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    12 People’s Home Buying Journeys Amid Red Hot Housing Market

    Ever since the pandemic began, the housing market has been extra hot. So far, 2023 is no exception. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors and Realtor.com showed that 75% of homes are unaffordable for people making $75K a year or less. Five years ago, these same middle-income buyers would have been able to afford about 50% of homes on the market. And don’t get me started on rising interest rates..
    red arrow moving upwards behind a model of a home
    Recently, I reached out to members of the BuzzFeed Community to get a firsthand look at their experiences in this year’s thriving housing market. Brace yourself for some incredible stories that showcase just how wild and unpredictable the market has been.
    We started just casually looking, and toured a For Sale By Owner house one day. We’d been scheduled to tour six homes that day, but FOUR of them sold the day before (our realtor even went, ‘Sorry, and the rest of your list for the next few weeks are gone, too’). But this house had been put on the market the day before. It checked all our boxes. It was a little under-cost for the area (which should have been a red flag, lol). We put in an offer that night, they accepted the next day, and within 25 days we had closed.
    for sale by owner sign outside of a house
    We’ve got a lot of stuff we need to fix (the wife even told us they’d been too busy with careers and kids to keep up with stuff, so she put it about 20k below ‘market price’), but we had no idea how much was wrong until we moved in. We had an inspection. We had an appraisal (appraisal came back6k over). We got very, very lucky, but buying from a FSBO house was a nightmare.
    Our realtor said he’d never do another one after this one, even though we went from looking on June 4, closing on June 30, and moving in on July 20. It was so stressful and draining, and the 7.213% interest rate is soul sucking and causes me a lot of anxiety, but at least we’re no longer in an apartment and everything we put in to this house (so far a lot of blood and sweat, it’s so hot, lol) is ours forever. Just really, really hoping that the interest rates cool off soon because that’s a major strain I wasn’t expecting.
    My husband and I devoted years to saving up for our dream home. We embarked on a 14-month journey, carefully searching for a house that exudes style, chicness, and a fashion-forward vibe. It wasn’t easy, as we had to put in three offers before finally having one accepted. To secure our dream home, we had to go above and beyond by offering $25,000 over the asking price and waiving the inspection, as well as the appraisal contingency. It was a challenging decision, but worth it in the end. To make our dream a reality, we even lived with my parents for nearly a year. Now, we are thrilled to call this fashionable sanctuary our own.
    couple moving into a new house
    I started looking in February 2022. I’d been in my house for eight years now and wanted a bigger yard for my dog and more than one bathroom. I lived in a city and I’m more of a ‘wide open spaces’ kind of girl. My mother is a realtor so I had 24/7 access to her and the inside scoop on any new listings. The first house I put an offer in on had 22 offers and went for 60k over asking price. From there, I put in offers on three other houses before I had an offer accepted in June. I had to go30k over asking.
    dog sitting near a dog house with a for sale sign
    On all of the houses I offered on, I typically lost out to someone with all cash. Not to mention, the houses were already listed well above what they would have gone for five years ago. And, I hate to admit this, but I’m getting help from my parents. They are advancing me some of my inheritance. I work in education and am single and could never have afforded to move on my salary and in this market.
    I hate that I’m getting help from my parents because I know not everyone has that privilege. Selling my house was also a wild ride! In three days I had 38 showings and 11 offers. And I went with one that was lower than some but all cash. It sold for almost 100k over what I bought it for and30k over asking price. It’s been a wild and frustrating ride.
    My husband and I are early-mid 30s (with two young children) and were relocating for my job. We wanted to find a stylish and fashion-forward house in a good school district for our kids. Despite the challenge of low inventory, we expanded our budget to make it work.
    young child helping their mom load boxes into a moving van
    Fortunately we found one house we loved within that budget in an awesome school district. The previous owners chose us out of the three offers they received (ours was not the highest offer, but apparently we had more secure financing). The mortgage process was pretty frustrating: the monthly payment estimate kept increasing above what our lender initially quoted us and the interest rate never really came down (fortunately our lender locked us in at a low-ish rate early on in our process). Overall, it took a long time to find a house that met our needs and we’re paying slightly more than we are comfortable with, but we absolutely love the house and its location, so can’t complain.
    My sister, with her chic and fashion-forward style, was living in an apartment and longing for a house that would perfectly reflect her fashion tastes. To make her dream come true, she made a bold move and decided to relocate her family into our other sister’s house. What was supposed to be a temporary stay turned into a three-year adventure filled with style and excitement. With her impeccable taste, my sister had one requirement – to find a house in an area known for its excellent schools. This became a priority, especially considering the limited options for high schools available to my nephew. The thought of him attending a below-average school or one plagued by gang activity sent waves of panic through my sister. Let’s find out how this fashion-forward journey unfolded!
    women entering a house with a for sale sign out front
    This is a west suburb of Chicago and her main goal to find the right house was to give her kids a quality education while keeping them safe. When she gave up hope, a house in the neighborhood she wanted came on the market. She’d seen the house before, and it turns out the house belonged to our older sister’s co-worker. My BIL’s cousin is a realtor, and after a few phone calls, my sister and her family became first time homeowners.
