Higher home prices and increased demand have been putting home buyers — especially first-time buyers — in tricky (and expensive) situations.
Many people had been saving for a down payment for years. Just when they thought they were ready to buy, this curveball came around the corner. Rising costs mean that they'll now need even more money to afford a home than they initially thought. And for some people, this is enough to force them to put their homeownership goals on the back burner for now.
But take it from people who have actually been experiencing the housing market first-hand. We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share what their recent home-buying experiences have been like. Here's what they said:
1. "Right as my husband and I were finally financially prepared to buy a house in the midsized Southern city where I grew up, a big software company announced they were opening up an HQ here. Housing prices went up overnight, and the already-limited supply of houses for sale got even more sparse."
2. "In short, terrible. We looked for over a year, bid on six different houses, and got beat out not because we weren’t the highest offer but because people either paid all cash, waived all inspections, or paid $50K over asking."
"We ultimately found a house and paid far over asking price, but only got lucky because we could close in 30 days, and that got us the win! The lack of houses, the insane prices for literal crap, and the amount of NYC people fleeing for upstate made it truly awful to find anything decent at a fair price."
3. "We just sold our house in Atlanta, Georgia. We bought our house 1.5 years ago and made about $50K on it when we sold it in June. We close on a house in Florida tomorrow!"
"We were very nervous about finding a place. I just checked all the apps every day and signed up for notifications. I actually found our house because of a notification for a price decrease! Our realtor went to look at it that day, and we did a video tour. We made an offer at asking price, and it was accepted the next day! We got nervous and ended up driving down to Florida to view the house in person, and it was perfect!"
4. "My husband and I had been talking about leaving NYC to move to Vermont for a while and finally decided to take the plunge in January ‘19. We had planned to rent for a year or two before buying, but when COVID hit, the market exploded, and we realized we needed to act quickly."
5. "Honestly, if you can, wait before buying a house. Wait until next year. Paying $20K–$50K over asking and buying a house you've never seen is ridiculous in my book. My wife and I were looking, mostly because we have quite a bit of equity in our current home. But we decided to wait."
6. "We live in the Bay Area and started looking for a house in early 2020. Over a year later, we finally had an offer accepted and will have everything finalized this week."
"I can’t even tell you how many houses we put in offers for, only to get outbid — even when we raised our budget while simultaneously lowering our standards. We took a break from looking near the end of 2020 because we were just so exhausted. But then this month, our agent found us a really nice house that was actually in our budget and helped us get our offer accepted before a bunch of competing offers came in. It took a really long time, but I’m glad we didn’t overbid or settle for something we didn’t love."
7. "We’ve put out offers many times in the past year. But two stick out to me as the ones that hurt the most. One was a family member’s neighbor. They had listed at the top of our budget, plus there was an HOA. We offered to buy it at their asking price prior to going to market so they wouldn’t have to have it staged or do any cosmetic repairs. In the end we got told, 'No, our family told us to wait for more money.'"
8. "We lose out on a house before it’s even put on the market. People low-ball their asking price to cause a bidding war, getting our hopes up. People are buying homes without even seeing them. It’s a disaster."
9. "We bought a house in a new housing edition before they even poured the concrete for the foundation. We are set to move in this month."
"We missed the wildness of the housing market by only a month or two, and I’m super glad my level-headed fiancé kept us in the deal when there were setbacks, as they could easily sell that house for $50,000 more right now. I’m also glad he got a great inspector who pointed out stuff to the builder before they got past the frame. It was a leap of faith for sure buying a house that was yet to be built, but we liked the location in Houston, and it was as big a yard as we were going to get without moving to the suburbs."
10. "Most listings were marked as sold within a day before we even got a chance to see them."
11. "We bought four months ago in NorCal, and it was a whirlwind. One house we saw had over 150 offers within a week, and almost all went well over asking price and waived inspections. We ended up with the cheapest home we could find just because buyers weren’t interested in the location."
"We offered 5% over asking, and before our offer was accepted, the seller asked us to switch to a local lender because they didn’t like the national lender we were using. On top of it all, the house didn’t appraise, and since we didn’t come with cash, we had to strike a rough deal last minute. Glad it’s over!"
12. "It’s horrible. Houses are going for at least $20K more than they are worth. My wife and I need out of our place because our kids need their own rooms, but we aren’t going to be stretching pennies to do it. So we settled and are going to get a trailer for now and save up again for when the market calms down."
13. "I've been trying to buy in my hometown in Connecticut. Houses in neighborhoods I would never buy in are going for $50K–$100K over what they're actually worth."
14. "I bought in San Diego in August 2020. At that point, I had put in offers on multiple homes, but I was outbid every time or sometimes lost to all-cash offers."
"I managed to buy a house I love. Now, almost a year later, my estimated home price has risen almost 20% (with no improvements on my part — it’s just a seller’s market). My two cents: If you’re trying to buy now, don’t. Just wait. It’s not worth jumping through the hoops and overpaying for a house you don’t love."
15. "Inventory is so low where I live that realtors are just knocking on my front door to see if I'm selling."
"They are sending small gifts in the mail and cold-calling. My next-door neighbor sold their house in March, and it never actually made it to a listing. The realtor had a buyer lined up for a good $100K over what these townhouses are worth."
16. "I live in a split-level house that's divided into what my city considers spacious apartments. Boston isn’t known for its large apartments, so it looks like a house on the outside. Realtors ring our bell and ask if we’re selling."
17. "It’s a seller's market right now. We are in the process of selling our current home and buying a bigger home for our family. Homes in our area are getting offers within 24 hours of being listed. While it’s amazing for the seller, it’s a nightmare for the buyers."
"People are bidding $50,000–$100,000 over asking price, so it can take longer to buy. It’s been quite the process, so I hope we can get a place in line before we officially put our house up for sale. Especially since our realtor has someone in mind for our current house."
18. "I started a new job during the pandemic and was able to work from home but would need to relocate. I was working with a realtor and made plans to take time off to look at houses. Of the 15 or so listings we had planned on viewing, only one was left by the time we went to look."
"We ended up going to a new development and having a house built, which will take almost a year for it to be finished. Had we not had the flexibility of working from our current house, we would never have been able to move."
19. Lastly, "We had to set alerts on our phones for when new listings went up. If the house seemed even mildly acceptable, we would call our agent immediately so he could set up a tour. We were outbid several times by $25K–$30K, cash offers."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.