Just me. (lara7) wrote,
Just me.

  • Mood:
  • Music:

In which I make two big-ticket offers (part 1 of 2)

As a few of you know, I've been househunting lately. Why I wish to putdown roots in SeaTac when I don't particularly like my job and don't quite yet feel like I'm part of a community is a question best left for a future, more introspective LJ entry, but since I've been pre-approved to borrow an amount of money 4-5X greater than my income (the joys of an excellent credit history) and since interest rates are at a 30 year low, I'm thinking, sure, why not buy a house? I've been looking for about 3 weeks and have probably been inside about 12-20 houses in that time. Also, for reasons I may or may not explain later, I am looking in Seattle rather than in the City of Density.

I had not yet fallen in love with a house enough to make an offer. In the house buying world, making an offer means signing about 10 triplicate forms, putting up a 4-figure deposit to prove that you're serious, and forfeiting that deposit if the seller accepts your offer and you later chicken out. Unlike eBay, you can't retract a bid without serious penalties. Making an offer is like proposing marriage- its not to be done if you aren't pretty damn sure this is what you want.

Friday I saw a house I liked. It had some quirks that some people would find drawbacks but that appealed to me (that I won't bore you with describing, unless I somehow end up actually buying this house). I made an offer that was a bit less than asking price because 1) the house is sorta small 2) the house had been on the market 20+ days and mine was the first offer. In my price range in the neighborhoods I'm looking in, houses tend to have 1-3 offers within 5 days (or less) of being listed. The fact that no one had jumped on this one made me think my offer would be accepted.

The way I understand the game is this:

1) seller offers house at price $P
2) lara7 offers price of $P minus X, gives seller 48 hours to consider.
3) seller counteroffers with price of $P minus X/2
4) lara7 considers how bad she wants this house before accepting offer, and thinks that if hers is the first offer in 20+ days, maybe it's grossly overpriced in the first place, and even $P minus X/2 might be too high. But maybe lara7 accepts the offer anyway.

The way it actually happened was:

1) seller offers house at price $P
2) lara7 offers price of $P minus X
3) seller "counteroffers" at full asking price ($P), with no concessions whatsoever.
4) lara7 says "What the fuck?"

You may be saying, that doesn't sound like a counteroffer, that sounds like a "fuck you, pay full price or go away". Which is how I took it. If they think that after 20 days with no offers, they can still get their asking price, they are welcome to try, as far as I am concerned. To put in in terms you renting gen-Xers can understand, think of an Ebay auction of a Smurfs lunchbox with a solitary bid of $15, yet the seller has a $101 reserve on it.

So, back to square one. But in the 48 hours that I was waiting to hear if my offer was accepted, I was on an adreneline high unlike any other I've ever experienced. There have only been a few times in my life I've had that sensation of "Oh my god, I can't believe I'm doing this!". Moving across country (all 3 times) certainly counted, as did quitting my job to go to grad school. I've never jumped out of an airplane or agreed to get married, but I imagine those are similar sensations. Its a combination of exilihiration and dread that's quite amazing, when it's not making you act incredibly silly.

So I'd been house hunting. I was high on adreneline. I hadn't eaten in 6 hours. I was looking at the possibility that I'd just committed myself to a 30 year mortgage. I was loopy. To end some of the suspense, I will say that what happened in the next 48 hours did not result in me buying this house. But the offer I made that was accepted is perhaps as big a deal....

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded