The writer is sports editor and associate news editor of Spotlight Newspapers. This is a follow-up to his house search column from our Real Estate Guide issue.
I became a homeowner this week.
Closing took place Tuesday. All the documents were signed. The down payment has been made. The keys were handed over to my fiancée, Sherry, and me.
Getting to this point wasn’t quite as painful as I feared. There were very few surprises, and the ones we did have were not as bad as they could have been.
Let me go back to where I left off in March. At that point, Sherry and I had found a house in Schenectady we both liked. It was in a good location relative to where we both work, and it had some nice amenities such as an updated kitchen, a dining room with hardwood floors and built-in cabinets and a backyard with a deck. It was also within my $100,000 price range, but it was at the very top of it.
When the time came to place our first offer, my real estate agent Carl told me the fair market value was in the mid-$80,000 range – nearly $15,000 lower than the seller’s asking price. He suggested we come in at $82,000, which made me cringe a bit because I didn’t know if the seller would take us seriously with such a low offer. He also told me that we should be willing to walk away if we couldn’t get the seller to lower his price close to fair market value, which made me more nervous. It had taken nearly two months of searching to find this house, and I wasn’t willing to let this one slip away. Not without a fight, at least.
Still, I took Carl’s advice, and we came in with our $82,000 offer. Much to my relief, the seller countered with $95,000, which was a modest drop from where we started. He was willing to negotiate. How much he was willing to negotiate was the big question.