More than just real estate

Diary of a First-Time Homebuyer: The Waiting Game…

Diary of a First-Time Homebuyer follows a 20-something in her search for the perfect starter home in Milwaukee. Through the process, she’s finding out it’s a little less “House Hunters” and a little more about the waiting game…

Well, last time I checked in I mentioned putting a hold on the house hunt until a fantastic opportunity presents itself. I felt like I’d exhausted all the options in the neighborhood I was looking in, save for two. On Tuesday, I went with my Realtor and took a look at two homes: One was spacious with a  great master bedroom, but a little more south than I’d like. The other, I’d written off completely because the square footage seemed small and the few photos of the interior they had online weren’t that impressive – but the location was great, so it was worth a look!

That home that I’d written off? It was so much better in real life – a true example of why you can’t judge a book by its cover… or its online photos. The interior was a little smaller than I’d wanted, but it was full of charm and very well taken care of. It also had a fabulous backyard that you don’t often see in the city of Milwaukee. It was the first home I’d really gotten excited about, so I decided that night to put an offer on it.

Do you ever watch HGTV’s “House Hunters?” Well, as a first-time homebuyer I’m a little obsessed with it – I may have even been sucked into a 4-hour marathon once or twice. I love watching these people search for homes and putting their offers in. But “House Hunters” leaves one really HUGE part of the home buying process out: The waiting. The making-the-offer process is a long one – go through a mountain of forms, write your signature a few dozen times and just hope to God you can retain about 15% of the legal jargon that’s being told to you. It’s not just “Oh, hey, I would like to offer X amount of dollars on this home – call the Realtor and let them know.” On “House Hunters,” this is exactly how they portray the situation. Then, after the buyers make the offer, they go to some quaint coffee shop and sip on some lavender tea while waiting 15 minutes for their Realtor to call back and tell them their offer has been accepted.

This is not what happens outside of reality TV. What actually happens is you put in your offer, then deal with anxiety and a nervous stomach for the next 24 hours hoping and praying you’ll hear back with positive news. Yesterday was a long one, my friends – the minutes creeped by like hours, I nearly tore my hair out, and it wasn’t until last evening that I’d heard they were countering my initial offer.

OK – a counter. A counter offer is not a complete letdown. In fact, I’d assumed they would counter right off the bat. Once I heard their counter offer, I decided what I would respond with, told my Realtor, and she drew up some (more) paperwork for me to sign to submit to the selling Realtor. Let’s just say my signature is getting really good at this point.

So now that I’ve made my counter, what’s next? More waiting, of course! I’ll sit tight the rest of the day and hope they accept or see if they make another counter. The waiting game is a tough one, especially when you’re looking for such an important answer! So what will that answer be? Check back next week to see if I’m on the next step to home ownership or if I’m back to the drawing board…

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