Bend home market sizzles again -- for better, worse

Record-short time on market great for sellers, not buyers

Bend house hunters in race to the finish

BEND, Ore. - It's a race to the finish for Bend-area house hunters hoping to beat out the competition for a new home.

Central Oregon home buyers are swooping up properties at a record pace. And Realtors warn that's not necessarily a good thing.

We spoke with Realtors who say they're spending far less time showing homes and more time texting buyers, telling them to sprint to a new listing, take a quick peek and hurry to write an offer -- before they're beat by the next buyer.

"It's just crazy, what's going on here," says Stephanie Wilson-Ruiz of the Deb Tebbs Group at Sotheby's International Realty.

Wilson said this week there's a real sense of urgency, and the fear is if they don't get an offer in right away, someone else will beat them to it.

More often than not, someone looking to buy and move into a house is losing out to investors with cash.

In a time where appraisals are more difficult, a seller is much more inclined to favor a cash buyer, even at a slightly lower price.

Experts tell us that's leaving some strong buyers, who are purchasing a primary residence with a loan, at a real disadvantage.

Some Realtors are even getting creative, to level out the playing field.

Wilson tells us, "With every offer that I'm submitting, I am writing a letter to the seller, telling them about my buyer and why they want the home."

A report released earlier this week by Bratton Appraisal Group shows the median time a home in Bend spends on the market is a mere 67 days, which is an all-time low for the area. Even in the height of the market, the median days a home took to sell was 71.

Experts say good pricing, low interest rates and a lack of inventory is fueling the frenzy.

Wilson says, "I'd hate to see it go up like it did before, and it's going very fast -- and I don't know that it can continue doing this."

Realtors say they're fearful of the pace homes are selling at, and hope for some stabilization.

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