We thought we were ready for you. Sure, we knew that it wasn’t always going to be butterflies and rainbows, but we never could have expected things to be this rough.

My fiancé and I got really serious about house hunting after paying off our student loans a year ago. We were able to save more for our down payment, and our monthly budget opened up. We were ready to finally find our first home together. And then COVID happened. The entire world shut down about three days after we got pre-approved. We patiently waited a few months before beginning our search again, continuing to save in the meantime.

We started to ease back into the process, only to find that the prices of homes increased significantly. Interest rates have been historically low, so everyone and their grandmother seem to be looking for a new home. On paper, Greg and I are attractive buyers. Unfortunately, we aren't the only ones competing in our price range, and the market is brutal.

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To give you some perspective, we've made three offers so far. The first was for asking price but looking back, I don't think we were very confident in our chances with that one. Our second offer was for $20,000 over the asking price. We felt good about it. We were excited and even had the nerve to get our hopes up a little too high. We were crushed to find out that the sellers went with another offer, assumably higher than ours. We're still feeling the sting of that one and refer to it as "The One That Got Away."

Our third offer was made over the weekend. We learned from our last mistake and offered $30,000 over the asking price this time. Knowing that there was a lot of interest in this house, we knew we had to go to our absolute max. We'll be cutting back on our wedding budget due to the pandemic anyway, so might as well try to get a nice house out of it. At the suggestion of my mother, we included a personal letter with our paperwork. Everything was sent with a hope and a prayer that this could be our home. And then the realtor called on Sunday night to tell us that our offer was not accepted.

Honestly, this whole thing has been extremely discouraging and I know we aren't the only ones. With our wedding just six months away, we were hoping to live together long before the big day. The pandemic has already delayed that milestone for us. We don't want to put it off any longer.

We'll be fine if we end up renting an apartment for a year if we need to, but who really knows how this market will play out? Will it stay in a seller's market in 2021 and into 2022? Will it swing in favor of the buyer? I simply ask for the market to give everyone a chance at playing the game instead of sitting them on the sidelines watching everyone else score their first home or even their dream home. Is it too much to ask for a fair balance?

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