Buyers endure setbacks before purchasing Loganville home

Chad and Elizabeth Haemmerle viewed more than 70 homes and even put offers on properties over the course of a year, but refused to get discouraged as they were outbid and one contract fell through.

The Haemmerles started looking in November 2012 and finally closed on a home in December 2013, and their frustrations have led them to contact lawmakers to push for changes in the Freddie Mac program. Chad, 34, an IT supervisor at Marshalls Distribution Center, and Elizabeth, 32, an inside sales professional at Kentec, talked about their three-bedroom home in the Cobblestone Mill subdivision of Loganville.

Q: Why did you decide to buy now?

Chad: After I was relocated for my job, we settled here in Georgia and rented for three years. We decided it was time to buy, and the market was good.

Q: How did you start your search?

Elizabeth: We wanted a three-bedroom, two-bath because it’s us and our 4-year-old daughter, Zoe. We wanted a quiet neighborhood and some land because we like gardening. It took us a long time and it was a complicated process to get here, but we found what we needed, even a preexisting garden area.

Q: What was the market like?

Chad: We made an offer on every house we liked, even bidding more than asking price, and we’d still get outbid. In April we had a home under contract through the Freddie Mac foreclosure program, and they kept us on the hook for six months. After six months, they sent the deposit back and said they couldn’t close. The sellers were not able to clear the title of the house under contract because the foreclosure from the previous owners was not documented correctly, and they were trying to sell us a house that they did not actually own. We had the full intention of moving there for months and even found a daycare.

Q: How did you move on this home?

Chad: This was one of the first houses we looked at after losing the other one, but by the time we made a move, the seller accepted another offer. Our agent called us 30 days later and said it was coming back on the market, so we made an offer. After the first horrible experience, this went smoothly. We closed Dec. 2 and moved Dec. 3 because our stuff had been boxed up for months. With Christmas and holiday travel a few weeks away, it made for a very busy December.

Q: What do you love about the house? What have you added so far?

Elizabeth: The kitchen is a work in progress. We’ve painted it and replaced the sink, faucets, lights and dishwasher. I’m a cook, so I love the really deep sink we installed as a Christmas housewarming present. Now I have a place to pile everything as I cook.

Chad: It’s a good location and distance from work for both of us, and the good (Gwinnett County) schools are close to the neighborhood.

Q: What’s a tip for first-time buyers?

Elizabeth: Be aggressively patient. There are times when you have to be aggressive and stand up for yourself, and there are times when you need to sit back and let the Realtor do the work. (They worked with Stephanie McCarty of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties). We’re still voicing our opinion about the Freddie Mac program and contacted Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson about passing a law to make the process better. What happened to us wasn’t fair, but we feel like our elected officials are listening to us about this.

Chad: We’re not strong supporters of the program after our experience, but our closing process with this home went smoothly. We learned it’s a game, and you never know what will happen. You put down an offer but can’t get emotionally invested until you get that contract in hand.

At a Glance

The Haemmerles’ home, built in 2002 in Loganville, has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,835 square feet. They purchased the home in December 2013 for $134,500. Homes in Cobblestone Mill range from the mid $100,000s to the low $200,000s.