Case Study - Buying a condo without ever stepping foot inside
by Sara Ifert
on Monday, May 11th, 2020 at 9:38am.
Michaella and Gabi worked with Maureen Moran as they were getting ready to buy their first home. Due to the pandemic, there were some additional challenges for them to navigate, but Maureen helped them purchase their condo, safely! Read on for the story of how Maureen’s persistence helped them buy their first home during this unique time.
Michaella and Gabi were relocating to Madison from Baltimore, MD, as Michaella is about to begin her residency at the UW. They had been talking about buying a house for some time, and this seemed like the perfect “life transition” time to do so.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic set in. At first, they heard conflicting advice. Some said the pandemic would be the best time to buy, while others cautioned that it was the worst time to buy. But, they had their hearts set on finding their own place, so they pressed forward.
Michaella and Gabi began looking at both single family homes and condos, but were leaning more towards a condo. They had been living in high-rises and thought the transition would be easier for them as first-time home buyers. The main thing they were hoping for was space - they wanted at least two bedrooms and two bedrooms. Plus, they were hoping for a designated office space for Gabi, who works from home.
Since they were new to the area, they began searching for a realtor online who knew Madison well and could guide the process from afar. They were looking at positively reviewed realtors and found Maureen Moran. “She had so many positive reviews - several from first-time home buyers like us,” said Michaella. “We were similarly impressed by Mad City Dream Homes’ website.”
After reaching out to Maureen, they had an introductory phone call the next day. “From the very beginning we felt that she was our friend and our advocate in Madison,” said Michaella. “Phone calls with her were never rushed, and she patiently answered all of our first-time-home-buyer questions. We felt that she wasn’t just trying to get us to buy a home, but to help us find the perfect place and also to make us smarter buyers.”
Due to the pandemic and availability of properties in Madison, there were fewer options that matched up with their wish list and price range than they were hoping for. Michaella and Gabi kept a sharp eye on the Collaboration Dashboard so that when properties in their budget popped up, they could act quickly. Despite the pandemic, the market was still moving fast and was very competitive. Homes would be on the market for only 1-2 days and would have accepted offers.
The hardest part for Michaella and Gabi was making offers so quickly. They knew they were competing with other buyers who were local and had the opportunity to view properties in person. Since they were buying at a distance, and due to COVID-19, they had a virtual tour contingency in all of their offers. This gave them the flexibility to receive a virtual tour after the seller accepted their offer. But, they were aware that contingency could delay finalization of the offer for several days and make their offer less appealing to sellers.
Marueen helped them stay competitive, even at one point submitting an offer within 8 hours of a property being listed! Since they weren’t able to see homes in person anyway, they were able to act right away when properties were listed.
Maureen spotted a new condo on the market and took the initiative to schedule a virtual showing with Michaella and Gabi while they were putting in an offer on another place. They fell in love with the condo! Maureen used her experience in appraisals and understanding of the market to help Michaella and Gabi put together a strong but fair offer.
Once the offer was accepted, Maureen recommended several local lenders and reached out to them on Michaella and Gabi’s behalf to get the ball rolling. The home inspection was completed within a week, with everyone taking proper precautions. Miranda from Mad City Dream homes also helped all of the post-offer tasks stay on track. “We expected the process to be a lot more chaotic, but it has gone incredibly smoothly,” said Michaella. “We were even able to push up our closing date by a week!”
While the buyers felt it was strange to buy a home without ever stepping inside, they kept telling themselves that people did this in the past - even before cell phones and Facetime. “So much of our lives are online these days, so we didn’t feel too uncomfortable about completing the process virtually,” said Michaella.
In terms of buying a condo in a pandemic, the buyers were surprised by how well the whole system has adapted to COVID. “Everything has moved to virtual! While virtual tours are not ideal, they are actually a very informative way to learn about a home, “said Michaella. There were a few places the buyers toured virtually that they knew right away they weren’t interested in, while others they fell in love with instantly. They were impressed with how well everyone involved adhered to social-distancing - even for the home inspection! “It seems like the whole system has been adapted in a way to put the safety of the public first,” said Michaella.
There were times during the process when the buyers feared that purchasing a home wouldn’t be possible given some of the repercussions of the pandemic, but it all worked out. “Maureen has guided us through this entire process and always took the time to patiently explain the nuances of the market so that we were better-educated buyers,” said Michaella. She added, “We will likely be selling in a few years when my career either takes us out of Madison, or we choose to stay and get a larger place, but I can’t imagine working with anyone other than Maureen and Mad City Dream Homes!”
There are many reasons why you may be wanting to buy right now, and purchasing your dream home doesn't necessarily have to be on hold. We're here to help you! Reach out to one of our professional full-time Madison real estate consultants. View our agent profiles or set up a virtual consultation.