First-time homebuyers in Phoenix struggle to lock down a sale, face intense competition

The local longtime real estate agent offers tips on buying a home in the valley during a pandemic.

PHOENIX, Md. – While some fields are struggling with the pandemic, Arizona real estate is not one of them. The demand for home ownership is currently surprising even longstanding brokers.

And for many first-time buyers like Megyn Neff and her husband, buying their first home wasn’t the experience they’d hoped for.

“There were days when I had to throw my hands up and say, I can’t do this today, it’s too much,” said Neff.

Though challenging, they are grateful that they found a home in Phoenix in October after months of hunting.

“Each situation was a multiple offer for a war situation,” said Neff. “We were just lucky with this house because it was coming soon.”

Del Rounds has been selling houses in the valley for over 25 years. He owns seven Remax franchises and says he is surprised by the market himself.

“We’re so short of inventory that it’s crazy,” Rounds said. “Even if you go back to 2005, the seller’s market, although good, is better now than it was then.”

It’s a market that, according to Rounds, is good for both buyers and sellers. He points to low interest rates, more people moving here from out of state to work, and COVID-19 as reasons for demand.

“Now we’re doing everything there,” said Rounds. “It’s our gym now, it’s our office, we’re school teachers. So home has become very important.”

And that made it really difficult for first-time buyers like Neff and her husband. Rounds recommends that first-time buyers must participate in their A-Game.

“When a house shows up, you have to be on it,” said Rounds. “The asking price is unfortunately really the beginning of the offer price.”

To seal the deal, he recommends having your pre-agony letter ready, a good amount of money, a letter from the heart and, as in Megyn’s case, the motivation to see a home quickly. “As one of the first to come up with an offer to view the house and submit an offer, I think that’s a great advantage,” she said.