$100 Moves You In

I drove by a little yellow house off of Lucile Street in Wasilla today.  I took a good look as I went by.  Kids toys were outside in the fenced yard.  The driveway was plowed, the owners were obviously living there.  It made my day!  I thought back to last winter when that family first contacted us.

They were being evicted from their rental in Palmer because they had taken in a friends dog while he was on vacation. Pets violated the lease and of course, the landlord stopped by while the dog was outside doing it’s business.   It was the middle of winter and they had 55 days to get out of the home.  This was a good sized family, Dad and Mom and four kids.  They did not have a huge income but qualified for a VA loan.  They had always rented but were pretty disgusted at the lack of freedom.

They called us and asked if there was any way we could help them find a home.  We told them that it would be a real challenge but we would give it our best shot. Here was the situation.

  • Qualify for $170,000
  • Almost no cash in the bank
  • Needed housing within 55 days and 45 days was a normal escrow period
  • We needed to find a seller willing to do a “triple 0 down VA loan”
  • It was the middle of winter

Jay and I both began looking in earnest for something that would work.  After about a week of searching we located a newer ranch style home that was vacant.  Vacant in Alaska in the winter means…MOTIVATED SELLER.   After viewing the home and deciding it would work we went back to the office to write the offer.  I knew we were going to have to ask the seller to pay all the closing costs but wasn’t prepared for the buyers answer when I asked how much earnest money he was prepared to deposit.  He asked if we could just do it without earnest money because he had almost no money at the time.  After some discussion he decided he could come up with $100.

I had never written an offer on a house with only $100 earnest money.  That just doesn’t give the seller a lot of confidence in the buyers desire and ability to buy.  It’s called “earnest money” for a reason.  It means this is an earnest offer.  But we really didn’t have much of a choice so we went for it. 

After presenting to offer to the seller’s representative, and explaining the details of the buyers situation, he decided that the buyers were earnest even if they only had $100, and he presented it to the seller that way.  The rest of the deal was relatively smooth and we moved the buyers in a day before their eviction.  After the recording of the transaction…they got their $100 back.