On Sunday we walked for miles. We walked downtown; we walked the Mall; we walked Capitol Hill. The weather was undeniably early spring - flower buds peeking out to say hello, sun warming up the cool air, folks happy to be outside. We stood on the Capitol steps and looked out over the Mall and the Monument, and we smiled. We're trying to buy a house here for a reason: we love this place.
We lost another house yesterday. That's our fourth unsuccessful offer, if you're counting. Each of the four houses we've made offers on all sold in about a week's time, all higher than list price. For two of those we were booked as second place "back-up offers," and for both of those we offered more than the winning bid, but were passed over due to high-cash offers.
This house was sort of European-dreamy... right off a park, pastel with flower boxes, room to grow for as long as we wanted to do so, but a slew of DIY projects we'd need to take on to make it ours. We have no fear; we're ready to knock down walls. Or were. Our agent said the scene at the offer presentations yesterday was ridiculous: a gaggle of agents in the lobby of the building where one of the sellers works, a rushed offer coming in at the last minute, a decision made, and then a buyer's agent crying as he begged the sellers the reconsider his clients' offer. Saying the real estate scene in DC is high drama is an enormous understatement.
No tears on our part, though. Maybe we're too hard and cold at this point to care that much. The winning bid on this house waived all contingencies to get it, including an inspection and appraisal. For a house built in 1909. And in case you're wondering, you didn't just flash back to 2001 boom years - this is happening today, in a supposedly down real estate market, in Washington, DC. The last house we lost before this one had four offers all higher than list price, including ours, and hadn't even been put on the market yet. People are hungry for homes here; weekend Open Houses are shoulder-to-shoulder with people. There are no quiet offer negotiations, only instant bidding wars and large-scale offer presentations due to multiple offers. It's exhausting.
So these springtime flowers and the sun that's pleasing everyone - I get it. But just as much as enjoying the weather again, a new season assures me that more homes are on the way. We keep hearing that folks are holding onto their homes until spring is here, and fervently hope that's true.
There are so many more stories I could tell, by the way. The house with my favorite kitchen and the basement too short for T to stand up in, and the ensuing $100,000 estimate to dig it out a stand-up-able amount? I've got that one. The guy who shows up to all the Open Houses who's bid on 14 houses in the last year, and walked away from five winning bids, thus wasting everyone's time and making it harder for all of us? I could rail on him too. The winning buyer on the first house we bid on, who came in $20,000 less than our offer but did so with 80% cash from her father, and all the many and varied ways I hate her and everything she stands for? Yep, I have that rant in my pocket, too.
But for now, I try my best to shrug off the frustration, and we wait.