Well, short answer, we’re not getting the house. You can stop reading here and know all you need to know. Sad face.
Since we’re in a small town, I’m not going to post the exact house. I will explain what went down. We put an offer in significantly below listing price ($64k below), but significantly above market value ($15k above our ideal price and what we believe the house is worth). So, yeah. You’re reading that right. Everyone is entitled to price their house as they see fit, of course, but the market definitely doesn’t support the listing price. An appraisal would have made this immediately clear so we’re not just making shit up here, but we didn’t even get to that point. The house needs substantial work, so our initial offer was going to be even lower, but we figured the seller wouldn’t even entertain the number, so we went to the top of our comfortable range and submitted.
At this point, Alan and I were at a point of peace. With such a low offer compared to listing price – although quite fair market value wise – we expected a nope, no thanks and we’d move along with our lives. Instead, we got a counter offer – $15k above our offer, but still way below listing price. The offer was still totally unrealistic in our eyes, but made us realize just how much we love the house. All along we’d been tempering our excitement by thinking ehhhhh it’s a good house, but not ideal. We like it and we’ll be happy there, but it’s not our dream. Lies, guys! We soon came around to realize that the house, while smaller than we’d like and on less land than we’d like, is pretty much perfect for us. We could live there happily for years to come. Sigh.
My parents (the best, in case you didn’t know) have been active in the process with us, so they encouraged us to go a bit above our “highest highest high” and meet the offer halfway. I say things like “highest high”, but obviously these were all numbers we were comfortable with. Duh. We didn’t submit above what we can afford. So we offered halfway in between and received word back today – the exact same counter offer as before. So it’s over.
I know what you’re thinking, go look at other houses, dummy! Well, that’s when we get to the explanation of the real estate situation in our small town. As I mentioned before, I’ve drafted this part of the post many times but avoided actually posting, because it feels like a lot of whining and complaining. Since our house hunt is now not over, I might as well explain what we’re dealing with.
You already know the town is small (like, smaller than Alan’s high school). Beyond that, a massive proportion of homes here are vacation homes for the gorgeous and wealthy or whoever they are, maybe they aren’t gorgeous or wealthy, I don’t know their business. The point is, they have second homes in town. Then there are ranches that own massive parcels of land. There are legacies of families, the guys who have streets in town named after their grandpa so-and-so, meaning the land is passed down through families and will never be for sale. There are some homes available in town, but Mister and I see people all day long at work and want some space to spread our tender young wings (by that I mean, build an ATV race track) and let Radio bark without becoming “those neighbors”.
Where I’m going with all this is…
I do a search for homes under – let’s say, like $400,000. That’s a 4 with one zero, two zeros, three zeros, four zeros, 5 zeros, after it. That’s nearly a half million dollars, and about $300,000 more than I’d actually like to spend. So I do that search and there are 62 houses. Sixty Two. Total.
Then I reduce that price to $275,000 which is still way too much, but now maybe we’re at least in the range of desperate bargaining attempts and low-ball negotiation. Now we’re at forty.
Then I search for 3 bedrooms, because buying a home with less than three bedrooms is senseless at this point in our lives. We officially want kids, and soon. If we buy a home with one or two bedrooms, it’s a 3 year home for us, max.
Then I remove houses in town and we’re at five.
Take out the ones that are literally inaccessible during the winter, under contract, or going into foreclosure, and those in neighborhoods we really (reallyreallyreally) don’t want to live in and we have two. One of those is the house we just offered on. The other is a trailer.
Here’s the other piece of info that might not make sense to those in other areas of the country. In Wyoming, at least in our town, it’s very common to live in a trailer. We quite literally know millionaires who live in trailers – there isn’t the social/class division and taboo against them here. These can be the typical trailers like you envision, or very nice versions on permanent foundations, but that doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t stick built. They’re mobile, which entails a title, not a deed, and it’s almost impossible to obtain a mortgage on these properties. Did I ever think we’d be living in a trailer? Of course not. Is it a reality for us? I guess maybe it is.
Guys, above all, I think this has been a lesson to my younger self on being humble and flexible. Really, I think karma is giving me a swift kick in the ass and after desperate repetitive real estate searches, I’ve started to embrace it. We will never be able to find or afford our dream home: 3-4 bedrooms, 2 baths, an extra office or basement, 1,800-2,200 square feet, 10+ acres, a garage or barn, Mister would like “ride off” land, which means we could take the snowmobiles or ATVs directly off the property instead of trailering them. This requires certain locations and altitude, but I won’t bore you with those details. I consider this a “safe” dream. Eighteen hundred square feet is no mansion, but it is very possible to comfortably raise a family there. Three bedrooms is not extravagant and our kids will likely have to share rooms. This home - this safe dream – it will never happen. These homes are $500,000 or more and MUCH more if you really want 10+ acres.
So there it is. Are we allowed to complain on blogs and talk about the times in life that are going kind of shitty? This is definitely one of those times. We’re wrapping up what has already been an exhausting, mentally difficult week at work. We’re disappointed, bummed, upset, and all those lovely feelings. Our 1 year anniversary is coming up in just a few days and we both really hoped that we’d be working towards a home of our own by now. Kids, as I’ve mentioned countless times, is officially something we’re planning for, and that’s now on hold without a place to live. I might go be a huge baby and cry it out until I feel a little better. I know, I know, first world problems.