If you're wondering why I haven't posted much of any real substance lately, it's because we've been very busy with house hunting. We have more house hunting woes. The whole housing market situation is just obscene. We had made an offer on a house on 4/1 and our offer was not accepted. Then we found another house we were considering making an offer on, but did not get an opportunity to do that. Here is our latest house search adventure:
4/27 Fri: Meet with Realtor to look at our Perfect House. We liked what we saw. M seemed to make herself at home immediately. We ask our Realtor to get us the Disclosure Packet for the house. We're informed that everything is available except for the Property Inspection. Offers are doe on Wed 5/2.
4/28 Sat: Open House at our Perfect House. We drove back to the house to take a second look. We still liked it and so did M.
Funny thing with house hunting is that M clearly shows what she thinks of a house when we walk into one. She is either clingy, indifferent, or clearly shows her approval of a house. She felt most enthusiastic about this particular house compared to any other house we have looked at. That's gotta be a good sign, right?
4/30 Mon: Property Inspection is available in the afternoon for our perusal.
5/1 Tues: We meet with our Realtor to take a much closer look at our Perfect House a third time. M still loved the house, made herself at home and was happily wandering about on her own. We thought about it and decided to make an offer.
5/2 Wed: We meet with our Realtor at 10 AM to make an offer. All we knew at the time was that the Selling Agent was expecting about 8 offers. Here we go again. We decide on the amount of our offer (which is 10% over the asking price), sign and/or initial each and every page of the Disclosure Packet, then fill out & sign the official offer forms. It takes 1 hr 45 min to go through the entire process. Our Realtor had a 3:30 PM appt with the Selling Agent to present our offer. We were told that the Sellers would make a decision by 5/4 Fri because on of the sellers is overseas in SE Asia.
Imagine my surprise when DH walks in at 7:30 PM and tells me that the sellers are considering making a counter offer. That scenario had never crossed my mind. Unfortunately we were not the only ones they were going to counter offer. There was at least one other; we're not certain how many others there were. We would not find out what the counter offer was until the next day.
Needless to say we couldn't relax wondering what the counter offer would be. We could only speculate on what type of offers/counteroffers there were. Since our offer was an easy "as-is" no contingency offer, the only thing they could negotiate is upping the price. This made us think that the other interested parties offered way more money but had one or more contingencies, and the sellers would probably counter offer by asking them to lower their contingencies.
5/3 Thurs: DH finds out what the counter offer is after 4 PM. He calls me at 4:15 PM to tell me what the counter offer is, they were asking for 11% over the asking price, $10,000 more than our offer.In some ways I was relieved to hear this. We were imagining the counter offer to be something like $45,000 or more over what our offer price was. We were told that we had until 9 AM the next day to respond if we were going forward. That did not give us much time to think about it and do all the paper work. (Reminder... DH works an hours drive away in the city where the Realtor and the Perfect House are located; we would both have to sign the counter offer paperwork and get it back to our Realtor in time) We weren't exactly sure how everything would work out in the time line. DH was missing a meeting when he called me to tell the news, and then he had another meeting afterwards from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM to interview someone. So we wouldn't have time to discuss the counter offer until after he came home and after we got M into bed.
Imagine my surprise when DH walks in at 7:30 PM and the first thing he blurts out is that the Selling Agent is putting pressure on a response from us. The Selling Agent says that one of the other parties agreed to their counter offer and the Sellers are very much inclined to accept it. Fudge!!! Do we not get any time to think about what we want to do?????
DH managed to get a copy of the counter offer from the Realtor (I think he emailed it) and printed it out. We discussed it quickly and decided to go ahead with their counter offer and also sweeten the pot by throwing it an extra $5,000 over their request of $10,000 more, making our counter offer 11.5% over the asking price.
Our next hurdle was finding a fax machine. We don't have one. :-( There's a copy/fax place near our house but they close at 6 PM. It was 8:30 PM. :-( Fortunately we managed to find a Kinko's that remained open until 11 PM. So we sign our papers, DH drives over to Kinko's to send the fax, and our Realtor informs him that we signed the wrong section of the form and that we also had to sign this other form and fax it to him. So DH returns home so we could correct this (thank goodness we have white out!), sign papers again, and drive over to Kinko's again. Poor DH, he was so tired and stressed out from the whole house buying thing and also from all the stuff going on at work. We finally managed to sit down for dinner after 9:30 PM and to watch the latter half of the American Idol results.
5/4 Fri: We received a call this morning while we were eating breakfast. News about the house. We did not get the house. :-( Waaaah!!! Bye bye Perfect House. Apparently some other party sweetened their pot even more, and the Sellers accepted their offer instead.
So I've been in a lousy depressed mood all day. I think M has picked up on that because she's a bit more clingy on her grandma today and actually wants her grandma to pick her up and hold her (which she normally says "no" to in recent days).
I can't believe the level of insanity one must reach in order to buy a house in the San Francisco Bay Area. I mean, the offer we made on this house was way more than the offer we made on the other house a few weeks back. This time we were really stretching it, and the amount of our offer was stressing us out because it was such a stretch for us. And if that huge amount (10% over asking price) is not enough to buy a house, then WTF?! How is anyone supposed to succeed in buying a house? The whole anonymous offer/counteroffer bid/guessing game is ridiculous. I'm beginning to think houses should be sold en eBay where you would at least know what the current high bid is. Then you could bow out once it goes over your limit; you wouldn't have to stress out over whether your highest bid would ever make it. You don't have to waste time and energy pursuing something you would not be able to get.
So now we're back to the drawing board.
We were looking at a comparative analysis of houses (that meet our criteria) sold in the past couple of months. Out of 59 total sales: 48 (81.4%) sold over asking price; 11 (18.6%) sold at or below asking price. Of the ones which sold over asking price: 19 (32.2%) were 10% or more over asking price; 15 (25.4%) were 5% to 9.9% over asking price; 14 (23.7%) were .01% to 4.9% over asking price. Now are these depressing stats or what?
But I think we've done a reality check. This is what the housing market is like in this area. Going forward, we will just have to look at houses and assume that we must tack on an extra $100,000+ to the asking price to get the actual selling price.