Vande Vrede described 391 Woodstone Trail as “basically a three-car garage with a finished apartment above it.” She added that “what that home has to offer might not be what our clients are looking for.”

Mr. Bares paid around $750,000 for the land in 2007, before he met Ms. Lavorgna. He spent another $350,000 building the home. If the essay contest is successful, it will have raised nearly as much as the 2015 list price of $825,000. “They are trying to short circuit the market,” said Jonathan J. Miller, the president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, who described the contest as “more of a gimmick than a real contest.”

These types of contests are not without problems. A winner might not comprehend the tax implications, and ultimately be unable to afford the cost of owning and maintaining the property. Contestants who don’t win might challenge the results. There are complicated legal issues associated with holding a national contest, as laws vary from state to state. Without enough contestants, sellers would have to return hundreds, if not thousands, of checks, itself a daunting task.

Mr. Bares and Ms. Lavorgna see the contest as not only a way to sell a difficult property, but also as the start of a business venture. In addition to their two bed-and-breakfasts, they also own an interior design company. They have been featured on HGTV, on Caribbean Life and Flea Market Flip, where they won $5,000.

Using the essay contest as a model, they are designing an internet platform where sellers could list homes for sale by contest. Initial setup plans would cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for access to contest rules, legal plans, promotional materials, social media and a judging platform. Mr. Bares anticipates that the seller would ultimately pay about half the price of a broker’s fee, which is usually about six percent of the selling price.

Their hope rests on the notion that if people can turn their homes into ad hoc bed-and-breakfasts using platforms like Airbnb, what’s stopping them from selling their home in a game of skill? If the entry fee costs about the same as a night on the town, buyers just might take a chance. “Everyone seems to be looking for a deal these days,” Ms. Hawkins, the lawyer, said. “Why not this?”

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Correction: February 12, 2017

An article last Sunday about an essay contest to win a house in the Catskills misspelled the given name of the lawyer handling the competition. She is Sara F. Hawkins, not Sarah.

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