my experience with HomeSearch

10 Replies

just wanted to share what I experienced. As other posters had said, I could see that it was probably the bank bidding up against me. By waiting till the last minute, literally, to make my next bid, they dropped the bidding increment from $2500 to $1000. I let them bid above me and dropped out, and they bid another 1k and then it ended, still under the reserve price. 

Sure enough, I got an email from some (home search) saying would you like us to submit your offer to the bank? and then I get another email saying, oh and btw this may take a few weeks. I said sure, expecting it would take a while, maybe some negotiation etc. 

Well i almost immediately got an email saying your offer has been accepted, and that I will have to sign the contract within 24 hours of getting it and all this stuff. I KNEW I had bid too much, then! it was still a decent price but...... So then they email to say you have 24 hours to click "confirm high bid"- but they don't tell me what would happen if I didn't. so I call customer service but they can't really tell me anything, i am trying to see if i will be in default if I don't confirm the high bid and thus would lose the $2500 deposit they are holding on my credit card which you have to put down in order to bid. 

So I go ahead and confirm high bid by clicking and filling in stuff, but meanwhile I email my auction manager and explain I am out here in Guinea dealing with the Ebola epidemic and about to go out to the field where there is no internet and I won't be able to deal with all this. I really didn't expect this to happen so soon because of the email saying I would have time. 

The auction manager emails back and says, given the circumstances, she would be willing to release the $2500 on the credit card and I can back out. I emailed back saying yes please, but I haven't heard back from her yet. I really don't have time to deal with it now so I decided to drop the deal. I will be very pleasantly surprised if this works out. 

just adding another data point for people's consideration!

I had a somewhat similar experience. Not high bidder, my bid under reserve, etc. The difference in my case? They emailed weeks later, I agreed to my bid terms (below reserve, not high bidder), they agreed, and I followed through with the purchase. I'd guess that since you confirmed the submission, the $2500 is in jeopardy. Just a guess. The good thing is there are BP people who probably have your exact experience, and hopefully they reply.

hi- just a follow up to say that I did get the $2500 released (or at least they said they were going to do so) and the property is back in a new auction.

so to recap and update:

While in Guinea in late July, I bid on a property to BRRRR in the Tampa area. The first asking price was 45k, it was up to 55 when I came into bid, and I bid up to 71, but I think it was mostly getting pushed up by the bank. It is supposedly worth ~100k. I had to add 5% fee- 3550- which would make it 74550, and although I wasn't the high bidder, they came back to me and asked if I wanted to submit my offer of 71k. They said it would probably take a few weeks for the decision to be made so I said yes, but then they said, ok, you won! Which wasn't what I wanted or could handle at that point.

I ended up being able to "give it back" since they wanted to close asap and I was going to be out in the field without internet for almost a week and couldn't add REI stress to Ebola work stress. Then two weeks later, I was the only bidder on the property, I bid to 50 and stopped, and it went right back onto the auction without them emailing me at all. Next week someone else bid it up to 60 and stopped bidding, and within an hour or so they had put it right back onto the auction for the next week. At the same time, the real estate agent put it on Zillow, with new photos that looked nice, for 101K.

Tues. Sept. 1st at 9:47 minutes before the end of this fourth auction, I bid 45k, the minimum bid. 30 seconds later ,they bid 2.5k more. 4 minutes later (with 4:37 left, which immediately turned into 9:37 left, since if there is a bid in the last five minutes the clock automatically adds 5 more minutes) I bid the minimum increment of 2.5k, up to 50K. 2.5 minutes later (7:00 before the end) they bid 52.5k. At 5:24 before the end I bid 55. At 4:24 -> thus 9:24 before the end they bid 57.5. At 1:47-> 6:47 I bid 60K. At 5:08 bank bid 62.5. At 4:32-9:32 I bid 65k. At 6:00 they bid 67.5. At 2:00, they dropped it to 1k bid increment, so I bid 68.5 and they let the clock run out. I almost immediately got the high bid confirmation and I had no exit choice, it seemed, although I guess I could have not clicked the “confirm bid” button on my dashboard, which was sent on Sept. 2nd . I might have lost my $2500 deposit, though. I was sent the “confirm bid” link, I had one calendar day to click it.

