Skip to main content

First-Time Homebuyers Face Unrelenting Pressure In High-Cost Market

Jul 27, 2021
Ben Graf and his father removing mold and rat residue from the subfloor. Photo by Ben Graf.
Staff Writer

First-time homebuyers Ben and Dani Graf decided to go $65,000 over budget on a house that was in serious need of renovations. 

After months of home searching in the blazing Seattle metropolitan area, first-time homebuyers Ben and Dani Graf decided to go $65,000 over budget on a house that was in serious need of renovations. 

The Graf family has suffered from intense competition like many first-time homebuyers have throughout the pandemic. Despite once having a healthy budget, flexible time, and a free place to stay, the Grafs were pressured by unprecedented housing conditions to make drastic compromises. 

The Grafs wanted to purchase a home in the Seattle metro area, where homes are taken off the market after about 5 days with a median $742,000 sale price. That is almost a third of the national median, where a house typically stays on the market for 14.7 days.

After making several offers on multiple homes way beyond their budget, the Grafs spent $565,000 on a house that clearly needed repairs. On Zillow, they found a 1,000-square-foot house on half an acre of land just five minutes away from where Ben’s parents live. 

“In the back of our minds we know this house is hardly worth that much, but that's where the market puts it," Dani said. "It felt like we didn't want to offer that much, but felt like we had to."

The renovations ended up costing much more than expected. Four months after closing and the family has yet to spend a night in their new home. However, the Grafs reported feeling lucky for being able to buy a house at all. Nearby, a comparable home just sold for $630,000, making their purchase look like a bargain. 

“The light being able to live in the house — you know with stuff on the floor, appliances hooked up, a place to store and cook food,” Ben said. “We’re getting close to that livable point, and then we still have a ways to go until it’s really ours.”

Click here to read the full homebuying story.

About the author
Staff Writer
Katie Jensen is a staff writer at NMP.
Jul 27, 2021
Purchase Applications For New Homes Slowed In June

FHA takes highest share of applications, as first-time home buyers enter market

Jul 18, 2024
Mortgage Rates Descend Again

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.77% as of July 18, 2024.

Jul 18, 2024
Single-Family Starts Down In June, But Completions A Bright Spot

Newest data could help incentivize rate cuts later this year

Jul 18, 2024
Fannie Mae: Home Prices Show Signs Of Slowing

Single-family home prices saw a year-over-year increase of 6.9% in Q2 2024, per Fannie's latest Home Price Index.

Jul 18, 2024
High Home Prices Hamper Foreign Buyers

The 54,300 existing homes international clients bought from April 2023 to March 2024 is 36% fewer annually.

Jul 17, 2024
Builder Confidence Falls Slightly in July

As buyers anxiously await lower mortgage rates, home builders cut prices

Jul 17, 2024