We started our house search by attending a class and then seeing six homes. You can read about it here.
The final open house on our list for the weekend was on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 23rd, 2014). So on that Sunday as we returned from church, we saw an “Open House” sign at the entrance to our development. We didn’t think much about it. We figured that it was undoubtedly a house that would be too small for our family. But since we were already planning to see an open house in Fountain Valley that afternoon, why not stop and take a look.
So we ate lunch and did a few things at home including search the Internet for more houses. Tim also tried to find more information about the new open house but couldn’t. Finally around 2:30 PM, a few of us figured that we should head out since the one open house ended at 4:30 PM.
Tim, Jeri, Nicole, and Elizabeth first drove to the open house in our neighborhood. It wasn’t far–just over a quarter mile away. When we pulled up to it, we were immediately excited because we saw that it was the exact same model as the house that we are currently living in.
We were even more excited when we saw that the house had a better layout than ours. Namely it didn’t have the two wet bars that our current house has. In place of the downstairs wet bar is a much more useful storage closet. Also it didn’t have the upstairs fireplace which we never used. Plus the house had far better upgrades to the floors, kitchen, and bathrooms. It seemed like we found the house of our dreams! Perfect location and size and layout. Although the backyard isn’t very attractive, we’ll save on our water and electric bills since we won’t have a swimming pool.
After visiting this house, we went on to see the “scheduled” open house on Garfield Avenue. Besides being only 3,000 square feet, that house made our noses run. So we knew that that one wouldn’t work.
So Sunday evening, Tim shot off an e-mail to Marc our realtor asking about the house on Santa Carlotta. He later replied and confirmed Tim’s findings that the house was priced to sell quickly. Tim also e-mailed Monte and asked if we could get financing for the house. Monte said that that wouldn’t be a problem.
Marc began work on assembling an offer. On Monday, Tim asked Marc about what we should offer. Tim mentioned Monte’s suggestion of asking for the seller to pay the non-recurring closing costs. Marc recommended that we not do that but to instead ask for full price plus $1K. That way, we would come out on top if someone else offers full price.
From our RedFin house-buying class, we learned that a personalized cover letter with photo can often sway a seller. So during his bus ride home, Tim worked on the text for our cover letter. That evening, Tim e-mailed the photo and text to Marc. Marc got the docs together late Monday evening. Then early Tuesday morning, Jeri and Tim electronically signed the offer. Marc submitted it to the selling realtor later on Tuesday.
When Marc spoke with the realtor later in the day, she said remembered us and that another agent contacted her to let her know that they would be submitting an offer as well. That evening, we prayed about this and asked for the Lord’s will to be done. Jeri was glad that there was another offer so that God would be able to close the door if this wasn’t His will for us. We had a peace leaving it in His hands. He’s promised to provide for all of our needs…so why worry?
Wednesday afternoon, Marc called Tim on his cell phone at work. He told us the good news that our offer had been accepted. The sellers had actually received a total of three offers. Ours was the first one the seller received; the second was for full price but had a stronger down payment; the third was for $5K below the asking price. Marc said that the seller was sold by our cover letter and photo. The seller was glad to see the house go to a large family.
Marc said that the seller could have countered by asking each potential buyer to submit their best offer. This would have turned it into a bidding war. We are glad that they countered our offer will only a minor change that the house would be sold “as-is.”
So our house hunting ended less than two weeks from when we started! Pretty amazing. A friend at Tim’s work said that she and her husband looked for two years (not necessarily non-stop) before they found the right place.