A Cinderella Story – Anna – From Renter to Owner
First time homebuyers bring us joy! Not only are they the corner stone of the real estate market – they are the fuel. Without the first time homebuyer, it would be hard for owners/sellers to move on to their next home.
But with great responsibility comes work. And in the San Francisco Bay Area – it’s hard work. 2013 has been an interesting year in local real estate. We know prices hit bottom in 2009 and many buyers, sitting on the fence for the past several years, were unsure where the market was going. Early in 2013 these buyers got off the fence and changed the dynamic of our local real estate market.
After the New Years Eve confetti was brushed away, many buyers started looking. Earlier this year, we had very limited inventory. In fact, we’ve had low inventory since our prices dropped. Amazing low interest rates, coupled with low prices – generated some excitement.
Over the holidays, a friend and fellow Notre Dame alumni reached out to me with a question. Could she buy a condo? Before the local real estate bust, condos and home prices steadily rose. Back then a one-bedroom condo ran close to a half-a-million bucks. Not an easy price for a first time homebuyer. So when prices fell – opportunity was knocking.
With her pre-approval in hand we took Anna out for her first tour. At first, she expected her house hunt to take one month. Quickly we explained that with the current low inventory and high buyer demand, we were looking at closer to 6 months than 1 month to find and acquire a home. A frown – but she held tight.
Our first problem – there wasn’t much to look at. Once we looked at older inventory – it became a race to see the new ones. As soon as a new condo came on – I was on the phone with her setting an appointment to show it. I have got to say – Anna understood the importance of the early worm. She didn’t push the most expensive and important purchase of her life to the end of her day, or only on the weekend. Anna understood that the market waits for NO ONE! So during her lunch break or between her appointments, we’d take a look.
Earlier this year, with demand high, most units had offer dates set after the first open house. Making it a mad dash to the finish line to get her offer in. Being that we looked during the week, Anna had the opportunity to show the unit to her family and friends over the weekend and write her offer with confidence.
We must have written 5 offers in a few months. It felt like we wrote offers once a week. And slowly, as units were closing escrow – we saw it – she saw it – the market price was inching upwards and eventually she’d be priced out of the market.
Now Anna is a very savvy young woman. She saw the writing on the wall – I didn’t have to tell her it was a matter of time before we had nothing to shop for. So Anna did what all smart buyers have to do – she took a look at her ‘wants vs. needs’ list and made some reality adjustments. In the end, location was her most important attribute. She didn’t want to live in the fringes of the Bay Area just to say she had more space. Anna wanted to be close to work and near a downtown to enjoy her life.
Then a junior one bedroom came on the market in Santa Clara. Right in the heart of it – it was a great location. And you know what how important location is in Real Estate! We were quick to write an offer. Up against three others – she was out bid. Thankfully The Caton Team, with 25+ years in the business has earned a nice reputation among local agents. With a clean offer and backed up by our expertise, Anna was given a counter offer and my next call to her would prove to be most joyous.
Congratulations Anna! You were a joy to work with and The Caton Team is honored to have been the Realtors to turn you from renter into owner!
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Thanks for reading – Sabrina