We had been wanting to move from the Chicago suburbs to the Orlando, FL area for a long time and decided early this summer to pursue the same.
We listed our house the traditional way in Illinois with a Realtor. In my area Zillow/OfferPad/OpenDoor are not buying homes.
Once we were under contract we started looking down in FL. This was the first and second week of August. Houses were going quickly and there wasn’t much inventory that fit what we wanted.
A house popped up on Zillow at 2p on Monday owned by OpenDoor. 5 bed, 3 car garage, pool with a cage and only 2 years home. The pictures were beautiful. Talked to my Realtor and she said it would in fact go fast and that OpenDoor (OD) reviews all offers before 8p. We submitted our offer the following day after doing a FaceTime video walk through. The offer was submitted online and looked like we were buying something from Amazon. The OD website showed we submitted the offer and would have a response the following day by 3p.
Our offer was 18k over list, going 1k over highest offer with a 10k appraisal gap using a VA loan. At 12p the following day we found out we got it!
When it was time for inspection OD had turned off all utilities so we had to reschedule our Inspector. Rescheduled for a week later and OD turned on electricity and water but no gas. A week later we finished the Inspection once gas was on. The only main issue with the home was the electricity in the master bed and bath kept tripping. We were going to ask for that to be fixed. I need to mention that each time our Realtor called OD, it was someone working out of California and working 9-5. When you have an Inspector who shows up at 8a EST and a salary worker out of California is still sleeping there were many calls placed to the “emergency numbers “ trying to explain everything and get a response.
VA appraisal came in and came in 43k under our offer. Our Realtor wasn’t concerned as they advised they had an almost similar fact pattern with a prior client a month before and OD lowered the sale to the appraisal and they moved forward. In our case they did not despite us advising we’d go 10k over appraisal. OD stated that was too low and would agree to 20k over appraisal.
Speaking of appraisals it had errors. We didn’t get credit for the pool on one of the homes. Another home despite us having an extra bedroom, we didn’t get credit for that. It was at least 15k lower than where it should have been.
This was two weeks before closing on my IL home and this house’s anticipated close. Our lender advised that if we tried to challenge the appraisal with the VA, we would not be able to close in time. They advised they had reached out to the Appraiser who admitted there were mistakes but her hands were quote tied. We ended up accepting the 20k over appraisal as we had no other choice.
We have two school aged kids and our IL home closing was clear to close so we were going to be homeless. We did not have family in our town so we couldn’t stay there and our town doesn’t have short term rentals. I checked Airbnb and vrbo just in case.
Our Realtor wrote up the addendum and asked that the electrical in the master be fixed. That’s all I asked for from the inspection! OD advised that since we were paying under list they wouldn’t fix anything. The house is now as is. The best part is the buyer of my home literally gave me a list five full pages deep of demands. So I had the pleasure of fixing random nonsense for her, giving credits on other things and yet I buy a home and can’t ask for one thing.
We were to close Monday morning and at 1:50p CST the Friday before we found out we couldn’t close. Our lender botched the VA paperwork and OD’s title company has to be balanced by 3p EST the day before closing. We found all that out with 10 minutes to spare that day. It took two additional business days and we finally closed on Wednesday.
Honestly if our home would have been listed by a non ibuyer we would not have stood a chance. We were a VA loan and while we did put 8k earnest down, we were not 20% down or cash. I can totally see the appeal of selling your home to an ibuyer but buying from one where they only work business hours in another time zone is frustrating and slow.