How to get the house in a crazy housing market

Median price for SA area December sales is up 19% over one year ago

In a housing market still seeing multiple offers, cash sales, and above-listing price bids, house hunters are looking for ways to make their offer stand out.

SAN ANTONIO – When Lisa Gill found a home and a few acres outside of Austin, she wanted to close the deal fast. So, she got creative.

“The sellers had two aging donkeys on the property,” she said. “So, to sweeten the deal, I told them I would keep them.”

The housing market can be a challenging one for buyers right now. What Gill learned is that you may have to go above and beyond to get the house.

“It’s crazy,” said. Matt Till, realtor with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. “I submitted (a bid) this morning that’s up against 26 offers.”

He’s also seeing what he called an “insane amount of cash buyers” as people from the West and East coasts can get so much more house here for their money.

While area sales for December tapered off by about 1% compared to last year, they are still beating pre-pandemic sales figures, according to data from the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

High demand and limited supply continue to drive up prices, too. The median price of December sales was $311,000, a 19% increase over the previous year, according to SABOR.

It’s a strong sellers’ market as more and more buyers are bidding above list price.

But for buyers who can’t do that, there are other ways to navigate the market and try to stand out.

“Really, you have to be ready to pounce,” Till said.

Having a loan pre-approval is essential. If you can, it can be beneficial to have your financial information vetted in advance and have a firm pledge for a loan in hand.

Some buyers are putting down extra earnest money to show they’re serious, Till said.

“Another thing would be a clean contract,” he said.

That means not asking for help with closing costs, other concessions, and being nit-picky about minor repairs. He does not advise skipping inspections.

“Letters are still a big thing,” Till said. “People write letters to the seller to try to sway a seller to their side.”

It can pay off by accommodating the seller. For example, if you don’t need immediate move-in, you could give the sellers ample time to move out.

“So, offering a lease-back for up to 90 days, and sometimes, they are doing it rent-free,” Till said.

As for Gill, her deal eventually fell through. So, while she doesn’t need to care for the donkeys, she also doesn’t have the house.


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About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.