ATLANTA (CBS46)--Metro Atlanta has one of hottest real estate markets in the country right now.
This time a year ago homes were flying off the market in 28 days on average, but now that time crunch is all the way down to 14 days.
The feeding frenzy is leaving a lot of prospective homebuyers on the outside looking in.
“I would describe the home buying experience in one word – miserable,” homebuyer Chris Cannon said.
“It’s really become emotionally draining at this point,” homebuyer Natalie Row said.
Cannon and Row speak from experience. Each began searching for a home in January. Chris is now under contract, but Natalie is still looking.
“Owning a home is my American dream,” Row said. “I’m a migrant from Jamaica. I’ve never owned a home here.”
Over the course of Natalie’s search she’s offered on nine houses. In one instance her offer was $20,000 over list price. She was on the cusp of home ownership, but was beat out by an all cash offer at the last second.
In Atlanta, one out of four homes is selling above list price, according to Zillow. The online real estate giant is affording buyers more information than ever, and in this market it can be a blessing and a curse.
“The time I spent on a housing search this time around – around hundreds of hours,” Cannon said. “I spent every single night laying in bed looking at Zillow.”
After all that time, once you find a house you like you still have to offer. Realtors say there are a few ways to separate yourself from the pack.
First, get fully pre-approve for a home loan, not just pre-qualified. Sellers want to know a buyer’s financing is rock solid and won’t fall through just before closing. Also, trim down on the days in the “due diligence” period, but realtors say never get rid of it completely.
“I have conversations with all my buyers,” Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agent Mike Gunsallus said. It’s not worth buying a house without getting it inspected just to have a house.”
In some cases it may be worth adjusting the appraisal contingency, provided the buyer has the extra cash on hand. Although housing inventory is historically low, agent Dean Buchan continues to stress to his client Natalie, and to others, don’t settle.
“You’re not buying a bicycle,” Buchan said. “You’re buying a home, and when you walk into that home it should feel good to you.”
While some people would be discouraged, Natalie is keeping the faith that the right home for her is still out there.
“My home will comes,” Row said. “I have all confidence in that. I’m just not sure when. I just have no guarantees on a timeline.”