real estate

South Florida Homebuyers Face Fierce Competition, Low Inventory During Pandemic

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Low inventory and record-low mortgage rates have fueled demand for home sales in South Florida. 

After three months on the house hunt, Alexandra Paulino is frustrated. 

"Now we’re not going to look at houses happy anymore. It’s like you can’t get too excited because it might not happen," Paulino said.

She’s made offers on 16 homes and three of them went under contract, but she never made it to the closing table.

"We had a closing date and everything and we sold most of our furniture, we’re in boxes and it fell through," Paulino said.

Realtor Dexter Brandao saw a spike in interested homebuyers a few months after the pandemic began, specifically when interest rates dropped.

"Open houses, you see now there are 15, 20, 50 people in line to see an open house and then 20 offers or 25 offers,” Brandao said.

Although a recent NerdWallet report found that first-time homebuyers in Miami can expect to see homes priced at 6.2 times their income, competition is fierce. Brandao says he’s had to think outside the box when drafting terms on contracts.

"Other than being creative with the contract, try to get your mortgage terms through with the bank or mortgage broker you are using," Brandao said. "Try and get that so tight and so solidified that you’re able to do a very low loan approval or you are willing to waive the loan approval because then you are fully approved and now it’s just a matter of closing the deal."

But for many potential homebuyers like Paulino, it’s hard to have hope when cash offers are rampant.

"We have good jobs, we make good money and there’s just nothing that we can do to compete with these cash offers of half a million or more," Paulino said.

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