Tag Archives: a foolish bank and its money …

Spec house troubles = bank woes

I’m just back from viewing a spec house that local bank has gained control of. It was planned, I’m told, as a high 7 million sale but was available for what the bank’s owed: a little more than half that. I have clients interested in that kind of math so off I went  to check it out. Someone’s going to lose here, big.

The street this house sits on is a good one but like some boys, streets can come to a bad end. This one does, and the house is at that end, pressed up against the highway with enough ambient noise to drown out any nearby leaf blowers, if that’s a consideration. The building site is really a bathtub, scraped out below the original grade, and is approached by a narrow, steep driveway that wends its way through a swamp. There’s a Tobacco Road thing going on, with cheap, nasty houses on either side, complete with back yard dumps for unwanted household detritus. Inside, from what I could see, there is an undersized kitchen with an even smaller “family room”, and a dining room that can accommodate a friendly family of four. The place was locked so I couldn’t see upstairs but I imagine the same lack of design was executed there, too.

This house is not worth the $4 million the bank’s owed. I would recommend it at $2 million, I guess, and, if someone really wanted this location, maybe $2.5, but that’s it. I’m sure there’s been far more money sunk in here than that, between land and construction costs, but it shouldn’t have been. I understand how a builder could let his optimism override his good sense; how could a local bank be so blind?

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