Our journey has been long. Nine months ago we started on a path with the ending unknown. With my hands full at home, and Mr. M’s commute getting the better of all of us, we knew we had to make a change. We knew we needed to spend more time together as a family so he wouldn’t miss watching his boys grow up and I wouldn’t miss having my partner around.
Mr. M loves his job and his company, so we started talking about moving. Then we started looking. Then we got into contract on the most awful house in San Francisco and then we pulled out, took a break and regrouped. In late January we started our hunt again, this time refocusing our efforts in the East Bay and in the past two months we wrote several more offers. The closest we got on any of those was second place (which we felt pretty good about even though it didn’t work out). After missing out on a “dream house” (or two), tears shed and many discussions featuring comments like, “what the hell are we doing?” and “we must be crazy” and “we are crazy” and “are we crazy?” we surprisingly kept at it.
Towards the end of this epic journey we tweaked our focus back to SF and threw down what we thought was a strong offer on a house that needed a new everything (including a new foundation) and had no garage. It turns out we were only in the top half of the 9 offers submitted (this place went for nearly $500K over-asking, though the final number is still yet to be revealed as it is still in contract).
Frothy, you say? You have no idea. A bubble? In all likelihood.
After I got mad and utterly annoyed, I got creative.
You see, I spotted this one house in a prime location in the same neighborhood and quickly asked our realtor to pull some info on it. (Note: This is where I geek out on real estate, so skip ahead if it bores you). Turns out it had been listed three times since November and the most recent listing was substantially lower than it was listed in November. We found out the seller just received an all-cash below-asking offer and was mulling it over. The very next day our realtor and I got in to see the place. We met the owner (he’s a great guy!) and I was underwhelmed and did not fall in love. It needs work. Lots of work. And (here’s the kicker), it’s only 800 square feet.
I got home and hopped on the phone with a contractor and picked his brain on various costs to get this house up to snuff for our family. We threw around some numbers and approaches to take and then we played my favorite game, Guess How Much the Asking (price) Is? He guessed $100K OVER the asking. When I heard this I was sold. After putting in offers that were way over asking, if we could get a place at asking and in this market, well, I just didn’t care about the work to be done and I didn’t care about the size, all I wanted was to see my husband more, have my kids see their dad and to get a deal IN THIS MARKET and in one of the best cities in the world.
I may eat my words in a few months when we see the price tag of all the work to be done, but whatever. We got a deal and our risk is mostly limited.
So what happens next? We get rid of just about everything. Our current home isn’t huge by Midwest standards, but it’s got space (more than we can fill) and we’ve successfully been filling it over the 4.5 years we’ve lived here. We are slowly chipping away and taking loads to Goodwill while making lists of things to sell. We are excited about embracing our new minimalist lifestyle and we’ll see what happens. I’m currently curating a list of all the crap we are unloading, so it will be fun to publish that and see all the things we can live without (TVs included).
More to come, so stay tuned!