The Buyer’s Blog: My First Time Home Buying Experience, Part II
August 2, 2016 |
Some homebuyers struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They keep getting outbid on an offer, their dream home hasn’t popped up on the market, or they are just plain frustrated constantly looking at homes that aren’t right for them. You might remember from Part I of my blog that we waited too long to make an offer on our first choice house. Upon losing our top pick, we decided to make an offer on our second choice home. But the plot thickens. This home is a short sale. Plot twist. This home is a short sale that already has another offer on it.
Our realtor made us aware of the challenges that could come with a short sale. The deal could take months, we could end up in a bidding war, Wells Fargo could choose the other offer, or in the end we could win out and get the house. Either way, we were in a great position to be bidding on a short sale property because if we found another home we liked better, we could remove our offer on the short sale without any penalty.
It’s the process of “hurry up and wait.” We hurried to make an offer then we had to play the waiting game. We waited to see what happened to our offer while still keeping our eyes peeled for other homes to come on the market. We had to keep a positive attitude! It is definitely a test of patience, communication and compromise.
Over the month of June, we were discouraged. We learned that our offer on the short sale was accepted as only a “back up” offer in case the first offer fell through. We decided to resign a one year lease on our apartment that was up July 31; However, opportunities in life seem to happen when you least expect it.
A 3 bed, 2.5 bathroom with a partial finished basement and beautiful backyard home popped up in our prime neighborhood, so we scheduled a showing for the next day. Looking at the photos on Realtor.com, we weren’t sure if it was going to give us all the space we needed. Plus, the home would eventually need some upgrading, and we kept comparing it to the turn-key ready short sale we had put an offer on. But having gone through enough showings, we know what we needed to look for and needed to keep an open mind to future home improvement projects.
So what did we do during the showings? WE EMBRACED THE BIG PICTURE. We took the time to walk through the home and see if we could picture ourselves cooking in the kitchen, watching our kids play in the back yard, and investing a life time of memories (and money) into equity. We had to remember that anything can be updated, but needed to make sure that the “bones” of the home were there and that it was going to give us the space we needed.
To us, keeping an open mind and being able to see the potential was extremely important when looking through homes. Unattractive wall paper, an unfinished basement and gaudy light fixtures can deter any buyer if they can’t keep a fresh perspective. Wallpaper can be taken down and basements can be finished, you just have to be creative! After watching Love It or List It marathons every week, I’ve definitely been able to see the potential in any home.
As soon as we walked through the house, we knew it was the right one for us. We walked through every part of the house, inside and out, talking about how great the backyard would be for family gatherings, how the living room would make a perfect spot for the Christmas tree, the list goes on. We wasted no time deliberating. We realized that winning the short-sale was a long shot, and did not want to miss out on the opportunity to purchase just as fabulous a home. We put an offer in the next day, and provided the seller with 24 hours to counter. Waiting for the counter offer was nerve wracking – thousands of scenarios ran through my mind: with each hour that passed, more and more potential buyers could be seeing the house, another buyer could have put in an offer higher than ours and now we could be competing with multiple offers. I was constantly checking my phone and email to see if the realtor finally had an answer for us. After four days of negotiating we finally settled and the sellers accepted our offer!
So we’ve found a home and the offer has been accepted – now what? Many potential homebuyers may not realize that there is a laundry list of things needed to be done before closing. Stay tuned for Part III where I will share my experience with working with the lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, and more!