This blog was written by homebuyer, Michelle Blackard, about her experience buying a home with the Elite Team during the COVID pandemic
That’s right, we bought a home right in the middle of COVID-19. To be more specific, I first started looking at Zillow real estate early January 2020, contacted different Flagstaff real estate agents in February, decided on our REALTOR®, Jessica Garard with the Elite Team at RE/MAX Peak Properties on February 24 and started receiving listings on February 25. Those first few weeks we saw a few listings that matched our needs but then everything stopped. There was no real estate in Flagstaff for sale that fit our check-list. COVID-19 was a very real threat and Flagstaff, like the rest of the world, was playing it safe.
Flagstaff, Arizona Real Estate Market
Moving to Flagstaff from Texas, we underestimated the Flagstaff, Arizona real estate market. Homes run about $155,000 more in Flagstaff than where we were living in Dallas/Ft. Worth and there are very few of them. Even less during COVID-19.
We knew that our first home in Flagstaff was not going to check all our dream boxes. We moved to Flagstaff with the intention of it being our “forever place.” We love it here so much and plan to be here for the rest of our lives. We realized though that we were going to need a Flagstaff starter home to build more equity for that dream home in the future.
After being literally laughed at by one Flagstaff REALTOR® after saying I was looking for a single-family home under $400,000, I called Jessica with the Elite Team. I knew we were a perfect fit from the moment I talked to her. She made me feel so at ease and although Jessica is born and raised in Flagstaff and knows this real estate market the best, she never laughed or made me feel silly for not realizing how different the market was from Texas.
As the city got used to its new normal; only essential workers leaving their homes, learning how to clean groceries, sanitizing door handles, and spraying Lysol everywhere, we knew we needed to make a decision about buying a house. We had no options at this point for a single-family home and our apartment lease was about to be up. There was nothing on the market in Flagstaff under $500,000. We started to broaden our search to townhomes with a yard and a garage. The two most important things to us. Still nothing.
We were about to put a new lease on our apartment when all of a sudden there were 6 listings in one week. We went and viewed them with Jessica right away while wearing gloves and masks and staying 6 ft apart. Really, we never touched anything in the homes. They all had positives and negatives and we had to quickly decide which negatives didn’t bother us as much as the others. After viewing 4 listings on the same day, we went back to one later that night and put an offer on it the next morning.
The catch? Our contract was only valid if the seller’s house that they were buying went through without any hiccups, with a closing date of two months later. That’s nerve-racking during normal times. During COVID-19 when people are losing their jobs left and right during the months of April and May, that’s terrifying. We decided to risk it.
It seemed every other day we were getting emails from our lender about new changes in the paperwork that was required because so much was changing so fast. Self-employed? In May, the paperwork was totally different than what it was in April. Struggling to come up with all the down-payment? Don’t worry, that new interest rate is going to help.
It was a stressful two months of waiting and hoping everything was going smoothly for not just our sellers but THEIR sellers as well. Did everyone still have their jobs? The same amount of monthly income? Had their debt increased? It was happening to people all around us, was it happening to the sellers as well?
As the closing day approached and COVID-19’s impact on our community had only increased, we needed to make decisions about hiring movers and cleaners.
In the end, we decided to hire the same guys that helped us move into an apartment and storage 4 months earlier. We kept our 6-foot distance, sanitized the things they moved, and just tried to remember the ridiculously difficult but important COVID-19 skill…don’t touch your face.
“We Are So Thankful For The Elite Team!”
Being new to this community during such an unusual and scary time would have been so difficult without the best REALTOR® on our side. We were so thankful to the Elite Team for all the precautions they took to keep us safe as well as themselves safe. We are also grateful for Jessica’s knowledge of the Flagstaff real estate market and her willingness to research and stay on top of how COVID-19 was affecting home real estate.
We are happily settled into our new townhome with our bikes in the garage and our pup playing in her new yard. We’ve repainted one bedroom with plans to repaint the whole house. We love our neighbors. Most importantly, we’re so happy to be here in Flagstaff!