Buying a house is easier said than done. It requires a lot of analysis, financially, mentally, and emotionally. In this episode, David Sidoni goes over an interview with a listener who sold a home in Indiana and bought a new home in San Francisco—one of the US’ most expensive and competitive markets. He discusses buying a property cross country and shares some tips on how you can change jobs and still manage to get a home loan. Listen in as he talks about winning bidding wars in psycho-competitive markets and how to stay resilient and confident to make it happen.
Home Buyer Listener Interview – Won A Bidding War In 2022
An Interview With Tips Of Moving Across The Country And Buying A Home
This episode is an interview with Apoorva, a reader who sold her home in Indiana to move to one of the most expensive and competitive markets in North America. She’s going to tell us how she and her unicorn got an offer accepted in San Francisco. In the San Francisco area, homes are going for over $600,000 above the list price. That’s not the price of the home. We’re talking $600,000 over the list price. That’s the 2022 market. She got her home on her third attempt. Let’s hear her story.
She’s a Midwest girl who moved out from Columbus, Indiana, which I’m assuming is a lot cheaper than where she is up by San Francisco. She says she loves it but her husband doesn’t like mowing the lawn but we’ve discussed that that’s better than having to shovel snow. This is Apoorva. What’s fun is I was looking before the show got going here, do you know that we talked on May 19th, 2021 for the first time and you closed exactly six months later on November 19th, 2021?
No, I didn’t know that.
Tell us about your journey. You had a home in Columbus, Indiana and made the move to San Francisco.
Everyone knows about The Great Resignation so I decided to move jobs during this time. I happened to get one over here in the Bay Area. That was complicated because I didn’t know how are we going to move everything. I already had a beautiful house there. My husband used to work in the same company as me.
We have a pandemic puppy. We had a big lawn over there and it was very cheap to own any property but the move was overwhelming. I started finding, researching and looking out for different things that can help me move there. I wanted to move into a house having lived in the house. That is where I started my journey of researching and looking for different podcasts and videos on YouTube and stuff.
First of all, in the next years, they’re going to look back on you and you’re going to be the story to help tell the history of 2021. You have a pandemic puppy and went through The Great Resignation. That is interesting. I got to ask you about that. For those of you who don’t know, having a job for two years before you get a loan approval is super important. Do you remember the details? How did that work? Did you stay in the same industry and get a new job from Indiana to California? Did you leave a job?
I did. It was the same industry but it was a different product. I still work on engines previously and then I work in consumer electronics, which is very different from engines. That was a different journey of moving from diesel engines over to consumer electronics but I was in the same industry, you can say.
That’s good for you guys out there to know. Engine and consumer electronics are not the same good or item but as far as your employment and what you did, it was in the same style in the same industry. If you teach sixth grade then go decide to teach kindergarten. You can change and still get your loan approval. We’ve had first-time buyers all over the place, but tell us how it was in 2021 to sell one house in Indiana and buy another house 2,000 miles away.
[bctt tweet=”2022 will be tough out there, and you might have to compromise. But sometimes, when you compromise, you can find something unique and works for you.” username=””]
Back in Indiana, when we started looking for houses when we wanted to buy a house over there, we could go, “I like this house. Let’s wait for two weeks, look for something else, go back with the same house and then put an offer on it.” In 2021, it was different. Even in Midwest, the house prices were so way above what it was a few years ago. I was getting all these comments from people, “The housing market has gone up. It’s not a good time to invest. You shouldn’t sell your house. Let this house be. Have it as a second income, put it on rent and go rent over there in Bay Area.” Those were people whom I regarded as experts in the whole market.
I understand because we’ve been going up since 2012 but people were telling you, “You have this asset, sell it and then go rent somewhere because somehow the market is going to crash and the money that you pay in rent is going to be cheaper and better for you in the long run.” I’ve explained to the show how that math is wrong. Did you figure that out on your own or did you listen to me yelling in the microphone about it?
I did listen to you. I reached out saying, “I’m new to this area and the house prices.” The amount of the entire house I had was equal to the down payment that I had to pay over here in California. That’s how different it was. For $300,000, we had a big mansion over there and over here it was my down payment, which is 15% to 20% of my house.
The Great Resignation has created a great thing in real estate. A lot of people are moving away from the city and because they can get it cheap, they can get a house cheaper and work remotely. If your job does require you to be near the city or if you want to be near the city, you are a great story because to go from an entire house’ worth your down payment someplace else is incredible.
You found me. I’m down here in Southern California and I’ve got a whole group of people I’ve been working with within Northern California because we have clients that go back and forth. I got you in touch with one of my favorites. Tell us about your journey. While you were selling your house, were you online at night looking at houses 2,000 miles away?
