Outside of the topic of COVID-19, mask wearing and hoping to return to a life of some normalcy, whether to purchase a home in the present market conditions is at the forefront of conversations.

With historically low interest rates which are around 3.25%, buyers are looking to take advantage of more buying power than they had a year ago and an affordable mortgage payment. According to Freddie Mac, the last time interest rates were this low was in 2016 at 3.65%.

For an astute and qualified buyer this should be a “no brainer.” Unfortunately, even if you have a Realtor, a lender pre-approval, homes to preview, and a good down payment, you are not guaranteed to be able to the buy the home you make a solid offer on.

How can that be? The answer is lack of homes on the market or a shortage of home inventory.

Let’s take Tracy for example. Presently, we have 25 homes actively on the market. The average sales price is $550,000-$600,000 for possibly 1700-1800 square feet and will remain on average nine days on the market. With that said, you still may not be able to compete with some of the other obstacles present buyers are facing.

Basic economics dictates supply and demand. When we have a lack of a product, with a large buyer demand, the price and terms to purchase that product escalates. Putting it in plain terms, aggressive buyers are purchasing homes with no contingencies or benchmarks, such as appraisal and inspection contingencies. Buyers are also writing offers significantly over the asking price, where they will come out of pocket $25,000 to $125,000.

Excuse Me?!

The buyer must show proof that they can purchase this home without the home appraising at the sales price and document the additional funds on paper. At the end of the day, the seller asks the buyer to “show me the money.”

So how does a buyer purchase a home and not get discouraged in this present market? After writing three, four, or even six offers on a home and not getting your contract accepted, a buyer most likely feels defeated and may want to stop the buying process. Please do not stop trying to get something you want. It may feel like survival of the fittest and not for the faint hearted.

I like to compare real estate to a snowflake: no two real estate scenarios are the same. I also do not buy into the “what if” factor. What if you write on a home and you actually get your offer accepted? One of my mantras is, “If you don’t try, you don’t get.”

Bottom Line – Make sure the realtor and lender you are working with has their finger on the pulse of the present market conditions. Consider, if possible, to explore other areas that have homes priced lower than you are approved for but have the amenities on your wish list. This scenario could make you more competitive. Remember cosmetic items can be changed.

Most importantly, write the best offer you are qualified to purchase. Best of luck and hang in there!

• Donna A. Baker, CRS ABR SFR CDPE is the Broker-Owner of At Home Real Estate Group selling real estate for 21 years. Her memberships include National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, Certified Residential Specialists, Central Valley Association of Realtors, Accredited Buyer's Representative, Certified Distressed Property Expert®, and Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. In addition, Donna teaches monthly at the Central Valley Association of Realtors New Realtor Member Orientation and serves as the Chairman for the Tracy Real Estate Marketing Council and as a Board member for the McHenry House a local rehab shelter.

Donna has lived in Tracy since 1989 with her patient husband Tom of 32 years and has two awesome children, Trevor and Ally. Contact her at donna@donnabaker.com.

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