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  • Eenie, meenie, mienie, ‘mo

    2012 - 08.19

    As we were preparing to head off to Boca I spent alot of time researching properties on the big real estate sites: Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com. I especially liked Zillow because not only did it have average days on market, it had ‘zestimate’ which was a suggested price based on what similar properties had sold for.

    So, not only did I have my list of 22 or so properties I wanted to see, I also had a very refined list of what we did and did not want: a specific top-dollar that would keep our banker from having convulsions, walking distance to downtown, either a gated community or a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association (who wants to deal with hiring gardeners and so forth?) a community pool so we can interact with other residents, and possibly even a condominium; as long as it was a townhouse style with private entrance and ground level access.

    Oh, and all that excitement we see on HGTV about buying repos and short sales at a fraction of their value?

    Bogus in my opinion.

    The real world was not that way at all. Besides, we were coming home with a signed purchase agreement. I had absolutely no intention of waiting weeks for a silly east coast bank to decide if our offer met their stupid criteria or not.

    I thought we would be the perfect clients.

    Back in my corporate ladder climbing days, I owned seven houses in the course of five years. In 2004 I owned three homes each in different cities (not at the same time mind you, there was lots of buying and selling going on) two of them being brand spanking new that I bought and finished.

    I consider myself quite the savvy home buyer, thank-you-very-much.

    I contacted the best real estate firm in town and got a referral to one of the best agents in Boca and we started corresponding, sharing listings back and forth.

    The first thing I learned: all those real estate sites do a great job of putting listings out there for the public, but they’re pretty slow about pulling off the ones that have sold or are under contract.

    At least 60% of my list was not available for purchase.

    The other thing I learned is that the ‘suggested price’ on some of the sites seemed more like a broad average of all the prices in the area, which pushed the price of high-end properties down and the price of lower-end properties up. Which made it seem like you should offer a ridiculously low price for a mansion, and could get a 600 sf third floor walk-up for a ‘steal’.

    Not necessarily the case.

    So after a horrific day of air-travel drama, and quick night’s sleep at my Aunt’s home, with list of demands in hand we were off to meet with our Boca agent to find our dream home.

    Today’s Gay Agenda: What’s that phrase about ‘the best laid plans?’



    11 Responses to “Eenie, meenie, mienie, ‘mo”

    1. jerry says:

      This writing is worst than complaining about a drunk indian in your yard.

    2. Laura says:

      We had a similar experience in the “let’s get in on the low, low prices of FL sunshine” several years ago. It was a good adventure, but disappointing. I was however, able to break off my compulsive, late night love affair with Realtor.com ~ but I do miss him sometimes. Thought of you this week as I headed home from Portland to the Duluth area (past Fargo). Had a flat tire and as I waited for repair I thought, wish I could call Mac and invite him out for coffee.

    3. Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Mac–Your experience is REALLY interesting to me personally as we are beginning a similar process.

      I’ve spending time on the net pricing, looking at taxes, etc. I just noticed property I really liked was still on the “Find a House” site but off the list of properties of the firm listing it.

      Am I right, then, that it was not as possible to make successful offers of lower prices on high end properties??

      • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

        You’re probably correct in that it’s not available if it’s on the real estate sites but not on the listing agency’s site any longer. We ended up making an offer on a short sale (oops, I gave away an upcoming TGA) which is totally what I didn’t want to do, since it’s takes weeks for the bank to respond. We did our homework and offered about 15% under asking price thinking the bank would be willing to get the property off their books rather than continuing to pay the cost of owning.

        One thing I learned is that banks only consider ONE offer at a time, so if your offer is reasonable it will go through the system before another offer is considered. This was HUGE for us as we were writing an offer just as the agent received a phone call indicating another was going to be written for 25K more than ours. Since we were there with checkbook in hand, they took our offer for submission and consideration first. Bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and all I suppose. If ours is declined they will then review the next one to come along.

        Nerve wracking process which I would think would be tortuous to someone who had to buy a primary residence rather than a second home.

    4. Doug says:

      I love your blog and I’m still back in your 2010 posts! If you don’t write professionally, you certainly could. Thanks for your thoughts and ideas–they are so real and so right.

    5. Marie says:

      I’ve always wanted to at least visit Boca…when can we visit you? :) I hope it works out!

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