In the beginning of 2020, Zack and I had decided that this was going to be the year that we bought a house. We have been wanting to get a house ever since we moved to Texas.
We drove back to Wisconsin in August 2020 for a week to meet my newborn nephew and see our parents and friends. Since it is a sixteen hour drive, the large topic of house hunting filled the time. But it wasn’t about what kind of house, but when we can start. We spent August saying that we can start in September. Then we spent September saying that we can start in October.
Then October came and we finally picked three mortgage companies to begin researching our options. At this point, we went to a few open houses to see what was available in the areas we picked in the DFW Metroplex (Hurst, Euless, Bedford and North Arlington). At the beginning November we signed with a realtor and began to see some houses. We never realized how quick the buying decision needed to happen in order to buy a home in the neighborhoods we wanted.
Our House Buying Experience
Bid #1: November 27, 2020
2007 San Jacinto in Arlington, TX
3 bd 2 ba 1,895 sqft
Our realtor had the toughest time getting this electronic key to unlock. We probably waited for 20-30 minutes for her to call the seller’s realtor and the lock company. It was excruciating because we wanted to see this house after only seeing it available a couple hours earlier that day. There were visible foundation issues with the garage and the backyard was small, but still fenced. This one was listed at $250K and we offered under because of the foundation issues at $245K. Two days later we were told that our offer was not accepted.
Bid #2: December 1, 2020
2009 San Jacinto in Arlington, TX
4 bd 2 ba 2,062 sqft
When we had visited the 2007 home, there was a sign in the yard for this one, but it wasn’t listed on Zillow or Realtor yet. When it did come online, I sent our Realtor the house and wanted to get in right away. Corner lot, big backyard, and more square footage. The house was listed at $265K and we went in over asking at $272,500.
Our realtor forwarded us an email on 12/3/2020 from the seller’s agent letting us know that we were still in the running:
“We are asking for their BEST OFFER. Price increases really isn’t necessary as they already did that with the original. BUT are there any other terms they would like to change.”
The was so odd to us and we didn’t know what that meant. So we wrote a personal letter to the seller in addition to our offer about the features we like and a little bit about us. Later that evening our realtor reached out again to make sure our letter came through and if the seller made a decision. On 12/4/2020, the seller’s agent responded that our offer was not accepted.
Bid #3: December 5, 2020
1009 Bucknell in Arlington, TX
3 bd 2 ba 1903 sqft
This one sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions. The house was listed at $250K and we offered $20K over asking. We absolutely loved this house and wrote a heartfelt letter to the sellers. This house had enough renovations for us to update and still keep the 1978 charm. The seller’s agent sent us the paperwork that evening accepting our offer, but he also sent an appraisal addendum. We firmly said that we will not waive our right to walk away without an appraisal.
And then this one got weird – the seller’s agent called our realtor 5 times on 12/6/2020 – he told our realtor that we don’t have to sign the addendum and that’s its the best offer he received. Then he revealed that they had a cash offer with the option to close within two weeks, but was trying to find out if the house would appraise for more. Then he admitted that his client’s were being greedy by trying to get as much money as they can. Then he tried to try to push us for $260K with the appraisal addendum. We firmly said no. But then he said they would go with $270,000 because if it appraises for more than his client will make more.
On 12/7/2020, our realtor sent him all the signed paperwork in the morning, excluding the appraisal addendum. Then the seller’s agent called her saying that wasn’t what he said. At this point, our realtor couldn’t get a hold of him on the phone or email. So we had signed our names to a legal contract, but the sellers don’t have to accept the offer without the addendum (that is their right).
We found out 12/8/2020 that we lost out to the cash offer.
Bid #4: December 13, 2020
835 Magnolia in Hurst, TX
3 bd 2 ba 1415 sqft
This house had been listed in October at $300K, which was the top of our price point. On 12/10/2020, the price was lowered to $289,500. We thought the house was small in sqft, but the third car garage would make up for it. The backyard had some quirks, but it seemed fairly quiet being on the corner of two dead-end streets plus the privacy of the fence. The interior was dated, but we agreed that we wanted to do some renovations.
We asked our realtor to look at comps before making an offer. She pulled three recent sales that were about the same price ~$300K. We decided to go in at $290K. Our offer was accepted and we paid the earnest money. 12/17/2020 we had an inspection done and it all checked out well. There were a couple of things we asked the seller to fix and a couple of things that we didn’t care about because we would be renovating it – like the bathrooms and flooring.
On 12/28/2020, we received notice that our bank had already completed the appraisal. The house appraised for $36,000 below our offer. The seller wanted us to order a second appraisal, but we declined. They even tried calling our bank to order another one – our loan officer called to confirm that we wanted a second one ordered on our dime (ugh).
The seller’s agent came back with a counter offer of $270K with the breakdown below. And this is where this one got weird – it didn’t add up. Basically telling us that our bank is giving us the appraised value of the home in our loan of $255K, so we should use our down payment of $15K to reach the counter offer. Even our realtor was telling us to take the deal. We kind of felt cornered.
Zack spent some time reviewing the costs from what their seller’s agent was telling us and compared it with the information that our loan officer was telling us. He came up with the breakdown below. Model A was suggested from the seller’s agent and we confirmed with our loan officer that Model B was true for this situation. We would actually need almost $28K in cash in order to take this offer.
We held at our counter offer of $255K and the seller decided to re-list the house. On 1/1/2021, we terminated the contract.
We Bought a House!
In mid-December the email digests we were receiving from Zillow and Realtor.com were few and far between. After we didn’t get the house on Bucknell, Zack and I made an appointment to tour a brand new LGI Homes development on 12/8/2020. By the end of that week, we had decided to pursue the house in Hurst instead of buying new.
As soon as we had confirmation that the Hurst deal was over, we decided that we were done trying to buy a used home as our experiences weren’t positive. We went back to the new LGI Homes Oak Ridge development on January 6, 2021. Since we had already toured the floor plans, we only needed to decide if we wanted the Erie floor plan at 1598 sqft or the Ontario floor plan for 1775 sq ft.
We liked the bigger kitchen and dining room in the Ontario, so we chose that option! The same day we put down $1000 to secure the plot, then signed the paperwork to get started. We stopped by our lot on Saturday, January 9, we stopped by to take a photo with our plot of land with a SOLD sign.
And now we wait!