New to Shadow Buyer? Start Here

The Post That Started It All – October 2009

This website is for home owners in the Santa Monica and Brentwood neighborhoods of Los Angeles, CA, particularly those who have a  home for sale, or who have been considering selling a home before the end of 2009.

I created this site because I want to buy a home before 2010, and I believe that theMLS.com, Redfin.com, Zillow.com and the whole traditional residential real estate transaction process often does more to prevent the sale of a home than to enable it.

As a seller, or a potential seller, don’t you want a direct line to a ready buyer?  And if you were me – a ready buyer, with a ticking clock and cash burning a hole in your pocket – wouldn’t you want to make yourself known to all of the people who might want to sell what you want to buy (whether or not they’ve listed it)?

I may be  a little early on my timing.  In fact, I think prices are still settling down, and I sense that there is a bunch of shadow inventory out there.  But, I have a unique set of personal circumstances that make this the right time.  If you knew me, you would find that almost unbelievable, because I have been a life-long renter in Santa Monica and Brentwood.

So, with no further ado, I’ll tell you what I am looking for after the jump:

  • 4 bedrooms.  More would be okay.  Less would not.  One of them needs to be a real master.
  • 2.5 bathrooms.  More would be okay.  Less would not.  None of them should be of the “toilet behind the laundry room for the gardener and housekeeper to use” variety.
  • A yard that is not overwhelmed by a giant or dilapidated pool.  A modestly-sized, well-maintained pool would be fine.  Grass, deck, patio, trees – all fine with me.
  • A garage that holds two cars.  Direct access to the house would be ideal, but is not required.
  • Caffeine Adjacency – At least one of the these Starbucks locations must accessible on foot (10 min. or less):  Brentwood Village, Montana Ave., San Vicente (@Barrington or 26th)
  • Quasi move-in condition.  It doesn’t have to be pristine, or even recently remodeled.  But the bathrooms need to be of this era, as does the kitchen.  Extra points for SubZero, Viking, Bosch or similar appliances, and an open floor plan.

Here’s what I can offer you:

  • A purchase price between $1.6 million and $3.0 million, with financing already pre-approved by a first-tier lender (subject to the usual appraisal contingencies).
  • 30-day escrow, plus a lease-back if you need it.
  • No existing home sale contingency.  As I mentioned above, I’m the world’s longest renter, and in a month-to-month situation.  Not having a house to sell means that I am not going to bail on our deal because I can’t get someone to buy my house to free up cash for my mortgage down payment.
  • Discretion.  If you have avoided listing your house because you don’t want to telegraph it to the entire neighborhood, that’s fine with me.  I am convinced that there are dozens of “shadow inventory” homes out there that would be for sale, but that their owners have opted not to list for some reason.  I would be thrilled to buy such a shadow home – hence the name of this blog.
  • Your neighbors will like us.  So even after you move out, your old neighbors won’t call you up to say, “Man, you really left us holding the bag with these new neighbors.”
  • Visitation rights.  Fifteen years from now, if you want to bring your kids or grandkids by the house to get a look at where they used to live, that’d be fine with me.  Just give us some notice, and we’ll be happy to give you a tour.

Caveats:

  • I only want to buy one home.
  • Price matters to me.  Lower is better.
  • If I get several inquiries from this blog and find multiple homes that look like possibilities, I am going to buy the one that I consider to be the best house, for the best price.  Again, I will not buy all of the houses I am offered, even if they match all of my specifications.  But I do really, really need to buy one.
  • If your home has a rickety roof that needs replacing, rotted structural anything that needs replacing, sloping floors, an ailing foundation, or lacks the bedroom/bathroom/yard/garage/walkability I described above, then it is disqualified.
  • For the last 9 years, I have come to know the world’s nicest, most patient, and longest-suffering real estate agent.  This guy has worked with me on a lot of offers that have resulted in zero purchases, and zero sales commission.  I am an honorable guy, so my realtor WILL be getting paid for time served, even if this website succeeds in finding me my new home.  If you are representing yourself, you can keep your half of the usual commission.  But my guy will get his cut of the purchase price.

If you think my family may be interested in buying your  home, please email me at shadowbuyer (at) gmail (dot) com or have your realtor do so.  Include the relevant details about your home, whether you’d like me to contact you or your realtor to follow up, and anything else you think I should know.  If there is a pricing floor below which you prefer not to sell your home, feel free to include it.  I don’t want to waste your time or mine if we’re going to be too far apart on price.  If I am interested, I will  respond.  And if I’m not interested, I will still respond.  It’s just common courtesy.

Thanks for reading this far.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section, so I can answer them publicly.  Or, if you have private questions, just email me.

Note:  This is for real.  I am NOT a real estate agent looking for new listings.  I am a guy with a wife and a kid who needs a house.  I believe that if we don’t say what we want in life, we are less likely to get it.  Don’t ask, don’t get.  It’s that simple.

If this experiment pans out, I look forward to offering use of this site to other ready home buyers who want to tell potential sellers what they want.  I will also throw an awesome house-warming party and post pictures so you can see how a free WordPress blog that took 10 minutes to set up helped make me a first-time homeowner.

Have a great day.

3 Responses to “New to Shadow Buyer? Start Here”

  1. Why the housing badness must be coming from the sky « Westside Shadow Buyer Says:

    […] if you have a home that meets the parameters laid out in my initial post, other than coffee adjacency, please drop me an e-mail at shadowbuyer (at) gmail (dot) com, and we […]

  2. The Doctor is in, and he is on fire. « Westside Shadow Buyer Says:

    […] to buy it.  If it happens that you have a home you’re considering selling that matches the parameters set out in my initial post, please drop me a […]

  3. Frustrated, Incorporated! « Westside Shadow Buyer Says:

    […] maybe you can help me out.  If you or a friend own a home that meets my specs, drop me an e-mail, and let me know.  If it’s your home, I’ll give you a giant pile of […]

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