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Frustrated Burnaby family outbid on 16 homes in two years

Last Updated Mar 10, 2016 at 9:38 am PDT

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If you're looking for real estate you may have to try homes south of the Fraser: real estate agent

Family told they need to go $100,000 over asking price for a home

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – Being outbid 16 times in the last two years is disheartening for one Burnaby family of four.

Maria Dosen and her husband sold their home in 2014, they moved in with her parents but assumed it would be short term until they found a new place to live.

“We are searching in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and New Westminster,” she explains. “It’s been beyond frustrating to put my kids through such an emotional ride. One of them is a special needs child, so it has been even more emotional for him. It’s put a strain on me and my husband. It’s really frustrating when you know there are anywhere from six bids to 20 bids coming in and you know that you’re not going to get that home.”

With a budget of $1.2 million, the family has often put in $70,000 over asking price but they’re no closer to owning than they were two years ago.

As a result, the Dosen family has had to change their expectations. They plan to push their search further out and may have to consider smaller homes.

“We are going to re-evaluate and now start looking at townhouses and downsizing which is really not what we want to be doing. That just seems like the next logical step.”

Describing the situation as worse than a rollercoaster ride, the couple has been told they need to go $100,000 over asking.

“My son needs therapy [and] I need to be able to pay for his needs, so we can’t go [higher].”

UBC Real Estate Expert Tsur Sommerville says outbidding is dramatically getting worse.

“With prices rising really quickly, the idea of what is the right price for a unit becomes really hard to figure out. You can put in a bid over asking but someone else is seeing the market differently and they’re bidding more than that,” says Sommerville.

He says more people are chasing fewer units and that results in multiple offers and bids.

Buyers in a similar situation are not going to like the advice we have for them. One realtor says you’ll need more money or you’ll have to lower your expectations.

Al Kruger with Keller Williams Elite Realty says he just negotiated the purchase of a home for a client this weekend which attracted eight offers and this home was in Cloverdale.

Kruger says the easiest way to buy that dream home is to offer more money than the other buyers, but it’s impossible to know how desperate the other buyers are. You’re left guessing how high you’ll have to go in order to beat the competition.

If you’re already going all in to buy a home, Kruger says you may have to try homes south of the Fraser. He says the frenzy over single-family, detached homes has rippled out to the TriCities, but you may still have luck in the $1-million range in places like Surrey, Langley or Maple Ridge.

Kruger adds going in with a subject-free offer can set you apart. He being able to sign a deal that day can be attractive to sellers. But there can be major risk involved.

“Some people are getting into trouble because they’re offering more than what the home is going to appraise for and they have to make up the difference. So if a home is sold for $800,000 and it’s only appraised for $750,000, there’s a $50,000 that the buyer has come up with.”

Kruger adds that a personal touch can sometimes give you the edge “If your realtor is able to present in person and tell a little bit about the story of the family, particularly if there’s a family involved and there’s little kids, and the seller is attached to the neighbourhood and they want to see their home go to a nice family, that can be helpful. But at the end of the day nowadays, throw another zero on and the sellers, they don’t care if you’re an alien.”