Yesterday At First American Title: Ben and Emily CLOSE on their first home!
What a great feeling. We found an amazing home (more on that in a moment). In a compete scenario, with multipe offers and we were 1 of 19 showings set over 48 hours, my clients won the bidding war and Ben and Emily CLOSE on their first home! It doesn’t get any better than that. Getting to the closing? That was quite a story.
Is it okay if I start at the very end of the tale? Yesterday, while picking up the keys from the sellers (not my clients), they told me, “Bob, we loved the movie the buyers gave us. When I told my daughter Rhonda about that movie, she said “Mom those are the buyers for your home!”“
First Time Home Buying
I first met Ben and Emily several years ago. It was at a past client’s party that I was introduced to Ben and his then girlfriend Emily. They talked about buying a home together and we went out and viewed some properties.
What Emily and Ben discovered was their income and debt ratio didn’t allow for them to buy a better place than they could rent, so they held off the search for awhile. I knew if they waited, eventually Ben and Emily close on their first home and it will be perfect. So my advice two years ago: don’t buy that house.
Don’t Buy that house. Sometimes, the best most honest advice a Realtor can share: “don’t buy that house.”
Ready To Move
Cut to the Spring of 2014. What a difference a year or two can make. The market changed, interest rates were low. Emily and Ben’s income was up, debt down. Great time to look for a new home. At the same time, the buyers found themselves in a sellers market with multiple offers, houses selling overnight for better than list. Still, in short order, we found what we thought was the perfect house on Depew.
As I wrote the offer, I could envision 30 days later Ben and Emily close on their first home. However, what I didn’t imagine is our offer would be 1 of 9 for that house. We came in second place. It might as well have been dead last. It was a terrible feeling to make an offer, get emotionally involved with a house and then lose out in a bidding war.
I Work For You
To get to the closing table, took long hours and a good deal of work. Ben and Emily have demanding careers. They also have a social calendar and three dogs. This all comes together with evenings and weekends being the best times for Emily and Ben to see property. And so I showed a lot of houses, frequently we would view our last house as the sun was setting. I also previewed property on behalf of my clients, knocking out the least desirable homes.
My goal: help you find the best possible house in your budget.
Perseverance and Preparation
Losing out on a house, Emily and Ben decided to improve their chances for the next house. They worked with their mortgage officer, Tiffany Malys of Chase Bank to become fully loan approved. This is different than a pre-qual letter. Tiffany sent the buyers through Underwriting and my clients were fully approved, pending the selection of a home and successful appraisal.
We would be as good or better than a cash offer on our next attempt. We also decided to use video on our next offer (the movie the sellers loved!!) This secret weapon made all the difference helping Ben and Emily close on their first home
Above: the movie we shot that the owners loved. This extra touch really helped win the bidding war and thus Ben and Emily close on their first home!
First Time Home Buying And The Dream Home
As I mentioned before, we found an amazing dream home. The neighborhood has two entrances, one to the east, another to the west. But the streets are very lightly traveled. Almost no cars ever pass by the house on this cute block. The house has plenty of wonderful touches. The yard is a rich, verdant green. Dave (the owner) says the trick is aerating twice a year. Gorgeous landscaping front and back including roses that are just gorgeous. Out front there is a one-of-a-kind mailbox and hard wired lights (way nicer than the solar powered spikes you see so often these days).
Inside, an immaculate home with hardwood and Pergo style floors in most rooms – including the 2nd flor. Every system had been replaced or certified: the roof, furnace, air conditioner and hot water heater were all less than three years old. There are even two metal doggie gates, ideal as Emily and Ben have three dogs (Joyce and Dave had two).
As their Realtor I Freaked Out
Emily instantly loved the house. As their Realtor, I freaked out. There were multiple showings occurring while we were in the house. I could tell there would be multiple offers. Houses like this don’t come on the market everyday. We hustled out of the house and down the block – out of sight of other parties – and talked about the house. My buyers definitely wanted to make an offer. No time to “sleep on it” or delay. We got to work immediately with a great offer geared.
The goal: Ben and Emily close on their first home. The offer? Strong and clean, with a copy of proof of funds for our down payment and the fully approved mortgage documentation. I had the mortgage officer supply a letter to the seller and preemptively contact the listing agent. We also supplied our secret weapon: a video from the buyers to the sellers letting them know they loved the house. We beat out a better offer that featured an escalation clause.
Final Walk Through
Before Ben and Emily close on their first home, they complete their final walk through.
Most of the time, a final walk through is in a vacant house. Not ours; Dave and Joyce, the sellers and proud owners of this house for 41 years were present. They led Ben and Emily through every room, pointing out special features and how to operate the sprinklers (there are not one, but two boxes – really unique and special for a house at this price point).
Joyce gave Emily a quick tutorial on maintaining the extensive gardens and trimming the roses. Dave showed Ben the timer for the lights, how to operate the sprinklers and the wood shop in the basement (we never saw that room on our first visit. Ben is thrilled to have a shop!). What is usually a 5 minute all business affair became a 90 minute visit.
We learned about Joyce and Dave’s children, now in Arkansas and Dallas, Tx. Heard about neighbors, adventures in the house, forty one years of history. Forty eight hours later, as Ben and Emily close on their first home we were still talking about how wonderful the sellers are.
Pictured above: Before Ben and Emily close on their first home, we did a final walk through with the owners, Dave and Joyce. Then everyone posed for a quick snapshot on the front lawn.
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