Portland, Maine - Munjoy Hill SFR - Fix & Flip or ???????

5 Replies

Hi Folks,

We finally closed this deal after a couple of months of hard work, finesse, and tenacity. This one came to us by word of mouth as the property was headed to market but wasn't quite there. We stayed at an Air BnB in the neighborhood while in Portland to make what turned out to be a failed offer on another property. I've been looking in the Portland area for a few months, had established a solid relationship with a Realtor who would act as a buyer's agent, and we had decided where we did and didn't want to be in Portland after looking at about thirty houses. Late on the last night of this trip one of our Air BnB hosts texted that they knew of a house down the street owned by a widower who might be interested in selling his house. Not having a name or phone number, we stopped in on our way out of town in the morning, introduced ourselves, and asked if he was interested in selling his house. His son was there, a dead ringer for Raymond, the Dustin Hoffman character in the movie Rainman, and an eleven year old boy who was very concerned because he couldn't find his tarantula that had escaped from his whatever it is you keep tarantulas in. A buyer with a little more foresight at this point might have had a better idea of what they were getting in to, but that wouldn't have been us. Let me, take a moment to introduce my wife and partner in crime, "C" aka "Sweetie". A tour of the house confirmed what we already knew, that this was a full gut renovation project held together by sixty years of nicotine, sticky stuff, and a shear will to stay upright. After an hour, we excused ourselves and retreated to one of the "Foodie" hot spots a half block away, and over espresso (coffee wouldn't have been strong enough), called our realtor, got a quick  confirmation that it was a hell of a deal, and decided to take the plunge. Luckily it was only a half block walk so there wasn't time for second thoughts, and within five minutes, I was shaking the owner's hand on "the deal". 

The ride back to NYC was one of shell shock, WTFs, Awesome !!!!, and okay now whats? We left a check for the earnest money with our realtor and the contract arrived via email while we were driving. By the time we got home, the deal was under contract. Complete turnaround time from when we heard about the house to contract was sixteen hours.  It only gets more interesting from here but my fingers hurt from typing : - ) Stay tuned for more in the continuing saga of " The Portland Purchase", or "How Fast Can You Chew How Much You Bit Off?

Chapter 2: Meeting The Family.

Can't wait to hear more!  I used to own a 2 unit on Munjoy Hill.  Lived in and rehabbed a house with great bones, and lots of work needed.  Still miss it!

I'm looking around the Portland area as well....looking forward to hearing how it turns out!

Nice. Deals on the peninsula are far and few between. I am curious about the details. What are the next steps for you? I live in Portland and have done 1 rehab and am looking for a second. 

Glad to hear your hard work is paying off! 

Hi All,

Where did we leave off? Ah yes, "The Family"  !!

In most cases, there is a seller and there is a buyer, making it a two party deal. Add spouses and it could be four. Initially it appeared in this case that there would be one seller, a widower, and two buyers, me and Sweetie. We had a handshake between the seller, Wally, and the buyer, me, cemented by a purchase offer signed by the three of us. Cool !! Lots of paperwork later we have a closing date which will require a trip to Portland ( Yay, more lobstahs and chowdah) a few signatures, and budda bing, we will own a house in Portland, Maine.

The closing is to be on Monday, so we drive up on the prior Saturday, with bank check in hand. On the way we receive an email message from our realtor, Robert, that he's standing in front of the house, and that there are about ten family members hanging out, but that the house is still full of furniture and no one seems to be loading it in to the non-existent truck.  More of a problem is the fact that one of Wally's daughters, there are nine siblings altogether, hasn't signed off on the sale yet, and that until she does, we can't close. We postpone for a day and Robert let's them know that we're on our way, and that they really need to pull things together on their side. Robert sounds concerned on the phone. 

Fast forward through the week, a Wednesday closing doesn't happen, Thursday doesn't happen, but there is hope that we will close on Friday morning. On the plus side, the contents of the house are diminishing. We are in constant email and phone contact with the various folks on our closing team, and by now we're even getting messages from some of the family members who are  doing their best to assist in moving things along. With ample time to Google, we're learning more about Wally and his family, all of whom it turns out, we are buying the house from, and all of whom have to sign off on the deal. All but one, Sarah, have done so, but in her case, she just can't bring herself to sign the documents because she is overwhelmed with grief at having lost her mother a few years before, and fond memories of all the family gatherings that have taken place in the house over the years. This has been the family homestead for almost sixty years, and it's beginning to dawn on me that there are unexpected emotional complications. We're told that if we can get Sarah's signature by 11:00 AM on Friday morning, we can close in the afternoon, just short of the holiday weekend, which means no business on Monday. Keep in mind that we were supposed to have been home the prior Wednesday, and back to work keeping the balls in the air for my contracting business. With gentle nudging by Richard & Co., Sarah agreed to meet the notary on Friday morning at 10:00 AM, the same time that we are to do a final pre-closing walkthrough at the house. We arrive in the neighborhood at around 9:00 AM and decide to do a slow drive-by to see what is going on at the house. We're pretty incognito at this point as we think they won't remember the car, and we'll pull our baseball caps down :-) What we see, unobserved, is a dark haired woman clinging to and crying at the gate. We figure this must be Sarah, with lots of family members and friends still milling about, and Wally sitting in his customary chair in the front yard, looking as happy as a clam, surrounded by family. You would have thought it was Thanksgiving.

We take a table at our by now favorite neighborhood café, order coffee, and call Robert with our report. He seems only slightly ruffled and tells us that Sarah was supposed to have gone to the their office to sign the documents, but that she decided to go to the house instead. Fear not, they have sent someone to snatch her up as she doesn't drive. The clock continues ticking !! At 10:00 AM sharp I walk the half block to the house, thinking that low key is the way to approach the situation. Sweetie will hang back until I call with the coast is clear. I'm met by Raymond, remember "Rainman" from the first diary entry, who guides me through the now empty house. On this end we are clear for a closing. It is now 11:15, Sweetie has arrived, and we are optimistic. My phone rings, Robert's smiling face appears on the screen, and I pick up expecting good news from his end, and that the signature is had. This is however, not the case. Apparently Sarah melted down again, and still hasn't signed. The closing was again postponed.

Oops time to get to work. I'll have to continue later. This may seem long to you but I can guarantee, it seemed like forever to us !!  All I can tell you is that it only gets more interesting.

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