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Aaron Zapata, MBA's Blog

By Aaron Zapata, CRS, CDPE | Broker in Orange County, CA

I can't find a house! I am going crazy here!

If you've screamed the words, "I can't find a house! I am going crazy here!" you are not alone. Available homes are at a three year low. First time buyers are at an all time high.

I am working with more first time buyers than ever and all are having difficulty with the reality of the circumstances out there.  Multiple offers over asking prices, short sales taking months, etc...  As a rule of thumb right now, you will not over-pay for home because an appraiser will not over-value the house. 

Here's my suggestion, please make your highest and best offer up front with your first offer.  Get your foot in the door by writting a clean and agressive offer. 

If you are using an FHA loan, please draft a personal letter to submit with the offer so that the buyer gets to know you.  Believe it or not, decisions are not always made based on price alone.

Good luck out there!


By Tom Mccarty,  Wed Sep 9 2009, 10:05
So many homes that are short sales with most of the buyers putting offers on multiple homes. It is a clogged system. My listings get low ball offers based on misleading prices. Lenders have to OK a price. Sellers are not in control, just stay in and will not pay mortgage, taxes or HOA fees. Buyers think prices are flexible and then get nothing for trying. Agents show homes that will never close.. sold "as is " and buyers are misled. There are homes out there, but the regular sale is being sabotaged by low misleading starting prices. Agents are the blame and the MLS is selling the info. Why not have a code for short sales or "auction" only?
By Aaron Zapata, CRS, CDPE,  Wed Sep 9 2009, 15:33
Great comment. I think that it should be disclosed that a home is short sale. These can be very difficult and most likely will not close. I don't agree with agents who choose the strategy of low-balling the list price to generate multiple offers. I think that they should be fairly priced with the REOs and nothing less. Buyers who are searching the internet looking at property values need to realize that short sales and REOs often close escrow for much more. For example, I have an escrow right now, where the list price was $206,000 and we are in escrow for over $240,000. That's a huge difference, but the buyers' will never see that date online. Good luck to you and all the buyers out there.
By Cyrus26,  Thu Oct 15 2009, 18:54
I am a first time home buyer in Illinois. I have been looking in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. I hoped I could get in on the Home Buyers Tax Credit of 10% of the purchase price by November 1st. I was wrong. I started looking in May. I have been pre qualified and approved for $100k from multiple banks on a 203k loan. I have viewed at least fifty homes and placed bids on about 20. Every case ended with the selling agency saying they accepted an offer from another buyer (9 times out of ten paying with cash). Most of them are being sold to rehab corps who are placing them back on the market or renting them out. I have placed an offer on homes ranging from $25,000 to $75,000. All foreclosures. In each case offering up to $15k over the asking price. Still I get nowhere. In some cases I have been told they have accepted another offer, and a month later the house is still on the market and I am getting notifications that the price has just been reduced. I am so frustrated at this practice, that I am gathering information on all agencies that I experience this with and planning to file a lawsuit over it.
I hope all these people and corps buying these homes can keep them occupied, or else we will see these same homes back on the market in foreclosure again.
And for the record,
I have been employed steadily for seventeen years. I am 35yrs old. Have money in savings. Have a secure job. Have great credit.
I cant believe that the banks will loan. But agencies wont sell!
What am I doing wrong?
By Aaron Zapata, CRS, CDPE,  Thu Oct 15 2009, 19:10
Cyrus, I see people in your situation all the time. The only thing that I can think of is that you need to make sure that your offer package is complete. Banks want to see proof of funds (ie bank statements), fico scores, loan-approval (not pre-qualification) letters from your bank., and a complete offer filled out correctly...all before they will consider your offer. I know banks don't like 203(k) and will almost always take cash over a buyer with a loan because they can close faster and don't have to worry about appraisals. The market is crazy. It will slow down in December. You have a great job, great financials, etc... and you'll find a place eventually. Don't give up.

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