We started looking for houses in late September 2013, and although we looked for houses briefly when we were engaged, we really didn’t have the clearest picture of what we wanted. We gained a lot of knowledge quickly by looking at at least one or two houses a week for about five months, and put offers on three other houses prior to the one we ended up with.
- The first house was in need of a ridiculous amount of work. Besides the typical updates of floors, ceilings, complete kitchen and bathroom gut jobs, etc, it didn’t even have central air or a working sewer system. Or a fence. It was a shell of a house but we were in love with the neighborhood (White Rock North) and saw the potential. We put in an offer 12% over asking price and did not get it. Not only were we not the highest bid, but the seller took a lower cash offer that was only 3% over asking because they said they’d close in ten days. We were pretty bummed about that one but we moved on.
- The second house we found was in Lakewood and was in a per-fect location. It had been on the market for about six months and was overpriced, but when our Realtor chatted with the owners (the seller was also the Realtor), the wife said the price was flexible. It needed a complete kitchen overhaul and the 1940’s closets and bathrooms were original and minuscule, but we loved the neighborhood so much we took a chance. Turns out the wife thought the price was flexible but the husband did not. We were not willing to pay what he was asking so we moved on from this one as well.
- The third house was in Merriman Park Estates. It had four bedrooms and didn’t need a ton of updating, but there were a lot of things we had to come to terms with: the living room was sunken (you had to take a step down), the kitchen needed a complete renovation, it had a huge, deep pool, and the price was not reasonable for the condition the house was in. We put in an offer based on other houses in the area and the seller’s Realtor copped a MAJOR attitude. It was pretty interesting, actually – this Realtor emailed our Realtor AND us with some sassy remarks about how they would NEVER sell the house for our offered amount since it had four bedrooms and new windows, and we shouldn’t be looking at comps in the area and instead trust his gut on what the house was worth. We happily walked away from that home, and last time I checked the house has not sold and they’ve lowered the price. Karma? =)
At this point I was getting pretty dejected. Not only were we not really finding what we wanted, but none of our offers had been accepted. I started wondering if we were being too lofty in our wish list, if we wouldn’t be able to find what we wanted in our price range, or if we weren’t going about our offers in the right way. Luckily less than two weeks after the last house didn’t work out, the right one fell in our lap!