“You hope beyond hope that you get this house…”

Last week the Seattle Times ran an editorial from a frustrated would-be home buyer currently in the trenches:

As I write this, I’m waiting to hear from my realtor on whether or not I just bought a house. It’s my sixth attempt at purchasing a home in Seattle this year, and you know what they say: The sixth time is the charm! Or maybe it’s the 16th?

There’s nothing quite like waiting for the call from your Realtor to find out whether you just spent your entire savings and then some on a house that may or may not survive even a minor earthquake. (You won’t know until said earthquake hits because you had to waive the once-standard opportunity to have the house properly inspected because inspection contingencies are so 2015.)

Nevertheless, you hope beyond hope that you get this house, despite the fact that the foundational supports are shimmed up with a log, a brick, a wedge of plywood — and is that a stack of plates? And if you have to write one more sickeningly earnest letter about why you’re the best buyer for this home, you might have to call it quits and move back to Iowa, where hundreds of thousands of dollars buys you an entire operational farm.

The whole piece has an eerily familiar ring to it… Here’s an excerpt from a piece that ran nearly 10 years ago in the Seattle P-I, the famous “last spaceship flight” piece:

But with friends who have not yet “squeezed in” to the housing market, I am reminded of how I felt when I got accepted by my first choice for college and my best friend got nothing but rejections. What do you say to each other? I try to offer soothing assurances: “I hear there are still some great deals up north.” “600 square feet is plenty of room!”

But no matter what I say, I know we all feel like they have probably missed their chance, like they didn’t buy their ticket on the last spaceship flight off a planet that’s about to explode. I fear they’re doomed to move back to Missouri in order to afford more than a studio condo on the fringes of the city.

Fortunately, none of my friends have left town — yet. And even if they don’t, even if they all hit the jackpot and land their cramped little dream homes, I guess I’ll never know who else may have left.

The author of the 2016 piece has apparently been getting lots of advice from her friends:

Well-meaning people keep offering unsolicited advice.

I wish people would stop telling me I need to keep the faith because my perfect house is right around the corner. I need them to stop suggesting I look for houses in neighborhoods they would never set foot in, let alone purchase property in. I would appreciate it if people stopped recommending fixer-uppers and tear-down-ers. And if one more person suggests that I include a heartfelt letter and photo of my adorable children in my offer packet, I will lose my mind.

The one piece of advice it seems nobody is giving her: Maybe you should just hold off and don’t buy a home in a ridiculously frenzied market. Just a thought.

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.