Home Buying in Center Hill>Question Details

Bob Owen, Home Buyer in Atlanta, GA

How do we deal with the one that got away?

Asked by Bob Owen, Atlanta, GA Mon May 19, 2008

My girlfriend and I started looking at houses intown in Atlanta a couple of months ago. A few weeks ago we found a great house that had been on the market for about a year in Collier Hills. Unfortunately, just as were getting our pre-approval worked out so we could present a stronger offer, the house went under contract.

We're trying to use it as a learning experience. We've drawn up a list of features from that house and location that we'd like to see in other places we look at. It's rough though, like many home buyers, we've had trouble keeping our emotions out of the purchase process. For instance we had already started decorating the place in out heads. It's hard for other places to match the place that first stole your heart.

I can't imagine we're in unique situation. How do turn a frustrating situation into a positive as you hit the streets looking for the next place that's "just right?"

Help the community by answering this question:


Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations) said that, when it comes to money, all people fall somewhere on a continuum between fear and greed.

My ex-wife and I almost bought a $300,000 2/1 in VAHI in 1997 - the photo editor for Veranda Magazine owned it. He had exquisite taste.

It got away and we were emotionally attached. Boo hoo.

Less than a year later we bought a 1908 Victorian in Inman Park - a 4/4 for $300,000.

$850 in rental income from the basement studio. Cost us less than $1000 per month to live there. Sold it 6 years later for almost half a million.

Things happen for a reason and remember what Winston Churchill said - "Never, never, never give up."
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 20, 2008
Everyone gave you great advice.... I believe that it's usually for the best. My husband and I lost out on two condos in Midtown before our offer was accepted for a bungalow in Inman Park.

3 years later...We couldn't be happier with our purchase! There's so much out there for you to consider. Don't give up, or take time off from your house hunt. Just remember that it's not YOURS until you close on it. You and your girlfriend need to detach yourself from the purchase as much as possible, until the day of closing. There are 50+ different problems that can keep you from closing, even after you go under contract. I know it's hard to not get your emotions involved, but you need to do your best.

Also, what is your definition of "just right?" Categorize and separate your wants, from your needs, and be reasonable. You are not going to find the absolute perfect place for you, unless you are an architect/designer/builder and you plan and construct your new home from complete scratch. Go into the process with an open mind, and make sure you have a Realtor that is in sync with you and your girlfriend.

Good Luck!

Sarah Turner

Sanctuary Real Estate, Inc.
300 North Highland Avenue Suite B | Atlanta, GA 30307
T: (404) 688-3363 | F: (404) 688-3372 | M: (404) 323-9976
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
You can put a back-up contract on the home in case the 1st one falls through.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Luis provided a lot of good information. First, contracts do drop out; keep your eye on the one you wanted in case anything happens. Second, he said, "Be ready to act." I'd modify that slightly: "Act." OK: You learned your lesson here about getting your financing in place.

Or did you?

In retrospect, sure, it would have helped to have your financing lined up sooner. But the real lesson is: You found a place you really wanted and you delayed making an offer. This time it was financing. Next time it may be something else. As you can see, you might have been better going in a bit weaker, without prequalification, but at least going in.

Better a weak offer than no offer. Real estate investors like to say that maybe they'll only get 10% of the properties they make offers on, but they'll get 0% of the properties they don't make offers on. And, in your case, if the house had been on the market for a year, maybe the sellers weren't demanding the strongest offer. Maybe they'd have been delighted with any offer.

So, to summarize: Keep an eye on the property. It may come back on the market. Second, as Luis says, your perfect home--whether it's this one or another--is out there. And third, act.

Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA

I am really sorry to hear that. I know that it can be frustrating to lose the house of your dreams. I think the best medicine is to actually start looking again because believe it or not you may even find something you like better. Remember the old saying things happen for a reason..... Maybe this was meant to be for some unkown reason.

One more thing, that's great that you are pre-approved but make sure that letter stays up to date. Talk with your lender and ask them how long it is good for. Some lenders letters are only good for 30 days, while others are good for 90 days.

Keep your head up and be strong, knowing that your new home is right around the corner.

Good Luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Hi Bob,

I empathize with your situation. However, by your own comments it appears that you're already on your way to finding that perfect new home. You learned a valuable lesson that all home buyers should take note and take action: get your financing in order by getting pre-approved with a reputable bank or mortgage lender BEFORE you start looking at homes. I trust that since missing an opportunity to purchase your dream home, you have your pre-approval letter in hand for the next deal, right?

