How to buy a home when the competition is stiff

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FOX Business’ Gerri Willis reports from Westchester County, New York, on housing prices rising at the fastest rate in 34 years.

As home prices hit all-time highs and inventory reaches record lows, exasperated would-be buyers are either getting creative in this tough seller's market or abandoning searches altogether.

But one real estate agent with decades of experience says that while the current competition is like nothing he's ever seen, folks on the hunt for a house shouldn't give up hope. He offers insight into how it is still possible to make a deal without shelling out extra dough.

A sold sign in front of a house in Washington, D.C., Feb. 26, 2022.  (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Chad Morton of Maverick Realty has been an agent 26 years, working with both buyers and sellers in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. His wife, Maverick broker and Army veteran Darlene Morton, assists clients in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The Mortons are specialists in helping current and former service members buy homes utilizing the zero down payment Veterans Affairs home loan and are members of the Veterans United Realty network.

Chad Morton of Maverick Realty  (Chad Morton)

Here are some tips Morton offers for prospective buyers in today's real estate environment:

Look beyond what’s shiny and new

Morton says a lot of people, especially first-time homebuyers, will want to look at fresh listings, but that is not necessarily the best strategy.

"The smart move is to have your agent look for houses that have been on the market for two weeks or more," Morton told FOX Business. "If something's on the market for more than two weeks, there's an issue, but that is an opportunity for you."

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Morton says that people really motivated to buy right now need to be willing to let go of expecting a home to have everything they want or to be picture-perfect.

"It may have a couple of warts, but take those warts and make a deal," Morton suggests.

A man walks past condominiums for sale in Santa Monica, Calif. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson / Reuters Photos)

Consider a change of scenery

Morton says he is seeing more and more buyers who are having difficulty landing deals in higher-priced markets, choosing to purchase homes in areas where prices are lower.

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"You don't need necessarily to live close to work now," Morton told us, noting that a greater number of people are able to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Other times, individuals decide taking on more of a commute is worth it to become a homeowner. Morton says he is seeing an increase in clients choosing to live further away from the workplace, with some braving daily commutes of an hour or more.

Persistence, persistence, persistence

Morton says he sees clients get frustrated and discouraged, especially after losing out on offer after offer amid stiff competition. He urges people to remember that whomever they lost out to has been scrambling to make a buy, too, and that those folks just kept pushing.

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"The winner is the one who doesn't quit," Morton says. "Whether it takes two months, three months, six months, whatever. Be prepared for that, prepared for that time. This is a marathon, not a sprint, but it can be done.

"Persistence is key."

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