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On Your Side: How to stay competitive against big business when buying a home

Some buyers say they’re losing to big, cash offers from local institutions that are investing in properties.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The housing market is already a fist fight. Now, big business is coming into the ring and starting to buy up your American Dream.

First Coast News reporter Haley Harrison is On Your Side with tips from a local real estate expert on how to stay competitive against the big players.

There are a lot of buyers and not a lot of houses on the market, but that's just where the problems begin.

Some say they’re losing to big, cash offers from local institutions that are investing in properties.

Northeast Florida Association of Realtors President-elect Mark Rosener says they’ll likely lease the homes out and hold onto them for many years.

“Actually, that's kind of a good thing. It indicates that the market is still robust, and investors believe that it will continue to appreciate, Rosener explained.

However, it’s a bad thing for families and individuals looking to close on their dream homes.

“But it still can be done," Rosener said.

He says there are a few tips buyers can try to stay competitive against big business and make their offer more attractive:

  1. Make sure you're pre-approved with a lender. It’s best to do business with a local lender that's recognizable to homeowners, who will be looking at those offers.
  2. Offer an appraisal gap, which means you would be willing to pay over the appraised value of the home. Rosener says this would take away the advantage of a cash offer.
  3. Shorten the inspection period. The seller will feel more comfortable having their home off the market for five or six days, as opposed to a couple of weeks.

Rosner also says to always put your best offer first.

“Offer the very most that you would for a property, so that if you get it you feel real comfortable. If you don't, you say to yourself, you know, I wouldn't have paid another penny for that house," he explained.

The good news for buyers? 

In the last 60 days, Rosener says, the available inventory of residential homes in Jacksonville increased by 33%, which is about 1,000 homes.

“We're still seeing a lot of multiple offer situations, and it's still absolutely a seller's market," he said. "But, we are beginning to see the inventory free up a little bit to be able to make it a little bit easier for a buyer to find the home that suits their needs.“