Housing market squeezing first-time home buyers

Many of us when we bought our first home looked at a few, then we’d take a few days to think on it, only then would we make an offer. Today, it’s about split second decisions, all sorts of compromises, and a love letter.

Today's housing market is not only hot; it's red hot. First-time home shopper Jordan Brandt reads a letter she wrote to a seller of a home she'd love to call her own. 

"We moved from Minneapolis after falling in love with Atlanta a few years back."

Young, married, and ready to start their family, the Brandts looked for permanent roots - their own home.

"We knew it would take some time, but not like it is now," she told the Fox 5 I-Team. 

It’s really tough. Housing stock is low. After the 2008 housing market crash, home building stalled. The build back is creeping along just as the millennials, now the largest generation, are all looking for homes.

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So the Brandts, like many others, write home sellers personalized letters, house specific love letter she calls them. 

"It brought such joy to us to see the photos of your family throughout," Jordan read. "And to imagine our children growing up here, too."

They’ve lost so many homes on the market to quicker would-be buyers who offer well over the asking price

"On the buyer’s side it’s just brutal," said Cynthia Baer, a long-time realtor who said she's never seen the housing market like it is today. 

"I did have one recently that was $200,000 above listing price." 

That’s over an already beefy asking price. And so many are all-cash offers that first-time homebuyers can’t compete with.

Jordan recalled, "We got beat out by an all-cash offer on our last round." Her husband, Dan, "And that all-cash offer was $50,000 over the listing price, too."

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First-time homebuyers, much less than most of us, can’t compete with that. So they try other avenues to appeal to sellers.

"We are doing everything from waiving appraisals to having appraisal gaps, to cutting down due diligence period. I have had friends who waived inspections and other areas, and that is something I would never compromise or even consider," Dan sad.

So here are some suggestions:

  • House shop before you’re ready so you can decide as a couple what you can live with, what you can’t.
  • Have your financing set before you start.
  • Agree as team how far you are willing to go, set limits.
  • And try to make a connection with that seller.

And while the love letters are a modern-day twist, be careful they don't violate the Fair Housing Act.

Realtor Cynthia Baer with Keller Williams won't allow her clients to send pictures, to mention their names, or anything about their ethnicity, religion or sexuality. She said, stick to the love of the home. 

UPDATE: Just days after our interview the Brandts finally got a contract on a home. 

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