On my way to becoming the first homebuyer in Georgia: This is how I won the contract in a wild market
I wrote a letter of interest.
The main purpose of this is to humanize the fairly mandatory bid submission process. I knew my letter was supposed to be eye-catching, both visually and in terms of content, so I began composing my letter with photos of my family and descriptions of my goals weeks before I looked at the house for which I was making an offer. My goal was to convey the truth about who I am. I wrote that I am a social justice writer. I wrote that I have two children who inspire most of my work, and I wrote that not only did I want to own a home, but one day I wanted to give it to my children. I have been honest about who I am and I have to admit that I have thought twice about whether or not to include my profession. It's not always seen positively in the south, but I wanted to stay true to who I am. When my offer was accepted, the seller's agent informed my agent that my letter of interest had affected the owner. He comes from an activist family.
I have consolidated the conventional financing.
Housing finance was the most heavily involved element. I initially wanted to participate in the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) home purchase program, which I would still recommend despite my negative experience. It promises to pay closing costs, down payment costs, and other fees for buyers who, in turn, go through the subscription process in advance and are bound by other budget constraints. I was excited to be part of the program, but after about six months of my trip, my NACA advisor informed me that I had been marked as an investor and expelled from the program. You directed me to the Chief Executive Officer when I had any questions, many of which I had, but he never answered my emails or phone calls. I was devastated. I felt like I was in this bizarre trap where I thought I needed financial assistance to get a home but was just overqualified enough not to be eligible. However, I didn't take much time to pout.
To be honest, I ran out of time. My husband and I heard from the owner of the town house we rented that they were thinking of selling the house. Knowing the competitive rental landscape, I knew my family didn't have to search the city for another rental property. So I crouched down for three days and contacted several lenders looking for a conventional low-down payment loan that would also finance the renovation costs. A conventional loan was important to me because TFederal Housing Administration funding, or FHA loans for short (which would otherwise be perfect for a buyer like me), just wasn't attractive to sellers who preferred cash-only and conventional deals. When I found a lender who matched my needs, I was pre-approved within a day.
I moved quickly.
My husband and I spent months looking at properties to familiarize ourselves with the state of the country, but I officially started with the intention of buying immediately in July. We had two property tours on Thursday morning. My husband noticed a unique and immediately attractive home that hit the market minutes before. I immediately texted the real estate agent I was working on to schedule a viewing, and at that point the seller's agent hadn't even worked out a plan for planning a viewings or an open house. But when he did, he called my agent back and informed her of his plan to hold an open house next Saturday. He only allowed people with pre-approval letters to view the property, and luckily I had already received my letter. My agent, savvy as she is, made sure our viewing was arranged an hour before the open house, which gave us a competitive edge.
I asked above.
I took my husband and two young children to tour the house and we had the opportunity to meet the owner and have a little chat with him. I used this conversation to tailor my letter of interest and I submitted both the letter and my offer the same day we toured the property. I settled on an offer that was $ 5,000 above asking price based on what I could afford and what I thought the property was worth considering the other properties that came on the market last year Considered. I was satisfied with my offer because I could answer two important questions in the affirmative: If I lost ownership, would I still feel comfortable with my offer? And if I got the property, could I afford to pay for it? It's easy to get into the competitive aspects of trying to get your hands on a home. And while it can feel like an intense game, taking on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt is no laughing matter. I wanted the house, yes, but I also didn't want my family in a financial compromise position to get it. So I bid just above the asking price and once I got the deal I negotiated the price down based on the repairs needed.
I was flexible with my schedule.
After I submitted my offer, the seller asked that we move up our schedule. He wanted to close in 30 instead of 45 days, which means a shorter due diligence period, so to speak, to kick the wheels in the house, and a shorter period to request a price reduction based on any findings from the expert opinion. I said yes without thinking, but my husband, who had bought a house before, knew what we were up against. He scheduled our inspection for the next day, and my lender was actually able to get an on-site appraiser within the next week. We were on track to meet our deadline unless an unexpected family emergency delayed the reviewer in returning her report. Fortunately, the seller also had a few things to do, so the delays didn't jeopardize our deal.
I would like to say that I gracefully mastered all of the twists and turns in the process, but honestly it was frustrating. I was anxious and tended to preoccupy myself with the darkest of details. Without my support system and this great job that actually pays me to vent my frustrations, I don't know how I would have gotten this close to my first home. I pray for peace and patience all the time, but I am also grateful because I know how blessed it is to just take care of the closing process. I don't have to worry if my family has shelter, food, or health battles. I am fine. My husband is fine and my children are fine. We will sort out everything else.