I am afraid you are in a jam. Your market experience is more common than anyone thinks. I have been working with an FHA approved Buyer for about six month and we have experienced the same; offer after offer and someone else has always beat them to it. Having had experience in the distressed sale market, for several years now, I have to say it is getting harder for conventional Buyers to beat the individual who is buying cash even when their offer is above the asking price. Anyone who tells you otherwise is yanking your chain. Cash is (almost) always king!
Most Buyers waited too long to get off the fence and now they are competing with each other for the same property. To make matters worse, the investors and speculators are in the mix as well. They know the market has turned and that it is only a matter of time before they can turn their purchase and make a profit.
For those of you who waited this long, I have some advice; GO FOR THE UGLY HOUSE!!!!! There will be less interest for these homes. Yes, you will have to work hard, but this may be your only opportunity to buy in this market. Pick a home priced below what you are pre-qualified for and make your highest and best offer - may have to be for more than the asking price.
In this case the 203K will come in handy - you will be surprised what a coat paint, landscape, new bath and kitchen will do to an ugly house.
One other thing. What I am about to suggest may have some risks associated with it and I strongly advice you to ask your attorney to thoroughly explain the consequences of making this kind of offer.
What I suggest to my Buyers do (in Florida) is to make the best and highest offer along with a conditional commitment letter. What this means is that you, the Buyer has waived the finance contingency and instead of waiting out the full default commitment period as stated in the FL contract, you are fully commited to buy the property (in essence this would almost be a cash offer) coming in. Once the offer is accepted, the Buyer is fully committed (from day 1) to buy the property and the Buyer's deposit will be in jeopardy unless the property doesn't appraise or there are issues (as per your contract) with the inspections.
Important Note: Every case is unique and you must consult with you RE agent and an attorney who can thoroughly explain the consequences of waiving the Finance Contingency before you present an offer.
For more information, you can contact me at 786.302.0351 or email me at juan@insideMIAMIrealestate.com. You can also visit me at http://www.insideMIAMIrealestate.com
Juan Sanchez Broker Associate Real Living FSR Coral Gables