Logan and Beth Marie Hemphill wanted to start building equity by owning a home, but as they started to look, the options seemed overwhelming. There were so many websites with home listings – from Zillow.com to individual real estate agents’ websites - and mortgage information. Short sales and foreclosures joined traditional home sales.
Then metro Atlanta’s numerous communities took the couple’s search from intown communities such as Grant Park to Decatur to outside the Perimeter, in Marietta and Smyrna. Their search lasted several months, as the couple – working with Walter Cronk of Prudential Georgia Realty – made offers and even saw homes going under contract at the same time they were viewing the properties in person.
“You have to move on it so quickly,” said Beth, 27, a producer for The Weather Channel.
Spacious short sale
A four-bedroom, two-bath home on Milford Chase in Marietta met their requirements in terms of the number of bedrooms, and tall ceilings added to the roomy feel. The kitchen was large and had a sitting area, but they would need to invest funds inside and out, including fixing up the backyard. The ranch-style home, built in 1998 in the Milford Chase neighborhood, was listed for $125,500.
Clean and comfortable
A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath home on Sparrow Wood Lane in Marietta boasted a kitchen, dining room and living room that weren’t boxed in, but open for entertaining. The home was move-in ready and had the big kitchen that Beth desired. The home, built in 1997 in Milford Woods, was a short sale listed for $139,900.
Older but updated
A four-bedroom, two-bath home on McCormick Way in Marietta was older than the others they viewed, built in 1965. The older details such as painted paneled walls and hardwood floors added character. The previous owners had updated the kitchen with dark, contemporary-style cabinets, stainless steel appliances and an island. The home in the Westgate neighborhood was listed for $135,000.
No. 3. The couple put offers on all three. The seller of No. 2 didn’t accept their offer, which about $7,000 lower than asking price and asked the seller to pay closing costs. With No. 1, they put down earnest money in October 2012. But the home had two liens on it – they learned later – and two banks needed to accept their offer as a result. They waited several months with no word about their offer, which they described as a “horrible situation.” “We were just battling for months and months and months,” said Logan, 27, an operations supervisor at TASQ Technology. “All we were looking for were updates.” A clause in the contract allowed them to withdraw the contract if they found another home. The Hemphills found the home they purchased while waiting – and got the earnest money back. Since other buyers were interested in the house, they submitted a letter with their “best and highest” offer that explained how much they loved the home. It worked, and they closed in May 2013, just four weeks after putting in an offer. The seller also left them a bottle of champagne to celebrate moving in.