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Homebuyers prepare for bidding wars in seller's market

11:29 AM, May 28, 2013   |    comments
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DECATUR, Ga. -- Hayes Moody is a real estate agent and investor who took a calculated risk on a three-bedroom, two-bath house on Harrington Drive in Decatur.

"This is a ranch-style house built in 1950," Moody said as he toured the home with 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie. "We cut the wall here and pushed it back."

The house was in bad shape when Moody and a business partner bought the home to flip it. They put it on the market this month for just under $250,000.

"We're supposed to close at the end of the month, but we got over asking price," Moody said. "And we had multiple offers that were over asking."

In fact, a total of 12 offers came in in one day to start the kind of bidding war that's becoming the norm in some of the hottest neighborhoods, like Kirkwood, Oakhurst and Brookhaven.

Low interest rates and a low inventory of homes for sale have changed the game for buyers. They're no longer the ones in control.

"It's been very frustrating," said Wynter Furse, who has the will and the financing to buy her first home.

But she lost out on a condo in Kennesaw and never had a chance to bid on two other places she liked.

"They had an offer the first day it went on the market and two backup offers," she said.

Here's another sign of a seller's market: more "coming soon" signs to generate interest before the house is listed.

Moody said buyers need to research neighborhoods ahead of time and be ready to act fast.

"Now people are going into a home like this, and they're being aggressive and throwing their top dollar out there instantly," he added.

Moody said prices are gradually going up, but they're still far from the levels we saw before the housing bubble burst.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for metro Atlanta was up 19 percent in March of this year compared to last year, but it's still far below the market peak in 2006.

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