As promised, I’ll be taking up some space on these pages over the next few weeks to share some of the nitty gritty details of my personal home search. To kick things off, I thought I’d just give you a rough timeline of the whole process. Let me know in the comments on this post what aspects you’re most interested in hearing more about and I’ll tailor the rest of the series based on your feedback.
- Started thinking about buying our first home.
- Friends who recently purchased referred us to their real estate agent.
- Real estate agent referred us to their preferred mortgage broker.
- Broker recommended various frightening financing options, including a 5-year interest-only adjustable-rate mortgage. When I brought up my concern with this type of financing, his response was something along the lines of “don’t worry, you can just refinance it before the five years is up.”
- Looked at a few properties we could afford without taking out insane financing. This basically included swampland in Monroe and run-down trailers in Lynnwood.
- Decided to apply my engineering mindset to disassemble the housing market and understand what was making it tick.
- Realized that the market insanity was being driven not by sound underlying economic fundamentals, but essentially by mass hysteria.
- Started Seattle Bubble to share my research with anyone else who might be interested.
- Put serious home search on hold.
2005 – 2009
- Spent lots of time watching the market:
- set up a ton of listing alerts
- watched homes we’re interested in
- spent time in various neighborhoods to narrow search
- blog, blog, blog
- Based on the trajectory of housing bust, started making rough plans to target winter 2009-2010 for an eventual purchase.
- Tax credit passed, totally screws up market dynamics, putting true price correction on hold.
- Purchase delayed until tax credit expires.
- First real tour of a home since 2005—bank-owned beater on acreage in south Snohomish County.
- Decided to hold off on making an offer (overpriced).
- Made an offer on the REO home on acreage.
- After some negotiation, bank accepted offer.
- Backed out of home after inspection.
- Made offers on three other bank-owned homes.
- Lost two of three offers in multiple offer sudden death.
- Bank had already accepted an offer on the third home (even though it wasn’t “pending” in the MLS).
- Toured a short sale its third day on the market.
- Made an offer the next day.
- Sellers accepted offer same day.
- Sellers sent offer package to their bank the following week.
- After some minor back-and-forth with the sellers’ bank, the bank accepted the offer.
- Inspection, financing, appraisal all went through.
- Home sale closed May 20th.
If any of that piques your interest, let me know. I’m planning to get in-depth on various portions of the tale each Friday over the next few weeks.