Home Buying in Carlsbad>Question Details

Peter Hill, Renter in San Marcos, CA

How can we get our dream home while living far away when the inventory is low and every house gets more than 30 offers and is gone in four days?

Asked by Peter Hill, San Marcos, CA Sun Jan 27, 2013

We are a bit stressed that we with a normal loan don't have a chance in a market full of investors who offer cash to home owners. How can we as 'normal buyers' get a hand on our dream?

Help the community by answering this question:


Looking for a dream home?
Looking at the same home everyone else is looking at?
You live far away.
A normal loan (conventional)
You are normal, that's helpful to know.
If what you are doing is not working.....
What are you willing to change?
It is as simple as that.
There are many options available. However, none of these options will prove beneficial if you are an unrealistic buyer with too many encumbrances on the process. YOU need to change the conditions which you have imposed. The best solutions are wasted on those who insist on only one way to accomplish a task. Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability and your agent will be willing to open the treasure box of solutions that are available to agile, decisive, competitive buyers.
The craft of buying and selling homes is not confined to California, New York or Florida. Buyers from all of those locations acquire real estate in all those locations. Area has little to do with the craft. A realistic strategy has everything to do with it. And it is your strategy that needs an overhaul. The precision in which that strategy is implemented will require intimate market knowledge and exceptional creativity to construct the advantage you seek. For that, local expertise and resources is required.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, Fl
4 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
Annette, thanks for your comments. We are working on a strategy. This is the third time I've bought a home, and every time the strategy was entirely different. The answers from the forum are certainly helping me refine one for the SoCal market right now.
Flag Thu Jan 31, 2013
Find houses that are not on the market yet by search the area for the homes you want, then search the county records for the owners, then mail those owners an offer and see what they say.

You will at least know when they are going to sale.

Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013
Nancy, You should read the question. They are trying to buy in Carlsbad, CA. Your answer had nothing to do with their question, just self promotion. Give us a break. If you want to answer questions, fine, answer questions. Don't give us this junk self promotion.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013

Your answer was FABULOUS. You are right and we agents should definitely stand up and tell our buyers exactly what you said. What a wonderful analysis...thank you!

Rachel LaMar, J.D.
Broker, LaMar Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
I think, Peter, that you're pretty much priced out of the market. Your "dream home" will likely cost you more than you hope.

The problem with chasing short sales is that they have to be priced below market - how else can you entice someone to wait around for bank approval - but by being priced below market, they attract a lot of offers.

I suggest that you have a heart-to-heart with your agent, look at the data, and figure out just what your budget will allow you to actually close on a home, rather than bid on one.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
I always appreciate new ideas, Tony, but there are a few things you mentioned that I see as problematic for buyers. One thing that really frustrates me in many sales situations, especially short sales, is that there are many listing agents who play games - especially with short sale listings. I have brought strong buyers with strong offers, and they just wait to see what else they get. I don't think this serves anyone well, and most buyers get the feeling their strong offers are being used to obtain even higher offers. I know of one instance in which this in fact was the case. So I do not believe there should be any set times in which one must wait to accept an offer, especially with short sales. Those buyers and their agents have done all their homework and are ready to go, and when the right property comes up they can act quickly...why should they be penalized because others have not done the same?

The one exception to this is with investors. Many first time homebuyers are continuously beat out by investors in certain price ranges, even though they are well qualified - cash is king. I like the approach that Fannie Mae takes in it's Homepath properties, allowing only owner occupied buyers to make offers for the first few weeks (I should note here that I have other issues with the Homepath program). This gives buyers a better chance to find homes. Now don't get me wrong - I think investors are wonderful, and I work with many, but in certain lower price ranges many buyers are getting the short end of the stick because they just can't compete.

I am all for new ideas that help buyers and sellers and make our markets stronger, but there are many factors we need to consider, and no change will make everyone happy.

Rachel LaMar, J.D.
Broker, LaMar Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Peter,

It is definitely tough out there right now for buyers, but it is not impossible to find your dream home, even from afar. The first thing you want to do is find an agent with whom you connect and who really understands what you are looking for. As soon as a home meeting your criteria is listed, that agent can go to the home and shoot video, take photos and be in immediate contact with you. If you feel the home is one that seems to be your dream home, I would encourage you to make and offer and come see the home as soon as possible.