The offer was accepted almost immediately, and a few hours later they sent a docusign contract (all electronic signing and initialing). I had to send a bank statement (I just did a pdf of my online banking accounts), then within 48 hours I had to show a receipt that I had wired the EMD (the greater of 3k or 3%.) The main challenge with that was that the escrow agent hadn't sent their wire info and I was leaving the country the next day at noon but was able to do it online as I traveled. The escrow office is supposedly starting the closing process within 48 hours.

The contract stated that the closing would take place on or before October 6th, but I requested that they do it within two weeks so I can come back to the states, start getting the place fixed up (it needs power washing of vinyl siding and some trim repair outside, and repaint and replace grotty bedroom carpets with laminate or hardwood to match the gorgeous cherry floors in the kitchen and living room)then head to West Africa for a couple of weeks, then return to the states, finish getting it ready to rent (furnishing it, mostly with craigs’ list stuff except for beds and linens) and put it on the AirBnB market, then head back out of the country again.

All in all, I felt ok about the price-I saved around $2,575 by letting it go back to auction and waiting through several rounds. I could possibly have stopped at 65k and might have won it, or maybe it would have gone back to auction. It was clear that their sweet spot was above 60, and 71k was certainly there or above it. And with all this, it was still under the "reserve" price! 

But at this point, I needed to get the house and get it onto the market so I can start getting bookings for the fall and winter months, and I won’t have time to come back to the states later on. And it’s done. I very much agree with what people universally say- it’s better to just do it, get started (hopefully having done at leasta modicum of research!) and try not to lose too much money on your first deal or two. The learning has been incredible, and it has really given me a much better sense that this is in fact do-able! As well as really fun…..

If you are still with me after all this, thanks for listening, and hope this was useful for someone else, as so many hundreds of posts on this site have been for me!

Looking back at the bid timing, I realize I should have let more time go by between my bids- maybe I would have gotten it for a few thousand less. It was amazing how my heart was pounding during the bidding- crazy!

Now the million dollar question is- should I have an inspection now? or just put some lipstick on it and rent it..... last time I bought a property i was all goody goody as well as paranoid and got a mold inspection which now has that property on the hazmat list till i shell out some 20k to remediate it (which mostly seems to consist of guys wearing cosmonaut suits, just like in Ebola land, spraying a cleaning solution, and billing $100 an hour each.....- not to say that mold remediation isn't important, but maybe I could have gotten rid of some of it myself before calling in the mold specialists.) 

Anyway, cheers!

@Waverly Rennie This is amazing information!  Thank you for taking to record all of the details and share them with us here.  

I am looking at bidding on some property and your post is extremely helpful.  Thank you!

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I have to echo Michael's sentiment; this is extremely great feedback/information!

Thanks for taking the time to provide such thorough detail & follow-up.

just another follow up= they asked me if i would accept a $500  incentive for quick settlement- um, yes please. They ended up giving me $1k! for a quick closing incentive. Which will help pay for the new 4.3k Ac system i had to install since I think the foreclosed owner "liberated" the existing 10 year old one. 

ACH'ed them the money- a little delayed since i was again out of the country but they didn't complain too much- and the real estate agent working for Homesearch left the key in a lockbox and sent me the code. Quite painless.

Got an inspection for insurance plus peace of mind for a total of $225 and it checked out beautifully, house really is in great shape so I think I got a very good deal indeed. Best of luck to you!!

Thanks for your post! We found our dream house and found out it was a Homesearch property. Its had us up and down for almost a week since we saw it. We were able to get advice on what needs to be fixed and feel good about that. We were pre-qualified through a own lender. Then we read that it was only being offered cash. The listing agent said that it should be open for financing since everything is on and working. We got word today that they changed it and it is now open for financing! However, you have to be pre-approved through Green Light, which was also updated in an ad on listing today. The reason being, if your own lender falls through, apparently Green Light will be back up. There is less than 23 hours left before bidding is over. We were pre-qualified through Green Light. I have read almost every post on here. VERY Helpful. I am going to try to stay calm, bid no more than I know I should and Pray! We really love this home. I feel as though we did all our homework.  The listing agent, has been helpful. Has any one bid early, met the reserve and been the highest bidder? I know I should wait. 

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