It's been two years since my husband and I moved into our adorable 1905 Colonial in West Medford. We closed no more than 24 hours after the huge 'bomb cyclone' storm that tore through New England in 2018, leaving piles of snow behind in its wake. I remember flipping on the 4x4 wheel drive in my Jeep, hoping to make it up the hill on our road so that we could do our final walkthrough.
I have loved every single second of living here over the past two years and I am so grateful for the life that we have built here, but there was a moment in time where I didn't think this house would be ours. Here are three important takeaways from my own home buying experience that I urge everyone to take into consideration, whether you're a first-time buyer or a long-time home owner.
Make sure you are pre-approved. I always ask every person who talks to me about buying a home whether they have gone through the pre-approval process. Often time people rebut, "Well I'm at the very beginning stages", or "I'm not looking that seriously right now, I'll eventually get pre-approved when I am ready". Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you're even considering touring homes or going to open houses then you must get pre-approved. The Greater Boston market moves quickly, and if you're not ready then you will miss out.
I walked into our home for the first time on a bright and sunny October afternoon in 2017 just before a Patriots game. I thought I was being totally casual and that I was "just getting my feet wet". I was not prepared for what came next: I completely fell in love with this home. The solid wooden banister that greeted me as I walked through the front door was the same exact style as the one in my childhood home. The windows on every wall let in an abundance of natural light that just flooded the entire first floor. The detail of the crown molding, wainscoting, and original built-ins was unparalleled. I had to live in this private getaway just six miles from Boston, but the only problem was that I was not even close to being in a position to submit an offer.
The rest of that Sunday dragged on, and the home went under agreement that Monday. I thought I had totally missed my opportunity. Which brings me to my next point ...
Deals fall apart for a number of reasons. Ah yes, the dreaded "Back on Market" designation. This can be a killer for a listing because people always assume that there was something wrong with the home rather than the buyer that caused the deal to fall apart. Let me reiterate this one more time: deals fall apart for a number of reasons. Yes, sometimes there is a structural issue with the home that comes up during inspection and causes a buyer to back out. However, a buyer may back out due to issues with financing, contingencies that weren't met on their end (i.e. the sale of their own home), or they might simply get cold feet and not want the home anymore.
The original buyer of our home got cold feet within a week of having their offer accepted. You can bet that during this time I was getting my own ducks in a row so that I would never miss out on an opportunity again because of something that was within my control. We found out during the last week of October that the house was back on the market, and during that time we got our offer together, submitted it, and had it accepted by the seller. To this day, that was my most favorite Halloween night and it is one that I will never forget.
Being prepared for anything and everything is what allowed us to move so swiftly and quickly on putting in an offer for our home, but also know that...
Everything happens for a reason. It is important to note that during this process we submitted an offer on another house not too far from where we ended up. It was the weekend after our home went under agreement with the original buyer, but before it came back on the market. We were determined to find a place in our ideal location. When our offer on that house was not accepted I was crushed. I absolutely loved the neighborhood and we had also missed out on the original home that we really wanted in this area (or so I thought at the time).
Looking back, I know that not having our offer accepted on the other home is what allowed us to move so quickly when our home came back on the market. If things do not work out the first time, or even the second time, do not get discouraged. Your ideal home is out there waiting for you and it is ready to welcome you in with open arms. I look forward to helping you find it!
Waterfield Sotheby's International Realty 48 Mt Vernon St Suite One Winchester, Massachusetts 01890
Home originally listed by Anne Spry, Waterfield Sotheby's International Realty