I have been successful in getting offers for clients who are taking out loans, when there are other cash offers, so it can be done - it just depends on the situation. The bigger hurdle is getting a seller to accept an offer when you have never seen the home...but this too can be done with some creative work by your agent. The most important thing you can do, if you have not done so already, is put together a list of neighborhoods/models/features that you like. With a strong agent on your side you CAN find that perfect home, and hopefully we will start to see more inventory as we head into Spring, which will be a big help.

Best of luck to you.

Rachel LaMar, J.D.
Broker, LaMar Real Estate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
I can understand your frustration, If you are working with a Realtor who really knows what you want they can guide you in the way to make the best offer quickly. Cash does not always make that big of a difference if the home is in sound shape and your offer is strong. Most of the homes being sold these days are financed.
Living far away is more of a problem than the cash buyers. Since many people are making offers you need to get your offer in right away. If it takes you several days to see the home, it may already be off of the market Your Realtor needs to sell you to the seller and their agent. It is not just a matter of sending the offer in.

Local Help with Your Real Estate Needs

Jerry Heard
Your Broker
The San Diego Property Shop
Direct 619-920-9796
Office 619-269-5545
Fax 619-269-9168
CA DRE # 00648687
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Buy my house 760 314 8722
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 1, 2013
Why not build your dream home? I have single close owner occupied construction loans that required as little as 3.5% down. This loan can be used to purchase the dirt, pay for fees and pay for the build.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 1, 2013
HI Anthony, I am interested to learn more about this financing. Veyagus@yahoo.com
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
HI Anthony, I am interested to learn more.
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
The market has changed significantly from the date of your post. Investors are not finding the deals they want and the regular buyers are having the upper hand now. Please let me know if you have purchased your home yet or not. Id be glad to help.

Alex Montelongo/Broker
Coldwell Banker Star Realty
562-810-7387 cell
DRE Lic#01456982
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 7, 2013
Hello Peter Hill,

EXPERIENCE -- Most of our buyers are out of area. You need an experienced agent that knows how to get your offer chosen! You living close or over seas has less than you might think to do with your success in buying a home. If your agent is weak so is your offer!

We are a husband and wife team that have 30 years experience in both lending and real estate. A rare combination. This helps us a great deal in getting our offers accepted and most importantly - closed!

You'll need the tools to feel confident to put in the right offer. We'd like to get you up to date on the market. So when you are ready to proceed you will know a good deal from an over priced home and will feel comfortable to make an offer. Timing is critical -- you must move quickly.

Lots of good answers below --- I would highly recommend that you find an experienced agent that you like and trust to represent you. I would do your research online and then make some phone calls and then meet in person. The agent can make the difference of your offer being chosen or not. Experience really is important right now. An experienced agent can see things an agent with less experience wont see until it's too late.

I would read testimonials and look at their individual websites.
It would be a good idea to pick an agent that has at least 10 years of experience and has not held any other job during this time. You should look for a FULL TIME agent. Also ask to speak with their recent clients that just closed escrow! At least three clients with in the last 30 - 60 days. Verify these were their clients with proof of the sold MLS listing.

Everyone says they are an expert in short sales and REO's - the truth is far from that for most agents.
Have the agent send you their own work and not what their office closed. You can obtain this information directly from the board of realtors as well.

Experience is crucial in this business right now. If you call the listing agent they could be listing this house for their relative. They may have zero experience.

We represent more buyers than sellers. We have been in the business for over 30 years.

I am born and raised in San Diego and have lived in Carlsbad for many years. Cal State Realty has over 300 agents located throughout California.

Scott and I are a husband and wife team - you will receive twice the attention and assistance!

Please feel free to contact us, view our profile and websites.

Kind regards,
Scott and Shelley Weier
Cal State Realty
C2 Financial Corporation
Website: http://www.CalStateRealty.us
Office: 951-587-2100
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 25, 2013
Have you found a home yet?
What price range are you in and have you been approved for a loan yet?

Hire me! 760-429-4017
Web Reference: http://Www.ajbarba.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 1, 2013
Btw our number is 760 208 2511 Steven and ang
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 31, 2013
Peter if you are still looking please call me our home is wonderful on the market now, I will give you the info when you call thx, Steven and -
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 31, 2013
Wait 12 months. QE is tapering this summer, interest rates will have to rise, otherwise china will invest their money in another country. Although interest rates and home prices are not correlated, you'll see a temporary dip in home prices for those who have to sell. Save as much cash as you can in the meantime as that will be what keeps your monthly mortgage payments low with rising interest rates.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 27, 2013
I believe you can and believe me, buyer's agents are feeling this too. In recent months, I've gone door knocking in neighborhoods that interest my buyer. I'v also developed a resource with an investor who buy homes at auctions and re-sells them.

