ORLANDO, Fla. — “It’s definitely a different world if you’re looking to buy a house right now, whatever you knew previously is out the window,” said Orlando resident Tatiana Rivera. She and her husband David Rivera have been looking for a new home now for months. 

What You Need To Know

  •  Real estate agents say low inventory and high demand have created a sellers market in Florida 

  •  Information from Florida Realtors shows that the median price of homes and condos is up 16% over last year

  • Buyers like Tatiana and David Rivera say finding a new home has become a full-time job

When the pandemic first hit, home sales slowed to a crawl. But over the past four months, real estate agents in the Sunshine State say there is little inventory and plenty of buyers snapping up property, dramatically turning the Central Florida area into a seller’s market. 

That's frustrating for home buyers who are finding the hunt for new homes growing harder every day. 

“It’s a lot, it’s a lot," Tatiana Rivera said.  

“So stressful,” David Rivera said, nodding in agreement. 

For the east Orlando residents, buying a new home has become a full-time job. 

“The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check to see if there are any new listings up," Tatiana Rivera said. "Because, if you’re not on top of it, then you’ve lost a house."

The pair have been house hunting through Orlando in search of a home for their family now for months. 

“You’re rushing, you have to be able to literally drop everything to go see a property because if you don’t, within an hour you’ll look at it at one of the apps and you’ll see 75 people have saved this house, multiple offer situation,” Tatiana Rivera said. 

They’ve expanded price, location and anything else that could help them get their offer noticed. 

“Every time we make an offer on something, it’s off the market or it’s $50,000 more than what they were asking," David Rivera said. "They’re instantly declining offers if you give them not as much as they want, it’s just ridiculous right now."

“People are wanting to get that home and they’re willing to do what it takes,” said Angela Jaspon, a realtor with Home Wise Realty Group. 

Jaspon has been helping Central Floridians buy and sell homes for more than 15 years. She's seen plenty of ups and downs with the market but said she hasn’t seen the local housing market this out of whack since the crash of 2008. 

“It’s just gotten really crazy because inventory is so low and prices just keep going up and up, we’re seeing multiple offers on every listing," Jaspon said. "So it’s become really difficult for our buyers."

Data from Florida Realtors shows home sales in the state are up, with the median price of both single-family homes and condos up 16% compared to this time last year

Jaspon has seen those price spikes first-hand, she said a neighbor's home that was bought for $670,000 a year and a half ago just sold for $950,000.

With low home inventory, buyers are switching away from personalized letters and trying new tactics to get a seller’s attention.

“Then it was release the appraisal contingency, then it was we’ll pay the difference, then it was no inspection," Jaspon said. "And now it is we are paying some of the seller’s closing costs. So that’s how you know the market is crazy."

A big part of the problem, Jaspon said, is a rush of people moving to Florida from out of state. 

“We have a lot of people relocating here — it’s still a very desirable place to live," she said. "The hardest people hit are the ones that are here full-time and have regular paying jobs, trying to keep up with these price increases."

That’s frustrating for buyers like the Rivera’s who are fighting daily to get their offers noticed. 

While some buyers are taking a break from the constant bidding, the Riveras are still holding out hope that soon they’ll succeed in this seller’s market and be able to buy a new home for their two kids to play in. 

“We’re definitely trying to stay optimistic but having to still deal with the real world variables of, it may not work in this time frame and if it doesn’t, then what?” Tatiana Rivera said.