Success Story: A Buyer Finally Becomes an Owner


This blog is graciously donated by Missionite, long time reader of and writer for The Frontsteps, as well as writer of his own blog, Submedian.


Well we finally got one. We just got the keys and haven’t moved in yet. Despite the market conditions we didn’t get a steal, paid over asking, and in fact the home didn’t appraise so we had to bring some extra money to close as well as convince the sellers to come down a little. On the other hand the home needs only a paint job and a chimney sweep, is big enough for our family of four, is close to things that are important (school, shopping, park, friends, backyard), far from things we don’t like (noise, crime) and is as good a fit for our needs as we could hope for. Most of our new neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ten years or more so we have a nice stable piece of San Francisco to call home.
With two little ones in desparate need of a yard we weren’t in a position to wait anymore and frankly we were just out of patience. Our criteria was what can we afford right now that we can bear to live in for the next ten years. And on that front we are satisfied. The big lesson I have walked away with here (which will make the realtors happy) is that what you pay for a house has no correlation to it’s actual value. As some of you probably know we have spent literally years bidding on foreclosures, fixers, probates, stale fish, etc trying to get a bargain and have come up empty handed every time (I haven’t blogged about the last couple misadventures but there have been a few and one in particular just about broke our heart). But the times we were denied did give us more time and eventually our savings caught up to the point that we could actually compete and in the end we wound up buying in a normal deal with normal sellers putting our well-over-asking offer in the day it listed and even then apparently not having the highest offer, but winning because we offered a damn fast close.
The asking price, the comps, everything you think you know about a property is meaningless when it comes to the final price. It all boils down to whether you are in a class that has a lot of other buyers. As a family looking for a family home in a city that isn’t exactly loaded with quality inventory for families, we eventually learned we were going to have to either pay more than we would like, or not have anything at all. If you are in the market for a condo, or something on the top end of the market I think it’s a different experience, but reasonably priced homes appropiate for a family with young children are tough nuts to crack.
Anyway, I’m happy to start worrying about lawn care now. Home depot has new meaning to me and I can’t wait to make my first visit there with serious intent.


Congrats to you, and thanks to you, for sharing your win, Missionite. Your advice will be of help to buyers, as will your fabulous rent calculator, a resource so good it’s been co-opted by Apple and will soon appear as an app for the I-phone! Check it out here.


23 thoughts on “Success Story: A Buyer Finally Becomes an Owner

  1. Congratulations Missionite – Couldn’t be happier for you. Where did you land – in SF? What hood?

  2. I don’t know exactly why but for some reason I feel a need to be a little hesitant about divulging too much detail here. I’m not trying to be coy, it’s just tough figuring out where my boundaries are on privacy with regards to something that we worked so hard and for so long to achieve. Still I want to give you a rough idea so let’s just say within a mile or so of Mt. Davidson. That includes a number of neighborhoods, and most of the places we have looked at and/or bidded on were in one of these hoods (i.e. Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Glen Park, West Portal, etc.).

  3. check out Broadmoor Landscape Supply in So. SF for their no-mow, drought tolerant lawn… needing to use a stinky, gas guzzling mower is so not necessary!

  4. The irony of this is that Fluj was literally the case example I had in mind when thinking I shouldn’t be too revealing about the location of our new home. So I suppose it’s fitting that he would put a point on it with such class and character.

  5. And Brian, who are you, and when have we ever interacted, even once? “Jerk” ? What’s the big deal about saying what neighborhood it is? The irony here is that missionite has gone to a great deal of trouble to share all sorts of information, ostensibly to help others. Yet when push comes to shove the the single most relevant item he decides not to share. I found it odd. Your mileage may vary. But “Jerk” ? again, since when is telling someone not to take themself so seriously a character flaw?

  6. Oh, and Missionite, what do you suppose I personally would have done with the information that you purchased a residence in Sunnyside/Glen Park/ Miraloma or within one square mile of Mt. Davidson? Other than to say, “Good for you.” LOL.

  7. The tone of “get over” is not the same as you trying to imply. Its just f***in rude. And of course, you’re now acting like someone (me) has insulted you when your arrogant crappy ass has insulted missionite.

    Fluj, you show the same shitty attitude that you show over on Socketsite. I read your crap all the time. Your attitude sucks. If missionite doesnt want to reveal something for whatever reason.. thats none of your damned business. Just move on.

    Go I can’t imagine who would hire your sorry ass as a realtor.

  8. Congrats on the purchase! You’ll be happy to have bought.

    Having your own single family house in SF for a family is absolutely priceless. Not having people above or to your left and right, amazing.

  9. Brian,

    Clearly someone of your delicate sensibilities and enviable writerly prowess is more than capable of determining “tone” from a quip. I stand corrected. I didn’t mean what I meant.

    No insult taken. You’re too ordinary of an internet troll, saying the sort of things you’d never say in real life on here. Get a clew. The real reason not to divulge where one buys is precisely because of the behavior of the Socketsite ghouls you apparently think are great. I just found it odd that he wouldn’t even say the neighborhood, given the amount of other information he’s shared.

    Missionite can do what he wants, absolutely. Saying that he feels uncomfortable about even saying what neighborhood it is will remain odd too, in my book. Whatever.

  10. Fluj,
    Your constant bloviating about your real estate investments on another blog led some posters to determine the exact location of those investments based on the clues you yourself provided. And while from what I understand you did eventually manage to sell those properties, it took quite a while as I recall, and the prices weren’t quite as high as what you were initially seeking. Now I have no idea if there was a connection between the circumstances of those transactions and your online persona, but I can honestly tell you that if I discovered you were the owner of a property I was interested in, that would count as a serious strike against that property. So when I described you as a case example for why I felt hesitant about getting into any location specific details about my recent purchase, that’s the example I had in mind.
    I’m happy to share my story and experience for the benefit of others who may be interested, but I prefer to maintain my relative anonymity while doing so. I hope you can understand and appreciate where I am coming from.

    Lucy Lu, Financial Samurai,
    Thank you! I honestly thought I would never get here. I was trimming the hedges today, and I can’t tell you how ridiculously into it I was. I could have just trimmed those hedges forever. :)

  11. i’m totally out of the loop on this argument, obviously, but just want to say again to missionite: congrats, and thanks for sharing. sorry if it all sent some bad feelings your way. it’s surprising and sad how often sharing stuff does that.

  12. Missionite, congrats! Enjoy your home for many years. I have referred your rent/own calculator to many friends and appreciate your hard work on it.

    Fluj, once again you have proven what a tremendous a-hole you are.

  13. Missionite, by constant bloviating do you mean never bringing anything up, and merely responding to a litany of incorrect assumptions by errant dilettantes pertaining to investments that were in point of fact not my own? They only knew my name, guy. I said nothing initially about any of them, and there have been more than two. You see all of this in a certain way, as if everything on real estate blogs about marketing/selling — to you. Mentioning a neighborhood’s name is nothing, but I didn’t even do that.

    1. Though Frontsteps is uber-liberal about comments, I’ve edited out specifc name use. Let’s keep the anonymity we enjoy when we don’t use our real names, or don’t mention exactly where we live. Everyone deserves to limit the amount of personal info on the web

  14. Maybe. Maybe it’s merely the same six people who like to make the same derisive jokes constantly and can’t stand a contrary voice.

    1. Okay boys and girls, time to end the discussion and bickering and get back on track. You’ve said your points and the judge has decided enough is enough. Moving on….

  15. Congrats missionite. btw I constantly refer people to the buy vs rent spreadsheet you built on your blog so thanks for that.

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