I was and surprisingly, the way I was looking at it was looking at Redfin and Zillow price because that’s how I did when I bought my first house a few years back in Indiana. That was how it was. It was listed for X amount and went for X plus $1,000, $2,000 more. I thought that it would be the same but when I learned that it does not happen that way in your show, I was like, “The houses that I’m looking at, I would not be able to buy them.” I had my reality check and had to set some different kinds of expectations from the houses over here.
Coming up on my anniversary of the show, some of my colleagues are like, “What else did you say to a first-timer? You’re explaining it for years.” I’m like, “Years ago, buying a house was a lot different. If people read this in 2025, it’s not going to be the same thing because you learn quickly.” I look back through the emails. I got an email from you where in October 2021, you were outbid because there were thirteen offers and you said, “It seems too daunting.” Six weeks later, you closed on a house. Following the show helped you learn a little bit. How about working with your unicorn up there? After that thirteen, did she say, “That’s too bad. That’s what’s going to happen every time.” Did you develop a new strategy?
After that thirteen, I worked with my unicorn realtor to figure out what would be done on the next couple of offers. The thing that we found was a certain type of layout that worked better for many people. If it’s a Ranch-style house, that worked out with people who have some elderly folks at home who don’t want to climb the stairs up and down. That houses had a different strategy. They had all these many people bidding for them. They were more attractive with all the bells and whistles that some houses are paying to have.
I stopped looking at the house flips that are in the market. They buy a house for a certain amount, do all the remodeling and then jack the price up for almost $500,000. That was another strategy. Let’s not look at all these different houses, which might be very obvious but rather a house that fits our needs and then walks it out on that aspect. Another aspect was that I was very conservative in the fact of not putting all the different contingencies that we have. I was initially conservative about, “What if I don’t get the loan?”
During that period, when you’re writing the contract, you have an option. You can say, “I want X amount of days.” In California, it’s, “I want seventeen days for a free look,” whether that’s your inspection, appraisal or your loan contingency. Did you shorten those timeframes up to be more attractive to the seller?
Those are the kinds of strategies that we employed. The contingencies that we put on our first offer didn’t make it look more attractive so I worked out with my unicorn realtor and figured out what was right for us. I also went back to my lender and then I asked them if they could call in on my behalf to talk to the buyers and give them that affirmation that we don’t have this contingency but we are also very confident about these folks and they are good on the financial side. Having that tummy comfort for the buyers would help in the next coming offers.
What’s interesting is you brought up the word I’m not supposed to say to my buyers because it makes them feel bad. I have another word. It’s behind me in my office, which is believe. If you believe that you’re doing the right thing and you believe in the numbers, a lot of people would see thirteen offers, run away and say, “This isn’t happening.” They do as those people told you in Indiana and just wait. Meanwhile, you blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on rent.
The word that we’re not supposed to tell buyers is compromise. You believed first that you were doing the right thing, that was such a smart move by eliminating the massive high-volume homes. I always tell people, “The Ranch-style is great but if you’re young in this market, it might be a compromise.” You know that you’re going to be getting a place to gain some equity, and then as far as the flip houses, I love that strategy.
I talked to my people all the time because people with not experienced agents and also buyers who haven’t been out there that much only look at HGTV. They’ve got no vision. What they don’t know is the countertops are beautiful but the plumbing is 140 years old. I love that you utilized getting your lender involved right away. We’re getting into the nitty-gritty on how to get your offer looked at. Get a good solid lender and have your mortgage professional call on your behalf. I love it when the mortgage brokers call me because we speak shorthand.
I’ll say, “Do they have a DU? Where’s their approval at? What’s their LTV? If I’ve got a stack of 15 offers and only 3 lenders have called me, guess which are the top three?” That’s fantastic. You’ve got hooked up with your unicorn, got discouraged and then change your mindset. Tell us all the fun stories. What happened about this one? How did you find this one? Did you have to battle it out?
Before that, I had this second house that we liked. It didn’t have an updated look like what people are looking for. It didn’t have the very obvious bells and whistles as I spoke about in the first one but it had these beautiful mountain views that my husband was attracted to. Finding the right thing was a good strategy there. I like the house layout of how it was laid out or how it had a second story where we could utilize if we had some guests and stuff.
We did like that house. Until the last day, we were told that we are the only people who will be making an offer. The day that we were going to make an offer or the offer due date, I always kept checking with my unicorn realtor, talk to the buyers and figure out what they were going to have some good competition. We were so prepared that we are going to have the second house.
