Last September, we found a new house.
Getting it has been a long, trying battle, and almost no one knew what we were going through until now.
I kept a digital journal of short posts to remember all everything that we were dealing with, and this week I’m sharing it with you. You can read Monday’s post documenting the first few weeks of our process here, and yesterday’s post that overviews the negotiation process here.
We went about our winter without a word from the bank managing the closing of this short sale property. We knew that it wasn’t unusual for it to take several months for a large bank (like the seller’s bank, Chase) to move on closing a foreclosure property; smaller/local banks are likely to move a lot faster. We were just in a waiting pattern, so we continued on our life; we got married, we celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with our friends and family. We honeymooned, bought new tools, and worked hard to keep adding to our savings (bigger downpayment, better financial situation).
We checked in with our realtor every few weeks to see if he had heard anything, mostly hoping for news that all of the other interested buyers this house had bailed after deciding instead to be totally practical and buy something more readily available instead of the trashed-and-hard-to-buy ranch. We hoped whatever flippers were interested in taking over ownership would bail for other springtime opportunities. We waited stagnantly. And during this time, the listing of “sale pending” changed repeatedly, head-spinning; some days the property wasn’t even listed for sale anymore. I didn’t have much to journal about during these months as we waited to hear back from the bank.
Friday, February 15, 2013 (in an email to my mom)
The bank chose another offer. We’re #2 in line if the other offer falls through. There’s still a chance that they aren’t interested anymore, or that they can’t secure financing, we haven’t heard. Cross your fingers.
We weighed heavily on this. Our offer was second best. That’s good! But that’s bad. I watched the property sale alerts in the newspaper, waiting for the house to show up in the sold property listings with its sale price just to have some closure. We were sort of surprised that the closing didn’t happen fast; our mortgage specialist had prepared us that the closing will often be expeditious for a short sale after a bank approval, even if it had taken many months to get a final approved contract. We had remained ready to act as soon as we knew we were a go.
In the time since this news, I’ve been mostly upset. Or, enraged. Yeah, enraged, really. I was getting all Nicole Curtis in my conversations about the property with our family and friends who knew that we were in this holding pattern, wild for the preservation of this beautiful 50’s home, devastated that the person who had the winning offer was probably a selfish flipper, someone who didn’t give a shit about the beauty of the original architecture, of the natural integrity of the home. I was convinced they didn’t have a family that they were eager to move in there and get settled, I was even sure that the winning offer was made by the plumber that had been so kind to us that day last October; he had really, really made it clear what a great property and investment it was, so why wouldn’t I point fingers and assume he would go and pull the rug out from under us? Ergh, that thought irritated me. We’ve toured enough open houses to see what people do when they’re trying to update and modernize outdated homes, and we were so saddened by the idea of someone doing that to our home. They’d do shoddy makeovers of the outdated bathrooms, do mediocre updates to the basement to disguise the damaged tiles, mold, and rotting paneling, they’d probably fill in the pool to pretend the mess that it was never existed, and bring new appliances into the kitchen, paint the yellow walls, and schmooze some nice little family into thinking that they were gettin’ a really fine home – for $150,000 over it’s currently assessed price. It’s tragic, it made me crazy, it made my blood pressure shoot through the roof. And here I am, going all Nicole Curtis again. Reading this long paragraph over and over makes me need to break to scream into my pillow.
After about a month and a half of waiting with no news, bringing us to mid-March, I started paying attention to the home listings again. And truthfully, I was paying attention to them for the first time in this whole process. We had still been dropping in on Sunday open houses as we came across them (nothing remotely comparable to the house we already found), flagging homes as “favorites,” and weighing the pros and cons of certain neighborhoods. This was the research that we hadn’t actually had a chance to do thoroughly last fall when we fell in love with our California ranch on a whim. We kept coming back to the fact that it would be really hard to beat the convenient location of that house in it’s perfect little neighborhood that we already envisioned touring with our kids on Halloween… no other properties measured up in any way. Rochester and its suburbs have some beautiful neighborhoods, but in the price range that we’re talkin’, it’s spotty…. how else can I put it.
We saw a house a few weeks ago with our realtor, a super dated 50’s home on a dead end that would have been great to remodel if it had any backyard to speak of. We weighed briefly the possibility of buying and adding onto our friends’ home that is going to be listed for sale any day, because it’s in a great neighborhood with a private yard. And there was a great house in our current neighborhood listed for sale recently, and we liked it a lot but it wasn’t the type of house that we had been traditionally gravitating to (it was a colonial, and we’ve been leaning towards ranch), so we agreed to keep looking while we wait for definitive news from the outstanding offer.
All I know is, if the winning offer is able to close, I hope they’re a beautiful family that would be attentive to the needs of the property for their long term benefit, like we would have been. Not someone out to make a quick dollar.
Read the next installment of our story right here.