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Had a chance tonight to pick the brain of my neighbor who *always* seems to know what is going on in these condos. The skinny according to my neighbor:

-the townhouse next door, which was forclosed last summer and sold at auction: the owner had bought it with the intention of renting it out. Over the first few weeks after the auction, I saw several people looking at it. No renters were forthcoming, nor any buyers. So the guy's plan now is to move into it himself.

-the ranch unit at the other end of the parking lot: bought by a landlord to rent out. He has a renter lined up, an older single woman. Here's the silk sow's ear* part: he probably paid no more than $50K for the place, and has put $30K into remodeling.

Kind of supports my inclination to sell my place as is with the ad headline "a blank canvas for you to build your dream home on", as I don't think I'd ever recoup anything like the cost of a $30K remodel.

Steve

*from the phrase "make a silk purse from a sow's ear", but in this case a lot of work for little improvement.
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Kind of supports my inclination to sell my place as is with the ad headline "a blank canvas for you to build your dream home on", as I don't think I'd ever recoup anything like the cost of a $30K remodel.

Steve



Purely a thought but would your place make a good rental unit once those thousands of guys show up to build the Canuck (and US Fed) funded bridge? }};-D

**** absolutely not signed ****
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Purely a thought but would your place make a good rental unit once those thousands of guys show up to build the Canuck (and US Fed) funded bridge? }};-D

According to Matty, all the construction workers will be foreigners, so will probably get digs on the Canadian side.

I commented to my neighbor wrt the ranch being a rental, "so much for the clause in the bylaws that these units must be owner occupied". He added that the carriage house unit in phase two, that sold a few months ago, is also a rental.

The topic of rentals and absentee owners came up at the annual meeting last March. The complex of 32 units is already about 40% rentals. These two additions will probably put us close to 50%. I could really get people riled up at the annual meeting by making a motion to shop the entire place to a rental operator.

Steve
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The topic of rentals and absentee owners came up at the annual meeting last March. The complex of 32 units is already about 40% rentals. These two additions will probably put us close to 50%. I could really get people riled up at the annual meeting by making a motion to shop the entire place to a rental operator.

Steve



There was some discussion about restricting renting in our building at the last meeting. They also brought up university students but I think someone told them that was illegal.

There was also a discussion about requiring a criminal record check which it turns out is legal. This of course was all related to a drug dealer renter getting busted in the building. Rather pathetic because the couple have two little girls.


Tim
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I could really get people riled up at the annual meeting by making a motion to shop the entire place to a rental operator.

You could look into the idea that the complex is in willful violation of its bylaws. Such a thing would not be reasonably considered by a rational buyer (you). Those bylaws were the basis on which you made your purchase. As the complex is now substantially rentals and not owner-occupied, you demand the association pay you the full price you paid for the unit (i.e. not today's market price) and they can then take it for their use. You then have cash to buy a unit that better suits your needs elsewhere. If they refuse, ask the courts to compel compliance (owner-occupant) or put them into receivership (bankruptcy) or court-ordered conservatorship ($$).
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As the complex is now substantially rentals and not owner-occupied, you demand the association pay you the full price you paid for the unit (i.e. not today's market price) and they can then take it for their use.

Well, I paid $85K in 96. Now, it would probably bring $50K. The assocation's reserve fund is about $9,500. My chances of collecting are kinda slim.

If I did that, my neighbor would probably do the same thing. They have been wanting to move into a nicer place for several years, but are under water.

You then have cash to buy a unit that better suits your needs elsewhere.

As it looks like I will be staying around Michigan, rather than pulling up stakes for Port Angeles, I e-mailed a realtor about CC&Rs on this parcel today.

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3865-Forest...

'course, this one would do, if the set back from the property line is not too large as my prototype house plan is only 28' wide.

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3866-Forest...

Steve
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The assocation's reserve fund is about $9,500. My chances of collecting are kinda slim.

If the total assets of the association equals $9500, then you want out NOW. They are essentially bankrupt. Any major expenses incurred will be passed on as assessments to all owners. They can't afford many re-roofing jobs, let alone any other major repairs that might be needed.
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They are essentially bankrupt. Any major expenses incurred will be passed on as assessments to all owners.

