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57 showings, 17 offers: Ways to rise above the rest in a hot Tampa Bay real estate market

A hot home in Safety Harbor went pending in just a day or two: We talked with a few real estate experts about how you can make your offer stand out.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you're thinking about buying a new home in the Tampa Bay area or have already been looking, you've likely noticed real estate market is competitive. 

So, we spoke to a few real estate experts about how you can make your offer stand out from the pack.

"In the end we offered about $45,000 more than the asking price," first time home buyer Diana Swiger said. She snagged her dream house after 15 other offers were made on it.

"I was so excited, I can't wait to make it our home," she added.

But are multiple offers and paying over price becoming the new norm for the Bay area? Short answer: yes.

"We had a home that we put on the market in Safety Harbor and we had 57 showings and 17 offers on it. We agreed on an offer that made the most sense for the seller and it was well above asking price. This is very common on homes all throughout the county," Real Estate Agent Cristan Fadal said.

Real estate experts say this trend could last a while too.

"I would anticipate for the next two-three years prices will inch up. Watch the interest rates, when they start going up you'll start to see things level off again," head of Pinellas Realtors Association Cyndee Haydon said.

What's causing the crunch? High demand, low interest rates, the pandemic and low inventory. 

"In January 2019 there were over 6,000 homes on the market and in January 2021 there's only 2,400 and some chance," Haydon said. 

Not to mention, the average sales price of homes have gone up 17 percent during the past year.

"The biggest thing we are seeing right now is escalation costs. People are saying if this is what you're asking for, we are willing to top the highest offer by a certain amount. That helps them keep an edge over the competition," Fadal said.

Experts also say cash is king and to try to put down as much as you can so you finance less. And if all bids are high, you have to get creative.

"Successful buyers today find a way to solve sellers problems. The better you can ask and find out about what their concerns are and address those the stronger your offer is going to be," Haydon said.

Right now, experts say homes and condos in the $200,000-$300,000 range are the most competitive but they say there is still steep competition across all price points.

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