We got word that the builder from whom we're in the process of buying a townhouse is having some legal/financial problems. Apparently he owes a number of people money and they've decided patience isn't working anymore; they're activating the liens on his property, and that includes the townhouse we want.
At first we were hoping that the creditors might let the sale go through, on the grounds that letting the builder come into a nice pile of cash would mean he's more likely to be able to pay them at least something, rather than taking the property, having to go through the seizure procedure for however many months, and then sell it themselves. But our realty guy found out that the builder owes the bank too, and that the sale of the townhouse will only pay them off; he wasn't going to make any actual profit on the townhouse sale. If that's accurate, then the creditors have every reason to want the townhouse itself, and no motivation at all to let him sell it. :/
Our finance guy is still looking into things; he knows some people at the builder's bank and is trying to see if there's a way through the mess. I'm not holding my breath, though, and we pretty much expect to activate the recision (a document which basically says, "Sorry, not interested in diving into your mess," and lets us get our earnest money back) by Monday latest.
Jim's been looking through the real estate listings for the last couple of days, and our real estate guy's been running around screening properties for us. We went and looked at a couple today. One's a big house (almost 2500 square feet) just a block and a half from that cool shopping center near the townhouse; it's not quite as convenient as the townhouse would've been, but it's still a great location. It's also a lot larger, and has a big backyard, which pleases me very much. The downside is that it's almost sixty years old. The wiring is ancient -- only five circuits for the whole house, and none of the outlets are grounded. We'd have to upgrade the wiring to handle computers and associated gear, plus the usual living room and kitchen electronics a 21st century family has these days. The finished basement also needs work; it doesn't suck, and we've seen a lot worse, but it needs insulation and new wallboard at least, and the whole place could use new windows to help keep the weather out and our energy bills down. There are some issues with the siding, and something weird about the downspout drains, plus if we want a dog we'd need to refence the yard.
The wiring and insulation/walls downstairs will be the big ticket items, though, unless a home inspector trips over something major. Depending on how much it'd realistically cost to upgrade the place, we might or might not be able to afford it.
We also looked at another townhouse. It's nice, about 100 square feet smaller than the other townhouse, but with a little fenced yardlet like the other one. The grounds aren't as nice -- the builder packed as many units as physically possible on to the lot, with most of them very skinny and one model four stories to get a reasonable amount of space onto the footprint, and standing outside one gets the impression of an asphalt canyon. There's no open ground, not a bush or a blade of grass to be seen. It's kind of depressing. The units are nice on the inside, but the environment leaves a bit to be desired. It's also at least a mile to the nearest shopping.
We have a few other places we want to look at this weekend, and our real estate guy's hunting for more. I'm sure we'll find something that'll work for us, even if the house we saw today turns out to be unworkable. It's just a bummer to have to start over at this point. :/