Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Ярослав Алексеенко / Unsplash

While the home pictured above is not in my wheelhouse, these stories are. Let's pretend you are tired of the apartment life. It could be noisy neighbors, the constant price hikes or even just the annoyance of tossing money away on something you can never sell.

So you decide to enter the home hunt for the first time ever. You weren't taught about this process in school, so you begin to rely on family, friends and of course your realtor.

You start with a download of Zillow and Redfin and begin the search - starting with the hunt for a condo. Basically a more formal apartment lifestyle that you can resell when done. A weekend is picked and the hunt begins - driving from place to place looking at condos that look arguably worse than the one you rent. The difference of course being - you are aiming to own, not rent.

None of these places feel like home to you, so you slowly stop caring about seeing condos or even researching them. Months pass after a few cookouts and you realize that you want to explore the house hunt.

Hunting for homes is a bit more interesting to you than a condo as you can picture an office, backyard and a variety of projects to accomplish for each home you find. The search begins but you are worried about putting an offer on anything - this is a lot more money than you've ever dealt with.

After a few months of isolated looking - you find a home at your max. It fits everything you are looking for so you are convinced. Its now time to put down an offer. You learn from your realtor that this county runs on average of 96% of asking price - so you put down your first offer nervously.

A day or two passes and out of some strange luck - the seller responds they would like to counter your offer for an extra 2k and shorter inspection window. You are still learning exactly what the inspection period is, but you agree and enter your first inspection period.

500$ is dropped and a PDF is in your hands with a bunch of red warnings that you probably need to investigate. The most important being a suspect roof leak that a professional should investigate. You have a few business days left, but Florida is suffering a crazy thunderstorm near daily - so it takes some stressful calls to get someone out there.

House [redacted] - Leaking roof

Calls keep flaking so you call more and more people until you find you have 3 roof appointments scheduled. The news keeps getting worse - the roof is over 15 years old, it has active leaks and the chimney was flashed improperly. This is not good as the seller claims they patched a leak via a repair years ago.

You start learning the procedure for contract amendments trying to figure out a sane agreement for the roof. The seller doesn't ever admit to an issue despite having multiple sources citing it, but they counter your amendment with a few thousand off the purchase price.

You learn a lot here - as this is not a credit. This is just a cheaper purchase price and a few thousand dollars at a large dollar amount does not really affect your 20% down payment. So can you really buy a house, drain your pocket then be prepared to spend a solid amount on a roof? Probably not. So you tell the seller you are walking.

They end up bumping it another 2k, but you aren't ready for your first home purchase to have an expensive roof replacement waiting - so you walk.

The next few homes begin following this weird pandemic pattern. Interest rates are quite low and it is almost cheaper to buy then to rent, so homes start going quick. You being noticing that homes listed on Zillow are marked pending the next day. So the idea of marking homes throughout the week and visiting on the weekend is no longer feasible.

You have to start leaving work to see these places and even decide pretty much there and then if you want to make an offer.

You start organizing the folders of offers put out and they follow the same pattern of just being outbid. The idea of homes going for 96-98% of purchase price is gone. Homes are going for asking and the winning bid is over asking which changes the game in terms of your pre-approval letter.

Luck strikes with another offer and the seller wants to counter with just a tiny bump in price. With a couple of the issues you saw in the home - you stand your ground and say no and ask the seller to agree to your original offer. They verbally agree via the realtor and this is it! It begins again, but the seller realtor ends up following up and says the seller does not agree. Were they speaking on behalf of their client? Was someone lying? This stuff messes with your head and stresses you out, but you move on as that contract is never executed.

More offers come and go and you find an interesting home that is accepting offers until the weekend - then will select an offer on Monday. They ask for the highest offer out of the gate and this seems more fair to you. There is no rush, just go, visit and offer.

The home checks your boxes and you toss out an offer. As the weekend hits, the seller realtor asks if your offer is final. You say yes, because you actually listened to the realtor when they requested the highest offer first.

You think this is another washed offer, but you are selected! This time with a shorter appraisal time, which seems weird to request as that is not exactly in the control of the buyer, but you proceed on. Inspections come and go and the seller and you enter an agreement with a credit at close.

Weeks become months and you get the clear to close. Is it is finally over, until the title company discovers a mess regarding the title. The word probate is thrown around and your life that is already packed in boxes becomes a stress filled world that you don't want to deal with. You were days away from ownership and now the time-frame being spoke to you is now in months, not days.

The light at end of tunnel is gone and now you are fighting out figuring out next steps before getting removed from current.

You wake up and it was all a dream — or was it?

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