Dream house lost.
November 24, 2007 6:40 PM   Subscribe

I put an offer on a 100+ year old house in Galena, Illinois a year ago. The owners and I couldn't agree on a price so the deal fell through. It was a terrific rehabbed house on a hill with fireplaces in every room, a state of the art kitchen, guest quarters and a view of the whole town from the front window. I have become rather obsessed with this house and even checked up who, later, did purchase it. The strange thing was the sale price was less than my offer but it included something called "personal property" for 20k which the buyers apparently, added to the price of the house with the approval of the sellers. I've bought and sold condos and one house before but I never heard of including "personal property" in a deal. Did they throw in a car or artwork or something? Seems odd to me. I know I should get past this house but I just can't. Thanks for any input.
posted by Tullyogallaghan to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Dollars to doughnuts says that it was deed to other land tossed in.
posted by unixrat at 6:55 PM on November 24, 2007

Possibly a vehicle or time share ownership...something like that.
posted by iamabot at 6:59 PM on November 24, 2007

It could have been furnishings or fixtures that the purchasers particularly liked and asked to be included in the sale (i.e. an antique bedroom set, a grand piano).
posted by amyms at 7:05 PM on November 24, 2007

Ohh, I might have misunderstood. Are you meaning that the buyers offered to give the sellers some personal property?
posted by amyms at 7:06 PM on November 24, 2007

Not sure about the Galena area, but here real estate transactions will sometimes include the sale of a boat slip on the lake (going rate of $20-30k depending on the location) and it will always be considered separate from the real estate deal (both in terms of contract and agent commissions).
posted by shinynewnick at 7:08 PM on November 24, 2007

I also read your question the other way, sellers throwing something in on top of the purchase price. If it was the buyer's personal property being offered, it could be any number of things as mentioned above. As long as the sellers feel they are getting $20k worth of property, it's all golden (Capital Gains taxes not included)
posted by shinynewnick at 7:10 PM on November 24, 2007

I've heard of similar deals to unixrat - here's 10/20/30k less than you're asking for your house, plus an undeveloped parcel of land. In most of the cases I've heard it was lake lots, although I know of one retired couple that sold their house and took a brand new RV as part of the purchase price - they sold the house to a guy with a stake in an RV dealership - cheaper for him to kick in a motorhome than dollars, and the couple were planning to buy one anyway.
posted by pupdog at 7:34 PM on November 24, 2007

One more comment, my father-in-law is a contractor, and people constantly offer him land for part of the purchase price. He does take them up on it occassionally.

Also, it could be part of a 1031 exchange (I have no expertise in that area of tax law), although that seems unlikely for $20k.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:40 PM on November 24, 2007

I did this with my house sale and it was because the appraisal did not match the asking price. The way around it was to lower the cost of the house but buy the appliances in the house separately from the owner to close the deal.
posted by 45moore45 at 8:45 PM on November 24, 2007

Dollars to doughnuts says that it was deed to other land tossed in.

Legally speaking, "personal property" is "everything other than real estate." Which is not to say that the parties to that transaction were using the term in the technical sense, but my assumption from reading that in the paper or whatever would be that the buyers added some additional, non-cash consideration for the purchase, in addition to the quoted price. And that's why they beat you.
posted by rkent at 9:18 PM on November 24, 2007

Can you ask your real estate agent to call theirs and find out? Or call that agent yourself? (It doesn't have to be because of your obsession with the house. You could just say you're still relatively new to real estate and are just trying to learn, so you can get the next deal to swing your way.)
posted by salvia at 10:55 PM on November 24, 2007

I agree, "personal property" is anything BUT some other real estate. At $20K it sounds like it could be a vehicle, but you never know.

Too bad it was a year ago -- I was in Galena earlier this year and there was a sharp uptick in the number of FOR RENT and FOR SALE signs including a PRICE REDUCED (from $230K to $180K). Seemed like the bubble-burst had hit.

My family has had a long history with Galena, since well before it became a prime day-trip destination. It's been an interesting transition to watch. But people who love Galena love it to death, and if you don't get that house, I hope you get another one!

MeFi Mail me which one it is.
posted by dhartung at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2007

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