Miami

How We Are Dealing With Our Stressful Miami Real Estate Experience

Wow, Miami real estate is a crazy experience. Me and Michael are buying our first home right now, and it has definitely not been easy. We have been sharing about our experience in our Miami posts because we are moving from New York to Miami. A lot has happened since our last trip to Miami, so we thought we would give you all an update about our story, what we have been learning, and how we have been dealing with the stress that comes with buying a home (especially in such a crazy market).

A Little Bit Of Backstory

Collin and I met in college when we were randomly paired as roommates freshman year. We were instant friends. We were both on the rowing team, we joined the same frat, and we spent the next four years of college rooming together. During Kristen’s visits, the three of us became really close friends. After graduating, Collin and I started thinking about where we’d each want to move. Collin got a job based in Miami right after he graduated; he had always been set on living in his home state, Florida. My decision was not so easy.

Kristen and I had been thinking about moving out of New York for a long time, and we found our opportunity when I landed a very flexible virtual job last year. I was very excited to buy my first home to share with Kristen in time for our wedding. She was still in school, and she could just get a job wherever we ended up, so the whole US was on the table. We decided we had to be near the beach, but there were still so many cool places to choose from! Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington, Annapolis, St. Augustine… the list went on.

One night, I was driving home with Collin after we visited Kristen on one of our school breaks. I talked about how Kristen and I were just starting to send out feelers for homes in our favorite cities, and he was talking about how he was searching for a roommate and an apartment in Miami. It was going to be tough for Kristen and me to come up with the down payment for a home so soon after college, and Collin was worried that he’d feel like he was wasting money paying rent every month. Suddenly, a crazy idea hit me. “Collin, what if we bought a place together?” Instantly, he was sold. We would pool our money to put down enough for a nicer place, split any bills and taxes, and come out spending less than if we’d gone forward with our plans separately! Most people only spend a few years in their first home, and we could always just rent out or sell the place we purchased together when we wanted to move on to a more traditional living arrangement.

During our last trip to Miami, Michael, Collin, and I visited a dozen or so condos with our real estate agent, trying to find the right one. About halfway through our search, I fell head-over-heels in love with a spacious condo in Edgewater across the street from a big beautiful park. The boys loved it almost as much as I did, however when we reached out to the seller early the next morning, it had already been sold. I was absolutely heartbroken. The next day we found another apartment that we really liked. This time in Brickell.

We had learned from our mistake the day before. We put an offer in.

That is the first hard truth I would say I have learned about real estate. Things change fast, and losing what feels like a perfect place sucks. A lot.

Our First Offer

So we put in our first offer on a home, and I believe that is where our last post ended. We put in the offer, and the next day I had to fly back to New York to get back in time for my classes on Monday (I am in grad school). We have a loan for our home through an alumni credit union for Michael and Collin’s college. This credit union requires that all homes being bought get appraised by one of their appraisers. This is what caused the beginning of our downfall.

An appraisal is when an expert goes into a home and looks very closely at every aspect of it in order to estimate how much the home is actually worth. Typically, banks will not give you a loan that is worth more money than the appraiser decided that the home is worth.

Miami homes have increased in prices ridiculously fast lately. There is a huge demand for homes in Miami right now. That means that people are paying more for homes than they are actually worth. Unfortunately, if you are relying on a loan, this means homes are almost impossible to get. If you offer a reasonable amount, the seller says no. If you want to offer over what it is worth, the bank says no.

So our bank sent their appraiser to the home we wanted, and he looked around and decided its value. Michael texted me a few days later. The appraisal was much lower than we needed it to be ($100,000 lower). I honestly wasn’t really sure what to make of this. I asked Michael what happens now.

“If nothing happens we will have to leave it” he said.

Later that night I prompted him again; I tried not to be too pushy, because I knew he was pretty bummed about the whole thing. What could change though? What did that mean “if nothing happens”?

“We are going to send back a lowball offer and maybe lose it.”

So that was the plan.

And we did lose it.

The seller did not want to lower their price, and the bank could not justify giving us a loan for a condo that just didn’t seem worth it. Now, we were back at square one.

What Happens Next On Our Miami Real Estate Journey?

Towards the end of our last offer things weren’t looking too bright. We tried to stay optimistic, but it was pretty tough. And then the deal fell through, and we were left starting over. So, we went back on OneHome, the website we had been using to look through condos, and we tried to find some new places that matched what we were looking for.

We found a few, and then Collin texted in the group chat. Remember the apartment that I had totally fallen in love with? It was back on the market!

I was so excited!!!

Our Second Offer

So, we put an offer on the roomy Edgewater condo across from the park. I was so excited. This one really sounded like it should appraise, and it had just went back on the market.

The seller immediately got back to us.

They didn’t want to get an appraisal. Everyone in Miami was terrified of the appraisal. The appraisals just couldn’t keep up with the rapidly growing seller’s market.

This was so frustrating. This was my dream first home, and because of some real estate things that I didn’t entirely understand, we couldn’t have it. They got an offer from another group who were able to buy it without a loan, so two days ago we found out that they were selling it to them, and we were out.

We have asked our agent to make sure to keep an eye on the apartment though. Deals have been falling through a lot, so maybe this one will.

Whats next?

So now we are looking through apartments again. Michael and I are not in Miami, but the plan is for Collin and our agent to tour all of the ones that we agree we like from the listings. We were able to find a few that we feel really excited about. One was even in the building that I love, across from the big park.

I am trying not to get too excited about anything yet. I have definitely learned that this real estate game is not a predictable one.

We still want to continue to be excited for our move though. The way that I am balancing this is by planning for the other exciting aspects of our move. I found this article about the best free fitness classes to try in Miami and this article about the best rooftop bars. Although where we live is obviously super important, no matter what happens, I am confident that…

  1. I will finally be living with the love of my life.
  2. I will be entering the workforce doing a job that I genuinely love.
  3. I will be living in a great city with tons of fun things to explore.

So, this is how I have been dealing with the stress and occasional disappointment. I am keeping in mind all of the things I have to look forward to and the bright future that I am confident that Michael and I have together.

The End

So, we will continue to update you about what comes next in our journey. If you want to read our last post about our trip to Miami, and what that looked like, you can click here!

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