My husband started looking at these different aspects of remodeling it and how much that would cost us for all those things. We were so sure that we are going to have that house. Here comes another offer, which was an all-cash offer. You cannot compete with that unless you are in a startup that went public and you have all these stocks and the cash that you can utilize. That was the second house.
They led you on a little bit and let you think you were the only one. Are you telling me that the house you were in was only your third? Good for you. This is what’s great about reading this. To the readers out there, prepare yourself if you’re going in 2022. I know a lot of people that forget both of those stories. Those sound awful. You’d give up right away. “I had thirteen got beat out and then had a bunch of money.” What you thought was a bunch of money in Indiana but it’s still a very good down payment and then to have that second story and to still stick with it but the third is incredible. I have people that have 5, 6, 7 offers. I’m writing my eighth offer for somebody and I’m supposed to be the genius on how to write an offer. It’s a lot of people out there. This was number three. How difficult was this one?
[bctt tweet=”There’s no blanket statement, no top five best ways for you to buy a home because circumstances change all the time.” username=””]
The third one was a charm for us because the unicorn realtor that I worked with had previously worked with the buyers’ realtor. That played out to our advantage because of all the three offers that were there on this house, we knew where the top one was. When we were trying to counter that offer, we could have that edge over the other buyers because of our unicorn realtor. Every time I meet her, it’s only because of you that we got into this house.
All I’m doing is putting a megaphone out to the good people. I love how comfortable you are saying unicorn realtor over and over again. That’s fantastic. I appreciate people being frugal. Working with an agent makes them feel real good. A lot of times, I say the reason they feel really good and they can call you 24 hours a day is because you’re their only client and they’re brand-new.
The unicorn up there has been up there for a long time. The sellers picked an agent in town that knew your agent. That’s the thing I tell people all the time, “If you think you’re going to get a discount agent or you need someone to open doors, they don’t just open doors.” When there is more than one offer and if all the offers are closed, what the sellers are looking at is, “Will this buyer close?”
You had two things that made you better than the other offers that might’ve been your price. One, your lender called. It’s fabulous. The other thing is your agent knew the selling agent and they went, “I know that this gal closes deals.” That’s fantastic. There are one million episodes. I won’t feel bad if you didn’t read all of them but were there any surprises, something you can tell people about out there about what happened during the process? You’ve already done it once before. Was the surprise was the fact that the unicorn was able to make it happen?
That was a big surprise. In the previous two offers, we didn’t know the exact amount by which we were outbid, so having our realtor work with the buyers, they could exactly find that range in which our offered would be more attractive as well as the different terms and conditions that we could remove. Even if we felt safe that she had worked with the other realtor previously, there won’t be many pitfalls coming through. The sellers are not hiding something that might be one of the things that we are skeptical about, which is why we tend to put all these contingencies in for our safety.
The thing people ask me is, “What makes a unicorn?” The first thing I say is, “No one in town hates them.” That’s a big deal. I have other realtors that treat me so poorly and I go, “If I ever sell a house around here, do you ever want to bring a buyer back?” The entire Unicorn Nation works by referral, where you and your husband have to be happy. If his only complaint is he has to mow the lawn, he knew that before he signed the contract. I’m not feeling bad, neither is the unicorn. Thank you so much for taking the time. Moving in is crazy. You’ve been in a couple of months so your house is probably worth $50,000 more already. It’s probably gone up after you close it.
The other thing that my realtor told me to do is delete all the apps from my phone as soon as we put an offer and that offer was accepted on this house. We tried to compare, “This other house down the lane went for so-and-so.” We tend to have buyer’s remorse. That’s something that I’m trying to follow so I’m not looking for any house crisis around it.
I’ve sold houses when the market is going the other way and it’s very hard. I won’t go against your unicorn but I’ll tell you in three months, go ahead and look it up. You’ll be very happy. I guarantee it. Your story is incredible. I have many questions that I get, “How do I do it going state to state? I’m renting for $500 in my mom’s house. How am I ever going to afford it? I got a job in San Francisco, one of the most expensive places in the world, New York or Chicago.”
You fought through it. You were such a trooper. I am so proud of you. It was too daunting, so that’s exciting that you got through that. Apoorva is in her beautiful new house. I’m so happy for you. It was wonderful and amazing to know your story. Hopefully, people learned a lot about the bidding process, the way things are going, getting a good team and following their lead. Thank you so much.
Thank you, David.
That was awesome. I swear to God, I did not prompt her. She was speaking from her heart when she used the word ‘unicorn’ 57 times. That was all on her own, I didn’t tell her to do that. At this point, I don’t even know her realtor’s name. I just call them unicorn. What can we learn from Apoorva’s story? I do get a lot of questions about people changing jobs all the time and she said that about herself. They were the typical pandemic people. They even got the pandemic puppy and they were part of The Great Resignation.
