Last summer, we decided it was time to move. The global pandemic created new work from home opportunities for my husband, and the desire to move to an area with more green space was suddenly too hard to resist.
Moments after making the decision, I hopped online and created watches on Zillow, Realtor.com, and a whole host of other websites. Whenever a new house popped up, I added it to a list of places we might be interested in buying and set a course to drive to see it.
Every Saturday, we piled into the car, drove to the northernmost house, then wove our way back to the places closer to home.
At first, I enjoyed our little house-hunting adventures. With sports canceled and kids’ activities temporarily halted, we didn’t have a laundry list of things to do on the weekends. At the beginning of this quest, it felt good to roll out of the neighborhood on the weekends.
Buying a House with Cash
It’s been nine months since we decided to move and we still haven’t found a place to live. Last week we put an offer on a house and received a lovely rejection letter that read as follows:
“We know the home was extremely busy all weekend, and we received over 15 offers. Ultimately, the sellers elected to accept an offer with a higher net and more favorable terms.”
The sellers selected an all-cash offer for $75,000 over the listed price! Our real estate agent called it the minute we walked in the front door.
“This house is listed for a bidding war,” she told us. We wasted three days constructing an offer anyway.
Home Buying Contingencies
In a buyer’s market, you can load your offer with all sorts of contingencies to protect your home buying purchase. But in this environment, it’s as if home buying contingencies don’t exist.
Forget making an offer that requires an inspection or selling another home. Throw financing contingencies out the window too. If you want to buy a moderately priced home right now you’ll need to accept all the risks.
In this environment, sellers are taking cash offers and aren’t considering any bids with strings attached. They want buyers walking in with a wad of cash.
Expanding our Home Buying Search
Months ago, we almost bought the wrong house. Since that time, the market is all but dried up. Homes aren’t even listed near us anymore. People are driving down streets in search of for-sale signs and making offers sight unseen.
I wanted to move before the next school year, but I doubt that’s going to happen. We’ve been searching for three-quarters of a year. What are the odds we’ll find a house in the next two to three months?
This week I expanded our house hunt. We are now searching in a larger geographic area and widened our price range. Still, next to nothing is turning up.
Buying a House in a Seller’s Market
If we don’t find a house, I’m not sure what to do. We currently own our home outright. We are living mortgage free and didn’t initially plan to sell until we bought a new place.
We could sell our primary house while the market is hot, but that feels risky. It’s impossible to time the housing market, and it feels safer to try to buy and sell at roughly the same time.
If the market is hot, we buy when prices are high and sell when prices are high. If the market cools, we buy low and sell low.
If we sell now, the market could keep on rising. Which means we would pay a lot more than we would earn on the sale of our house.
We have another house that we could stay in while we ride this whole thing out for a year or two, but I’m leaning towards sticking to our original plan and holding on to our primary house until we buy a new one.
Cash Offer on a House
Of course, if we sell our home we could make an all cash offer on a new house. (If we ever see one we like.) We know that sellers are searching for all cash offers. Can we find a house if we don’t offer cash?
It’s a tough decision to make. What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I forget to mention that we are unwilling to stay in our current home because the schools cannot support our children. There are issues of safety, bullying, and poor academics combined. Out of a ten-point rating system, our high school is now a two. If we remain here, we will either need to home school long term or re-enroll the kids in pricey private school. We would prefer to move to a new location where public school would be an option worth choosing.