‘Cash is king’ Tallahassee housing market strongly tilts toward sellers

Real estate experts say a healthy housing market has six months of supply of homes for sale. Tallahassee and Leon County currently have two months of supply.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 3:53 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Housing prices are skyrocketing across the United States; many communities are currently “seller’s markets,” and Tallahassee and Leon County are no exception.

Real estate experts say a healthy housing market has six months of supply of homes for sale. Tallahassee and Leon County currently have two months of supply.

Dale Adams is a Broker Associate with Keller Williams. He’s been working in real estate since 2005, and he’s seen many ups and downs in the market.

Adams says in Tallahassee, some houses are selling in less than a day.

“The rush and the push is to get in and show it to your buyers that day within hours. And I’ve been out showing houses at 7 o’clock at night, which you would never do before,” Adams said.

He says the demand for homes extends through every price range, in every part of town. Family-friendly neighborhoods are especially hot.

Adams says in the current market, cash is king. That can be especially difficult for first-time homebuyers.

“Some people are taking out bridge loans, and they will have that bridge loan, have the money in their bank account and be able to show with their offer, ‘I’ve got the funds on hand right now!’” Adams explained.

Adams says if you have rental property, it’s a great time to sell. He says some owners who have been stuck with properties since 2008 are finally able to get out from under them and sell.

He says he doesn’t see the market slowing down any time soon.

“We’re almost to the point where there’s just not very much available, and people may have to stay on the sidelines and wait for more to come on the market,” Adams said.

For some house hunters, searching for a home is stressful. Adams says many have put in multiple offers, but they’ve been out-bid at different properties.

Emily Fitzgerald and her husband rented in Tallahassee for about a year and a half before searching for a house. They began their search in March 2021 and quickly realized they needed a realtor to help.

“There’s a lot of emotion because you want to find a place that you’re gonna spend the rest of your life in. And you also want it to be a good investment that’s going to be reliable,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald says she and her husband lost out on a couple of other properties, and when their current home became available, they canceled a weekend trip.

In May 2021, they drove by the property on a Friday, toured it on Saturday, and made an offer by Sunday.

“We got a great house!” Fitzgerald said.

However, to close on the house more quickly, they waived the appraisal.

“We used a price escalation form. And so we were able to give the price that we were most willing to pay. So we did go above asking price, not too much, but we did go above. And we said we’d beat out anyone else by a certain amount, up until this maximum price,” Fitzgerald explained.

She says they did not waive the inspection, and they were happy to see the home was well taken care of.

On the other side, Robert Hunter described the selling experience as “amazing.”

He and his wife had lived in Tallahassee for 25 years, and they had lived in their house for 15 years. With new jobs, they were moving to Tampa, and they put their house on the market in October 2021.

“The experience with selling our house went much smoother than we expected,” Hunter said. “Our first offer came in the night before we hit the market, and it was above asking, so we were kind of surprised.”

He said being able to sell their home at the asking price set his family up well for their next purchase.

Hunter said they’re currently renting in Tampa as they search for a new house.

“It’s even worse down here!” he said.

Adams and Fitzgerald recommend buyers start early, get a realtor, and know what they want in a future home. Adams also emphasized the need for patience in the current market.

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