It was crazy, back then in the go-go mid-aughts. In 2005, you saw a house online, you left work, you drove by it (or just looked at it in a fuzzy Google Earth picture, orthaganal view only), and your agent had you sign a purchase and sale agreement that was emailed over and faxed back in a matter of minutes. No financing contingency, no inspection period, and only if you were lucky, did you get the property after bidding up against a dozen competitors, escalating over their offers and submitting your bid with an 8 X 10″ glossy promising the seller you’d love the home as much as they did. Total time from first glance, true love, to consummation? 20 days, max. You didn’t even have Zillow to help you with a valuation until a year later.
It is crazy, right here in the late-aughts. You see the house online, after it’s been beamed to your iphone within minutes of its activation by your five listing feed services and your agent. You review it from every angle possible, right down to the Street View on Google. You look at 50 comparable properties, online, and another 50 in person. A month goes by. The house is still there, online, price reduced. You have your agent take you through. It’s really really nice. You remember when your co-worker bought nearly the same house for the same price, four years ago, a block away, in a frenzied bidding war and a deal process that caused him to lose the REST of his hair. He’s seemed pretty happy there. Can afford the mortgage he originated at 6.5%, fixed. Your rate will be 5.25%. Maybe lower — the seller’s throwing in points. So you take another walk through. You bring your mom. Your brother-in-law. Your contractor buddy. Looks pretty good. Still looks good after the leaves fall. Looks good in snow. Looks good in the filtered sunshine of February. You’re thinking this rental house you’re living in is sure cheap, and it’s probably been a good investment not buying these past four years, but darn it, you want to OWN. You want to be mortgage free in 30 years, in your own home, like grandma and grandpa, like mom and dad. So you make an offer. It’s low, but it’s a starting point. You get a counteroffer. You think about it, you crunch the numbers. After three rounds of this, you agree on terms with the seller. Then a 10 day inspection — don’t forget to test that popcorn ceiling! It may be asbestos! (Of course it is, says your agent, but you want to be sure) You send a camera down the sewer line. You interview the neighbors. You waive your inspection contingency…no big problems there. You get four good faith estimates for a loan…finally choosing the best deal you’re offered. 45 days later, you close. Four months after first view. Two months after first serious consideration. Whew.
Somewhere ‘twixt is the right amount of drama, consideration, reflection, and due diligence. At the end of the day, DECIDE!