I thought the hard part of house hunting would be finding something we liked enough to put in an offer. Turns out I was wrong.
My family and I have been actively house hunting for the last month and a half and it has not been easy. We knew the market was hot in Seattle (we’ve been looking at real estate for almost two years but weren’t ready to seriously consider moving until this year), but we’re looking at communities north of the city. I think we’ve all heard the stories of houses being sold in Seattle in less than a day for tens of thousands of dollars (or even $100,000) over asking price. But with our search area not including the high-demand Seattle neighborhoods, we thought there would be less competition.
We were very very wrong.
A week into our search we found a property we really liked in the city we currently live in (30 miles north of Seattle) and toured it twice within 48 hours of it being listed. We put in an offer that maxed out $16,000 over their asking price — we were outbid and rumored to be the second-highest bid. We were disappointed but got over it.
A week later, we found another property we really liked, also in the city we currently live in, and toured it about 30 hours after it was listed. We wanted to sleep on it and our realtor told the listing agent that we were likely going to put in a bid the next day. As we were doing the paperwork in the morning, the sellers accepted another offer. We were even more disappointed this time but told ourselves that it was still early in listing season and more houses that fit our criteria would keep coming on the market.
A couple weeks after that, what looked in photos to be the perfect house was listed on a Saturday morning. We jumped on it, touring it that afternoon. While it wasn’t as perfect as we had thought, it was really close to what we’d been looking for and we decided to put in an offer that night. We agreed to push our budget even more and offered $21,000 over list price. Again, we were outbid — they had seven offers on the house within 24 hours of listing!
At this point, we were really frustrated. We have been purposefully looking at properties that are listed well below our approval amount because we know they’re going to go for over list price. We started considering different areas that would make our already long commutes even longer, smaller houses and properties that were less than ideal, and even moving completely out of the area and starting over somewhere else. As my husband put it, “Who knew it would be so hard to give someone hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Then this week, we found a listing just outside of our search area. It’s under our budget and it’s been on the market for over a month, something essentially unheard lately. “What’s wrong with the house?” we asked our agent. He couldn’t see anything wrong with it. We toured it yesterday and like it as well — it’s move-in ready with a good size yard in a quiet neighborhood just outside of the city we currently live in. It won’t shorten our commutes any, but it’s close to our daycare and meets all the rest of our must-haves.
We’re putting in yet another offer this morning — fingers crossed this one actually works out!
So for anyone else out there house hunting, patience is key. This is not a good market for buyers. But on the flip side, if you have a house you’re looking to sell, now is the perfect time to get rid of it and make some good money! Just be sure to tell me about the listing first.
Hi, I’m Kira. I joined Verity in early 2012 after a seven-year stint as a newspaper reporter. While I never thought my career path would veer off in this direction, I am loving my time at Verity. I recently moved from being a member services representative at the Alderwood Branch to being the marketing coordinator for the credit union.
I’m originally from Texas, but I have lived all over the country and the world, including Boston, Massachusetts, Anchorage, Alaska and Sydney, Australia. But in all my travels, the Pacific Northwest is the only place that has felt like home.
When not at work, I am usually home with playing with my son, husband, dog and three cats. During the rare times I don’t have a to-do list to plow through (and it’s not raining too hard), I can be found digging in the vegetable garden, training for a half-marathon, or grilling in the backyard.