What to Expect When Buying a Home: You’ve Found “The One”

by seacoast_ashley 14. August 2015 09:08

If you read last week's blog post, you already know that I have studied, gotten a pre-approval letter, and started the home search. Back in my youth (before time got scarce and kids got plentiful), I loved the search for the perfect house. In all honesty, I still do, but the lazy Saturday mornings of driving to open houses at a whim are gone. Our search has been warp speed. We pack snacks, drinks, coloring books, diapers and plan our route like a trip to Europe.


We had three areas that we wanted to zone in on. All of them offered up great schools, walkability to parks, and the most important factor were in our budget...not a penny over! In total we looked at about 10 houses before we found the one. We knew when we walked in that this house would need work, but we also knew that the location and the house layout were perfect for our young family.

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This is the kind of work I’m talking about here. Anybody know a good tree service?


Because the city that we moved to is experiencing  quite a rebound from the housing market crisis in previous years houses were selling fast. In many cases they are selling above the list prices with multiple offers. We had to make a move, and we had to do it fast. As soon as we viewed the house and buckled everyone into their seats, and passed out waters, and found pacifiers we talked. We drove the neighborhood again, we speculated on what kind of neighbors lived on the street, and then we called our real estate agent and told him that we wanted to make an offer to purchase.


Acting on our Realtor’s advice, we offered full asking price. We asked for closing costs, and the offer would be contingent on our financing and home inspection. Here is where things slowed down, and the dream felt like it was going to die.


As soon as we walked into our rental condo, we started “signing” all of the necessary paperwork. Our realtor was able to prepare and send all documents online. This was extremely helpful. He looked through the documents and informed us that he was submitting the offer. We waited...


At 10pm our realtor called. The seller actually lived overseas, so all offers (and there were a few others) would be held until the following morning and submitted to the seller at the same time. Yikes! 2 days passed and we were freaking out! How long was an offer good for? When would we hear back? Would we hear back? Could we make other offers? The number of questions that our Realtor had to answer was downright embarrassing!  By the end of the third day we were informed that the sellers chose another offer. The house was “under contract.”

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Dreams of the kids coming down these stairs on Christmas...dashed.

My family experienced a strange sort of heartbreak knowing that we were still house hunting. In the short time (not even a week) since seeing the house, we had started to picture our life there. We were so in love with the neighborhood that it seemed like every other neighborhood was not as good. We knew that we would continue looking in this neighborhood, but we also knew that most things that came on the market in this area went under contract super fast, and for more money than we had to spend. I actually cried.


Two weeks later, our luck changed! Our realtor called us one evening to inform us that the contract had fallen through, and that the seller would be putting “our house” back on the market! We immediately told our realtor to resubmit our offer, to take out the closing cost, and to add an extra $1000 to the offer. This would be the strongest offer that we could make, and we did not want to lose out again.


Two nail-biting days later, we were under contract. Our offer to purchase had been in competition with 3 other, but the tweaks to the offer were enough to sway the seller. The kids went to bed talking about their new rooms and my husband and I poured a glass of celebratory wine!


The next morning the drive to close on this house kicked into high gear. There were papers to be signed, inspections to be lined up, loans to qualify for. You can read all about those things on the blog next week!


How did you know that you found “the one”? Did you have to jump through many hoops to make it your own? Let us know on our Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


If you haven’t already found your dream home, we can help!

 

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Selling Your House: Part 5 - Life After the Offer

by seacoast_ashley 3. July 2015 04:33

 

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Pay close attention to these curtains, and read on.


In my last blog post, I talked about the highs, and lows, and long nights of negotiating and accepting an offer. It is an exciting time, but don’t pop that cork (like we did) just yet. Little did my husband and I know, there would be many more hurdles to jump before the whole home selling process was over.


The offer that we accepted put us walking away with a couple thousand dollars. We knew that we would not walk away with lots of money, as we bought our home in the height of the housing market, and although recovering, it was not quite back to the way it had been. We were selling due to a job move, so we were okay with walking away with nothing. The reason that we negotiated our bottom-line at a couple thousand dollars above our break-even point, was so that after the buyers had their inspection and submitted their repair request we would have the money to fix anything necessary. We will talk about that list a little later!


In the Offer to Purchase that we signed, the buyers put down “earnest money.” This is money that shows that they are committed, and if the transaction goes through will go toward their down payment. This gave us peace of mind and let us know that if the deal fell through by some fault of the buyer we would be compensated for the time that the house was off the market.


The Offer also had a due diligence period of three weeks. This time lets the buyer schedule all necessary inspections, appraisals, etc. Some of these inspections were just things that the buyer wanted to check out, and some were necessary for the bank to approve their loan. This three weeks ended up being almost as hectic as the house showing period. Because we wanted the house to make good impressions we continued to clean, tweak, and improve it. Not only were we doing the aforementioned things, but we were also packing. We were moving whether this deal went through or not, so packing could not wait. There was SO MUCH STUFF!


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Renting a POD was one of the best decisions we made. It gave a us a place to put ALL THAT STUFF without making too much of a mess inside the house.


With each inspection (home inspection, pest inspection, roof inspection, inspection of the heating and air unit) came new worries that the buyer might not like what they were hearing. Our stress levels went each time an inspector scheduled a visit. I am sure that the buyer was feeling this same stress and probably second guessing their offer the whole way through.