You need a Realtor who is willing to work the 'off mls' market as well as knowing the latest tips to winning a multiple bid offer....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 23, 2013
In the situation you have described, it sounds like building is the best option for you at this time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 22, 2013
Hi Peter,

While purchasing a home can be challenging in the current market, it's not impossible if you have a persistent and knowledgable agent on your side. One option is to pursue Fannie Mae properties, because they give first preference to owner occupants. Also, some homeowners will actually choose an owner occupant over an investor. Please contact me for an in person or phone consultation about your housing needs, and I promise we will get you into a home!

Kim Sinclair
Real Living Lifestyles, CA DRE #01435354
300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 224
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Call or text me at: 760-845-4365
eFax: 858-432-5019
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 22, 2013
Hi Peter,
I'm sorry to hear that is happening to you. I know it can be discouraging, but if you have an aggressive agent they should be able to pull a few strings for you. If not, I would be more than happy to help.

1. They should try to find you a home that is not on the MLS yet (a pocket listing).
2. If other cash buyers do outbid you, your agent should be stating that you want to be considered the second best offer. (So if the appraisal falls through on the first accepted offer, they will offer it to you first).
3. Take away all contingencies and offer as much as you can. (Be the highest bidder)

I hope that helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 13, 2013
Thanks for your insight Deborah and I'm glad you are having much success! I definitely agree that the majority of homeowners want someone to love their home and will sometimes choose the buyer based on emotions regardless if the offer is cash or loan financing.

However; in my experience this year with upwards of 20+ offers on a property, some sellers are forced to narrow down their offer selection by which buyer financing will be a sure thing and who will be the easiest to work with. Unfortunately FHA appraisers and underwriters are being a bit more picky on inspections and document requests, I am seeing it and have experienced it with Chase bank this year on 2 separate buyer FHA loans.

My first time home buyers with FHA financing have had a tougher time getting their offers accepted over my other first time home buyers with conventional financing with just 5% down.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
I agree wholeheartedly with everything Kimberley has said EXCEPT the difference between a Conventional and FHA...there are certainly financial incentives to go Conventional over FHA; there is no upfront mortgage insurance and the monthly mortgage insurance is considerably less. However, in regards to difficulty of one loan versus another for either seller or buyer....I am just not seeing it.

Years ago (15-20), FHA was notoriously for adding appraisal conditions and everyone was on pins and needles until the appraisal was received to find out what repairs or issues were called out. That is not the case anymore. I, frankly, have not seen any difference between my FHA and Conventional appraisals. I close FHA loans in exactly the same time frame as Conventional loans. And, rates (at least currently), on FHA loans tend to be slightly lower. Debt to income ratio are considerably higher and the higher loan amounts are very important in the California and West Coast markets.

Outside of my borrowers signing several more documents (this is, after all, a government progrom...paperwork is King), it really do not see the impact on the seller of accepting an FHA loan.

And, of course, if a seller likes his/her neighbors and wants to leave a legacy of building up the neighborhood, a owner occupied FHA borrower seems to me to be a better alternative to a cash offer. And, frankly, I do think a good number of sellers want to know the home they have loved and cherished for many years is going to a new family/person who will love the home as well.

Maybe I am just romantic??? Not sure, but I know I want someone to love the home I loved.

NMLS #279125
(951) 795-4547
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 6, 2013
Hi Peter, I understand how stressful of a situation it is when looking to buy your dream home in this market. I want to shed some hope on your situation and let you know that not every seller wants to give up their family home to a cash buyer who will most likely tear it down and remodel it to their liking. Selling a home for many families can be just as emotional of a process to them as it is to a buyer. Here are a few suggestions that have worked for 2 first time home buyers I sold to this year.

1). Write a letter to the seller giving them highlights of you (and your family if it applies). Include points about how much you love their home and the care they have taken, what your intentions are with the home & why they should sell the home to you.
2). If at all possible, go for a conventional loan with 5% down vs. FHA with 3.5% down. This is a stronger offer and less hassle for the seller.
3). Ask your lender if they can pay the closing costs as a loan incentive so when you present your offer to the seller, your offer is clean and you are not asking them to give up more of their bottom line.
4). Work with a Real Estate Professional who is proactive and finds listings for their buyers before they come on the market. You will have less competition this way.

