• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Aaaack! I Need a House! Tips For Out Of State & Local Tampa Bay Area Buyers

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

New residents are moving to Tampa Bay every day! While we are very happy to have them, our supply of homes in certain price points is getting very tight.


Throughout the year, but especially during the summertime, we see a lot of buyers coming from out of state. Many relocation clients have a limited amount of time to find a house, sign a contract, and set up financing.


It can make for a very stressful house hunting trip!


For the past couple of years, the out-of-state, and local, buyers have an extra challenge to overcome: low inventory. The Florida real estate market is no longer depressed…our prices have rebounded as more and more people have seen the benefit of moving to this beautiful area. The good news is that housing is still very affordable here in comparison to other large cities.


So… How do you keep from panicking in this tight inventory?


Here are some tips that may help you navigate your way through this crazy home buying season.

  • Take an extra step with the lender before you make an offer on a house. While you are waiting for a new house to come on the market, send all of the required financial documentation to your lender. This will allow you to save some time during the escrow period and hopefully close faster. Your lender can then provide a pre-approval letter that carries a little more weight than the typical generic pre-qualification.

  • Look outside of your criteria. I am not one to recommend to my clients that they settle for a house they do not like. But, as my mom used to always say, “Sometimes the dress looks better on you than it does on the hanger. Try it on Melanie.” She was right in that respect and the same is true with houses. Look at the homes you thought were too big, too small, too pink, too dirty, or too carpet-y. As I love to say to my clients, these imperfections are “opportunities for improvement.”

  • Find a Realtor that very clearly understands what YOU want. If you don’t find anything during your trip, be open to letting your Realtor scout homes for you while you are gone. Over the past few years I have done many video tours of homes for my out of state buyers. I am certainly no Scorsese, but I try to be very thorough and honest about the condition. My favorite video included me walking through a spider web and 20 seconds of the camera flying around as I tried de-web myself. It was very Blair Witch Project, but the clients I did that video for bought the house sight-unseen. It works, but you have to trust your Realtor.

  • Make your first offer a strong one. If the house is not priced too high, don’t be afraid to come in at list price or above list price if there are multiple offers. Beyond price, make your escrow deposit higher than normal. It shows how serious you are. Agree to have shortened inspection period, but make sure you have adequate time to do a good inspection. You can also decrease the amount of time you allow for the financing contingency, but make sure your lender is comfortable with the shortened timeframe for a loan commitment. You want to make sure you are protecting your deposit as well as making your offer a strong one.

For buyers frustrated with the Tampa Bay real estate market right now, please stay patient. The reason there are so few homes available is because people love living here. You have chosen well and once you move in, you will find out for yourself why no one wants to leave!


Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com

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