The Search…

(You can read the intro post to our house hunting adventures here.)

We decided to get serious about our search for a house in January. We got a recommendation for a real estate agent from our friends and met with her the first week of February. We then ended up going to see seven houses our first weekend out, then saw three more later that week. There were two of those that we went back to for a second look, but ultimately we decided not to put an offer in on any of them.

That basically got us caught up on what was on the market in our desired locations and our price range, so from there on out we only ended up seeing one or two houses a weekend. The last weekend of February, we saw the first house that we felt like we wanted to put an offer on. We discussed it with our agent and she contacted the listing agent to find out whether they’d received any offers yet and how long they’d be accepting them. She learned that there was already one offer on the house that afternoon and that they were expecting another that night, so we started to get moving so that we could put in an offer the following morning. We planned to meet our agent at the house at noon to walk through one more time and talk through our offer.

At 9am the next day, we learned that the first offeror had come back with an offer above list price and the sellers accepted it.

Another house we liked came on the market the next week with an open house scheduled for Sunday, so we got our agent to show us the house on Saturday. It was a one-story rambler, about a mile from the metro, with a good sized back yard and an awesome screened-in porch. It had a large finished basement with a separate laundry room/workshop and a bathroom. We knew we wanted to put in an offer, so we let our agent know as soon as we got back from the showing and then went to the open house again the next day for a second look. Our agent learned that they were going to accept offers until Tuesday evening, which gave us a full day and a half to discuss our offer price and strategy and to carefully read through all of the paperwork, since this would be our first offer.

We really wanted the house and went in pretty aggressively. We had a very flexible closing date (the owners had school-age children and weren’t sure when they wanted to close), we went in with an escalation clause to above asking price, we didn’t ask for any closing costs. It was the best offer we could put on the table and we were pretty confident we were going to get that house.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

We didn’t get the house.

Our agent knew the listing agent and found out that we had been just beat out by an all-cash offer that waived the appraisal. Which, essentially means we were beat out by an investor (for what was likely the second time in as many weeks). The house has since been sold and they didn’t actually pay much more than what we offered, but obviously we weren’t able to waive the appraisal or the lender approval, so it probably wouldn’t have mattered even if we’d offered more.

At that point, I was getting pretty frustrated. Almost every three bedroom house that came on the market in the neighborhoods we were looking in was being listed right at the top of our price range – and even then we were getting beat out by people who didn’t even want to LIVE in those houses, but just wanted to buy them with cash and flip them. The next two weekends came and went without anything new coming on the market that looked appealing to us. At that point it was mid-March and I figured maybe we should take a break and things would look better in a month or two.

And then, a house popped up in our email alert that we had to go see…

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