We’ve been talking for a while now about the slim inventory, and it can make the process of buying a home very challenging. Let’s take a look at the journey of my clients, Rob and Meghan, to shed a little light on our current market.
To say they were ideal buyers would be an understatement. They have excellent credit, strong income, and a sizable down payment. We had already closed the sale of Rob’s home, so they were also very flexible on a closing date. Even with all of these factors in their favor, it was a gut wrenching experience.
Back in August Rob contacted us about what he needed to do to get his home ready to sell, and asked to start getting listings for Reston and Ashburn. They hadn’t decided exactly where they were going to move, it was early in the process and there were a few competing factors. By the time we ratified a contract on his home in February, the search had been narrowed down to Broadlands, Brambleton and Reston. Since his sale wasn’t closing until the end of March, we had about two weeks to find a home. Coincidentally, his work was requiring him to travel quite a bit in that time frame so we had a super small window. We viewed as many as we could in the days he was home, and they finally found one in Broadlands that seemed like a winner. We submitted their offer, and sighed relief as we thought we had managed to pull off the impossible. After some back and forth negotiations, the deal fell through. Ouch! Strike one!
Turns out this was a good thing. In the days after the initial disappointment they realized the rush to find a home in time made them settle for something other than the perfect fit. It was a great lesson for all of us, and helped them focus on every detail of all the homes we considered going forward.
We spent the next couple weeks looking at a few homes in the Herndon/Reston area, but they decided to focus on Broadlands and Brambleton. Since we were not going to be able to have them move just once, we attempted to slow the pace. The problem was, Broadlands might have been the hottest market in LoCo at the time with most homes going under contract in less than a week. They had seen just about everything on the market, and a quick peek at new construction revealed nothing would be ready for six months. We were now in the position of waiting for new listings, then seeing them as soon as possible.
A home popped up on a Sunday night that might have worked, but before we could even get in the door Tuesday evening it was under contract. Talk about frustrating, they couldn’t even get a shot to compete! In pursuing that home, we learned another just down the street was going to come on the market two days later. No way we were going to make the same mistake twice, so we made an appointment and saw it the first day it was available. BINGO! Winner, winner, lobster dinner! The home was all they wanted and more. That night, we made an offer over asking price with a significant earnest money deposit. Apparently, nine other people thought it was a great home too and we were told there were multiple offers. Rob & Meghan discussed it, they added an escalation clause up to the highest point they were comfortable paying for the home, and we crossed our fingers. After a harrowing two days, we were told we finished a close second. I’d have rather heard we weren’t close, they were crushed and so was I. Strike two!
You invest so much emotionally when you make the offer, that’s part of what gets you to do it in the first place. You see yourself in the home, if even only for a couple of days, and then you don’t get it. How do you handle that? When we first started, I told them we would find the home that was meant to be theirs. It’s easy to believe that in the beginning, but how about after two times getting punched in the stomach? The only thing I can tell you is every person we have helped feels they found the right home.
Fortunately for Rob and Meghan, the next week saw five possible homes come on the market. Seven days after finding what we all thought was their new home, it was Thursday, and we were back at it. The last of the five was vacant, and they really liked it. We sat and talked about all of it’s pro’s and con’s until it got late. They decided to go get some dinner and talk it over while I headed home to write up another offer. Later that evening, Rob let me know it just wasn’t the one. They were mentally exhausted from the whole process, and needed a little time to think it over.
That Sunday, they visited an open house for the first home we saw on Thursday. They liked the home the first time, but had spent all of their energy thinking of the one where we sat and talked. Maybe it was just having a chance to relax and take a breath, but they soon realized this was the one they wanted. Our offer at the listing price was accepted, no negotiating necessary. When I called Rob to tell him the good news, I could hear his smile. He was stunned they didn’t counter, but as I told him,when it’s the one that’s meant to be, things have a way of working out. My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Meghan’s reaction. This was her first time buying a home, and Rob said she couldn’t stop grinning.
Ten months from seeing listings on-line to ratifying a contract on their new home. Seven weeks of actually touring homes, one on a weekday morning, three on a Thursday night, or four on a Sunday afternoon. Two offers written, only to see them fizzle. At the end of the day, persistence and fortitude, with a little direction from their local real estate professional, has gotten Rob & Meghan in a beautiful home to start their new life together .
If you are thinking about buying a home, get in touch with me. It won’t cost you a dime to put my expertise to work for you, but it might cost you the home of your dreams not to.