The gun in the attic was a surprise.
Emily Luong and her husband, Tony, knew they were in for some unexpected and likely unwelcome discoveries when they bought the century-old home in Arlington, waiving inspection and agreeing to pay $76,000 over asking price.
It was in bad shape, with original single-pane windows and cloth-wrapped wiring, asbestos and mice in the basement. The backyard had standing water and the stove didn’t work.
Then, after moving in last year, they found a 1940s-era shotgun that had gone unnoticed by the prior owners for decades.
“We walked in and were like, ‘OK, we love this house, and we feel like there’s potential because it has to be gutted,’” Emily Luong said. “It was just crappy enough that a lot of people wouldn’t want it.”
Pressures on the Massachusetts housing market, long marked by meager inventory and ever-escalating prices, have intensified to a frenetic point. Buyers are paying eye-popping money for what would be considered rejects in normal circumstances. The Luongs, outbid in six attempts for other homes, ended up paying $825,000 for what is essentially a total rehab.
For many buyers, once unthinkable steps, such as waiving inspections or mortgage contingencies, are now commonplace. Prices have risen to record highs — with the typical single-family house in Greater Boston now routinely topping $750,000 — and the intense demand that erupted after early COVID-19 lockdowns hasn’t slowed.
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