7 months ago, Mike and I went and got pre-approved for a house. We were so excited, we’d been talking about this day for years and I have pored over design magazines and books borrowed from our fabulous library. 7 months later, we have seen over 50 houses, made 5 offers and are about to make our sixth. When I say “seen” I mean packed our son into the car, driven to the house, rain or shine, pulled him out, toured the house (met our fair share of obnoxious owners and realtors along with some nice ones), put our now miserable child back in the car and driven to another one.
This has been the most frustrating experience and I can’t help but feel like we’re damned. Each time we put an offer in I get the design books out and start planning furniture placement and nursery colors, only to be dashed a few days later.
This was the first offer:
This house was at the very top of our price range, a foreclosure and the first house we saw. It’s a beautiful house, in the neighborhood we currently live in, and love. 3 beds, 3.5 baths, garage and pool. In our neighborhood, that’s a whole lotta bang for your buck! The house was trashed inside but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. The previous tenants has kicked in some of the walls, drawn on the interior doors, for some reason they had bashed the front of the stainless steel fridge and ripped the panels of the washer and dryer, but it all still worked. The pool was a cesspool, infested with frogs, the water was black and the landscaping was non existent. Like I said, nothing a little love couldn’t fix.
We offered low because we thought the realty world was our oyster and the house was bigger and less cozy than we were hoping. Silly, silly us. The bank refused the offer and we didn’t counter. The house sold 2 days later to someone else.
This is house #2 and still a possibility. It’s a short sale much further south than we originally planned, but closer to our nanny, so we wouldn’t lose her. It’s a short sale so we made an offer and it went to the bank six months ago. The bank has not responded yet.
It’s also a 3 bed, 3 bath. It’s a roomy house with a smaller back yard, but still has a pool and a garage for all of our junk. It’s in a great neighborhood with a park down the street and the start of a row of million dollar homes opposite! It’s only a couple miles from the beach too. We’re still keeping our fingers crossed for this one.
House #3 is gorgeous and so cute and cozy. It’s on the water (with an outlet to the ocean), three bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a garage and a fireplace. It needed some basic work, the girl who lived there had ripped out the wall in the bathroom and never replaced it, the carpet was up in some rooms with bare concrete showing. Again, pretty easy work. It is a short sale and I loved it.
We put an offer in, a good offer too, but they wanted us to use their contract. We read through the contract and had some concerns. There are three banks holding the loan, so we estimated about 9 months before acceptance (remember we had one offer in on a short sale. At this point we’d heard nothing for about 3 months on that one). The contract also required us to put a large amount of money down and stated that if cash offers came in at any time, they would trump our offer and we would lose our deposit.
We sent the contract to a real estate attorney and he recommended we don’t sign it. Our realtor actually had the nerve to act pissed that we wouldn’t sign it! I was devastated and swore I would see no more houses. Ha!
House #4 was north of our current neighborhood. It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath with a pool and a lot of work needed. It’s cute, the smallest one we saw and, looking back, it would have been too much work. But it was also cheaper than the others so we could have afforded some help on fixing up.
We made an offer just hours after seeing it, only to be told by our realtor that it sold the night before we saw it. Yes, I asked the same thing: why didn’t you know that before we dragged our son over there?
We got a new realtor.
House #5 is, at this point, still an option. It’s south and west of where we are now. The house is gorgeous. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, garage, pool and hot tub. Everything is well done, clean and move in ready. It has little upgrades like well irrigation so you don’t use city water to water the lawns (eco friendly and cost effective), solar panels to heat the pool, and nice landscaping with fruit trees. We both love this house and, as an added bonus, we loved the owners. They were so patient and honest with us, answering every question.The only downfall was that we don’t know the neighborhood, and there are no parks within walking distance. That’s a pretty big downfall to me – we walk every day as a family and we all love these walks.
We put an offer in about two days after the house went on the market and they had 2 back up offers very quickly. They accepted our offer, we had the inspection which went well, our closing date was set for the day after little man’s birthday and my parents made plans to come in from the Bahamas (where they live), for Christmas.
Then the appraisal. The owners put on a Florida room that span the length of the house. All done to code and with permit. The appraisers didn’t count it and the house was appraised at $40,000 less than we offered. We requested a new appraisal, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen and we can’t see the owners dropping the price that much. So we’re kind of stuck in limbo with a lot of money already tied up in this one. As we speak we’re talking about pulling our offer due to the appraisal (which should mean we’d get our money back).
House #6 is furthest away from the beach, but in an awesome neighborhood. It’s got three parks just in the small neighborhood. One of them is a water park for little kids. This is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house, so it has room for Mike and I, little man and his sister or brother all to have our own room and still a guest room for Grammy and Poppa.
It has a huge backyard and a pool. We’re planning on making an offer today or tomorrow, but they say they’re waiting for another offer too and we’re afraid that again it won’t appraise for what we’re offering. I love this house and I really want it to go through.
That’s where we are now. I don’t want to move on to House #7, 8 or more. I want house #6 to be our home.