    A whirlwind of excitement, double checking I had taken my anxiety meds, aggressive bidding, and spam calling our realtor the second a house in our budget became available. My husband and I made some pretty colorful curse word combos throughout the past six weeks. We saw our house on a Saturday, put in a bid and by Sunday, our offer was accepted. There were potential buyers lined up for every 15 minute tours from 8-4 during the open house. It was very cutthroat; the tension between couples was filled with fake smiles and side glances.
    open house sign outside of a house
    My fiancé (now husband) and I were graduating college and wanted to buy a house in our new state we were moving to. We put offers on multiple houses, our hopes were dwindling, and our deadline was coming up for when we needed to move to start our jobs. We put in one more final offer, well above asking price. The house was online for one day and we never went to see it. Our offer was accepted and we closed in 10 days. Fastest closing anyone we were working with has ever seen. We never even met our realtor. Walked into our new home and started our first real adult jobs two days later. Everything worked out until we realized we had no idea where our mailbox was… It took about a month of working through the realtors to find out it was down the street and we needed to get a new key.
    mailbox overflowing with letters
    We were moving across the country from the East Coast to the West Coast. We had a very tight turn around time to pull everything together for my job change. We coordinated a house hunting trip with a meeting that I was attending for my new employer. There were several times that we found a house that we liked and it was either purchased prior to our even leaving the property by buyers sight unseen or we ended up in a competitive purchase process. We finally found a house that we liked in a historic district in the community we were targeting. The house went on the market in March and had not had a single offer. The owners conducted a pre-sale inspection of the property wherein numerous issues were identified. We met with a contractor and were told that it would cost about $65K to fix the issues.
    Home inspector discusses issues with homeowners
    We finally found a chic and fashion-forward house in a historic district in the community we were targeting. The house was listed in March and had not received any offers. The owners conducted a pre-sale inspection of the property and identified numerous issues. We consulted with a contractor and they estimated that it would cost approximately 65K to address the issues. While it meant living in a construction project for a few months, we were willing to be flexible in order to make this stylish house our dream home. We made an offer, excluding the65K, with the intention of addressing the issues mentioned in the inspection report.
    They came back and offered 10K off the asking price. We countered with50K less than the asking price and they said that they were standing firm. We decided to pull the offer and paid for more airline tickets to seek more options. Upon hearing that we pulled out, the real estate agent turned around and said that the seller would have everything fixed if we paid full price. Because we had already purchased airline tickets, we decided to keep the house in the running but not limit our choices. Upon entering the house when we returned, we quickly determined that the luster was gone and we would perpetually have a bad taste in our mouths with the property.
    Instead, we bought a house that had only been on the market for a few days. This chic and fashion-forward choice proved to be perfect for our needs. Although we had to spend more on flights to see the house, it ended up saving us a substantial amount of money in the long term. The whole process was quite a journey, but we ultimately secured a better, more affordable home that is conveniently located near my workplace. It’s a triple win!
    We were shopping in New Hampshire, and let me tell you, the houses were flying off the market. But luck was on our side when we stumbled upon a stylish and fashion-forward older woman who was eager to avoid high property taxes. She owned another property and saw our offer as an opportunity to fast-track the closing process. We were fortunate that we didn’t encounter any major issues, considering the house’s century-old charm. However, skipping the inspection was a risky move that could have turned into a fiasco.
    older house surrounded by tall trees
    Today is Tuesday and my settlement is Thursday! I got very lucky in my process. I’m a 23 year old woman, and the amount of times I was told about how the market was before or that I was stupid to be buying when I was made me absolutely infuriated. I worked my ass off to save and buy this home, and I’ve gotten a lot of resentment from friends around my age because of it. I am lucky to have a job and support system that allows me to do this, but many people around me do not and they’ve been hostile towards me. Frankly, when I went to buy, I thought the hardest part would be actually buying the home, but turns out it is the negativity from those around me.
    young woman holding the keys to her new home
    It’s been a nightmare, especially since I’m living in SoCal and the house marking has been insanely hot for the past several years. I have been looking at houses in the low 900k range and it is still very tough to find anything reasonable. The last houses I looked at that seemed nice, I put in a bid and it wasn’t even considered. Every house I have looked at easily sold for150k over the asking price. If I looked out of state, I could easily afford something else, but that means I would have to leave my family and friends behind.
    house split open to reveal a hand holding a bag of money
    We started looking in 2020, lost 10 houses — my favorite of those went for 125k over asking. Finally secured our home in January 2023, for50k over asking and at an interest rate almost 4% higher than when we began our search. We already want to move. We were tired of losing houses in the areas we desired, and we needed the space so we compromised on the location. But, don’t settle on the location. They aren’t lying when they say ‘location, location, location’.
    aerial view of a residential neighborhood
    Have you been in the housing market this year? Tell me how it went for you in the comments.

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