FOUNTAIN HILLS (3 On Your Side) -- Nicole and Jake Albrecht found their dream home in Fountain Hills and moved in a few weeks ago.
"It feels like home," Nicole said.
But the house hunt to get there was daunting.
"Every house we put an offer in on had multiple offers," Nicole said. "Some had nine or ten offers within a couple of hours."
The Albrechts had lived in Arizona years ago, and decided to return from Washington. They put in an offer on their home without ever seeing it in person.
"There’s not too much in this location, so the competition was a little higher than expected," Jake said.
Across the Greater Phoenix metro area, there are about 4,000 homes on the market right now, according to real estate agent Trevor Halpern. Last year at the same time, there were about 11,000 available homes, and the year before that, there were approximately 20,000 homes on the market. The high demand, combined with low inventory and low interest rates has left many prospective home buyers still searching for home sweet home.
"It's just this perfect storm where it makes it feel like it is a really hot market," Halpern told 3 On Your Side. "I prefer to call it imbalanced."
To compete, Halpern says buyers have to act quickly.
"Speed to lead," he said. "When you see a house hit the market, you absolutely have to go look at it."
Cash is also important, and Halpern says there is a difference between buyers who offer a 5% down payment compared to a 20% down payment.
"Our clients are faced with that often," Halpern said. "The 5% down versus 10% versus 15% or 20%. You are a stronger buyer in this market place the more money you’re putting down."
Though the cash matters, money isn't the only way to be competitive. Halpern says in this market, buyers should consider concessions. An example of a concession is agreeing to buy the property as is.
"That does not mean don’t inspect. Always inspect," Halpern said. "When you buy it as is, you’re simply telling the seller, 'Hey, I’m not going to ask for repairs,' so you took a risk out."
"It's always a series of small things within the offer that adds up to look like one big nice thing," he added. "Presentation, communication, concessions, pricing, how do you look and feel as a buyer from a financial standpoint? All of that stuff goes into it."
Halpern helped the Albrechts craft a creative offer to make them stand out. The couple didn't worry about the results of an inspection because they knew they were going to do some renovations, they were willing to pay over the appraisal value, and they wrote a personal letter to the seller to seal the deal.
"They picked us!" Nicole said. "It’s better than we could have imagined."