Trillian and I bought our first house in a seller's market. We did not get the first house on which we put an offer--and the competing offer was similar enough to ours that we and our agent suspected that the owners preferred not to sell to two women. But that was OK, because the house we did get had a better location, cost us less, and probably appreciated more. Not that we knew any of this when we put in our offer. And it was dumb luck that in that crazy seller's market we managed to get our house for below asking.
Luck was on our side again when we sold that first house. The area was still in a seller's market; we put our house on the market literally a week or two before it slowed down. And so we got asking price with no contingencies.
In both transactions, we did not deal with counter-offers and the like--the deals just happened. So the past couple days have been a new experience.
We expected that there would be some negotiation this time. Even though it's a buyer's market in Springfield, we put in a low offer on Thursday--10% below asking, which was already more than 5% below the price the house started out at a couple months ago. Counter-offer 1 came back promptly on Friday; we answered within a couple hours. Their final counter came back this morning, pretty much in the middle of where both sides started and exactly at the top end of our range. We accepted.
And so now, assuming the home inspection goes well and the appraisal comes through for that amount, we have a house. It hits the limit on what we were willing to spend, but we didn't set that amount arbitrarily, so we can truly afford it. This house is probably the single house we saw that we felt was worth that amount.
Some of what we are getting: walking distance to the elementary school, a large and level lot with room for both playing and gardening, a house that uses all of its space wisely, including a kitchen with plenty of cabinet and counter space. It is all on one level, meaning that my mother-in-law will be able to access everything and that we won't have to worry about navigating stairs as we get older--and we can both picture getting older there.
I'm crossing my fingers and knocking on wood until the home inspection. We've got a plan B and even a plan C, both houses that have their own merits. But this is the one I'm already furnishing in my head.