It’s been a whirlwind summer to buy a house – during a pandemic – in a “seller’s market” – but we did! I’m still in a fog about the whole experience. Here’s a glimpse into the handful of lessons learned from our house hunting experience. New homebuyers, this sanity-saving advice may help get your offer accepted.
Our timeline to buy a house was very, very tight. Our lease was about to end just as mortgage interest rates were dropping and the housing market started heating up. Our realtor knew the market and our desired budget so well, that she told us acting fast was imperative. Too often, we’d see a home we were interested in listed on Zillow and within hours it had a sale pending. Or the listings our realtor found through MLS were scooped up with lightning speed.
Once we got pre-approval from our lender, we got very serious about finding the perfect home. That meant losing a lot of sleep and being ready to see a home at any hour of the day. My husband and I were scouring the Zillow app at 3 a.m!
I viewed homes without my husband and Facetimed with him on our iPhones.
The intense searching paid off, though.
We submitted three separate offers in four days. The third & final offer was the charm. But with each offer, we learned a little bit more about what the market was showing us.
For example, the very first home we submitted an offer to – had a unique description. The sellers had amazing, quality furniture throughout the house. They were willing to include it in the sale. At the time, that was a perfect situation for us since we tossed older furniture to help downsize and save on moving costs. Plus, we wanted furniture that would fit better into our new home. It was clear they didn’t mind parting with the furniture if it meant they didn’t have to worry about moving it.
In the end, that offer wasn’t accepted. But I tucked that bit of knowledge away for our final accepted offer.
We asked the sellers to include two key things in our offer:
- Porch furniture
- Basement refrigerator
First, let me show you the porch furniture.
This may sound weird, but it’s a win/win for everyone in the transaction.
I know. The furniture is absolutely lovely and you wish you could sit on this swing with me to enjoy some freshly brewed coffee!
WIN: Sellers don’t have to move it or pay to store it.
WIN: We don’t have to shop for these hard-to-find items right now. Having an additional refrigerator during a pandemic is a lifesaver right now so we can stock up.
My sanity-saving advice for new home buyers:
- Get creative with your offer.
- Ask for household items or furniture in the offer.
- Be flexible about your desired closing date.
- Find a way to relieve the stress of househunting in a tight market.
- Appreciate your realtor! I’m going to share more about this later because our realtor was a gem. We couldn’t have done it without her knowledge and dedication to finding us a home.
Talkback to me below: Do you have any advice you’d share with folks who are househunting?