If you would like more information on what I do to find my buyers their dream home, please give me a call or visit my website: (760) 622-9122 http://www.northcountysdhomes.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 6, 2013
An agent (like myself) who is HUD or Homepath affiliated can help you get.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 2, 2013
Peter, thanks for the question! Everyone else thanks for the discourse. Late to the party, but this is an excellent Thread that should be kept alive.

I do understand the lack of inventory issue from a lender's perspective (no, I do not try to do both real estate and financing...My world is plenty full solidly focused in my area of expertise). The past year I have had more preapprovals issued than at any other time in my 20+ career. And, some have been updated time and again for over a year.

Others are in contract within weeks of my issuance of the preapproval. And, in every case it can be attributed to the excellence of the buyer's agent. And one other factor: The borrower was realistic about the market and listened to the agents advice.

Those borrower's trying to "find a deal" or flitting from one agent to another...are in my drawer gathering cobwebs.

Yes, the first step is a great agent.

Best to you all,

NMLS #279125
(951) 795-4547
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 15, 2013
@Josh - what you outline is where things are going in this market - I would just submit that it is a good buyer's agent who will do this for Peter. They have the easy access to title records and should be happy to provide such a service as they gain possible leads for themselves.

@Nancy - check David's profile and other questions he has responded to. The reason why will become self explanatory. Keep up the good work!

@Peter - The real answer to this question in my opinion continues to go back to having a good buyer's agent. Have you made that call?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013
I am sorry you feel that way David. That was not my intent. But thank you for pointing out the state they are seaching for homes. I do appreciate it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013
Most of my buyers live in other states and I am able to assist them in finding their dream home. Are you looking only at foreclosures and HUD homes. There are dream homes out there that are just sellers willing to entertain reasonable low offers to get out from under. Gone are the days for trying to steal homes... but now are the days for savvy, sincere buyers to negotiate a fair price with willing and able Sellers. If you are searching in AL or GA, it would be my pleasure to help you. Best wishes in your dream home search. I know it is out there for you. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 4, 2013
OK. I'm a broker in Michigan, but trying to buy in Las Vegas. I know how to place a winning offer and have tried and tried, but I keep getting beat out by other LARGE CASH buyers from other countries buying the homes sight unseen at ridiculous cash prices. I'm thinking that maybe this is what the original question asker was asking...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 3, 2013
I would say to get a good local agent and just keep trying. Something will happen for you! I liked Josh's suggestion about sending letters to homeowners in the area you're lookiing at living in. It might give you an adavantage by doing this. As for my husband and I and our quest for Vegas, we've decided to wait another year and then build instead of battling the craziness of foreign investors ridiculously outbidding us.
Flag Mon Feb 4, 2013
Right, that's exactly our situation. Although after studying the market a bit more in recent weeks, I'm beginning to think the agent we originally worked with may have just been painting a picture of the market heating up more than it actually is. As many of the replies have pointed out, you've really got to study the market in detail to know what you really think is a fair price.
Flag Sun Feb 3, 2013
The challenge you are facing lies with the offer you are making.It is obvious you are losing the homes because of the offers you are making.

You should work with your agent on getting this right and you sure will find your dream home.
If your initial offer is too low, the seller might consider it to be an insult, and may give up on you entirely. Not sure if your offer is good enough? If you have a buyer's agent, ask your real estate professional if they think your offer is reasonable. After all, it's their job to know current real estate trends, and to help you find the home of your dreams!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 1, 2013
Thanks for the feedback. I'm putting together a much more detailed list of a lot of homes in the area, so I'm as well informed as possible.
Flag Fri Feb 1, 2013
Thanks, Bill.

We want to reform the industry, but Peter just wants to buy a house.

Here's the problem. In some markets, short sales have become the new normal. This will pass, but for now, we have to deal with it.

Short sales have to be offered at an attractive discount, and when they are, investors jump on them and normal people start dreaming that they, too, can buy a "wonderful home so cheaply."

Well, normal people do have a chance, but they need someone to explain the local market to them, so that they can calibrate their dreams and make home ownership a reality.

