Home Runs and Heartbreak

by brandt

I received a very interesting email on Wednesday from my agent on Friday.  See, once we found out that we lost House #1 back in September, we were curiously interested for what it went for.  According to our agent, they could have offered more for the house than we did, they could have had a bigger down payment, they could have had a conventional loan vs. our FHA loan, they could have asked for less in concessions, or they might have had a longer credit history than 2 first-time home buyers.  Whatever the case, we looked at it as someone getting a house for more than we were willing to pay, and moved on with our lives.

Apparently, the house closed last Tuesday, and she was finally able to get the details of what went down.  Her next sentence said this:

“This literally sickened me when I saw it.”

Here’s the breakdown of the numbers.  Without being too revealing, we offered $2,000 more on the house than the buyers did.  Both of us asked for closing costs.  We asked for $7,650 in closing costs, the buyers asked for $5,500.  If you’re keeping score at home, we offered more but asked for more in closing costs, they offered less but asked for less in closing costs.

So how much did we lose the house by?

$150.00.

That’s right.  One hundred and fifty dollars.  Talk about a kick in the gut.  However, there’s not much to get mad at, or depressed over, or frustrated at.  The house was sold in 2002 for $255,000, and while there was some cosmetic work that needed to be done, it’s not like it would have broken the bank.  As a matter of fact, it hurt to hear that from my agent, but the fact that we’re looking at houses that should be someone’s second house (given the real estate economy) is keeping me sane and grounded.

Here’s how I look at it.  Imagine a baseball game.  If I wanted to, I could probably hit a single very easily.  The ball could be anywhere over home plate, and the ball could be hit anywhere – outfield, infield, left side, right side, fly ball or grounder.  And I would get on base, and be in the running to hopefully score a run for my team.

However, I want to hit a homerun.  I don’t want to tie the baseball game (break even on a house), I want to decisively win the game (make good money on my investment).   So as I’ve been up to bat, I’m not looking at the little bloop single to right field.  I’m looking for the home run.  Heck, maybe even the grand slam.  So I’m patient, and I’ve seen lots of different pitches by the pitcher.  And there have been a few pitches that I thought could be home runs, so we’ve swung.  Lake Orion House #1 turned out to be just far enough to get to the warning track in the outfield, but the center fielder snatched it before it went over the fence.  House #2 – Rochester and House #6 – Lake Orion were really good pitches, and we took a swing.  The problem is, the ball looks like it has the distance to be a home run, but it’s starting to shank foul.  We have to run the bases until the coach calls us off.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not easy.  As a matter of fact, the hardest part about playing the game this way is allowing yourself to fall in love with a house that you may or may not get.  I know for both Ashley and I, we’ve fallen in love with 3 different houses.  And real estate agents really are speaking the truth – you’ll know it when you see it.  We’ve learned the feeling.  And I can honestly tell within the first 3 minutes if this house has “it” or not.  When that feeling doesn’t happen, you still have to put on a smiley face and go through with it.  Oh, but when you find it, you get giddy.  You get excited.  Your heart beats faster, your mind starts racing, and you start fanaticizing.  That’s what it’s all about.  That’s what we’re looking for.

And what about the other houses out there?  From what we’ve been told, banks are holding the houses longer and longer.  People are seeing that the deals are better out there.  And that’s where I’m relieved.  Through all the weird stuff that we’ve got going on with a few of these houses, the one thing that allows me to sleep at night is the fact that we’re secure right now.  Our apartment allowed us to switch over to a month-to-month rent, and while that’s more expensive ($185.00 more expensive), it’s worth it for the peace of mind in knowing that once something happens, we’re out in 30 days no questions asked.  It’s just Ashley, the kittens and I, so we don’t have to worry about transitioning little kids into a new house or coordinating school schedules.  Basically, we sign the papers, pack, and go.

The biggest thing I’ve learned to remember is some advice that my father gave me when it came to getting excited and getting hopes up when looking at houses.  “CATCH the ball before you run.”  And that’s what we’ve got to remember.

$150.00?  Like Dori from “Finding Nemo” says, “Just Keep Swimming.  Just Keep Swimming.  What do we do?  We swim, swim”

Home run picture from UPI Images.

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5 Comments to “Home Runs and Heartbreak”

  1. darn, that really blows. but maybe they had a longer credit history than the two of you??? or maybe the other homeowner slept with the banker…you never know ; )

  2. Ouch :o( That must smart a lot but I’m sure that house wasn’t meant to be your house after all and that your house is out there patiently waiting for you to find it. And then all things will fall into place.

    • Thanks Micha. That’s what we keep telling ourselves, that it’s just a matter of time, that there was probably a reason, there’s something better out there, you know, all the good stuff.

      And I just read your blog. I wish there was a stronger word for Jealousy, because I have it. Envy, maybe? You just closed on your house!!?!?!? CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. I wish we had. Closed, that is :o) We’re still waiting for closing. It’s scheduled for January 17th and the wait is _Torture_ !!!

    There’s one house – the first house we ever looked at – that is our heart break. We loved/love it and it had/had everything we wanted. It came on the market, then it went to auction. It appeared sold, then it was back on the market for a mere 4 hours before it was back under contract. Now it’s being fixed up by the seller who’s an investor so he can put it on the market again … gah! So, yes. We were close, so close, but it wasn’t mean to be.

    Ask your real estate agent if they can get your signed up for listingbook here http://www.listingbook.com/ You can set up an automatic filter and receive alerts and updates on listings that match your criteria :o) Also, check more than one listing site to broaden your chances of finding possible properties. The “Ugly Duckling” wasn’t listed on listingbook at all; I discovered it on exitrealestategallery.com , for example.

    Don’t give up! We’re rooting for you and hoping that soon we can inspire each other with our nesting projects!

    • I’ve not heard of Listingbook. We’re on the normal MLS listings, so I’ll have to chek with my agent to see what the deal is (if there’s a difference).

      The other thing is we’re checking Realtor.com and listing agent sites 2-3 times per day – Lake Orion House #1 was a 9:00 PM night before find, I ran out to look at the house the next day on my lunch break, and then we’re making an offer that night. Craziness I tell ya.

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