After seeing some great houses with Hayli, their real estate agent who’s also a Realtor®, a member of the National Association of Realtors®, in Elkhorn, Nebraska, Megan and Michael finally found their new place. Ready to see which home they picked? Find out below—plus, get the lowdown on what it takes to close the deal. As this couple’s experience shows, it isn’t always as simple as signing the papers and getting the keys.
Drumroll, please! Megan and Michael went with the investment property(link to home hunt article), a ranch-style home that had a great price tag and a huge potential for resale down the line. It had almost everything they were looking for, including a large open kitchen and walkout basement. And though it only has two bedrooms instead of their desired three, they plan on adding a third (and potentially a fourth!) bedroom in the basement, so their two daughters won’t always have to share a room. A big plus? It was in the Elkhorn location they love—they’ve lived in the area for years—in their preferred school district. And location is one thing about a home you can never change.
The Next Steps
“Hayli walked through the house with us three times to point out problem areas and told us what was and wasn’t acceptable to ask the seller to repair, what was worth bargaining for and helped us determine a first offer,” Megan says. The selling real estate agent and Hayli served as mediators between Megan, Michael and the sellers so they could feel free to ask lots of questions about the house.
Making an Offer
Once the couple felt ready, Hayli helped them put together a formal offer, which typically includes the address of the property, the sale price, the terms of the sale (all-cash or mortgage) and a target date for closing. The asking price had dropped from $194,000 to $189,000, but they offered $175,000 because the house needed work—there was a leak in the master bathroom, water damage on the living room ceiling and a cracked driveway—and it had already been on the market for 90 days. The seller, however, didn’t think that offer was reasonable and wouldn’t budge on price.
After much negotiation, and a brief stalemate on the seller’s end, Hayli helped the couple come up with a new offer: They’d pay the asking price but with a few contingencies, including a positive home inspection, $5,000 to put toward closing costs and a stipend to address cosmetic updates to the countertops and carpeting. Hayli also relayed to the seller that he needed to accept the couple’s offer before a set date, or they’d walk away.
Fortunately, Megan and Michael’s offer on the house was accepted—but there was a lot more to do before they could call it home. As is standard, once the purchase agreement was signed and a deposit was put down, Megan and Michael returned to the bank to finalize their mortgage loan. Both Hayli and the mortgage broker advised the couple to get quotes on seasonal repair costs, like the cracked driveway, and to have those costs escrowed into the loan to ensure they had the financing available in the spring to pay for the work.
The Final Details
There were a few other details to finalize too: getting homeowners insurance, which is typically required in order to obtain a mortgage; re-inspecting the repairs done by the seller (including the leaking bathroom); and finding an attorney to help with the closing. Finally, the closing day came, when both agents, the seller, the buyer and lawyers are present to finalize the deal and Megan and Michael got the keys to the new house.
Before the family moved in, Michael put his DIY skills to good use, tearing out the carpet and painting all of the oak trim white. “Even after we moved in, we continued our updates while trying to unpack and get used to a new environment,” Megan says. Since then, they’ve also painted almost the entire second floor, had granite countertops installed and started their biggest project: finishing the basement.
Now that they’ve officially moved in, the Johnsons have plenty to love about their new house, from the open layout and covered deck that are perfect for entertaining guests to the family-friendly neighborhood where their oldest daughter has already made a new friend. It may have been a long (and sometimes tough) process, but they finally found what they’d been looking for all along: a home the whole family can enjoy.
The Bump and the National Association of Realtors® present The Journey Home, a sponsored series full of house-hunting inspiration, including tips and advice from Realtors® and couples on their own home searches. Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors®. To locate a Realtor® who can help you find your dream house, visit realtor.com/GetRealtor