Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Diving in and treading water

Hello, everyone! Or maybe just one...or two of you?  Anyhow :), it's been too long.  So what do I do on my free time these days?  Well, if I'm not trying to make dinner peacefully while both kids snooze, or I'm not making something that will probably end up in a Goodwill box one day, I'm usually on realtor.com...or even driving around random neighborhoods in search of some "For Sale by Owner" signs.  Yep, we're moving toward home-buying...ever so slowly, and a little painfully.
You won't believe this, but in the past week we bid on 2 different homes ABOVE the asking price and lost them both.  One house was even over-priced to begin with. We're officially in a seller's market, and 3-5 bids are usually placed on any house on the market, even in the surrounding suburbs.  I guess everyone wants to move to the hill country?  How bad is it?  Homes usually sell before they're even listed online (I'm also signed up with my realtor to receive emails about homes).  To give you an example of how competitive it is, here's a concrete example.  A house is listed at 12 AM midnight.  I wake up at 5:15 AM the next morning, 4 minutes after I receive the email about the new house.  I text my realtor about the house at 6:45 AM.  She contacts the listing agent and asks if we can view the home that same morning.  We are told we can view it at 9:30 and assume we are the first.  
Well, guess what?  We are, or I should say I am the first one there...  In fact, I get there 15 minutes early.  My realtor is stuck in traffic and so she's late, in the meantime 3 OTHER PEOPLE SHOW UP.  And they all have appointments to view it too.  We're told the listing agent is receiving offers until 5 PM.  We are pretty happy with this house; it's literally around the corner from one of the best elementary schools in Austin, it has a wrap-around yard WITH TREES (huge bonus in TX), and it comes with a play yard, upgraded kitchen, and even on a cul-de-sac in a highly desirable neighborhood (can you tell I've been on realtor.com a lot?) ;).  So this is why we bid above the asking price.  
Guess what?  WE ARE THE HIGHEST BIDDERS BUT SOMEONE WHO BIDS BENEATH US GETS THE HOUSE BECAUSE THEY'RE PAYING CASH FOR THE HOUSE!  Yes, they're not even taking out a loan.  They're paying the owner cash up front and claim they can move in, in 2 weeks!  

What the heck?!

It's crazy.  I pretty much assume we won't get a house when we see it, at this point.  But we're continuing to save (and I've stuck to a really tight budget so that we've been able to save quite a bit over the past few months).  Even if the market stays this hot, at least we'll eventually have enough to pay for the house too ;)...if it takes that long!  Haha!  I'm losing sleep over this and I shouldn't be.  It's hard to not get sucked in.  Trying to keep my head on straight and remember that it's just a house...I live in a lovely home right now that's definitely affordable, I should have no complaints :).  It really feels like we're in Vegas, or something, though.

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