Hunt for a home: Searching for a dream home often feels more like a nightmare

The house was perfect.
The 1950s rambler in Bellevue's Lake Hills neighborhood was in good condition, had three bedrooms, one bathroom and a little patio out back where Rebecca McCuen could hold cocktail parties. The commute to her job at Microsoft would have been short. And the price was right for McCuen: $360,000.
She quickly bid on the house, but someone else beat her to it. She lost her perfect house. "I felt kind of let down," said McCuen, 32, who was shopping for her first house. "I felt like if I can't have that house, I don't want any house." Disappointed, she mulled her options. She wanted a two- or three-bedroom house under $400,000 in a good school district with a big yard for her 19-month-old toddler.
As a first-time homebuyer, she figured she wouldn't be able to afford her dream house, so she set her sights on a house she could live in for a few years to build equity. She paid off her school loans, consolidated her credit cards, and paid off her car. She put more money into her savings account and lined up 100 percent financing for a house. In February, she was ready to look again.
A month later, she found a three-bedroom rambler in Kenmore's Finn Hill neighborhood for $382,000 that sounded promising. It needed work, but McCuen made an offer for $10,000 less. She and the sellers countered a couple more times, but McCuen went with her gut and decided to keep looking. "It sounds strange, but I go along with my vibes," she said. "And I didn't feel right about this house." Her agent, Lonnie Snyder of Keller Williams Real Estate in Renton, suggested they expand their search south to Renton. A few days later, Lonnie called to tell her that a three-bedroom, two-bath home in Renton had gone on the market for $345,500 the day before. The house had wood floors, new appliances, natural gas, two fireplaces, copper pipes and a spacious family room. Would she be interested in seeing it? McCuen and her boyfriend checked it out on her lunch break. "We walked in and said, 'This is the house,' " she said. McCuen offered $335,000. She included an escalator clause that allowed her to add $2,000 over the highest bid and didn't include a cap if the bidding rose. Paul, a former home inspector, told her the house was in good shape: It had newer wiring, a good foundation, and old-growth timber that was more resistant to pests. Four buyers, including McCuen, made offers the next day. Lonnie decided to turn up the heat and pleaded her case directly to the sellers. He brought a letter McCuen had written explaining why she wanted the house, told them she was preapproved for a loan, and was a single mother and needed to be closer to work. "We had to show she was the best candidate even though she had 100 percent financing," he said. Lonnie told her to have her cellphone with her at 6 p.m. so he could call her about the meeting. While she waited, she picked her daughter up from day care and headed back to work to be near a fax machine. At 6 p.m., the agent called. "We got it," he said. She won the house with a bid of $352,500 — her escalator clause kicked in. McCuen was excited, but she was also relieved that she wouldn't have to haggle with sellers or plot strategies anymore. "I didn't have a lot of faith in the bidding process," McCuen said. "For me, buying a house was a totally stressful, scary thing."

I pull out all the stops to sell your home.
Lonnie Snyder
Keller Williams Realty Southeast Sound
Phone: 206-406-2710
E-Mail :
Lonnie Snyder is a full time real estate agent and REALTOR® with Keller Williams Realty specializing in Residential Real Estate for buyers and sellers in Washington’s Kent, Renton, Newcastle and South Bellevue.

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