Last summer, if you remember, I was looking at houses and whining because we couldn't find a house to work with our particular physical requirements. I wrote here and here about a builder who specialized in barrier-free construction, and our dealings with him. In short, he built just the kind of house we needed, but was trying to sell them at a cost per square foot way out of step with this region, and was unwilling to do the one thing that would have convinced us to buy - lower the price. He came up with self-financing deals, and offers for his wife the realtor to sell our current house commission-free, and reductions in house size and finish levels, but never got to the point where he priced it competitively with the other builders in town for an equivalent (but not barrier-free) house. And after we said no many times, he quit calling.
There was an air of desperation about him that bothered us. We researched him fully, and there was nothing wrong with him, or his business dealings, or his relationships with his customers, or the quality of his houses. He actually built them a little better than comparable local builders. It was more than his sensing that we were perfect customers for his barrier-free houses and trying to close the deal. He had several developments going on at the same time; we thought he was getting stretched too thin and needed to gin up some cash flow, and quick. And he made us nervous.
Boy, were we right. Yesterday my husband read a notice in the local newspaper that the builder was filing bankruptcy. The completed unsold houses in his developments were to be auctioned and the properties under construction to be sold to other contractors. Our common sense and caution kept us out of a financial mess. If we had signed a construction contract with him, we would probably have lost a lot of money.
There is one townhouse in a subdivision near my current residence that I really liked, which was the model home for the development and was tricked out a little fancier than the rest of the units. If I had considered buying any townhouse, it would have been this one. I'm sure it will be auctioned at a reasonable price, maybe even a bargain. However now, with the economic downturn, I couldn't sell my house and don't want to get into a more valuable property with higher city and county taxes, utilities and other expenses such as homeowner's association fees, even if there wouldn't be a mortgage.
The time isn't right. Isn't that always the way?