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By Mike Hazlip—
Vitaliy and Esther Demchyk have been house hunting since the beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago.
After being outbid a half-dozen times, the couple have taken to social media in an attempt to attract sellers. In a phone interview Wednesday, Vitaliy Demchyk said the number of homes on the market has decreased, while demand has remained the same, or increased.
He said the price of homes in their price range has increased as cash buyers come into the area.
“As soon as a home hits the market, people get into a bidding war for it,” Demchyk said. “Every home that I’ve put an offer on, I’ve been outbid by $20-30,000.”
Real estate appraiser Ryan Lundquist, who runs SacramentoAppraisalBlog.com, says data shows home prices have increased dramatically in recent months. Median home prices for the Sacramento region have increased 17.6% since February 2020, according to the blog. The region includes Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, and El Dorado counties.
The same data shows the median home price for Sacramento County was $460,500 for February 2021, up significantly over last year’s $395,000 median price. Lundquist called the current market “freakishly hot.”
With a baby now on the way, the Demchyk’s are outgrowing their 800-square-foot condo they are renting in Citrus Heights in the Crosswoods area near Greenback Lane and Auburn Boulevard. Running out of time, Demchyk said he posted in a number of social media sites hoping to convince a seller to take their bid.
He posted his plea with a photo of he and his wife, as well as a screenshot of a man holding a sign reading: “Please sell to a local.” Demchyk said he had read about the man’s efforts in a recent news story in Montana and thought he’d try a similar approach here.
Hundreds of comments poured in on Demchyk’s post, with many in a similar situation or offering help. As a result, he said they received several offers from sellers and real estate agents, but the homes were either out of their price range, or too large for their needs.
He said the couple is open to buy in areas like Carmichael and Roseville, but prefer Citrus Heights as a more central location. Demchyk works as an insurance underwriter in Roseville, and has family in the Antelope area. He said the couple also likes older, more-established areas like Citrus Heights.
The family is looking for a 3-bedroom 2-bath home in the 1,200-square-foot range as a starter home. He said he has some remodel experience and is open to a home that needs repairs.
The Demchyk’s plight is familiar to real estate broker Cara Richey, of the Citrus Heights-based Next Home Millennium. Richey told The Sentinel in an email Thursday that buyers are waiving some of the typical obligations to make their offer more attractive for the seller.
“I’ve recently listed homes that have received multiple offers thousands over list price within just a few days,” Richey said. “I am receiving financed offers waiving inspections, offering appraisal insurance, and shortened escrow times, that historically would have only been expected from cash offers.”
Demchyk said several of his friends and coworkers are also struggling to find a home in the current competitive market.
“I know a lot of people are in the same boat as me,” he said. “A lot of my co-workers, a lot of my friends, a lot of millennial people who are shopping for their first home right now.”
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