For people in search of a new home, the race is on. Nowadays homes up for sale are going under contract within one to two days, forcing buyers to be quick on their toes.
“Since January the market has flipped from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market,” said Betsy Moser, broker and owner of Metro Brokers and Moser Real Estate Group in Westminster. “Houses are going at full price in just one or two days.”
Moser said buyers are continuing to take advantage of available low interest rates, but the problem is lack of inventory. She said inventory is down 46 percent compared to last year at this time, and sellers are seeing multiple offers.
“My last four listings went under contract in just four days,” Moser said. “We are running around like crazy — people trying to put in offers as quickly as possible because the seller may or may not accept the offer because other people are out there trying to buy the same home.”
Moser said one reason for the change in market control is the fact that people trying to sell their homes are holding back because they feel they won’t make any money on their homes. This hesitancy is a factor in the lack of inventory. But Moser said people trying to sell their home should take the chance and put their house on the market because there are people out there looking to buy.
Two of those people are first-time home buyers Aisha and Jelliffe Jackson who are on a serious look-out for a new home in the north metro area. The couple began their search six months ago but then took a break. Now they are on the prowl for a home with help from Moser.
“We are looking for something different and unique,” Aisha said. “We would like a big yard because we have two dogs and a master bedroom that can be a retreat. A finished basement would be icing on the cake, but it’s not a deal-breaker.”
Jelliffe said he hopes to be in a home by the end of the month, making the search for the right home imperative. With both of their families far way, Aisha said guidance from Moser has been a huge help.
“It’s good to have somebody who knows the area and has knowledge of the real estate market,” she said. “Normally we would have relied on our parents for this information, so it’s been helpful to have Betsy.”
Moser said pre-qualification is the first important step in buying a home. She said without it, she can’t even put in an offer to a home. Moser suggests buyers speak with a lender before even beginning the process of buying a home. Both Aisha and Jelliffe agree.
“My biggest tip is to secure the financing before you even start, and once you do, start looking right away,” Aisha said. “The market is in such a place where one day a house was there and literally by that evening it wasn’t.”
Darlene Franklin is a licensed mortgage loan originator for America’s Mortgage out of Broomfield. When working with potential home buyers, Franklin said she looks at three mains parts for pre-approval: credit, income debt or income ratio and assets or a down payment amount.
“We are looking at pay statements, where a person has worked, their income amount and, of course, their credit score,” she said. “All three parts have to be in line before we can give a loan to a person.”
Franklin said in the past, the lending industry was not as strict when it came to documentation. But now every document is verified and everyone is treated equally, even if that person has a credit score of 640, she added.
“People say it’s hard to qualify, but I don’t think that way,” she said. “The guidelines have always been there, but now the guidelines are actually being followed instead of steps being skipped.”
Franklin said even though lenders are taking a closer look in terms of pre-qualification, she encourages people who may think they won’t qualify to take a chance. Many times people don’t think they have good enough credit, or don’t make enough money to buy a home but are wrong, she added.
“I love helping people achieve their dream of buying a home and for a lot of people they think it’s not possible, when it is,” she said. “People are surprised all the time when they find out they do qualify. And when a person doesn’t qualify, I can help them with what they need to work on to get themselves there.”
Moser also loves helping her clients find that perfect home. She’s been in the real estate business for 10 years, and day after day, she says finds her job rewarding.
“I love it because I get to help people find the house with the perfect price that is good for the buyer and good for the seller,” she said. “It’s the greatest job when everybody is happy and everybody got what they are looking for.”