Tuesday, February 7, 2012

April 2010 (Part 2, or deux, dude)

With any offer on a new home, there's a good amount of trepidation and anticipation. All the what-ifs play a constant game of full-contact mental tennis: What do we do if we get it, are we making the correct decision, is there something better, should we continue looking, are we paying too much, is there anyone else also offering, etc.?

Sometimes it benefits to take a step back and relax. And other times it helps to scream aloud when you discover 24 hours later that the sellers' realtor lied to you about there being multiple offers, and that yours was the lowest and was rejected immediately.

Our first home has slipped through our hands. We had waited too long, had come in with (although fair) a too-low offer, and had included stipulations such as a $1000 credit toward the repair of the roof and a $1000 credit toward maintenance of the deck and siding which were in desperate need of repair. It was the cliched devastating blow.

I cannot count the number of times we drove by the house afterward or the number of times that we checked the real estate listing or called our agent to call theirs to ensure that the house was indeed still off the market. I was becoming obsessed with a home that wasn't mine and could never be mine. I was plummeting from the pinnacle of elation toward the deepest of melancholies. I had decided there was no way I'd ever love a house again and there was no chance we'd ever be able to purchase a home.

Though in retrospect it sounds cheesy and cliched, the feeling really was ubiquitous around our tiny cramped apartment. We wallowed in our misfortune, destroyed the documents relating to our failed offer, and tried to forget our would-be home. Our families tried to console us and told us there were plenty of other good deals out there. Though we couldn't possibly see a future for ourselves in the real estate market, we decided we wouldn't be defeated and begrudgingly set out to look at every house that we could, even those above our price range just for the off chance that we could get the kind of deal that would give us the possibility of a "forever" home for a "temporary starter" price.

That's when I finally, and personally, understood the definition of a double-edged sword. The hand that we had held the entire time was actually the greatest obstacle working against us: the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit. It was the greatest caveat for purchasing a home at the time and was set to expire in a number of short months, and everyone, including us, realized it; subsequently the entire real estate market had taken off and had formed a mini-bubble. And it was slicing into our hopes and dreams.

Homes were selling for $10-$15,ooo more than they were only a few months ago and prices seemed to be suddenly rising. It became a sellers' market within a buyer's market. The feeling was nearly unexplainable. People were selling their homes to friends or through real estate agents without even posting them online, and those that remained were "no good" by our standards. Then, as if the process couldn't become any more convoluted and seemingly impossible, houses stopped coming onto market. People who months earlier had worried they would never get out from "underwater" were holding onto their homes in anticipation of the market again rising. And the bad news only seemed to multiply over the coming weeks with the prospects of pay cuts at work, with our current rent rate set to rise, and with fewer purchasable homes finding their way onto our radar.

We knew we needed to lick our wounds and reenter the fray. Fast.

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