Real Estate

First-hand account: Here’s what it’s like to sell your home during a pandemic

And try to buy your next home

[Updated June 19, 2020]

As I write this I am waiting. Waiting to find out if I am moving in one week, in several weeks or not at all.

A lot has happened since I listed my home and went into multiple offers within days of it hitting the market.

After accepting an offer, my husband and I had to quickly find a home. We did. We drove out to a neighborhood that I had heard about, but had dismissed because it was further than I wanted to be. But what I saw out there had me completely in love. After spending an afternoon and evening in the area, we were convinced. We put an offer down on a home with a contingency for the sell of our house.

They accepted.

We were all set! Until the person buying our home backed out. We now had a contract down to buy a home, the closing date set for the end of June, and no offer on the home we were selling. The tables had turned, and I had just realized how stressful this process was going to be.

It didn’t last long, though, and we soon had another offer on our house. This offer was lower, which was upsetting, but I was set to close at the end of the month and didn’t know if I could handle losing yet another house that I wanted. We accepted the offer, and again we were off.

My lender asked for a list of documents, and the list kept growing. First American, our title company, wanted their own list of documents.

Eventually our house, built in 2018, was inspected and showed some minimum repairs needed. That prompted the buyers to send a repair amendment with a list of to-dos. I was mad. Did they not realize it is a seller’s market? And yet if I said no, was I willing to risk losing the contract on the house that I wanted to buy?

We started working on the repairs, but didn’t sign the amendment yet. One contractor was going to charge $100; another contractor, $325. We decided we could do that repair ourselves and paid $90 for the part. But the expenses continued mounting.

And during this time the buyers continued to send out new contractors to check various things on the house. It didn’t matter that the house was only two years old or that it is still under the original warranty. The contractors kept coming.

But during that time, we didn’t stop showing the house. I never turned down a showing. As I had hoped, we had another offer come through. This time, they offered full price.

After quickly weighing the pros and cons, we called Realtor and NorthVineRealty Owner Lisa Bloskas and told her we were done with contractors, done with repairs. Of course, the buyers were quick to point out one very important page in Texas real estate contracts:

“Seller shall permit Buyer and Buyer’s agents access to the Property at reasonable times. Buyer may have the Property inspected by inspectors selected by Buyer and licensed by TREC or otherwise permitted by law to make inspections,” the contract stated.

“Fine,” I said, resigned. “They can come. And if they find something the warranty will cover it. But I’m not doing anything else.”

That was several days ago. Their option period ends Friday at 5:00, and I will finally know if we are moving June 30, accepting the new offer and pushing the closing date back several weeks — or if I forget everything and just start unpacking my house.

[Original story, published June 3, 2020.]

Listing a home in a pandemic

Last week, I decided to sell my home.

The decision seemed sudden, but it wasn’t. I watched as the market started picking up. I watched as interest rates continued to drop. I browsed options online as I waited and watched.

My next mortgage payment was due and I cringed as I typed in the payment – seeing the divide between P&I and taxes. We’re in a Public Improvement District, so taxes are especially painful.

It’s nice being away from the hustle of Dallas with our view overlooking the lake, but the price was steep, and I had finally had enough.

“What do you think about moving?” It was posed as a question, but my husband and I both knew it wasn’t. I write for the housing industry. There is nothing he can say that I won’t have an answer for.

We called local Realtor Lisa Bloskas, owner of NorthVineRealty, to begin.

Within a week we had cleaned, fixed up and prepared our first home, which we had lived in for just two years, to go on the market. We bought the home from homebuilder D.R. Horton, so there wasn’t much fixing up that needed to be done. As for the small repairs that were needed? Like true Millennials we YouTubed how to do it, tried to do it ourselves and quickly realized we had gotten ourselves into a bigger project than we intended.

We talked about putting our home for sale on a Monday. On Friday, a professional photographer came out to the home to take incredible shots – it almost made me want to stay! We knew a lot of people would be browsing virtually due to COVID-19, so iPhone pictures weren’t going to do.

By Saturday night, our projects were finished and the home was listed for sale. I had flashbacks of the time my parents tried to sell their first home located in a small town between Dallas and Austin. It never sold. They waited, keeping the home on the market for a year before finally renting it out, which they did for the next 20 years. In fact, my family just fixed the house up again and sold it a few months ago – decades after first listing it.

Needless to say, I was nervous.

But hours after listing our home in a northern Dallas suburb, we got our first showing request. I was elated. Two more quickly followed. After listing the home Saturday night, we had three showings Sunday and three more on Monday.

But Tuesday rolled around and my phone was silent. I started doubting everything. Did we get a surge when it first listed and now it was done? What if no one wanted it for the same reason I was trying to leave? Taxes are too high, it was too far out from the city. It is a cute home, built in 2018 and perfect for a first home or an elderly couple looking to downsize, but would the pros outweigh the cons?

In a world with instant feedback, going all day Tuesday in silence was rough. By the end of the day, I was wondering if we had made a mistake by listing it.

It had been three days.

Hours later, we received our first offer on the home. A cash offer putting up nearly asking price. Wednesday morning another agent informed us their home shoppers were considering putting in an offer. We had two more showings on Wednesday (that’s today!).

The emotional roller coaster continued to drag me along with its sharp twists and turns. I thought I would have more time to prepare. Instead, within four days of listing our home we were looking at multiple offers with more showings still lined up. Closing dates were all set for the end of the month.

And I still didn’t even know where we were moving.

Buying a new home

Meanwhile, we had been looking at homes we could buy. I wanted to be closer to work. That didn’t narrow it down much.

Did we want to buy a new build again? Go for an existing home this time? We still weren’t sure.

HousingWire is located in Irving next to at least three major highways. The possibilities for my commute were endless. My husband’s job is also in the same area.

But now, instead of having weeks to prepare and find a new area, we needed to know now, because we need to move…now.

Last weekend, we fell in love with a home. I had even decided that I didn’t want to move at all if I couldn’t have that one. We put in an offer, but lost it in the competitive market.

The loss was more devastating than I thought it would be. Now, as I scroll aimlessly through new listings, none of them compare. All during a time when I need to decide as fast as I can where I want to move, what home I want and put a contract down so we don’t end up homeless or couch surfing at the end of the month.

Previoulsy, HousingWire Senior Real Estate reporter Angela de Gale wrote about the fierce housing market, and the resulting bidding wars arising.

But suddenly it became personal. Deciding to sell my home showed that Dallas is just as much “in the game” as other hot areas when it comes to the home-buying competition.

And while that is great news for us as we sell our home, I’m sure we have not been met with our last obstacle in our journey to buy the next one.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story and we will update as events occur.

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