I started my search by setting up some filters in Trulia and Zillow. I found a place built around 1920 listed for 187K. The house is on the west side of Wildwood and near North Wildwood. It had been on the market for over a year and in the pictures it seemed like a good amount of original detail was left, but needed some work. There was evidence of a leak in the top floor but overall things looked good.
I contacted the listing agent and went to see the house with my spouse and a friend. The owners were there and they were really helpful in explaining what they did to the house. They had upgraded the electric and put central air in. A few of the windows had been replaced with vinyl windows, which was a negative to me, but you can't have everything. They explained that the house was abandoned and about to be destroyed by the nearby school, but the school ran out of money and they purchased it to restore. Their financial situation wasn't good so they had to sell.
I thought it over and went for a return visit with my brother and his girlfriend for a second look. This time through I took more notice of what needed to be addressed, but overall I liked the house and decided to put in an offer. After chatting with the listing agent, he said the house had been on the market for over a year because of low-ball offers, so I wanted to come in with something respectful. I put in my offer, and then waited, and waited, and waited.
That's when things got weird. The seller and the seller's attorney started avoiding their own agent. Weeks went by with no response and then finally the attorney got back to the agent. The attorney said the bank was going to foreclose on the house but the seller wanted to try and save it.
The agent called and said there was some weird arrangement with their bank where the bank took ownership of the house and the sellers lived there for a year without paying mortgage and now with my serious offer they were forced to face the music. I guess that's why it sat for a year.
I waited a few more days and finally I received word the sellers were able to get their bank do an adjustment on their mortgage and were taking it off the market. So that offer fell through.
Back to the drawing board. I'm not too pissed off about losing the house since the owners want to keep their place so I guess I can understand them playing the system to keep their investment alive. The agent got screwed since he was showing this house for a year not realizing the sellers had no intention of selling.