Homebuying experience: The starting line
Buyer outlook: Quitting isn’t an option
Home: 3 bed/2.5 bath nest that’s perfect for work and play(time)
Location: North Bay Area
Biggest obstacle: Olympic-level buyer competition
With the discovery that their first child was on the way, Anthony and Natasha knew one thing for sure: the countdown to finding a home was on!
Unfortunately, the market didn’t share their sense of urgency. As Natasha’s belly grew, so did the steep competition in their target market: the Bay Area. The bidding wars may have persisted, but so did they.
“It was extremely competitive,” Anthony said. “The listings were very scarce and, and especially for what we were looking for in our price range, it was very competitive. We were faced with double-digit offers and were outbid by hundreds of thousands of dollars. We had even been trying to go above listing price and forgo contingencies. It didn’t matter. It was very, very difficult.”
It started with a tweet
Fortunately, Anthony came across a tweet mentioning Open Listings from Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and husband of tennis Legend™ Serena Williams.
“I figured, hey, Open Listings is good enough for him; I should give this a look,” Anthony said. “At that point, all we knew about was Redfin. I saw a lot of advantages that Open Listings provided over Redfin, and it would give us a little bit more control. Of course, the commission refund was very attractive.”
The pair loved the instant access to property information and comps, as well as the ease with which they could schedule private showings. Anthony says using Open Listings saved them lots in travel as well.
“What was different was the access to the information,” he said. “What we did before was go out to open houses and then get the disclosures and some follow-up information. But with Open Listings, we could look at properties, decide if this was something that we liked and then get some of that advanced information up front. We were able to reduce our travels to only the places we felt very strongly about. It helped us be a little bit more specific and targeted about how we used our precious weekend time.”
Ultimately though, it was their showing agent, Mary, who was the real game-changer for Anthony and Natasha’s search. In fact, the pair might not have made a move on the home they’re in today without her help.
“When we came to see the property we eventually bought, she got here a little bit ahead of time and spoke with some of the neighbors,” Anthony said. “She got some really critical intel for us about the seller and what he was looking for.”
That insider knowledge encouraged the couple to put their offer on the house right away – on Father’s Day, fittingly enough. The seller accepted, and the rest is history.
“It was a pleasant surprise to still get high levels of service even through the digital model.”
The whole experience was a surprise for Anthony, whose father is a long-time real estate broker in New York. He says he expected less hands-on service – less helpfulness – since they were forgoing the traditional agent.
“My dad is a real estate agent, and he’s very attention-to-detail and very hands-on,” Anthony said. “I felt like with the digital model, we would lose that – that it would be very informal, that the service wouldn’t be so great, and that we would be doing a lot of the legwork. But I was really surprised at how attentive the support team was – how the showing agents that we met up with were super friendly and gave us lots of tips. It was a pleasant surprise to still get high levels of service even through the digital model.”
Natasha said one of the agents even helped them research schools and local restaurants so they could hone in on the right neighborhood.
“You do some of the research up front based on what you want, but then you have a concierge team and a network of professionals throughout the process that help make it happen for you,” Anthony said. “There’s a network at your fingertips. You can have any of these experts really help you through every part of the process.”
And that’s just what he did. His routine would involve researching properties after getting home from his 9-5, then contacting Open Listings on the ones that stood out to them.
“I would reach out to the support team to get any other information that they had on the properties,” he said. “Sometimes it would be weird hours of the night and I’d still get very responsive service.”
If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready
After going through the process, what advice does the pair have for buyers just starting their search? Get your financial documents organized early.
The pair used Google Drive to gather their pay stubs, account statements and other financial documents early on in the process.
“Because we had all that information ready to go, we were able to turn around and push that offer through faster and actually be more competitive,” he said.
Buyer stories are based on interviews with Open Listings customers. Participants in Open Listings buyer stories have been compensated with a $100 gift card for their time. Their quotes have not been altered, except for brevity or grammar.