The realtor sighed glumly. "I won't lie to you. The location is wonderful. The site is wonderful. But the house is horrible." He didn't add, "And the seller is erratic." He didn't need to, that's why he was there.
After three months of searching five counties for a house, it was clear that this 1920s cottage for sale by owner was the best for us. It was near the campus. Years ago it had been a private day care center, so it had once been child-friendly. But the current owners had painted it atrocious colors inside and out, tore down the second story off the two-story garage, planted cacti around the house, and collected vicious feral dogs that terrorized the neighborhood until the neighbors bought them an electric fence. The roof was sagging, the cabinets were falling off the walls, the trim work was less than half done (and in some cases had been stopped in the middle of a door) and mad-dog-chewed, and the owner broke the floor by stepping in the middle of the kitchen while showing us the house. For this the owner wanted 50% above the market value, as is, no inspections, no appraisals, we wouldn't even get to see the backyard because of the dogs. Or maybe she wouldn't sell it to us, she kept changing her story. After a few weeks of going nowhere we brought in our own realtor to handle the negotiations.
And all this while we were in the middle of dealing with the harassment issues.
The realtor walked the seller through the inspection and appraisal process, where we found out that the wiring and the plumbing had been messed up but the foundation and the walls were sound. Magically the price dropped to just over market value, although she tried to leave us us the feral dogs.
The worst of the repairs are done, and we've started on the renovations. Normally in regard to houses we're pretty laid back, "we'll just live with it" kind of people. We don't tear out carpets just because we dislike the color or some such, but in this case there's been so much half-done DIY and bad DIY we feel the need to replace it with good DIY. We're working on the kitchen cabinets now, with more to come.