There are roughly one million real estate agents in the country, and the idea that none of them has anything to offer outside their farm is disproved by the good information posted here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 30, 2013
And just so we are abundantly clear, my response to Mack was tongue in cheek in reference to another comment that opined that agents should not comment on questions from a different state. I think Annette, who is always a wealth of insight and perspective here (in the most complementary way), put it quite well. Both of these Trulians I find to be refreshing, witty, and "cut through the crud and get to the bottom line" professionals that add a ton of perspective and benefit to just about every question they answer. Mack has a way of seeing things that blows me away sometimes (and usually those responses are 5 words or less) and helps me see beyond my own experiences. I find myself saying, "Gosh, I wish I realized that the way he did." To not have crossed paths with them in this and other WORLD WIDE forums because "we shouldn't comment on questions from another state" would be a loss. They and those like them from across the nation make Trulia a better place, and make me a better broker and....a better REALTOR....ahem.

So, Don - comment away!!

CA DRE 01775528 I 980076
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
What are you talking about Don? My NRDS ID is 182016523.

I typically identify myself with my CA DRE # on online forums.

Here - I will make it official to hereby amend any and all Trulia answers I may have provided with or without the DRE #.

CA DRE # 01775528 i NMLS 980076

Hope that helps...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
Please accept my apologies. I had searched on realtor.com. where you didn't appear, but why am I not surprised with that web site. Again, my apologies
Flag Tue Jan 29, 2013
Bill, I like the link on your web site, The Last Honest Realtor. Perhaps you should become a Realtor. Don't you know that it's illegal to list yourself as being a Realtor if you are not? Check for yourself on Realtor.com at http://www.realtor.com/realestateagents/Agentname-Bill-Hays/…

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
Now Mack - you are out of the area! You should make it a point to not answer any questions that are not in your market! What are you and Donald thinking!?!?! Ken's answer is obviously much more qualified. :-)

Hey - baseball season - right around the corner - let me know if you are making it to AZ for any spring training. Seattle and the Padres share the same facility. My 12 year old baseball fanatic has been waiting and watching MLB Network everyday since November! He is a big Angel's fan. Hope all is well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 29, 2013
I wonder how he's feeling about this year!!
Flag Wed Jan 30, 2013
Hi Peter,
My short answer is, the homes that receive multiple offers and are snatched up very quickly are usually short sales/fixers that are attractive to investors to buy and flip. If you're looking for a nice move-in ready home, hire a good agent and he/she will certainly be able to send you listings as soon as they hit the market, and write strong offers that stand out from the investor all-cash offers. Just last week I wrote an FHA offer that was accepted on a beautiful home, and the government loans are supposedly the hardest ones to get through.

It's definitely possible; don't be discouraged, a good agent will definitely get you into your dream home! Good luck Peter!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Thanks for the encouraging reply. After 6 years in Michigan because of my job we are really ready to move somewhere with less winter, and that has always been a dream.
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hey Peter,
I agree with some of the agents below. I usually allow my listings to remain on the market for at least 10 days (two weekends) to get the highest and best offer(s) for my sellers. This is just my perspective from the listing side.

Here is my advice to you for your situation: Pair up with a real estate agent who is diligent about sending you new properties ASAP, not once a day or once a week. You also need an agent who is big on communication- the minute you identify property as one that you are interested in, your agent should be on the phone to the listing agent to find out as much information possible (i.e. how many offers, when will they present offers to seller, etc.) Also, for my clients who are out of the area, I am always available to tour the property myself, video camera in hand, to send you a personalized virtual tour right away.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you. I have helped lots of first time homebuyers get the edge and get their dream home and it would be my pleasure to do the same for you.

Sinead McAllister
McAllister Homes Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Sinead, thanks for the advice. It would be nice if agents did do what you suggest and leave the listings out there for a minimum period. Feels like there is an urgency to get sales made from the seller side, which I can understand.
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013

We were not just talking about short sales...we have been discussing ways buyers might be able to get their offers accepted, and what has been hindering them from such. It is actually very interesting.


Rachel LaMar
Broker, LaMar Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Why has this question broken down to a discussion of short sales. It has nothing to do with the question? Just because the question mentions investors and cash buyers it says nothing about short sales.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Why has this question broken down to a discussion of short sales. It has nothing to do with the question? Just because the question mentiions investors and cash buyers it says nothing about short sales.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013

Preapproval on short sales would eliminate a lot of headaches, and save time. HOWEVER, it could create problems as well (a topic for another time).

