Sale fell through on a hard to sell home primarily because of items in and condition of basement

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GON

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We own a modest home in the suburbs of Illinois on 2 acres and 200 feet of waterfront. We have been trying to sell the home since 2009. The home appraises for less today than it appraised for in 2006, which is not uncommon in many parts of Illinois. The home is super easy to rent and provides a very positive gross cash flow, but every time a tenant moves out, we end up putting in about 10k to get it back to move in condition.

In the basement I have five lifetimes of tools/ spare parts, etc. One example is there are three top end new water well pressure tanks. Thousands of pex plumbing components, etc.

I was late to the market, but finally received an offer on the home. A price I was very happy with. When the home inspection came in, the buyers wanted 10k of work done, and most everything in the basement removed. The expensive stuff in the basement they wanted, but all the other items gone. I was not happy with their counteroffer after the inspection, as now I had to clean out the basement. I offered 6k cash at closing for home repairs and said I would clean out the basement. The problem for their inspectors 10k repair on the home estimate, was the repairs were not itemized, they wanted "their guy" to do the work. No way to measure what I was being charged for, what happened if more items were found that needed fixing, etc. And me living two thousand miles away meant I could not easily go to the home and verify or validate anything.

I picked up a 16 foot enclosed trailer and headed to them home. Enroute to the home I received a correspondence saying the Buyers had cancelled the purchase. I had a lot of windshield time to reflect on why the sale fell through. I think the basement was the center of gravity for the collapse of the sale. The house is in very good condition, except the basement. The buyers didn't want to deal with any issue whatsoever, and the basement was likely the deal killer as I have spent three days (while my SUV transmission is being serviced) straightening up the basement. The 18 foot trailer is full, multiple chain saws, power washers, dozens of shovels, etc. I have given away so much stuff over the past three days to include a dozen boxes of new ceiling tiles, and some very nice furniture.

The basement had a hodgepodge of hanging florescent lights. I removed all mixed bag of lights and replaced them with new LED direct to rafter lights from COSTCO. I did dozen of other things, but one item of note I did yesterday was replace the exposed insulation. The old insulation was 30 years old, some of the insulation was missing, the old installation had a brown paper backing. Pulled out the old insulation and installed Mansfield (from Menards) installation in nice plastic vapor barrier cover. The new insulation really freshened up the look of the basement. Who would have guessed. The replacement the new insulation took under two hours.

House goes back on the market today. I hired someone to tear down the 600 sq foot deck and update it, the deck failed inspection. Not sure if their are many buyers left in the market, especially in Illinois. I may have missed the tiny window of opportunity to sell. But at least the basement is uncluttered and clean.

In addition, sharing a picture of a turtle just walking around in 97 degree afternoon heat I came across bringing items to the trailer.

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GON

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Sounds like you have enhanced the "curb appeal" of your property. That is always a good investment. Hope you pocketed some earnest money from the people who walked.
They were able to walk as I didn't "meet" their demands of the home inspection, as I offered a cash settlement instead of addressing what the inspector found.

The contract was also a contingency contract on the Buyers' selling their home, and the loan for the Buyers' was a VA.

The Buyers' did sell their home (townhome) they day it listed, and then cancelled my contract three days later. One conspiracy theory is my home was actually the back up home. The Buyers' had another home in mind but the Seller of that home would not take a contingency contract. Once the Buyers' sold their home, their first choice may have been available, and they used the inspection as a way to get out of my home contract. But all speculation as I review how did a home sale fall apart so quickly when the Buyers' needed a home with the sale of theirs, in a low inventory housing market.

Finally, I also learned accepting a VA finance contract is an additional step and potential hassle. Funny, we have a VA loan but I didn't recall it being an additional exposure when we purchased..... but it can be....
 
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What part of Illinois?

I just gonna random guess Joliet area but could be anywhere.

The turtle tells me a wooded area by a lake and I would first guess... New Lenox.

But that's just wild guesses.

I've encountered a sublet individual from that area before.. totally separate from OP.
 

GON

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Basement look's like a mid 70's era house?
Home was built in 1988. Custom built, 2x6 construction.

But the design, especially the floorplan is like a 1970s home. formal living room, formal dining room, all things 95% of buyers don't want in a home at this price point. Has some features like two full kitchens, a six teared garden (awesome if maintained, horrible if not), you can sled in the backyard in the winter; canoe, rowboat and fish in the summer.

Crappy floorplan and poor eye appeal in the original design. Has a sunken family room with a wonderful fireplace and two huge windows overlooking the water. Issue is, the home is a ranch and a ranch should never have a "sunken floor", especially in a room required to get to the kitchen, hallway, bedrooms, defeats the benefit of a ranch. Retired people have looked at the home, they run away when they discover the sunken family room floor.
 
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GON

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What part of Illinois?
Kane county. Just minutes from the possibly shuttered Sears Corporate headquarters. And the I believe shuttered Allstate alternate corporate office.

I am staying at the Marriott Hoffman Estates right now (about to leave and head to the home and get back to work). Right on the interstate, great location for a Marriott and north american HQ of global corporations, just minutes from a large international airport...... except this is Illinois. I am on the seventh floor of the Marriott. I look out the hotel window and see all these newer built office/ technology research buildings. Seems about half are vacant. Some of the landlords have even quit maintaining the lawns/ landscape.

Just like Caterpillar announced two days ago, so many Companys, did, have, or are giving up on Illinois. Makes it hard to sell a home.......
 
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Home was built in 1988. Custome built, 2x6 construction.

But the design, especially the floorplan is like a 1970s home. formal living room, formal dining room, all things 95% of buyers don't want in a hone at this price point. Has some features like two fill kitchens, a six teared garden (awesome if maintained, horrible if not), you can sled in the backyard in the winter, canoe, rowboat and fish in the summer.

Crappy floorplan and eye appeal in the original design. Has a sunken family room with a wonderful fireplace and two huge windows overlooking the water. Issue is, the home is a ranch and a ranch should never have a "sunken floor", especially in a room required to get to the kitchen, hallway, bedrooms, defeats the benefit of a ranch. Retired people have looked at the home, the run away when they discover the sunken family room floor.
Reason I asked was the basement rafters and "X" supports, the copper piping, and the spacing indicated that era of construction. Something I don't see much in later year homes. While it may not be what 95% of buyers want, I bet it is a solid built home.
 
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Get everything out of the basement, which it seems like you are doing. Why the stud walls in the basement, was it finished at one time and flooded?
 
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link to house?

Like others have said, you will never know the real reason. Don't sweat it. But do continue to remove all the reasons a potential buyer may want to back out. Best of luck!
 
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Home inspectors have to earn their fee plus more for the buyer. I'm in the process of getting my house ready to sell. The last four houses I sold I told the broker to price the house accordingly, and explained to them the age of the house, the heating system, electric, roof, hot water heater, etc, before the appraisal. Brokers are usually overly optimistic and many are clueless. I told them to explain to the prospective buyer and their engineer that I am not going to deduct twice for what the house needs, and I will refuse offers reflecting double deductions for the items I mentioned. If they try and double deduct they will be out the fee for the engineer's report. I also tell the broker if they don't want to do business with me I'll find someone who will. That worked four times prior, and for my brother who sold his house in four days doing just that. What's going to hurt now is the inflation and Fed's wealth destruction interest rate increases to slow things down.

If that basement is high enough to comfortably walk around in I'd sheetrock and paint it. If not it might pay to rip out the studding and paint the walls. Hard to tell from the pictures. I just sheetrocked my basement ceiling and I'm now doing a closet.
 
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