By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, August 4, 2020
By Alyssa Isenstein Krueger, August 4, 2020
My buyers Shay and Mike contacted me in mid-April, about a month into quarantine, and a couple of weeks after my last pre-covid transaction had closed. They were living in a rental, had a 2 year old and were pregnant with their second child. Shay had just started a new job but due to Covid she had never even been into the office of her new company. They figured with the second kid on the way, now was as good a time as any to find a new home. They had just gotten pre-approved in mid-April one month into quarantine. We had no idea what the Portland market was going to do. Everything had come to a stand still in real estate and we as a collective body of real estate agents did not know how long the pause would last. Would it be for a couple of weeks? A couple of months? Forever?
Their ideal house would be in North Portland- in Arbor Lodge, Overlook or Kenton. Their ideal home would have 3 bedrooms. Their ideal home would have more than 1 toilet. Their ideal home would have plenty of room to garden and a real dining room. And their ideal home would have lots of light and a space that could work as a home office/studio.
As soon as Shay and Mike were ready to go by the end of April, I finally met them in person at a house we went to look at. It was smaller then they were hoping- a 2 bedroom 1 bath house, but it had a full basement that could be finished and turned into a home that worked for them. They loved it and decided to write an offer. And that’s when we realized that the market was going bananas. It was a smaller 2 bed 1 bath home over in Concordia, and we knew it was getting multiple offers, so Shay and Mike wrote a little over asking, but didn’t go crazy over. And then we were told it had 7 offers and the sellers accepted an offer for about $25k over list. They got over their heartbreak of losing that house, and we continued on. Over the next 2 months, they wrote on five additional homes, and on all of the homes they wrote for over asking- and some homes they were writing $40k-$50k over asking, offering to make up appraisal differences if the appraisal didn’t come back at sales price, offering rent-back for free to sellers and offering other carrots. But we couldn’t get anything to stick. And this was hard. Really hard for them. And with Shay being pregnant, that just added to the heartbreak that kept compounding with every offer rejection. I kept telling them that every one of my buyers always buys the best house possible in the end, so even though they had been rejected 5 times, it was only because the house they had not yet written on a house meant to be theirs.
About 3 months into the search, several homes came on the market at the same time that seemed like they could work. The first one was a cute little bungalow in the Creston neighborhood in SE. It met most of their needs, and while it wasn’t in a part of town that they had originally wanted to live in, if their offer had been accepted they would have happily moved in and that would have been that. At the same time, another house right in Arbor Lodge came on the market that seemed too good to be true. It was a true 2 story house plus a full partially finished basement with 4 real bedrooms above grade, a large living room, separate dining room and roomy kitchen. It had a full bathroom on the main floor and a half bath in the basement. The basement also had a fantastic room with a fireplace that with a few cosmetic upgrades could be an ideal playroom/family room. And to top it all off, it had a detached garage in great shape. Both the SE home and the N Portland home seemed underpriced, so they felt they had a better chance of getting the SE house given it was priced lower then the No Portland house, and the SE house was looking at offers sooner then the N Portland house. They wrote up a great offer- their 5th- on the SE house and got into back-up position, which felt like progress! In the meantime, that North Portland home beckoned and with a Hail Mary, they threw their all into writing an offer on that house totally not expecting that a house so perfect could be theirs after all they had gone through.
And then I got the best call a buyer’s agent can get- your clients offer was selected! I immediately called Shay and Mike and they just about fell down on the floor. I don’t think they believed me at first. This house where the seller had accepted their offer on was by far and away the best possible house out of all the houses we looked at and they wrote offers on, and now it was going to be theirs. Transaction was smooth and house only needed a couple of repairs which the seller agreed to do, and 30 days later, the transaction closed! Had they not continued to stick with it and keep pounding the pavement, their perfect forever dream house would have eluded them. The seller is spending a week after closing moving out, Shay is due in less than 2 weeks and all is as well as could be in Shay and Mike’s world.