Your point about giving buyers preferential treatment for some time is interesting, and presents one flaw in the system. Another big problem with the Homepath program in particular is that it can hurt other sellers within the neighborhood. I sold a home to one of my investors, and she gutted it and put in high-end everything - no skimping and nothing was left untouched. It was beautiful. She sold that one and it brought the comps up. She then purchased a second one in the neighborhood. While she was in the process of rehabbing it, the property next door listed as a Homepath sale. The lender would only take a price $30,000 higher than what my client's last sale had sold for, and it is now in escrow. Obviously they do not need an appraisal, so they can ask whatever they want for the property.

The problem is that when my client wants to sell her second property in the neighborhood, the $30,000 comp increase sale next door won't entirely benefit her. That home had cheap flooring, few upgrades, and had not been redone in a way that was even close to what my client does. An appraiser will only take into consideration the new higher comp, thus my client's more highly renovated place will likely sell for less (I spoke with several appraisers about this). This is extremely frustrating (I recently wrote a blog on this topic and passes it along to the UT to investigate as well).

My point is that there are many issues out there that prevent buyers or sellers from truly realizing benefits they should be able to reap. Appraisals can help or really hurt, and the conservative approach appraisers use since the market crash - while "protecting" lenders - can actually hurt sellers. We do need changes but I am not sure in what way, nor do I believe we will see any that will benefit everyone.

It's great to hear what others have to say, and hear ideas you may have not considered. Have a terrific week!

Rachel LaMar
Broker, LaMar Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Rachel,
You made some good comments. I would have to agree that there is no perfect solution.
I too like the idea that some banks give owner occupied buyers preferential treatment for a certain period of time. However, I don't know if it really is best since it is no longer an open market and low down payment buyers my be more likely to default, or have no equity if they have to sell, or may not have the funds to maintain the home so it could fall into disepair and bring down the neighbor's values. I am not trying to be argumentative, just emphasizing the other side of the coin. I do like the idea that they wait some time before reviewing offers.
I once had an REO sale where I was the listing agent and the bank instructed me to publish in the MLS the highest offer price recevied on a daily basis and to do so for about a week. I liked the idea and saved some buyers and their agents time if they knew they were too far off from the current highest offer. The home sold for $40,000 more than the asking price. I would do that technique again as I thought it had more positives than negatives, but you would not believe the outcry from some buyer's agents that didn't understand the concept or just don't like change!
In an ideal world, I think all short sales should be pre-approved short sales meaning the seller's hardship package has been approved and the list price set by the short sale lender and then the home is placed in the MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Real estate market value is a function of supply and demand. If "every house gets more than 30 offers and is gone is four days" than the agents in the area obviously aren't doing a very good job. These homes seem to be underpriced in order to facilitate a quick sale. Shane on those agents! I can see the judge now "you see your honor, I wanted to price my house higher but my agent told me not to. I think it was worth at least $50,000 more and judging from all the offers, I was right. I think it's only fair the agent gives me the $50,000 difference" I wouldn't want to be in that agents shoes.

The other side of the coin is perhaps you just ran into a few "hot" properties. According to Trulia the area has an average list price currently aof over $720k, but the recent sale prices have been at $572k. Looks like prices are going up, but doesn't indicate what you describe

Good luck.

