House Hunt Update: Offers and Managing Expectations

My Realtor Phil was out on travel last week, so he referred me to one of his colleagues, Madeline Caporiccio, to continue the house hunt.

Madeline has been amazing. She’s been doing this real estate gig for decades, and her years of experience make her an extremely supportive, but brutally honest sounding board for first-time homebuyers like me. I’m thiiiiiiis close to preferring her over Phil.

Earlier last week, Madeline and I visited two places that rose to the top of my shortlist. One was a top-floor unit in a newer condo complex in Alexandria. The other was an updated first-floor unit in an older complex in Arlington. Both had pros and cons, but ultimately the top-floor unit in Alexandria won out, for location and for price.

So we got together again on Saturday for a second and final look. I dragged my friend Tara with me, who patiently endured riding in my ‘96 Honda Civic with non-functioning AC and experiencing my vague sense of impending doom at purchasing a home. After mulling it over for a few seconds, I decided to take the leap (as I tend to do with big life decisions) and put in an offer.

I half-expected to be nauseous the whole time I was filling out the paperwork to put in the offer, but my internal reaction was surprisingly calmer than I thought. (This is the reaction of a person whose perspective is shaped by $120,000 in student loan debt.)

Based on the comps in the area, Madeline and I determined that the best offer would be the seller’s full asking price of $209,500 with $5,000 in closing cost concessions. With paperwork signed and binder check handed over, I went back home Saturday night exhausted but relieved that the process was under way.

Now, as a disclaimer: As someone who has experienced God’s providence firsthand, I’m resolute in my conviction that things will work out the way they’re supposed to work out. I have very little doubt that if the condo is meant to be mine that it will be. After all, I’ve followed Jesus to really random places like Flagstaff, AZ, Kingston, RI, and Washington, DC with absolutely no idea about what to expect. And circumstances have always worked together for my good. So while I may have emotional “I must own this!” knee-jerk reactions to places I see, the analytical and spiritual parts of my brain know to dampen my expectations in case things don’t quite work out.

I hit the first bump in the road on Sunday. After only being on the market for a little over a week, the property had apparently already received multiple offers.

Now this is the part that makes me uncomfortable. I was a rabid eBayer in the late 1990s/early 2000s when bidding on online auctions for random useless crap was the thing to do. And I know the frustrations of bidding on and faithfully monitoring a Transformers Generation 1 Grimlock action figure only to lose it in the last 10 seconds because some d-bag in Iowa was smart enough to wait to put in his (or her) high bid at the last minute. And while I know that it’s in the seller’s best interest to let as many people bid on the merchandise as possible, bidding wars make me feel sorely inadequate because my bottom line is rarely anyone else’s ceiling.

So this morning, I had Madeline put in my final offer of $210,000 with no closing cost concessions. That’s about as high as I want to go for that property. We’ll see what happens. If it works out, it works out.

But just in case, Madeline and I are going to see more places tonight. Who knows? Maybe I’ll find something better this evening.

And the hunt continues!

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One thought on “House Hunt Update: Offers and Managing Expectations

  1. Oh man! Well if anything that gives us a good idea of price ranges for 1 bedrooms. I hope you get it. $210K is still not bad for that place. You’d still make money in the resale when the market turns around. I’ll call you later.

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