Buying a home in a seller’s market I realized was one of the most stressful, frustrating things someone could ever do.
I remember when everyone was telling me in 2009-2011 to buy a home. “The housing market’s bottoming out! Foreclosures are everywhere! Prices are down!” Unfortunately, because of my financial situation, I was unable to take advantage of the bargain prices. I held out hope that the market would stay cooled enough to where I would be able to find everything I wanted in a home at a low price.
It turns out that I missed that boat. This year, inventory is very, very low in the area I wanted to live in. Finding a good realtor was the easiest of my problems; I was blessed enough to find one that had a genuine interest in my needs even above his own at times. But homes were being snatched up before I could even look at them, and the ones that I could afford were in questionable conditions or in shady areas of town. I would set appointments the day they would appear in my listings only to be continually disappointed that they had already had multiple offers on them. The offers that I made on homes were easily outbid, sometimes $10,000 or more over the asking price of the home! And time was running out; my lease end date was coming to an end in mid-July and then I wouldn’t have a place to live!
It was enough to drive a man to drink! I was honestly losing sleep, my blood pressure was rising, and my anxiety was building with every passing day. It was the fierce competitiveness of those in my same situation, the constant traveling around town, the time researching the homes, staring at pictures, and tweaking my budget to see what was feasible. There was also a myriad of other considerations to factor in during the homebuying process. For instance:
- What is the size of the house?
- Where is it located?
- How is the condition of the home?
- How is the condition of the other homes in the neighborhood?
- What does the neighborhood look like during the day? At night?
- Can I live with that awful paint color in the living/dining/bedroom? Or the 80’s-style wood paneling? Or the tacky wallpaper?
- Has there been reported crime in the area? How much?
- What is the price vs. the value of the home? (there’s a difference!)
- What is the price vs. the value of comparable homes in the neighborhood? In the area?
- What’s my down payment size?
- How much do I have to spend on renovations?
- Can I afford the home?
- What are my financing options? FHA? Conventional? 15/85% or 80/20% financing?
- Am I eligible for any first-time homebuyer programs?
I mean the list goes on and on! And I hadn’t even moved in yet! Fortunately, after 2 ½ months of rigorous searching, I was able to finally find a home that was satisfactory. I opted for a new-home construction, which would cut down on maintenance costs and provide a bit more peace of mind than a resale. However, I did have to sacrifice on location, price, and home size in order to get it. Plus, there are a number of other complexities a new-home-buyer has to think about (quality of work, cost, premium features, etc.).
But thank God my home search is over. Not because of all the warm fuzzies I get inside from the picture below, but just from the sheer relief of not having to search anymore!
(My New Home (Yay!), Still Under Construction)