Donald Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Hi Sheryl,
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my ideas. That is exactly what I was hoping for to get another perspective, such as one from a mortgage person who may not be dealing with buyers looking at homes and making offers. Here's some additional information regarding your comments:
1 and 3: full price is not the market price. It has been incorrectly set by the listing agent and convinced the seller of such. Situations like a sale or purchase depending on another sale will have their own timelines, but I still do not believe the first offer in will still be the best overall for price or other important terms in coordinating such a transaction
2. Yes if the trustees sale is so close it makes sense but that has not been my experience. With an appreciating market and low inventory, the first offer is in a key position
4. Most short sellers are walking away from a short sale without any financial obligation or costs and these days, actually getting "moving expenses" paid for by the banks. The price they accept does not affect them. Banks are not that savvy on real market prices and the system can be manipulated by agents performing the BPO
5. There are details about an offer which is accepted which are not available just by looking at price, financing, and possible seller concession disclosed in the MLS or public records. For example, two I've lost recently had to do with whether the buyer was owner occupying or not.
6. Sorry, my term escalation clause has to do with setting a maximum price and increment level on an offer and nothing to do with escalation clause on a loan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
The system is broken and until listing agents, sellers, and banks make an effort to fix it, buyer's agents and buyers are forced to play a frustrating game. Here are some of today's problems and how to fix them:
1. Homes should not be sold within hours or a couple days. That is not enough time for all buyers to have a chance to view the home
2. Short sales need to be marketed for at least 7 days before offers are considered
3. Short sale sellers should not allow the buyer to be represented by any agent in the same office as the listing agent or any agent that the listing agent has done more than 3 transactions with in the past 3 years
4. Short sale sellers may not care about the sales price, but the neighbors and anyone who may need that home as a comparable for an appraisal sure do. So don't take a lowball offer because the listing agent tells you to. Know what is the fair market value of your home.
5. If the seller gives written authorization, then the listng agent should disclose the terms of the winning offer in a multiple offer situation so buyer's agents can understand how seller's think and maybe know how to improve their offer the next time
6. Escalation clauses should be better understood by sellers and listing agents and considered an acceptable offer technique(I'll call it the "Ebay" method).

I have lots of other ideas. I may upset a bunch of agents with these opinions but I am hoping instead to open some eyes to the idea that change is good.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Hey Peter,

The reality is that it is tough to find your "dream home" under the best of circumstances, let alone find it in a seller's market such as the one we are experiencing now. If you list ten things you want in a home and find a home with six or seven of your ten, you're a winner. Also, make your terms as desirous to the seller as you feel comfortable and keep perservering...

All the Best!

Barbara Grandolfo
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Thanks Barb. I am concluding that a) the SoCal market right now pretty much makes it a roll of the dice whether your offer gets accepted or not. So we will have to be very patient, make lots of offers, and really hope that interest rates don't rise so fast with the improving economy that we are priced completely out of the market before we get any offer accepted...
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013
You need a Realtor with experience in your particular situation. There is an account that I give access to propective clients to view homes as soon as they come on the market ( you would get the same info Realtors get.) If interested let me know and I can give you the link Free.. Ken
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
yup - I know the problem well! You can get a home...it will just take longer and require a creative system with your Realtor. I recommend spending some time in town...2-3 weeks whre you do nothing but look for homes and write offers.

These days, if my buyer ix serious, we have to get to the property the minut it becomes available, so proximity is important. Do you have any friends or relatives in the area that can help?

Please feel free to call and we can work something useful out. For out of town buyers, I will often do all the previews and take videos...helps us to move faster.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Hi Peter. Stress is part of the fun these days. I just sold an Oceanside home in 4 days to sellers who were then in a panic to find something. Alas, tomorrow we open escrow on a gorgeous new home. So while inventory is tough, it is not an impossible proposition. Investors or 30% of buyers, so that means 70% are normal folk like you. Feel free to email me michael@michaeljlambert.com and I will be glad to help you toss around some options. It is just a matter of making all the puzzle pieces fit. New construction might be ideal, since they have a 4-month build time. 858 774 6040 CA DRE 01131476
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Hey Peter:

Where are you trying to buy and from where? It is very possible to make this happen. However, more and more listing agents aren't thrilled about offers coming from buyers who haven't actually been in the home to see it because there is a higher chance a person who hasn't personally been in the home before making an offer will back out.

As others have said, it boils down to the skill of your buyer agent, their willingness to work hard for you, and your ability to meet the seller's needs. In multiple offer situations, it becomes a bit of a beauty contest and your agent needs to paint as pretty a portrait of you as possible. You have to find ways to out shine the rest. Price is only one of many ways in which buyers can demonstrate they are the best choice for the seller - again, a solid buyer's agent who can build rapport with the listing agent is a significant asset to get you where you want to be. The lender you choose also can be significant.

For example, if you are offering on a property owned by Wells Fargo - you better believe sending in your offer with a pre-approval from Wells Fargo on the loan side is going to get you bonus points. So find an agent that knows how to leverage your strengths and it will happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
We are in Michigan, and both my wife and I have been out and spent days driving around looking at homes. We know exactly what we want, how many bedrooms, sq ft, age range, style etc. The issue is just how to actually get our offer accepted when a seller receives a huge pile of offers from the listing agent.
Flag Mon Jan 28, 2013
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