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Updated: Oct 1, 2021

At times the quest to buy real estate in Santa Cruz County can make you feel like you’re chasing the mythological pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: You see the property of your dreams in the distance only to watch your vision disappear as you look more closely and read the reports. Or you see its price move out of reach as you make your offer, only to be beaten out by an all-cash buyer who was willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars more with no contingencies.

Finding—and getting—the right home can be grueling in this market, and ‘buyer fatigue’ has become a common syndrome driving many to abandon the dream of home ownership in one of the hottest markets in the country. But what if you were to find out after the fact you had given up just before you were about to find your happy ending?

Some good friends of mine whom I had helped for many months of intensive searches and competitive offers were on the verge of doing just that. And then we spotted a place in Seacliff that checked enough of their boxes that they decided to pursue it. I personally did not feel this was the right place for them, but they insisted they could be happy there and we prevailed over three competing offers with an all-cash, non-contingent bid.

Then the smell hit us. During their celebratory walkthrough, and on the next two visits we noticed a putrid odor in the immediate vicinity that none of us had noticed prior to submitting the offer. We took the necessary steps to cancel the contract based on this material fact which had not been previously disclosed or known, and offered the Sellers a

nominal portion of the deposit for their trouble, which they begrudgingly accepted after reviewing the facts we had compiled. While also disappointed, we felt oddly relieved, because each of us had felt all along like we could do better.

As fate would have it, two days later I found them the home that we had been hoping for all along, with everything the other home had fallen short on. In fact, it met the standard that I advise every buyer to wait for: You know it’s the right home when you feel happy to have missed out on every other property you ever chased after. And yes, it’s true.

Happy endings are possible even in this market.

As additional encouragement before you decide to settle on a rental or move out of the area, consider this: On average, more than 200 parties each month have successfully

bought a home in Santa Cruz County over the course of the past 4 months. That’s more than 800 of the strongest buyers who are no longer competing, while inventory has steadily grown, from 278 homes in April to 361 homes in July, with the numbers continuing to grow in August.

So you needn’t necessarily lose hope, for there are some encouraging signs. And I have often found it is exactly when you are on the verge of giving up that you finally break through, and all the effort that you put in along the way makes the final success that much sweeter.

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