I do not write many reviews, but I am doing so for Nate because I feel I owe him one. He shepherded me through what had to be one of the most difficult and complicated first-time home-buying experiences ever. I know a lot of agents can say they are understanding when it comes to buyers like me, but I feel my circumstances were particularly trying and really showed his dedication to his work.
1. Narrowing the search:
I was looking for an affordable one-bedroom apartment. With the help of the polygon map search tool on the Capital Park Team website, I identified several attractive properties in the Southwest Waterfront. I then went in search of a realtor and interviewed several before ultimately selecting Nate. Nate is personable, direct, and has expert knowledge on the history and management of many of the major properties in the neighborhood. He patiently and diligently explained to me the differences between coops and condos, both in terms of fee structure and how to factor in utilities, taxes, and any underlying mortgage. We went on several visits to Southwest and must have toured more than a dozen units before I made my decision. I did not sign a buyer agency agreement until I had selected a unit and was ready to make an offer. It turns out the search was not to be the hard part of the process.
2. Getting to a contract:
The unit I wanted was in a coop that had such a low owner-occupancy rate my regular bank would not provide financing. Nate helped me to find a new lender that had a good reputation at the co-op and was willing to take the loan, and got the necessary documentation together so I could get preapproved. He then produced comps to help me build an offer (which ended up being much lower than my original guess). After coming to terms with the seller on price, one big unknown remained: the tenant. Nate had warned me about the potential complications given DC tenant rights, and we made signing the TOPA affidavit a condition of the contract. Still I went more than a month without any confirmation the tenant was actually going to leave. During this time Nate mediated discussions with the seller and helped to manage my anxiety as I fretted over when to give notice on my own apartment and meanwhile watched new units come on the market.
3. Getting to closing:
Closing was ultimately only delayed by two weeks, but that is where my real troubles began. The week before closing I started getting calls from my lender (not the original loan officer, but the mortgage processors in the back office) asking for last-minute paperwork. After each call they assured me I was now ready to go. However, the day of closing, with both parties at the table and me with my 20% down payment in hand, and despite numerous phone calls and confirmations that very morning, my lender simply failed to show. Nate negotiated a pre-settlement occupancy agreement with the seller (since I had contractors lined up to start painting that weekend) and worked with the settlement company to reschedule for the following week. He also played nanny to the lender in the interim, ensuring that this time when they said the paperwork would be ready it actually was.
Buying your first home is stressful enough, but thanks to an uncooperative tenant and an unfathomable lender, my experience was particularly nerve-wracking. Through it all Nate was a constant source of support and guidance. And while it may have taken longer than I would have liked, I am very happy with my new apartment. It also needs to be mentioned that Nate did all of this for a relatively low-end client (under $300K) which just shows that he cares about the job. We went for drinks afterwards to celebrate.
I would not hesitate to recommend Nate Ward and Capital Park Team to anyone looking to buy in DC.