How and why I bought a house for $5,315.00

19 Apr

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This is the first of what will be many post along the journey of my first “income property.” Purchased on October 17th at a last minute county auction for
$5,000.  This is the story of ambition and hard work.  Lots of hard work.  In progress.

I bought my first house with my then girlfriend (now wife) in 2008.  No one had lived in it for almost a decade and it needed to be almost completely gutted and remodeled.  I caught the “bug,” the “I love to buy crappy houses and fix them up” virus.

To see what I first got into six year ago, here’s a video of my first house, circa 2008:
House Tour

We started keeping track of the remodel with a series of videos and when we moved in less than 6 months later and still a long way to go with the work, it kind of got put off while we got married and started a new business and a growing family.

Now bringing back this story to how we cam across 49 Columbia, I used to drive passed this property almost every day on my way to restoring my current residence.  I couldn’t go past any abandoned property now without seeing the full potential of what it once was or what it could be.   49 Columbia would turn my head every time I went by. The boarded up windows and doors, falling siding shingles piling up along the foundation, I was hooked.  I even called my mother, a leading real estate agent, and told her one day that I was going to buy that house.  She thought I was crazy.  This was around the summer of 2008.

There was even a hint of disappointment when a year or so later, I was driving by and I saw that the front had been painted.  A small knot built in the pit of my stomach as I was beginning to realize my dreams of being a savior of neglected homes was coming to an end.  The place had been vacant for years without a hint of activity.  But that was it, some paint and a few extra boards solidifying the exterior even further, securing the time capsule.

Fast forward to September 2013, I can across an article from the local newspaper announcing the sale of county owned properties.  They were going up for auction in a couple months and I never really gave it a second glance.  A couple weeks later, a packet at my brother’s house had the entire list of properties and starting bids.  As luck would have it, 49 Columbia was listed in the middle with a starting bid of $5,000.  I never knew the address of the dilapidated structure, but I knew the photo when I saw it.  That same day I received a call from my mother and she made a joke about “that property I always wanted” was up for auction.  I told her I was going to get it.  Once the word started to spread along the family lines and among friends, they all said I was nuts.  Even my wife didn’t really know if I was serious or not.

A couple more weeks passed and I almost forgot about it.  I had to go through old Facebook posts from the Register Star to find the link with the detailed info about the auction (Which I did just now to find the original article since their search bar didn’t return any results.  Article Here).  The date was set for October 17th and it was about a week away.  Our business had a busy few weekends shooting weddings and I hadn’t made my deposit yet, so we were literally sitting on a wad of cash.  Now I knew I needed most of it for the business; rent, albums, prints, all that comes with owning a photography business.  Yet I knew I could make that up later one, this was a once in a lifetime chance and I was about to dive in head first.

October 17th, 1:15p.m.
I was just starting my lunch break and heading home to grab my papers and money.  I have never been to an auction before and had no idea what to do.  I called the county offices around 1:35 and asked them when the auction was to start and what to do.  They said all bids must be notarized and in a sealed envelope by 2:00.  The auction was at 3:00 I thought.  Lucky timing again, I happened to live a few blocks away so I was there in less than five minutes.  Sealed bid in the county attorney’s hands by 1:58 🙂

I was the only one who put in an offer that day, so it was mine.  It didn’t take long for antique dealers to start calling me asking to take a look around.  My response: “Absolutely not!”

The closing was a few weeks after that and some local blogs caught wind of the purchase as “anonymous buyer of the ‘Gateway to Hudson’ property” or something of the sort.
Post from Sam Pratt’s blog.
Post from The Gossips of Rivertown blog.

So that’s my story of how this property almost wasn’t mine, then it was.
Future posts will be an initial walk-through video and some photos.

Proof of the sale; the real deal:



4 Responses to “How and why I bought a house for $5,315.00”

  1. Bill Vojtech April 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    I’d often pass that house and think that something should be done to it.

    Good luck.

  2. Anni April 22, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Will you renovate or raze? If the latter, I hope you’ll do a green demo with full salvaging of materials. I always hate to see old houses just get the wrecking ball when they are so full of reusable materials.

    • Michael April 22, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

      The plan is to renovate and I’m glad you brought up green demo, because that’s the plan. You beat me to it. This is a large project for just me and I don’t want to order a dumpster and toss everything. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have waited until now to get started, I could of had it all gutted by now. The interior is full of treasures as you’ll see soon.

  3. Nathan Anakalea June 27, 2019 at 7:56 am #

    Your home is valueble for me. Thanks!…