As this is a small condo complex, that size of reserve has proven adequate. While I have been here, roofs have been replaced and parking lots repaved without special assessments.

Heard back from the realtor wrt the property: side setback of 24 feet may be a problem, or not. My house plan is only 29 feet wide, but the lot varies from 73 feet at water's edge to 110 at the road. Depends on the width where I would want to site the house.

Deal killer is their requirement the garage be attached to the house. Typical lake lot, it's long and narrow and if I site the house for optimal view of the lake, I'd have a 100' long driveway to clear of snow, and I know what it's like to live in the Lake Michigan lake effect belt.

The laffer is, they have another lot on this lake that varies from 60' to 70' wide. With a 24' setback on each side, you couldn't put anything wider than a mobile home on it.

Steve....back to the drawing board.
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Deal killer is their requirement the garage be attached to the house. Typical lake lot, it's long and narrow and if I site the house for optimal view of the lake, I'd have a 100' long driveway to clear of snow, and I know what it's like to live in the Lake Michigan lake effect belt.

Two story with lower level narrower than upper--also means less risk of loss if bottom level floods. 20' wide bottom level is 2+ vehicles wide. 25' upper level overhangs 30" on both sides--no big deal. Lower-level "great room"? "Man cave"? Mega-storage? Rentable efficiency apt? Lots of options if getting older--so plan for it now. No basement due to lake.
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"a blank canvas for you to build your dream home on"

or... "a blank canvas on which to build your dream home"

because......

A preposition is not something to end a sentence with.
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Two story with lower level narrower than upper--also means less risk of loss if bottom level floods. 20' wide bottom level is 2+ vehicles wide. 25' upper level overhangs 30" on both sides--no big deal. Lower-level "great room"? "Man cave"? Mega-storage? Rentable efficiency apt? Lots of options if getting older--so plan for it now. No basement due to lake.

No flood issues with basement. Building sites are on top of bluff overlooking lake. Zooming in on the sat pix on Google maps, the stairs from the houses down to the lake are long, probably more than 50' elevation change. Take another look at the pix on the listing and you'll get an impression of the elevation.

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3865-Forest...

My plan is 2 bedrooms, kitchen, laundry in the bathroom and living room on main floor, with office, half bath and home theatre in front half of walk out basement. I like the idea of a underground theatre as the neighbors may not wish to hear the soundtrack from some of my noisier favorites.

What's so neat about the place is it's a gated community in the forest, with the 25 acres of property behind the lakefront lots locked up in a nature conservancy, so the area will remain forested.

You can't touch property like that closer to a city for $75K. My Aunt sold her lake house, on a similar lot, for $450K, and the new owners immediately tore down her house so they could build something bigger. It was the same setup: situated in an oak forest, overlooking a lake from a bluff, backed by a nature conservancy, but it was closer to the city. I'm retired, so I don't care about commuting distance.

If it wasn't for the garage thing...

Steve....say, what do snow blowers cost?
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Zooming in on the sat pix on Google maps, the stairs from the houses down to the lake are long, probably more than 50' elevation change. Take another look at the pix on the listing and you'll get an impression of the elevation.


Steve if you use Google Earth they give you the ASL where your cursor is.


My place is 124 meters ASL.

Tim
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Building sites are on top of bluff overlooking lake.

Ah, that does make a difference <g>. Our family "cabin" is lakefront--and probably within 50 feet of the lake. No basement because of the lake.

I would check into *where* they measure to the property line. Any part of the building (visible or not)? Or the first floor at any point? Or at ground level? If you can design around their distance requirements, then it is no problem. But you have to know what those specific requirements *actually* are first.
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Steve if you use Google Earth they give you the ASL where your cursor is.

Darn clever...OK kids, the lake is at 615 ft. The existing houses on each side of the lot are at 680 and 678. Oddly, the ground seems to slope downward again toward the access road, some 6-8 feet lower than the houses on the edge of the bluff.

