Day 2 of Houseaversary Week. Today we’re talking about the offer process. (if you missed yesterday’s post on how we almost missed out on seeing the storefront check it out here.)
My day job is negotiating. I spend 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week negotiating deals. When it comes to buying a house, this is something I would never ever take on my own. It’s too personal, and I have too much invested, and not to mention the paperwork, and the legalities. I am an avid do it yourself’er, but this is time to call in the pros!
Once we decided to put in an offer, our agent showed us all the comparable sales in the neighbourhood. It was hard to find a comparable price, as the storefront is a bit of an odd duck. It has a different layout that most of the other houses on the street, is skinnier, but is longer, and of course it was an old store with an open layout and high ceilings. So there were many things to take into account on the price. The house was also vacant at the time, and we knew that the sellers wanted to close soon. There were numerous showings scheduled for the next day as well as two open houses that weekend. We knew if we wanted to strike before another offer came in, we needed to do it now.
Taking that all into consideration we set our offer amount, and our “walk away” bottom line. i.e. our very top price that we would pay for the house. If we couldn’t get the house for less than that, we agreed that we’d walk away. So we signed our offer, put in a closing date of 30 days and made the offer expire at midnight (so that they couldn’t hold off responding in hopes another offer came in the next day). Our agent went to try and seal the deal.
She came back to tell us that our offer had not been accepted, but that the sellers had countered our offer. They had been very reasonable with their counter, and had moved in price considerably (and we were under our walk away cap) but our agent thought we could do a bit better, and advised that we put in a last and final counter offer. She called in the offer to see how it’d go over, and they agreed! We signed the papers, opened a bottle of bubbly, then went out to celebrate!
I think we fared quite well in our offer. We got the house we wanted, for less than we were willing to pay, and without a bidding war. We were happier than pigs in a blanket (really are pigs happy in a blanket?!). We also felt that if we had waited another day or two, there would have been more offers on the table. So our strategy of strike quick, offer a quick closing when we knew they wanted a quick sale, and we were able to get it done! I also think we lucked out in a few mistakes that the seller/sellers agent made. First off the house was renovated in what I call “condo style” nondescript beige and plain. Thats generally good for selling, but this house wasnt your cookie cutter house. It was an 100 year old storefront in a heavily artist based neighbourhood. The words loft, industrial, storefront get the pants off the aging hipsters pushing carriages and toting lattes in their skinny jeans. Had they kept with the unique feel of the house, and played up its assets, they could have appealed to the higher paying boutique housing market. Instead they voided the space of all its character, and advertised it as a modern, clean, condo like space. Two months after we bought the house, a storefront one block over sold for over $200,000 more than we paid for our house. Seriously. It had been restored to its Edwardian roots, complete with original brick and charm. So their loss is our gain! Now we are setting our sights on putting the charm back in our home, and when we eventually sell, you know that we will be marketing it as a unique space!
Up next, the Inspection (insert dramatic drum roll…)