A Great House at a Hard Time for a Good Price
To get the obvious out of the way first: Emily and William Holbein didn’t buy a house at the best time to buy a house.
But with a little creativity, they were able to find a home with good bones that they could make their own. And even with interest rates where they are — as in, really high — they still made the math work in their favor.
The young couple began house-hunting over a year ago, but backed away as prices soared. They also were working with an agent who wasn’t giving them the hand-holding they wanted as first-time homebuyers.
After months on pause and with their townhome’s rent renewal approaching, they picked back up their search this spring. Their financial planner, Will Nordt, referred them to Mark. “It’s funny, when we first met with Mark, we weren’t committed to picking him, but in that first meeting he was all about getting to know us. He was interviewing us and talking to us as if he knew he was going to be our REALTOR,” Emily said. “He knew the area, he knew what we were looking for. We really hadn’t gotten that from any other agent we’d talked to.”
The Holbeins had their eyes set on Short Pump or, for a bit more bang for their buck, Midlothian. But for the amount of house and amenities they sought, much of Short Pump was out of reach for the young buyers.
Then Mark introduced them to Raintree — one of the original West End neighborhoods of Henrico County, filled with trees, families, walking and hiking paths, good schools, a community lake and easy proximity to the interstate and other conveniences. “Raintree is like the OG of the West End neighborhoods,” Emily says. Mark is a bit of a Raintree expert having grown up there. His in-laws also live in Raintree and he’s sold several homes in the neighborhood over the years.
The houses are a bit older than most of Short Pump, but they found one that checked most of their boxes. To be sure, the home’s interior needs updating, but they’ve got plans in motion. “I was very on the verge of not wanting to buy it because of how outdated it was,” Emily said. “I expected us to move into a place that wouldn’t need much work. But Mark sold me on the location. He had us imagine what we could do with it.” In fact, to help them imagine what the house could become, Mark invited the Holbeins to see his in-law’s home in the neighborhood since it was the same model that they were considering buying but fully updated. That sealed the deal.
Comfortable with moving forward, Mark helped the Holbeins make a good offer based on market conditions: To bid low, but not too low. To ask for some things, but not lots of things.
The offer was accepted.
Mark then supplied a curated list of contractors for painting, flooring, kitchens and other projects. The couple hadn’t closed on the house yet, but wanted to let a few contractors come by to take measurements. Mark took “a chunk of his morning to be here with us” as contractors popped in to ask questions, poke around, and measure.
“That was really nice and accommodating for him to do,” Emily said. “He took valuable time out of his day, even after the sale was made, to be here with us.”
They moved into the home in July. Says Emily: “We’ve loved it so far.”