Fortunately, Google's pix were taken in winter or early spring as the trees are nekked, so I can see. At a low eyeball height I get a good look at the profile of the bluff.

Steve
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Oddly, the ground seems to slope downward again toward the access road, some 6-8 feet lower than the houses on the edge of the bluff.

Oh that will add some adrenalin on those icy days. }};-()


Tim <loves Google Earth> 443
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Oh that will add some adrenalin on those icy days. }};-()

The house I grew up in had about that much slope to the drive. One snowy day, the brakes on mom's Rambler froze. She got a running start to get up the snow covered drive, couldn't stop, and bunted the back of the garage hard enough to push it out about 3 inches.

Steve
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If you can design around their distance requirements, then it is no problem. But you have to know what those specific requirements *actually* are first.

True. The house I am using for a prototype was only 28' wide at the foundation. The lot is 73' at the lake, widening to 110' at the road. With 48' total of setback, what the width is at the top of the bluff, and whether they measure from the foundation or edge of the eves are both factors.

'course, I could game this. The lot next door to the one I'm interested in is also for sale. It's only 60' at the lake and 70' at the road, so with the setback requirement, there is only room for a mobile home, which would not go over well with the other residents. I could:

a: offer a lowball bid for both lots. The one I'm interested in is $75K. The other one is $45K. Together they'd be a whisker over an acre.

b: buy the one that I'm really interested in, but procrastinate about building. by buying the larger lot, it prevents someone else buying both. then wait for the seller to dispare of selling the too small lot, and make a lowball offer.

With both lots, I can plop casa del Steve in the middle with no worries about setback.

Steve
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a: offer a lowball bid for both lots. The one I'm interested in is $75K. The other one is $45K. Together they'd be a whisker over an acre.

b: buy the one that I'm really interested in, but procrastinate about building. by buying the larger lot, it prevents someone else buying both. then wait for the seller to dispare of selling the too small lot, and make a lowball offer.

With both lots, I can plop casa del Steve in the middle with no worries about setback.


The question not asked is very important: Variances. If someone else bought the smaller lot, how likely would it be they could be given a variance to build within (say) 10' of the lot line due to the narrowness of the plot (existing rules do not permit a "reasonable" house to be built on that land--and the city/town knows it). It could also be argued the city/town *intended* for a mobile home to be sited there because that is the only reasonable structure that could be legally put on the land (in terms of size).

And then THAT gives you the same rational argument to build your house on a single plot with a variance.
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If someone else bought the smaller lot, how likely would it be they could be given a variance to build within (say) 10' of the lot line due to the narrowness of the plot (existing rules do not permit a "reasonable" house to be built on that land--and the city/town knows it).

This is a gated community on a private road. The CC&Rs from the homeowners association are to keep the riffraff out. Besides the setback, they require a minimum of 1,400 sqft, max height of 35', and they require the garage be attached to the house, so there may be a total ban on outbuildings to make sure no one puts up a pole barn. I looked at the satellite pix and none of the existing homes have any outbuildings.

In that enviornment, regardless how badly someone may want to sell that lot, the existing homeowners would probably be up in arms over the neighborhood being "degraded" and vote against the variance from the CC&Rs.

What amazes me is that anyone laid the lot out like that in the first place.

Steve
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What amazes me is that anyone laid the lot out like that in the first place.

Agreed. Who owns the unbuildable lot? Makes a huge difference on being able to make an offer for it--or if a lowball would even be considered. The only potential buyers would be adjacent property owners due to the community building requirements.

With 1400sf minimum, a minimum of a 2-story building is required--and I assume they are counting total enclosed square footage (including the basement). 20 x 35 ft per floor (or bigger).

Imagine a 4+story skinny building on that lot. As long as pre-approval of a house design is not required, that COULD happen given that lot. And not much the association could do as long as the building met "spec".
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Agreed. Who owns the unbuildable lot?

Don't know. It's offered by the same realtor as the larger lot.

Imagine a 4+story skinny building on that lot.

Not going to happen. The CC&Rs include a 35ft height restriction.

Looks like someone else will have to discover the answers. On consultation with other family members, a move to west Michigan is out at this time.

