Foreclosure. The word conjures up images of waist-high weeds and shuttered windows for homebuyers scouring the market.
For Shari Kaplan, it was water damage and the smell of urine. The Smithtown native stumbled upon her house in Lynbrook on a real estate website and fell in love with its brick facade. She didn’t know it was a foreclosed home. Inside the house, which had sat vacant for months, was a kitchen that needed gutting, carpenter ants and a hallway floor that had been used as a toilet by the previous owner’s dogs.
“It smelled like pee, but I didn’t care, I wanted this house,” says Kaplan.
She and her husband had been renting a two-bedroom in Queens and were ready to own their first place. And they dreamed of having a backyard. “I would never have been able to buy on this block,” says Kaplan about the steep discount they received on the foreclosed property.
Thomas McGiveron, a licensed associate real estate broker with Coldwell Banker in West Islip, said that the upside to buying a foreclosed home is a price 5 to 20 percent under market value, giving people who couldn’t previously afford it a chance to buy. “But eight out of 10 foreclosures need some rehab,” McGiveron cautions. “You have to factor the cost of repairs into the price.”
Kaplan learned this the hard way. “This house was crying, it needed a lot of help and love,” she says.
Between the mortgage and repairs, she spent up to her highest price, but got a home she is in love with. “I walk in every day and I’m so thankful,” she says.