We’ve been home from Seattle for a week. In that week, our lives have been turned upside down by the real estate market and all the bullshit that goes along with it.
Here’s how the story goes: We put offers in on both the Brown House and the Pink House. Pink House came back and said they would accept our offer (which was, at that point, in contention with another offer) if we’d bump it up to full price (fifteen thousand dollars more than what we offered) and paid our own closing costs (which we can’t afford). So we walked. Meanwhile, Brown House came back and said they wanted full price. So we countered, and they countered, and we eventually settled at just under the original asking price, with the Brown House seller (a bank) paying our closing costs.
We’re excited. We have an accepted offer on a house we like and we’re ready to move forward and sign some paperwork to lock this baby down. But then the bank comes back and says, “We need you to pre-qualify for a loan with us in order to purchase this home.” Um, excuse me? We’re already pre-qualified with a reputable local lender, and doing another pre-qual might ding our credit to the point where we would lose the mortgage rate we’re currently approved for. So we tell them, “No, we’re not going to pre-qual with you, we’re happy where we are.” And that’s when they come back and say, “Then we’re not going to sell you this house.”
This blew my mind – that they would give up a sale because we were pre-qualified elsewhere. Our realtor informed me that while they can, in fact, legally require us to pre-qualify with them (and even use them as our lender) in order to move forward with the sale, that stipulation needs to be in the MLS listing. And it wasn’t. So technically, they’re in violation of the law. And we could sue them, but it’s expensive, and they know we won’t bother. So basically, the Big Bad Bank can do whatever the fuck they want.
We go back and forth with Big Bad Bank for a few days. Our realtor explains to everyone and their mother over there that the requirement wasn’t in the listing, we have an accepted offer, and they can’t just spring requirements on us after the fact. No one at Big Bad Bank cares. And so finally, we give in. We agree to pre-qualify with them. We even agree to use them as our lender, which will now apparently be necessary in order to get those closing costs they originally agreed to pay for. We’re not happy, but we’re complying. We want this house.
And then late last night, our realtor called. Big Bad Bank cancelled our offer. THEY CANCELLED IT. The offer that they accepted, that we were ready to move forward with, was suddenly null and void.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Several other offers came in while we were fighting with them about the pre-qual we didn’t want to (and legally didn’t have to) do, and they’re willing to consider a best and final offer from us in competition with those other offers.
Dan and I were livid. We contemplated sending in a “best and final offer” that consisted simply of a piece of paper on which “FUCK YOU” was written. But the reality is, we need a place to live. We want this house. And even offering ten percent over asking (which is what our realtor recommended in order to be competitive in a bidding war) is still within our budget. So, against our better judgment, we went for it – we put a best and final offer on a house we already had in our grasp and subsequently lost, for what seemed to us to be no good reason.
And now it’s a waiting game. We wait for the deadline for offers (coming up in a matter of hours) to pass, we wait for Big Bad Bank to review the bids, we wait for them to choose one, we wait for them to notify our realtor. And then we wait for the phone call – the phone call that will tell us if we’ll have a place to live in three months, or if we’ll have to keep searching for the place that we’ll call “home.”