What’s important about that to you? Banks want you to have a job if they’re going to give you a loan for a house. If you move across the country and you change jobs, you can still get a loan and have a job in the new place as long as it’s in the same industry. There’s a lot of latitude in that as far as what the same industry constitutes so it can be done.
I’ve helped lots of people move across town or out of state with a different company, maybe not even the same company but something in the same industry and they still got their loan approval so they could buy a home. Be sure you check with Mortgage Pros because they’re going to help you out and do that well before you book your moving truck and put your 30-day notice, but don’t be held back from making a change in your job if you’re going to change places if you haven’t even found out if it’s possible.
Look at Apoorva, six months after her first contact with me, she got the keys to her brand-new home 2,000 miles away and started a whole new life. They did have a good boost to help them out and everyone’s situation is different but it did make me laugh when she said that her down payment in San Francisco was the cost of her whole house or their profit in Indiana.
Pricing isn’t the only thing that was different for her four years later. The show gave her the reality check on how to look at home prices and home shopping. I tell you this all the time, there is no blanket statement. There’s no one way how to do things because something you do in March or April of 2022 is different than you did in 2021 and a lot different than you did it in 1981 from your grandma who’s given you advice on how to buy a house.
She said a few years ago when they looked at homes, they’d go in a home and be like, “This is nice. Thank you, Mr. Realtor. We’re going to go take a little time and think about this.” They go home and take a couple of weeks to think about it. Try that in 2022, you don’t have a couple of weeks. You have a couple of hours and that’s why I keep dropping episodes because there’s no blanket statement and no top five best ways for you to buy a home. This stuff changes all the time and I’m helping you out summarizing all this stuff so you don’t have to.
She used to wait weeks. She follows the show and figured out, “I better get going quick on these.” She then realized you can’t look at list prices all the time anymore. You need to look at the sold prices. In 2022, you’ve got to look at the list price and be prepared to offer over that. The podcast 2021 updates that she was listening to changed everything about the way she looked at how she was going to do this process.
Haters, doubters, the sky is falling. When she was moving to San Francisco, everybody was telling her, “You’ve got to rent first. Don’t buy. That’s a terrible investment.” You hate and doubt her. Do you know where some of the most expensive rent in the world is? It’s San Francisco. It’s easy to be negative and say things like that. Let me explain to all the negative people, naysayers and the doom day predictors. I do agree with you. Housing is getting pretty expensive and it is going to correct someday. The stock market even is going up way too long. We’ve got a recession that we’re due for. That’s coming too.
Don’t get all excited, haters and doubters. It sounds like I’m agreeing with you, doomsdayers but I’m agreeing with the history of the market. There are market fluctuations that historically happened and it is data that I’m agreeing with. Those fluctuations are coming. The big math that everyone seems to forget in the doomsday principle of owning a house is that you will pay for shelter every month. You will pay rent. You have to account for the potential money paid out every month versus the potential appreciation of the home. You then have to have a crystal ball to predict when it’s going to crash and how far down it’s going to go.
It’s a good thing Apoorva didn’t listen to those people, which she could have and they’d be renting in 2022 for $4,000 a month in San Francisco while the price of the home that they could have bought is going up to $100,000 this 2022. Please don’t ask me to extrapolate the math of how exactly it would work for her if she would have rented versus bought. Go back and read bubble episodes. I explained it all to you right there. She read those and ignored those IRL trolls that were feeding her that garbage.
[bctt tweet=”There’s no one way how to do things. Something you do in March or April of 2022 is totally different from how you did in 2021.” username=””]
Don’t give up. In October 2021 on her first offer, when she got smashed, she said, “It seemed too daunting.” There were thirteen other offers and she was never going to be able to do this. I have 2022 clients that would die if there were only thirteen offers on the home that they were trying to get. That would feel like The Rock only having to fight against three regular bad guys, some seriously good odds. She didn’t get discouraged even though it was daunting. She kept with it and six weeks later, she closed on a house.
Some of the things that she talked about to explain what helped her or tips to win bidding wars, I’m making up a new word for this one, it’s called re-strategization. That means is it’s avoiding the cookie-cutter homes and trying to look for things that might be a little bit funkier. Go ahead. Let your freak flag fly.
It’s Shrek. That’s our magic word for our non-real estate stats and opinions. Here’s a fact that you can debate with me and I will win. Brian d’Arcy James’ portrayal of the title character in the Broadway show, Shrek: The Musical, is the most underrated actor portrayal in musical theater history. Don’t ever say I’m not controversial. The big green guy is some of the best acting I’ve ever seen.
