ST. LOUIS - The real estate market is turning around across America and the St. Louis region is no exception.
Some experts say home prices are back to pre-bust levels, and homes in some communities are selling in days. That's great news for sellers, but it's not party time for everyone.
One realtor we spoke with says it was a buyer's market for years, and the pendulum has swung fast and far in the sellers' favor, leaving buyers scrambling. Christopher Thiemet with Circa Properties says that's especially in communities like Tower Grove East, Shaw, Kirkwood, and Webster Groves. However, he says, it's not market-wide.
"I put offers in on three houses," said home buyer Jennifer Tyus. "The first one fell through. The second one, I wasn't the winning offer. The third house had only been on the market for three days when I put the offer in."
Jennifer Tyus closes on that house in June. She says she had to speed up her home buying process earlier this spring.
"I would see one that I really wanted. I'd look at it, it would go on the market on a Monday and by Thursday it would be gone. So it would be gone even before I had a chance to look at it on a weekend," she said.
She's not alone. Christopher Thiemet says sellers have the upper hand right now because there's more demand than supply. And buyers don't have the luxury of taking their time to think about a home once it hits the market.
"Now it's the second we become aware of a piece of inventory that might suit our buyer, we have to be knocking on the front door begging to get in before anybody else," he said.
Because homes in the more desirable neighborhoods are selling fast and for more than they have since 2008, some agents are pre-marketing the homes with "Coming Soon" signs before they're even ready. Most homes are getting multiple-offers, and Thiemet says more of those offers are cash.
He advises buyers should get a fully committed pre-approval to give themselves the best shot.
"Get fully documented with the lender you're working with so all we're waiting for is to identify a property address, get clear title, and get an appraisal" he said. "That is going to make you much more marketable than a buyer that maybe just has a pre-qualification."
And he says sellers should have short-term housing ready to go in case their home sells as soon as they list it.