I've been working with a buyer for the past seven months. It seems like much longer than that actually since I was first contacted by this potential homeowner. She is a young, single mother who is putting herself through college. She is of Native American descent and would be the first of her generation to live outside of her Reservation. If all goes according to plan she would also be the first person in her family to complete a college degree. She is a very driven individual in almost all aspects of her life but when it came down to purchasing a home there was a large dent in her otherwise stout armor.
Since she had never lived anywhere other than the Reservation she was eager to explore all parts of the greater Phoenix area to determine what would be the best fit for her, taking in to account her commute to school and proximity to where her family would still be living on the Reservation. She had also given me a rather rigid and strict set of "must-haves" in a home in which she was not willing to compromise in the least. Willing and able to take on the challenge of finding her the right home I gladly started researching properties immediately.
When we first started viewing homes she was excited to jump out whenever a house came up for sale that fit her criteria no matter what time of day it was. I found several homes that she absolutely loved but for various reasons was not willing to place an offer just yet. I've been an agent for over 17 years and I realize that sometimes it can take a buyer a little time to get their feet wet and warmed up to the idea of purchasing a home before they start to make offers so I understood her hesitation. Taking her out to view dozens of properties over the first few months proved futile as home after home in her price range that met her criteria went by, one by one, without her willing to place any offers.
We continued to pound the pavement until we finally found a house she just couldn't let pass by. We reviewed the comparable sales in the area to form our asking price, however, in spite of the fact that the home was priced well she wanted to offer a full 25k under list price. Against my advice and better wishes she requested I put in the rather low-ball offer which was predictably roundly rejected by the seller.
Over the next few months she was starting to get harder and harder to get a hold of and was becoming less responsive to houses that came on the market which were a good fit for her wants and needs. Reasons such as family vacations and school projects would be given as excuses for not being available to look at properties. There were starting to be weeks at a time that would go by in which I would not hear from her at all.
I received an email from her this week that she wanted to temporarily suspend her home search. School and family was making it too difficult to continue at the moment. I understand that finding a home can be a process. I wrote a blog post earlier this week titled "Five signs you aren't ready to buy a home just yet". This client was pre-approved, willing to search for homes in numerous areas, and was very present early on for viewing properties. However, she experienced what it's like when timing just isn't lining up for you and you aren't ready and willing to listen to the professional advice from your real estate agent.
So what did I learn in real estate this week? As agents we can work very hard to find our clients what they are looking for in a home. We can put in hour after hour of research, drive hundreds of miles to show our clients houses for sale that meet their requirements, and give them the best possible advice on how to place a winning offer on a home. But if the client just isn't ready to pull the trigger, there's nothing we can do or say to make their home ownership dream a reality.
Clients have to be fully vested in the entire home buying process in order for them to achieve success. Unfortunately, this particular buyer is in a pre-approved price range that is one of the most competitive in Arizona. Over the last seven months and until she is ready to resume her home search, prices have been and will continue to increase. Homes that may have been affordable to her when she first started down this path will no longer be within reach if she waits much longer. Timing is crucial in purchasing a home and I only hope this client's schedule and affairs can get back in order to resume her home search as time may just be running out.