When we made the decision to purchase a fixer-upper in the 2020 spring market, we did not anticipate that our life change would be accompanied by a global pandemic. Upon reflection, it’s hard to explain how everything happened and we’re incredibly grateful that everything worked out in our favor.
Our home buying process started like any other – we narrowed our search to a few areas with our realtor and we began touring homes that fit our must-have list and budget. We found a home that we loved fairly quickly in late February and put in an offer, but the seller ultimately decided not to sell the home after further consideration. Little did we know that our timeline was going to become urgent in a matter of weeks.
We toured our current home about a week later. At that point, the pandemic was something that our realtor was talking about as a potential hurdle for his business, but he wasn’t concerned about our ability to make a purchase and close. Although, it was pretty clear at this point that it was going to become serious soon. We made an offer that was accepted the following day and we were set to close on April 1.
In the midst of this, Andy was also selling his first home. His first home was beautifully renovated (more on that to come in later posts!) and we weren’t concerned about it selling quickly, but it was truly a balancing act. The sale wasn’t contingent in technical terms, but we needed the money from the sale to close on our purchase together and, now we had threats of lockdowns and stay at home orders coming soon.
Andy listed the house a little over a week later and Alexa began working from home that same week. The tours were set to begin the following week, scheduled from Thursday-Saturday and culminating in an open house on Sunday. Andy ultimately decided to cancel the open house for health concerns and we chose to sleep at one of our nearby parent’s houses for the days of the tours to minimize opportunity for us to interact with potential germs. It was a move that might be risky to homeowners in a certain market, but Andy had received multiple offers on his home at that point and we felt comfortable that we would settle on a strong offer without the open house.
13 offers later, Andy settled on his top two and the home was under contract the following day. We then began the mad scramble to pack up our home and prepare for our transition. This part of the process was pretty traditional, as was our closing with our title company. We wore masks, used hand sanitizer and left the office as quickly as possible – which our facilitator told us was something that he could get used to. Andy’s sale had a potential emergency situation when the female buyer went into labor on her closing day, which was the very last thing we were expecting in the moment that we were living in, but still signed the paperwork to make sure everything was executed on time. You go girl.
We settled into our new home (or began ripping things apart!) as things in the outside world continued to escalate and even then, we were shocked that we had somehow pulled it off. The experience was a great lesson in learning how to pivot, maintaining a positive attitude and being flexible when life doesn’t want you to be. They’re lessons that everyone has learned over the past year, but they’re helpful in any home buying experience, pandemic or not. You have to be willing to make quick decisions, accept when things don’t go your way and find ways to work around it. With a little faith, you’ll realize that you end up in the right place.
Also, about 25 days after we closed on the house, we also adopted a rescue puppy named Penny. While we don’t necessarily recommend bringing a new dog into a renovation environment, big changes have a habit of all happening at once and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Did you buy a home in the pandemic? What was your experience like? If not, share the craziest part of your home buying stories!