FORNEY, Texas — The housing market is showing no signs of slowing down.
As more people move to North Texas, the competition for home-buying is staying hot, which means prices are staying high.
And it also means it's harder and harder to get your offer accepted in the first place.
We've all heard the horror stories: A hopeful buyer might have offer after offer rejected, even if they're offering to pay tens of thousands over asking price.
So it got us thinking: What does it actually take to get a bid picked in this market? And what's it like to go through that process?
We talked with one North Texas couple and their realtor about everything they've tried -- and everything they're still trying -- to get into a home of their dreams.
15 offers, 15 rejections: "I was so exhausted"
Caroline and Tom Griffiths never imagined how difficult it would be to find a home right now.
The Griffiths, who live in Forney, have been searching for a home since November 2021, and their dreams of buying a house never felt so out of reach.
“We put in at least 15 offers, and we lost out on 15 houses, at least, and this was house 10," Caroline Griffiths said, showing us a picture of one rejection. "And I was so exhausted, I just started bawling my eyes out."
The Griffiths focused their search in one city they wanted to live in, but when "no" became a constant answer, they let go of most restrictions they had.
“At one point we said we don’t even care about the area anymore, as long as the schools are good and it’s a good commute to work,” Caroline Griffiths said.
The Griffiths spent their weekends driving up to an hour away to showings and open houses.
For one open house, they waited for two and a half hours, staying in line with their one-year-old son. When they finally got inside the door, they had five minutes to look around the home and make an offer.
“We didn’t even have time to go to the backyard. We looked around the house and that was it, and she was like ‘You’re done, who’s next?’” Caroline Griffiths said.
They still made an offer about $100,000 over asking price, but they didn’t get it.
What buyers are up against
It became clear the Griffiths had to pay even more over asking price, realizing they were up against out-of-state buyers, cash offers and appraisal waivers.
Their real estate agent, Joey Stanbery, explained what many buyers are willing to give up to close the deal.
“Even though if the house appraises at $400,000 or $300,000, people are paying $700,000,” Stanbery said.
This is an example of people who are buying homes in the North Texas market right now. Stanbery said they’re all serious buyers, and they’re doing whatever it takes for the seller to choose them.
In some cases, buyers are throwing in any perk they can.
“She (a real estate agent) said some people were sending fruit baskets to her client, saying, 'Hey pick us, pick us, pick us,'" Stanbery said. "So I said, 'OK, I’ve got to get creative.'"
When everyone wrote letters with their offer, Stanbery decided to pick up a camera and put together a video to send to the seller.
“Maybe a video gives them an idea of the personality," Stanbery said. "You know if they have kids, we can put kids in the video as well."
The goal with the video is to show the seller the next family who could move in, Stanbery said.
“I believe it helped," he said. "The realtor didn’t call me and say 'Hey, this is why we picked yours.' But I do believe that it helped, yeah.”
And the ideas to standout will keep coming as frustration grows among Texans.
“We are seeing so many people come here, taking advantage of their market," Stanbery said. "Which is awesome and good for them, and we’re so happy for them, but at the expense of us trying to compete against them it’s hard, it’s hard."
What's worked for you?
Ahead of this story, we asked WFAA followers on social media: How do you get your offer accepted in this market?
You can read the comments on the post below, but here were a few that stood out:
"As a realtor, I can answer this...give them the most money!"
"CASH and quick closing!"
"Over [listing], and a leaseback"
"Find you a for sale by owner. Those are the good buys!"
"Having a great agent and mortgage company for a fast and seamless closing"
"My daughter wrote a letter. The sellers had to sell because they needed to be closer to a older family member. Among other things she told them she would take care of and love their “forever house”. It worked."
"As a former seller, I accepted an offer based on the buyer waiving all contingencies [waiving all inspections], signing the 22AD [if house appraised less than offer, buyer covers the difference], and buyer offered $30K earnest, that way if financing didn’t go through I got to keep the $30K and put the house back on the market. We got a nicely written letter which was sweet but tbh, I wanted most I could get for my property with less things to worry about."