Quite a bit has happened in the two months since the last post. Since then, I got both appraisals done, had the attorney draw up an offer letter and have gotten an acceptance. As you probably know, an acceptance is nothing until it is signed, and I’ve been holding myself back from posting anything so I don’t jinx it. But, here’s some details on what happened so far.
The second appraiser was completely different from the first. He used comparables from a totally different part of my neighboring area and they came back much higher. I disagreed with his choice of properties because they were in a completely different development. He used values from the local government sites, whereas the first used information from a service called CoreLogic, which I felt was more accurate. In the end, I ended up with a $20k difference between the two appraisals. I didn’t have the money to do a buyout at the highest appraisal, so I took the midpoint of the two values, then subtracted my co-owners unpaid obligations. The result was almost exactly the original purchase price of the house.
I took supporting documentation and the numbers to my attorney and had him do his thing. That cost me $1500. I thought that would be the end of it. My co-owner contacted me with questions and after we hammered those out, I contacted my attorney to write up the revisions. This is where I was a little surprised. The original $1500 was just to write the offer letter – nothing more. For another $1500, he will draw up the actual purchase contract and quit claim deed. Whew, that’s not cheap. But I think that’s the last step, at least I hope it is.
The contract states that within 14 days of signing, we will exchange payment for the signed deed. Then, within 60 days after signing, my co-owner will have all personal property removed from the house. And then, freedom. What does freedom cost? $475 in consultations with three lawyers, $400 in a failed offer by one lawyer (you get what you pay for?), $750 in appraisals, and $3000 in a (potentially) successful offer and contract by another lawyer. That’s a total of $4625. but it’s less than the $5000 to do a partition and possibly lose even more by having a forced sale.
In the future, I also have to contact the mortgage company and refinance the property into my name only. That may have some details worth recording. I’m not sure what may need to happen with the county property appraiser. Maybe the quit claim deed gets filed with the county? More to come.