Buyers getting creative to stand out in real estate market

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INDIANAPOLIS — No one has seen a real estate market like this one in Central Indiana. A unique combination of low interest rates and low market inventory caused by COVID-19 has forced home buyers to compete relentlessly for houses that sell at a premium in a matter of days, if not hours.

“If we’re looking to buy a house in this market, we’ve got to step outside our comfort zone,”  said homebuyer Preston Bucher.

Preston and Melanie Bucher are trying not to get burned in this hot market.  It’s not easy.  They’re trying to buy a house in the Nora area, emphasis on trying.

“$20,000, $25,000 over what they’re listing for and the houses are going for more than that, you make every concession and that’s not good enough. We’re probably on house number seven now where it’s gotten to the point where an agent will say, I’m just not drawing up an offer because they’ve already gotten something $40,000 over listing,” said the couple.

To make a competitive offer, most buyers in Indiana are now forced to drop contingencies designed to protect them in their purchases. They forgo home inspections, home appraisals, and even tax credits owed to them, just so the seller will consider their offer.

“Escalation cause, appraisal gap, $20,000 appraisal gap, look past all the things in the inspection, property tax credits. If you name it we’ve put it in the offer,” said Preston.

Real estate agents literally call the market “crazy” right now.  Buyers have to get creative to make their offer stand out.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on buyers right now to find the funds to purchase the house, to get creative with an offer when you’re going against five, 10. 15 offers you have to figure out a way to stand out,” said Dan O’Brien of Trueblood Realty.

While real estate agents know there’s pressure on buyers, many admit in this real estate environment, it can be easy to make a decision you regret.

“Buyer’s remorse is going to happen at some point. You’re going to feel, did I make the right decision, did I make the wrong decision. But in this market where things are happening quickly and buyers make rapid-fire decisions on a huge investment, there’s an opportunity to make a mistake,” said O’Brien.

To avoid buyer’s remorse, agents say make sure you have your financing pre-approved, know your legal options if you need to break the contract and know the tax implications if you sell a home you regret buying.

“At the end of the day, a professional real estate agent is supposed to be there to guide them through the process,”  said O’Brien.

Preston and Melanie know it’s a slippery slope to chase the home of their dreams right now. They say there’s a line in the sand they won’t cross even if it means their offer comes up short again.

“Trying to be realistic, but at the same time, but also hopeful…hopeful is a good word, ”  said Melanie.

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