The inspiration for this section of our blog – Cinderella Story – was inspired by Lisa and her long journey to home ownership.
Enjoy – Sabrina
Let’s take a look back to 2010 when Russ and Natalie referred their neighbor and dear friend Lisa to us. Lisa was looking to buy her first home. We got her pre-approved with Melanie Flynn at First Priority Mortgage and she qualified for the FHA loan. With her pre-approval letter in hand the hunt began. And what a hunt it was.
2010 was a tough year…the real estate market had been in a slump…the world knew the real estate market had crashed. Many buyers were hesitant to buy, fearing the prospect of over paying while the market was still going down. Locally however, by 2010, we had already hit bottom in many areas of the SF Peninsula the year before and we were now seeing the market slowly starting to recover. Multiple offers and bidding wars were starting up again. But unless you were in the trenches as a Realtor or buyer/seller…you wouldn’t know because the media was intent on focusing on the national real estate market which was still struggling.
At the time, the market was heavy on short sale properties, and with the banks so overwhelmed, the process of trying to buy some short sale houses outweighed the joy of owning the house. Nonetheless, we wrote offers on choice short sales for Lisa. I swear, we’re still waiting to hear back on some of them. There were also some regular sales, but if the home was in nice shape, you could guarantee multiple offers and a bidding war within the week. The rest of the homes on the market were in pretty bad shape. Yes the hunt continued. We looked at many homes in various areas. My favorite quality of Lisa was her imagination. She could look at the dumpiest house and see it’s potential. There were a few times Susan & I steered her away from homes with too many projects. We truly wanted her to buy a home she could afford, that would need only cosmetic work – not structural headaches.
Lisa had an open mind. Each home we checked out she seriously considered. She wrote great offers, including letters to the sellers with a cute photo of her and her furry baby. She listened to our suggestions and advice. However, with each offer we would discover the seller accepted an all cash offer….sometimes for less than Lisa’s offer. We kept checking out homes and writing offers till she could practically explain the purchase contract to us. In light of constantly being outbid, Lisa wasn’t discouraged. Well maybe a little, but she would dust herself off and keep on going. We hunted for more than 6 months…but in retrospect we could have easily looked for a year.
Then one day while Susan & I were touring listings, we drove by a home we hadn’t seen yet. On my trusty smart phone I looked it up and found out it was a bank owned home that had just fallen out of contract. It was currently priced higher than we could go, it was an older home, in a beautiful west side location – and well just sitting there. I quickly did some research. The home had never had an open house, was never on broker tour and had just fallen out of contract – I called the Listing Agent. Being that it was already bank owned and had fallen out of contract, I explained our situation to the listing agent and that afternoon we wrote an offer. Within the week we heard the good news, the bank accepted our price (under list price) and we were on our way to closing an escrow. After our inspections came up with no surprises, you could tell Lisa was slowly getting excited. Finally, after writing nearly 20 offers and being outbid and beat up over and over again – 3o days later we popped the bubbly and handed Lisa the keys to her new home.
The moral of this Cinderella Story – sometimes you gotta kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince charming.
Congrats on hitting the 2 year anniversary in your home Lisa. We truly enjoyed working with you and turning your home ownership dream into a reality.
Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help. Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com
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Thanks for reading – Sabrina