I’ve gone back and forth over whether or not to write this blog post. We decided to close the book on our unsuccessful short-sale purchase experience about two months ago, and I still feel overwhelmed when I think about telling our story.
There are many reasons that I think it’s important to share it. I’d like to think that the knowledge we gained throughout the ordeal may enlighten others in some way before embarking on such an unpredictable journey. Being a “non-designy design” blog that tells our stories about where we live, I feel like it’s the honest thing to do.
It didn’t take long for me to begin planning how our new home would look and feel. I started day-dreaming about our first place the first time we saw the property, and even though I lectured myself in my head about becoming attached and making plans too early on, it’s virtually impossible not to. Isn’t that the point of looking at a house anyway – to try and picture yourself living in it? What a fun blog series this could become – our first home.
To not tell our short-sale story on the blog would be to pretend it never happened, to pretend we didn’t spend 7 months trying to buy our first house and to pretend I didn’t have design visions of grandeur waiting in the wings. The inspiration and ideas and design plans are still floating around in places (mostly Pinterest), but will have to be implemented in different ways within a different set of walls and floors. And that’s OK with us.
In an effort to avoid an overly drawn-out tale of woe and negativity, I will simply leave you with the (condensed) versions of the lessons we learned throughout the process.
1. Find a realtor you know and trust. And who knows you. This means don’t do what we did and simply call the phone number on the online listing. Which leads me to…
2. When searching online, stick to Realtor.com. We were urged by our ‘replacement’ realtor to steer clear of sites like Zillow and Trulia (my personal favorites until that lightbulb moment). He told us that Realtor.com is really the only site that is updated regularly, about every 15 minutes with real MLS information.
3. Be prepared for disappointment but don’t inhibit excitement. I can tell you with confidence that this ordeal would have been much more stressful if we didn’t let ourselves fantasize about what our ‘new home’ was going to be like. We popped champagne the day we signed the offer. We talked often about getting a dog to run around in our new yard. We even gave the dog a name. (Henry, we know you’re out there somewhere and we can’t wait to meet you when we don’t live in an apartment anymore!)
4. Don’t stop looking. Even after we submitted our offer, we kept looking at houses online as a way to prepare for the bank turning us down. It helped us not get too hooked on the house and was a nice reminder that, like other things in life, there were ‘plenty of fish in the sea.’
Do you have a real estate story to share? Have you had success or frustrations during a short-sale or foreclosure purchase? Did you sell your home in a short-sale? What was your experience with the bank like? I’d love to hear about your experiences…