Occasionally, I meet some resistance on this topic from a new buyer client and sometimes even seasoned home buyers and past clients. A lot has changed in the mortgage industry and underwriting guidelines over the last year. Know how much home you can comfortably afford and qualify for before shopping. It will spare you the heartbreak and save precious time especially when you do come across "the right one."

I am curious to know whether or not you were (or are now) working with a Buyer's Agent - a real estate professional dedicated to representing you and you alone in the real estate transaction? Finding an experienced Realtor professional to guide in what is often the most expensive purchase of one's life is invaluable. After all, in most cases the seller has chosen a real estate professional to represent him and his/her best interest when selling a home. Why not have the same level of professional representation and have access to expert advice and market data when buying a home? And, in most cases, your Buyer's Agent will save you time, money, and frustration. It's really a no-brainer.

Back to your original question & request for advice: How to take a disappointing situation and turn it into a positive learning experience? The first step is to recognize your short-comings or mistakes (which I'd say you have already done). Make sure that your financing is in order with your lender. Select a Buyer's Agent who is knowledgeable of the area of interest (if you haven't already). Give your agent clear direction on what you like (or do not like) in a home. Both you and your girlfriend should independently create a list of your top wants/needs/must-have's; then, compare notes to see what areas you rate highly of importance. Create a scapbook or dreamboard of things you and your girlfriend like and want in your next home by cutting & pasting photos of those features and things. Look at your collection every day and dream about your home-to-be. Finally, schedule time each week to meet with your Realtor to go look at some candidate homes for sale. Now that school is about to be out and the Summer selling season is here, you will begin to see more homes going on the market; thus, more inventory/selection to choose from.

Best wishes in your home search.

Ted Shoop
Web Reference: http://MyGeorgiaHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 21, 2008
Vicki Masell…, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
It's a bumpy road from contract to closing. You would probably be surprized at how many never make it to the settlement table. Choose a competent Realtor who can evaluate the situation and submit a complelling offer if the seller's agent will accept it. If the initial offer falls out then you will be in good shape. I recommend that you get pre-approved at least through computer underwriting if possible. That will give you a stronger position and less anxiety.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
Hey Bob,

I feel for you and your girlfriend and I have been in the same situation many times personally and with my own investment properties. I have been representing buyers and sellers in Atlanta for almost five years now and have been through all the ups and downs that are associated with the home buying and selling process. What you have just experienced is very common.

In the standard GAR purchase contracts that most Realtors in Atlanta use to present offers there are ways of writing it so that you can make an offer, and even put it under contract to where you have a period of time to make sure your financing is in order, as well as other things like an inspection, surveys, and any other due diligence you may want to do, without risking the loss of your earnest money. So, when you saw that house and you knew you liked it, you could have made an offer immediately and written into the contract a period of time to make sure your financing was in order, etc. There is a period of time that is reasonable and most people allow it.

So, at this point you just have to move on. Every house is unique, and you just have to be open to seeing the potential in other homes. Working with a Realtor who is experienced in negotiations and knows the market is key to making sure that you have the best chance of getting a home under contract, and giving yourself the most protection.

Often times people do get too emotionally attached to one house. In my experience, more times than not most people end up finding something they like even more, and the other house they were upset about losing is soon forgotten.

I specialize in working with buyers and would be honored if you contacted me even if you just wanted to ask me some questions.


Alex Wilkinson
Phone: 678-776-0135
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
The best advice I can give you is have your financing in place prior to going and looking again. You need to be working with a mortgage professional who can react quickly. It's very helpful if your loan officer has a relationship with your realtor because that can also speed up the process. As a Realtor, when I am working with a buyer and I have worked with his lender in the past and trust him or her, I can be a much stronger negotiator on behalf of my buyer when I know for sure my buyer can qualify for a loan.

Judy Wittenberg
Prudential GA Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
You are defiantly not alone. The best answer I can give you is to be ready to act. The natural laws of attraction tell us that once you start closing in on a property so will a few others. In the past our listings wont show any activity at all and then when one person starts to show interest every one people come out of the woods looking at the same home. Its uncanny! Keep checking back on the house you fell in love with until it closes. Contract that fall out are more common than you would imagine. Let the agent know that you are still interested and to call you should any thing happen. Just make sure to be pro active. Find out what the proposed closing date is and just follow up. Remember that the agent may take you information only to loose it and hope you call back. Finally don’t get discouraged all things happen for a reason and your perfect home is still out there waiting.

Best of luck!

Luis Rodriguez
Prudential Georgia New Homes Division
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 19, 2008
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