Being your own buyer; a traumatic experience...............

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX By The Bay

So for the past few months my wife and I have been looking for a new home for ourselves.

We feel like it's time to make the move to one level living and stop lugging groceries, laundry, and ourselves from downstairs to upstairs each time we come into our garage.

OK, no big deal, I think, I'm a trained professional with years of experience finding hundreds of great homes for other buyers. How much trouble could it be to find one for my little bride and I.

Well after finding two "perfect homes" and being unable to buy either of them, I'm thinking this may be a little bit harder than I thought.

First we find this great home in the north part of town, a little bit further north than we really wanted to be but I was willing to go a few extra miles to work so I start doing some research prior to making an offer. This home has been on the market since October of 2006 and I find out it's a corporate transfer so they're ready to look at an offer and get moving I think.

Wrong! After making an initial offer which was rejected out of hand, I find out one of the partners is a school teacher and she won't be moving until school is out in mid-June.

OK, no problem, we have a house right now and we don't have to sell it in order to buy that one so I talk to the listing agent about be very, very flexible on the closing date. We can close right now and they can rent it back from us until June or we can wait until June to close; their choice, let's just make a deal.

No problem says the seller but we're not taking any less than full list price they reply. No sale for me, I like the house but not enough to pay a premium for it, so we move on.

Three days ago another "perfect house" comes on the market. One level, cul-de-sac, big yard, screened porch, nice condition, and in a great location across the street from our major lake! I call up the wife and we go look at it. My wife and I walk though saying things like "this is nice, I like this, I like that" etc., classic buying signals so we go back to my office and write up an offer. I should have got a clue when the listing company said they had 3 showings scheduled after our at 5:00 PM but I write up an offer for a few thousand less than list price anyway.

Listing agent calls and says "dang it Jim, they've had 8 showings on the house today and already have 5 more scheduled tomorrow so they're just going to sit on your offer and see if another one might come in."

Oops, I'm thinking, we better buy that house or we're gonna lose out again so I call my little bride to rush down to my office and we write up another offer for full price with a quick closing. I fax it to listing agent.

She calls back later and says well, the seller wants to change the inspection by 3 days, time to respond to inspection by ONE DAY, provide a home warranty from a different company even though it costs them more money, AND stay in the house "a few days after closing" so they can finish packing, AND they're still going to sit on your offer until tomorrow.

All of a sudden I'm getting a bad feeling about this deal too. I call up the wife and share my concerns with her. She says "make them do something". I say what should I do, take my shotgun down there and make them sign our offer? She calms down and I get back to work to earn some money to pay for our new house.

Listing agent calls and says well, we have another offer, I'm going over tonight and discuss with sellers.

I say fine, I'm not paying over list, you have a full price offer, no conditions except home inspection, and a pre-approvel letter from a local lender; we can close and do this deal with no problems.

This morning I get a call from listing agent; Jim, your offer has been rejected, they sold it to the other offer.

At this point I don't care so I say thanks, and hang up.

So this afternoon it's back on the hunt; we find another house we like in a lower price range than we've been looking but it's very nice with a screened prorch, board fenced back yard, nice kitchen, split bedrooms, etc.,etc.

Also in the same neighborhood there's still another house with a 3 car garage, magnificent view of the Smoky Mountains, screened gazebo overlooking a wooded hillside, 2 story but master bedroom on the main level, etc.,etc., etc.

Tomorrow we're looking at these 2 and a couple more; there's tons of houses for sale here.

However I'm thinking of getting another agent to help me; I'm not doing too hot being my own buyer. ;-)

Although I've bought lots of houses as an investor over the years it's vastly different buying one you intend to live in yourself. I found emotions creeping into the deal, I was trying to please my wife, I was also trying to make me happy with our new home purchase, and I was trying to negotiate the best deal on the best house. I wonder if it's possible to do all three successfully???

We did look at a couple of FSBOs. I'll tell you something guys, your attitude changes drastically when you look at a FSBO as a buyer; it was fun.

Every mortgage banker and real estate licensee in America should be required to buy a home for themselves a minimum of every 5 years or less. It would make you a much better professional and better qualified to serve your clients.

Posted by

Jim Lee , REALTOR®, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)  RE/MAX By The Bay

150 Mirona Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 431-1111 x3801

Visit New Hampshire Maine Real to search homes, get Seacoast area information, and find out how great living on the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast really is.


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Tyler Wedel
I know what you mean Jim, I sold listed and sold my own house and when I went to show it I think I did what all sellers do when we are there, I tried to sell it to hard. As far the agent goes give me a call. ; ) 
January 29, 2007 08:43 AM
Donna Harris
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin
Regent Property Group

Great post!

When my husband (then fiancee) were looking for houses, it took us (HIM) 7 months to finally realize that if we were going to buy a house, we (HE) had to stop playing games on the offering prices.  We submitted at least 10 offers in that 7 months, and apparently none were worth countering their counter offers.  When we finally found "the" house, it took 3 weeks to execute the offer as it turns out the sellers didn't actually want to sell.  Once we closed, the sellers wouldn't get out of our house.  It was too stressful so they took off to Maui for 3 weeks...  We closed in July and finally got possession in mid- September.  They took the toilet roll holders, the shower curtain rods, the stoppers for the bath tubs, took a utility knife to several places on the wall paper, loosened the garbage disposal so it exploded the first time we turned it on...  many other things...

I can't imagine going through this every 5 years!!  Plus, the house I bought previous to this one, the seller just past the Bar and was trying to say he was a Real estate attorney, so you can imagine how that one went... not so smooth either...

January 29, 2007 10:54 AM
Trevella Williams
Realtor, Salesperson, ABR SFR
Aloha Coast Realty, LLC

Oh, Lordy does this ever hit home! I am 2 weeks into a 3 week escrow on my new home, I haven't done this for ten years! 

The weirdest thing is I keep getting my escrows confused, I have never had this problem before? My husband says its because our personal escrow is ALWAYS on my mind.

Its also challenging to keep hubby in the loop...which isn't fair at all, he has to keep calling and asking me questions, I had better be a better buyers agent to my clients than I am to myself!

I thought I was empathetic to my clients before...I have plenty sympathy now!


January 29, 2007 03:08 PM
Tim Maitski
The Agent Who Uses "Watermelon Tough" Sign Posts
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage
My wife and I are really picky and when we bought 5 years ago, we had been looking over the course of three years.  I would have hated to be the agent for us.  I'm glad most of my clients don't take as long but it does remind me to be patient when people are hesitant to make a decision.  I'm always willing to show them as many homes as they want because I can really relate to trying to find a home with just about everything that you want.
January 29, 2007 09:16 PM
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty
It' s going to be hard to pick who your agent is going to be.  Will you take a referral fee :)
January 30, 2007 01:38 AM
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Jim Lee

Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH
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