The day that due diligence was to end the buyer’s agent asked for a due diligence extension... We were floored. Our agent was in constant contact with the buyer’s agent. We were assured that the buyer was no trying to back out, but could not get the all of the inspections that they needed in time. They wanted to extend 3 days. We very reluctantly agreed. One last inspection and the due diligence was ending (at 5pm). We were counting hours.


At 4pm we received the Repairs Request. This is where the deal almost fell apart. Are you stressed out yet? We were!


Having bought and sold houses before, my husband and I both totally expected that there would be a list of things both “biggish” and small that the buyer would ask us to fix. I was expecting things like repair of a crack in the moulding, fixing the light fixture in the bedroom, replacing the back door, etc. What we got went way beyond our wildest dreams!


The repairs report came, and the buyer asked for a new roof, new heat/air unit, gas logs in the fireplace to be serviced, and the list went on and on. In case you missed it, yes I did say a new roof! The estimation for a new roof was $8,000. The estimate for a new heat/air unit was also $8,000. I freaked out! The were asking for well over $20,000 in repairs.


It was time for my agent’s ninja negotiating skills to be exercised. After much sweating and number crunching my husband and I knew that the couple of thousand dollars that we were going to walk away with was all that we could offer. We had our agent call the buyer’s agent and offer $2000 toward closing, we would service the gas logs, and we would service the heat/air unit. There was nothing else that we could offer. We waited, and tried to figure out what we would do with the house when the deal fell through.


We had a response from the buyer within an hour. They would take our offer if we would throw in the living room curtains. It all came down to curtains.

The deal was on, we were back to packing, and it finally felt like we were in the home stretch.


Have you gotten close to a deal and then it fell through? Or, did you sell a home and have a buyer ask for something totally unexpected? Tell me about it on our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/seacoastrealty


Do you need a ninja negotiator? Find an agent on our website

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What to Expect When Listing Your House: The Offer

by seacoast_ashley 19. June 2015 10:31

 

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As soon as our home hit the market we starting showing the house. Four days after going active in our MLS (Multiple Listing Service), our Agent hosted our first open house. Two days later, we had an offer. As soon as the text message came through that our Agent had emailed us a copy of the offer, my husband and I commented that, “This is it! We need champagne for signing!” Ahhh, how that elation quickly deflated.


With shaky hands we opened the offer. It was for a whopping $25,000 less than our list price. For some houses, $25,000 isn’t a very big percentage. But for our house, listed right above $200,000, it was over 25%. There was no way that the offer could work. No matter how fast we needed to move we couldn’t come to the closing table with much cash. We could not afford to sell our house!


Our Realtor's job got pretty stressful pretty quick. He was tasked with calling the Buyer’s agent to let her know that we had a counter-offer. The counter was nowhere near the Buyer’s number. It was only a couple thousand dollars less than our list price. We decided (with our Realtor) when deciding on a list price that we would price aggressively but that it would leave us with little wiggle room in negotiations. We figured that it must just be the Buyer’s negotiating tactic, start super-low and hope that we would all end up somewhere in the middle. This did not work. We came as low as we could, and they came as high as they would. The buyers ended up walking away “to look at other properties.” That deal was dead.


My husband, my Realtor and I were all disappointed. We had our bottom-line number, and although our awesome Agent had gotten us very close, it just wasn’t close enough. No matter how close the number got to our bottom-line we still only had a certain amount of attainable cash to access. That would not change. I am pretty sure that we all had a sinking feeling in our stomachs that it might be a while before we got another offer. What if we could never get close enough to sell? Our family fell into a little depressive state.


Luckily, this “Flat Offer Depression” didn’t last long! Six days later our Realtor hosted another open house (2 open houses and 12 showings if you are keeping track). The next day we had another offer! The offer came in around 7pm. It was even lower than the first offer from the week before.


This was a huge blow. Panic set in. We would never be able to sell this house. We countered-- and then we started pricing the rental market for a 4-bedroom single family home. We were going to have to be landlords...ugh. Buzzz, a new text message. The buyers had countered our counter-offer. They came up a lot! Now the game was really heating up. We poured glasses of wine, and turned the couch into a negotiating command center. The timing of the offer meant that we could be negotiating until very late in the night.


Our Realtor was the voice of calm reason. He could never (by law) give us a number or tell us exactly what to do, but he did offer advice on different scenarios and how it might all play out. This was a huge help! There were things that we hadn’t thought about. By 11:00pm we had reached our bottom-line. We countered with that number, and the notice that this was our lowest number before we would have to walk. The buyer accepted. We were officially under contract!

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I am not a very confrontational person, so the whole process gave my stomach the wiggles. I am grateful that I was not the one on the phone during the negotiating process. The excitement that my husband and I initially felt, quickly shifted to frenzy(how will we get all the stuff packed, where will we go?), then to nostalgia for our our home (hey, we brought three newborn babies into those doors!), and finally to conclusion. We are ready for adventure...little did we know on that night that this house held a whole lot of adventure left for us!


Visit the blog next week to find out what happens after the offer is accepted! We should have saved that nice bottle of champagne for closing night!


Have you ever celebrated too soon? Let us know on our Facebook page

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Are you ready to sell and learn the process for yourself? Or, make an offer and send a seller into a frenzy? Find a Realtor here

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/






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