A house in Parker County that’s been written about twice in Fort Worth Weekly — once (“Paradise Lost,” June 18, 2008) for having gas-drilling muck kill all the plants along the backyard fence and more recently for having been built in a floodplain (“Paradise Drowned”, Oct. 12, 2011) — is back on the market. For a cool $234,900, you can pick up what looks like a beautiful half-million-dollar home on five lovely acres, with a barn, outdoor jacuzzi, and pool in a gorgeous gated community in Azle.
It’s a steal. So long, that is, as you don’t mind that there is a gas well about 100 feet from that beautiful pool and that dust from the site swirls around the fabulous backyard every time the wind blows. And also if you don’t mind that the house is in the middle of a floodplain, smack on top of a drainage easement, and that water floods into the first floor now and then, causing cracks in the lovely tile floors, ruining rugs, and opening an occasional seam in a wall or the ceiling.
You’ve also got to forgive the fact that the Parker County Appraisal District’s 2011 appraisal of the land was $25,000, and the house, barn, pool, and so forth were appraised at zero. No lie. Which does keep taxes low — a strong selling point. The house listing makes no mention of the appraised value or the floodplain, which Kirk Fuqua, the Parker County floodplain director, said has not been remedied as far as he knows.
Former owners Michael and Annette Daniel discovered the floodplain issue not just after a couple of floods, but specifically when their mortgage holder sent them a note in 2008 that they needed to buy flood insurance that cost $500 a month. The Daniels, barely making ends meet because of the effect the recession was having on their livelihoods, thought they’d be OK because they’d put down $80,000 when they purchased the house in 2007. Unfortunately, that 2011 post-flood appraisal allowed the mortgage company to refuse to refinance the house, leaving the Daniels in a lurch and in foreclosure. The house went back to the bank, and the couple is currently traveling the country in a small trailer — getting by, but just.
Meanwhile their former home is available. It’s a beauty on those days when it’s not raining and the wind blows in the right direction.