Newmans Own

A Mystery on Brandywine Street

I was not impressed with thishouse . And when she looked at it in February, neitherwas Nora . It was a foreclosure special, and even though it was cheaprelative to the neighborhood, it needed work. So we moved on, though I made amental note to keep track of what happened to the place. If it sold for morethan list ($629,900), I figured, then this market was still seriously out ofwhack.

I learned last month that not only did it sell for more thanlist price—it sold for 25 percent more than list price. (See also thissite .) What kind of madness was this? Then I noticed the sale price—$789,000—was about what the property was assessed for. I chalkedit up to my ignorance and inexperience as a first-time would-be homebuyer.Maybe the bank was obligated by its fiduciary duty to its shareholders toaccept nothing less than assessed value on its houses. There was probably aprovision to this effect in the TARP legislation. Tim Geithner drives a hardbargain.

Which was a ridiculous thought—I have a fair amount ofthose—because the bank wouldn’t have offered it for less than itsassessed value if it couldn’t have accepted less than its assessed value. What wasgoing on here?

The mystery only deepened when I learned— just today! (thanks, Frank)— that the house soldfor $651,000. (See also this site .)   What happened to the earlier sale? Did someone buy it again? A check of thepublic record (you have to type in the address) shows only the earliersale, from February.

Maybe the earlier price was a mistake. Maybe the later one is. Maybe there has been a glitchin the D.C records-keeping department. Maybe, hard as it may be to believe, Ihave uncovered amistake on the Internet . Undoubtedly, there are things I do not know about the foreclosure process.

Oh well. It was near the top of our price range and needed a lot of work, so we weren’t going to buy this house anyway. So no non-buyer’s remorse for us. We’ll save that for houses we could actually have afforded.