Steve
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On consultation with other family members, a move to west Michigan is out at this time.

It seems like a bad time to move to the state that contains Detroit.

Trouble enough living in the country that contains California, Illinois, and the District of Columbia.
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It seems like a bad time to move to the state that contains Detroit.

I not only live in the same state as Detroit, I presently live in the same county as Detroit. Moving 120 miles west would be an improvement.

Steve
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Not going to happen. The CC&Rs include a 35ft height restriction.

From ground level. So 3-4 levels above ground (flat roof) and one or two levels below ground.

Don't know. It's offered by the same realtor as the larger lot.

Make a single offer for BOTH lots (both or none) and let them deal with it.
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Make a single offer for BOTH lots (both or none) and let them deal with it.

I'm thinking if I offer for both, they might hold out for a higher offer. If I offer on the larger lot only, then they are left holding the bag on the small lot, with no viable options other than the existing holders on both sides.

I'm inclined to buy, regardless whether I ever actually move there, just because property like that, with that kind of view, is getting hard to come by.

Steve
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>>property like that, with that kind of view, is getting hard to come by.<<

Here's the Wiki blurb on the lake the lot overlooks

Lake Allegan is an all-sports lake located in Valley Township just outside of the city of Allegan in the U.S. state of Michigan (Allegan County). The lake has a large surface area of almost 1,600 acres (2.5 mi², 6.475 km²). The lake is known for producing a variety of fish including perch, bluegill, bass, catfish, carp, walleye, and northern pike. Salmon runs occur on the western side of Lake Allegan's Calkins Bridge dam which leads to Lake Michigan via the Kalamazoo River. Lake Allegan has become a major recreational area and a very desirable lake to build high-end homes around

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Allegan

Steve
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Agreed. Who owns the unbuildable lot?

Got the parcel number from the realtor and started digging in the county tax records.

The parcel I am interested in is #5

The skinny, unbuildable one is #6

On the other side of #6 is #7, a really nice large lot.

In 97, one party bought both #6 and #7, from the same party, for $189K. The country records show it as a single purchase.

On 3/2/07, the same party that bought #6 and #7, bought #5, for $155K.

On 9/7/07, #7 was sold for $333K, leaving the party that started all this in 97 with #5 and #6.

That party has both #5 and #6 for sale, as seperate lots.

My hunch is that 6 was originally part of 7. When 5 became available, he carved that thin slice off of 7 with the intention of combining it with 5, while he sold the remainder of 7 for a nice gain, making his cost for 6 less than zero.

His wheeling and dealing looked OK in 07, but now?

paid in 97: $189K-

paid in 07: $155K-

sold in 07: $333K

ask for #5: $75K

Net: $64K cash + a skinny, unbuildable lot

And, to top it off, he hasn't paid property tax on either parcel since Sept of 2011.

Steve
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And, to top it off, he hasn't paid property tax on either parcel since Sept of 2011.

Inquire of the county when they will go up for tax auction.
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Inquire of the county when they will go up for tax auction.

That's crossed my mind as well. Here's what the county says:

In 1999 the Michigan Legislature changed the Delinquent Property Tax Laws. Public Act 123 of 1999 significantly shortens the amount of time property owners have to pay their delinquent taxes and reduces your opportunities to redeem your home. Property owners with taxes that are two (2) years delinquent will be foreclosed and the property will be sold at public auction within the third year.

http://www.allegancounty.org/Government/TR/DelinquentTaxes.a...

So, if he doesn't pay anything, the clock runs out Sept 2013. He could pay the summer 2011 tax, which is only about $300, and bump that out to the deadline for the winter 2011 tax, which would be Feb 2014.

The parcel I'm really interested in is already $1,400 in arrears. The 2012 winter taxes just went out, which will be around another $1,200, due by mid Feb.

If I really wanted to play hardball, I could get the nice parcel wrapped up, then offer the guy $1 for the unbuildable one, just so he "gets out from under the continuing tax burden". "Better to sell to me for a dollar, then let the county have it for nothing" I'd tell him.

Steve
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