The Chase: Couple with $500K budget loses out on 5 houses before *the one*

The Chase: Couple with $500K budget loses out on 5 houses before *the one*

Photo: Courtesy of The Matt Stone Team

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Buying a home in this seller’s market is a whirlwind, and these home buyers took us along for the ride. This is The Chase, a new series featuring real Charlotteans and their house hunting stories. Read past editions here.


Michael and Hanna Telford made five offers within three months before landing their dream home. Here’s how it went.

Who: Michael (28) is a financial planner for a San Francisco-based company and works remote full-time. Hanna (28) is a digital marketing specialist for a local company. They previously rented in Uptown before buying.

The house: Michael and Hanna were looking for a move-in-ready three-bed house around $400,000-$500,000 within walking distance of South End, Uptown or the light rail.

  • They wanted a white brick house with a lot of natural light and a fenced-in yard for their dog Cali.
  • A garage was on the would-be-nice list.

Timeline: They spent three months looking and making offers before narrowing it down to their top two picks.

michael and hanna the chase

Photo courtesy of Hanna


Option 1: Walkable white brick

Listed for: $495,000

Sold for: $515,000

Neighborhood: Colonial Village, just south of Sedgefield near the Scaleybark light rail station.

Specs: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,609 square feet

Why it made the cut: The location is walkable to several breweries and restaurants, the light rail and their gym.

  • It also has a large mostly fenced-in yard and a carport.

Walkable white brick

Walkable white brick kitchen

Walkable white brick bathroom

Walkable white brick porch

Photos: By Albert Dickson/Dickson Imagery, courtesy of listing agent Barry Reeves “The Real Estate Geek” of Keller Williams SouthPark.


Option 2: Four-bed with flex space

Listed for: $498,000

Sold for: $505,000

Neighborhood: Smallwood, in the historic West End near Johnson C. Smith University.

Specs: 4 beds, 3 baths, 1,436 square feet

Why it made the cut: This house has curb appeal, interior updates, and a fenced-in backyard and fire pit for outdoor entertaining.

  • There’s also a large garage which could fit a home gym and an apartment above the garage that could be used as guest space, an office, etc.

Four-bed with flex space

Four-bed with flex space kitchen

Four-bed with flex space pit

Courtesy of listing agency, The Matt Stone Team


Which house would you pick?

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Which house did Michael and Hanna pick?

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If you guessed the walkable white brick, you’re right.

How it went: Michael and Hanna worked with their realtor, Tim Kukla, daily for 2-3 months and lost out on five houses. On the final house, they proposed a very aggressive, sight-unseen offer — a risk that thankfully paid off.

“It’s hard not to get attached to houses, because if you like them enough to put in an offer then you’re already starting to picture your life there,” Michael tells me.

  • Michael described the process as “crushing” at times but, in hindsight, it could have been worse.

No. 1 piece of advice: “You’ve got to have a great realtor,” Michael says. Look for someone who’s responsive, organized, proactive and patient.

  • It’s also important to have a realtor who can help make your offers appealing while also protecting your best interests.

If you’re house (or apartment) hunting right now, we want to follow your journey. Email me at brianna.crane@axios.com with what’s on your home wish list and your budget. 

  • This series was inspired by the New York Times. If you’re curious what home-buying in New York is like, take a peek at their series, The Hunt.
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