Raysall Robertson feels drained when she reflects on her ordeal of the last couple of years. “I’ve had plenty of days that I’ve wanted to break down, and I have cried,” she says. “It’s a lot. I’m just trying to really, truly keep the faith in the system and everything.”
It was 2021 when the single mother of two boys, who has rented a house in northwest Houston’s Acres Home neighborhood for nearly a decade, decided it was time she became a homeowner. After getting preapproved for a $250,000 mortgage, she and her real estate agent, Vachael Starks, set out to find a house with three bedrooms and two baths. They’re still looking.
To date, they’ve put in full-price bids on between twenty and thirty properties, in locations ranging from Houston’s south side to suburban Spring, without any success. Starks says that “cash investors from everywhere” have outbid Robertson on almost every property.
“You have to have a pocketbook to be able to bid twenty thousand, thirty thousand over the listing price to beat these companies, and you’re never going to beat them,” she says. “The seller’s realtor would call for the highest and best bid and wind up with eight or ten offers and say, ‘I have an investor from New York, and they’re paying cash.’ ”
Consider, for example, the time in October 2021 when Robertson lost out on a home in Houston’s Bammel Village neighborhood, on the far north side of the city, that was listed for $190,000. Harris Central Appraisal District records show that the house was purchased in late November of that year by a limited liability company with a Dallas address. According to Realtor.com, the home was listed for rent a week later.
For Robertson, a contract employee in health-care administration for the government, the long search has been especially frustrating because mortgage interest rates have doubled since she began, decreasing the amount of home she can afford to buy.