After discovering that someone had made a bold preemptive offer on one of the coolest condos in San Francisco we’d seen, our real estate agents’ advice was to wait and see. Occasionally people make impulsive decisions and back out once they’ve had a chance to think it through. Miraculously, they were right. We discovered a few days later that the preemptive offer had been withdrawn. The sellers were still accepting offers—and expecting them to be submitted less than a week after the open house.
On Friday, November 4th we learned that 5 offers had been made, including ours, and that the sellers were going to do a multiple counteroffer to all parties. We were still in this game! Though we tried not to get our hopes up, we eagerly awaited the counteroffer. The night passed with no counteroffer. The weekend passed, no counteroffer. The more time that passed, the more our idle minds couldn’t help but imagine making it our home.
By midday on Monday, the belated counter finally arrived. It was a single page document requesting the purchase price be raised over our initial offer. And since it was a multiple counteroffer, we had no idea what the other offers had been, or what their counteroffers looked like. And we had to respond by 9pm the same day. This put us in an interesting position as we’d already made an offer at the top of our price range (not to mention over list price). Our real estate agents advised that if we really loved the place, we should consider responding with an offer over their counteroffer—to separate ourselves from the pack.
It’s easy to start down the slippery slope of “what’s another 10k?”, but if the purchase price went up, so would our down payment (which effectively acted as the upper bound on what we could afford). So we decided to split the difference, and made a counter-counteroffer slightly higher than our original offer but lower than their counteroffer. It was a funny moment, I felt good about sticking to our budget and countering their counter, but also wistful, figuring that we were effectively throwing in the towel (surely someone else would pony up).
So you can imagine our surprise the next day when our real estate agents called and said “We have some potentially very good news for you.” This was not the call we were expecting. They basically said that if we were willing to adjust one of the non-financial terms of our counter-counteroffer, the place was ours. OMG!!! Yes, yes of course we’ll do that. That night, November 8th, we were officially “in contract” on the coolest condo we’d ever seen, a mere month after starting our search. We were agog at our good fortune. We were in a complete state of disbelief.
Continue reading Adventures in Real Estate, part 4…