Here's a "dispatch from the front" fired off by Lisa in Melrose, yet another frustrated buyer in Greater Boston.
She's tried everything - even making an offer on an overpriced fixer-upper in Andover hasn't worked. Her baby is due in September, but so far it looks like there will be no moving day this summer.
"We're totally discouraged. The market's cooling off and the inventory stinks," she writes from the condo in Melrose she had hoped to have moved out of by now.
I'm 32, married, and a condo-owner in Melrose. Like many Gen Yers, we're not looking for a starter home because we're scared of getting "stuck" five years down the road. We want a house where we can raise a couple of kids in a good school system, and we've got the income and 20% down to carry it. We don't want a new kitchen, bells and whistles. In fact, I would prefer something we can fix up over time to fit our own taste.
So we thought we would be able to find something in the low to mid-400K range ? no problem.
Wrong! This spring we've put in four - count 'em, FOUR! - offers on single family homes in Melrose, Wakefield and Andover. There were multiple offers on three of the four properties. Two of our offers were more than 10K above the asking price and we were outbid. In one instance, we were out-bid by someone that waived the financing contingency. The buyer was apparently in my age "cohort" which, you know, just about killed me and my husband to learn because there's no way to compete with that. Three of the homes went under agreement within a week of the listing date.
We also encountered a listing agent at a open house in Melrose strongly advocating removing contingencies "if you really want the house." As lawyers ourselves, we were completely appalled that she would walk up to just any young couple and advocate reckless behavior.
On the fourth house - just last week - we took a different tack. We found a house that's been sitting on the market since December in a nice neighborhood in Andover. It's priced too high and needs a ton of work just to move into it. We were the only offer for miles around. We knew the owner was mortgaged to the hilt. We offered $10K more than his last re-fi, but he turned us down.
So that's that. We're totally discouraged. The market's cooling off and the inventory stinks. Looks like we're going to have to find room in the condo for that crib, after all (baby due in September!); the dog will have to wait another year before he gets that yard, and my husband gets his grill!
All the damn old people need to ante-up and hang out the for sale signs! More inventory would go a long way toward leveling the playing field.
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