Back to real estate and the re-strategization. This is letting your freak flag fly because it’s going to help you limit your competition. You’re all unique like Mr. Rogers, Dora the Explorer and Steve from Blues Clues or Joe. They always tell you, “You’re special.” You can use that as an advantage when you’re shopping for a home. Apoorva found that there was less competition for homes that she and her partner liked, the ones that were a little bit less cookie-cutter but they still had a lawn, which she hates cutting but too bad. It’s better than snow.
I can attest to this. I’ve had fortunate clients. Grandma gave him $500,000 to put down on a $1 million house in Southern California. We’re out there with huge down payments and getting crushed in multiple offer situations. I’m talking 6, 7 offers. Remember, I’m the guy that wrote the book and I’m getting killed.
They found a home that backs to what we in Orange County, California called the woods. You from other parts of the country might laugh at what we call the woods. It’s like 1/8 of an acre with 12 Birch trees but we call it the woods. The name of the city is Lake Forest. The home looks like a regular house upfront on a regular street but then the land slopes down from the middle to the back into the woods and your backyard is a deck on stilts. It’s like three stories up. It’s a little different but they loved it. We put an offer in much less competition like Apoorva.
One of the tricks you can learn from this interview is 2022 is going to be tough out there and you might have to use the C word, which is Compromise but sometimes when you compromise, you can find something that’s unique and works for you and there’s less competition. After all, remember what Joe and Steve from Blues Clues say, “We’re all special.”
Her second re-strategization practice is to listen to her unicorn and figure out how to use the important terms. It’s not just about the price, the terms and the guidance from her unicorn showed her how to craft those terms to make her offer stand out. She got a home in this crazy competitive 2022 market. Let Apoorva’s story be an uplifting tale for you, and I hope you’ve got some good pointers.
Here are some of the great ones I thought about. Number one, she felt this market was too daunting after gaining crushed by thirteen offers but she persevered. It’s going to be worth it as long as you believe in the math. Number two, she got crushed by a cash offer and thought that home was hers but instead of freaking out about it, she used that to re-strategize, got her re-strategization and then persevered.
Number three for Apoorva and the most important lesson from her is she got her third offer accepted. Three offers are far less than the average amount of offers being accepted in the 2022 market. A large reason for getting that offer accepted is her local unicorn representative presented not only a professional offer but presented it to someone that she’d already worked with. That great reputation from her unicorn representative made the seller’s agent tell the sellers, “I know this person. This one is going to close. Even though we’ve got two offers that are both the same, I am positive this person is going to close because I’ve worked with them before.”
When I represent sellers, I always tell them, “The pricing terms matter but who presents it and how they present it oftentimes can matter just as much because what’s worse, taking an offer that’s $5,000, falling out in a couple of weeks, having to put the home back on the market and people wondering what’s wrong with it or taking an offer that feels like a little bit of a hit for $5,000 less but you know what’s going to close?”
How it’s presented and who presents it tells a lot to the seller about you and the deal if it can close with the least amount of drama and stress. Ride into a multiple offer situation on a unicorn stallion. You’ll be seeing way above the other offers, the ones that are being driven or written in there by a donkey or a brand-new baby foal. That’s a baby horse.
Another fantastic success story from the show is taking what is terrifying, impossible, moving from Indiana to San Francisco, buying a home and making it happen even though it felt daunting in this 2022 Uber competitive bananas market. It’s a real story from a reader. Be inspired, confident and prepared. Get yourself a guide. If you’re looking for a local unicorn, I’m happy to introduce you to Unicorn Nation.
As of February 2022, over 243 unicorns are out there helping readers, and hundreds of them work in their plan. Go to HowToBuyAHome.com and drop me a line. You can join them or help get all the free goodness that you want. If you want to go out and look for your unicorn, it’s right here on the show. Please if the show and this free information are helping you in any way and if you’re enjoying this content, text it to your friends. It would help me out.
If you’re a longtime reader and you dig it, drop me a review on Spotify. Early in 2022, that’s a new thing. I would love it. It would mean a lot to me. We can help a lot more people. Check out more free content on Instagram, @DavidSidoni. The YouTube page is going to be ramping up. If you’re reading this in a few years, we’re going to be the top thing on YouTube.
If you read this in 2022, you could be 1 of my 300 or something subscribers’ way to go. There is a lot of great content on there. I didn’t mark it on YouTube. The How to Buy a Home Podcast page is also there on Facebook. Apoorva reached out to me with no clue how to pull this off. She found me out there somewhere and I told her, “You can do this.”
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