NewsPrice of Paradise


Price of Paradise: Home buying tips from a veteran realtor

Tips and tricks to buy a home
Realtor, Laura Bohannon-Myers.
Posted at 5:32 AM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 17:41:56-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The frustration of buying a home is real, and you're not alone. But unfortunately, the market is competitive, and losing out to better offers, for many, is becoming the norm.

ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska sat down with realtor Laura Bohannon-Myers with EXP Realty.

Bohannon-Myers said many people are moving to Florida from other parts of the country, like the Northeast, with cash to spend which prices locals out of the market.

"They're competing against everyone from California, from New York, from New Jersey from Chicago, everybody's coming down with a lot of cash and cash is king," Bohannon-Myers said.

But that doesn't mean you are out of the game. On the contrary, Bohannon-Myers said you could position yourself to outbid the competition.

"If you come at full price, you're never going to get the house, so that you know. I had an $800,000 house, buyers came in at full price, despite what I said, and the seller said, 'don't even bother.' We have offers that are well over $50,000 and $75,000 cash over asking."

Putting down 40%-50% should be the standard to outbid others. And, if your home budget is $250K, find a home at $200K to build in a cushion to bid over the asking price.

"Instead of waiting and selling your home get a HELOC, get a Home Equity Line of Credit, pull some money out of your house as much as you can," Bohannon-Myers said. "So, you can have more cash when you're going to buy the next house. So it's something that if you're not in a position where you can't carry two mortgages, it's a great cheat to be able to buy a better house."

Find a great lender and see what your best options are.

"I can't tell you the stacks of offers that we have on all of these homes, and really the cash is accepted first, then conventional, FHA and VA. And, I love my VA buyers; I have so many VA buyers but zero down, and their appraisals are a little bit more challenging, sometimes it puts you in a not as great position."

Bohannon-Myers said you could expect to pay higher interest rates on your mortgage if you wait to buy. So, the best option if you really want a home is to get in the game now.

"But cash forward is going to be your biggest thing, save a little bit, see if you can borrow some under different programs. There's money you can borrow for down payments. So there are some options."

Or try an emotional appeal to the seller.

"Write an emotional letter. Some people say don't do it. But I have probably, in this year, five of the houses that I've gotten under contract out of the multiples those fives in particular won because of the letter, and it wasn't the best offer," Bohannon-Myers said.

"When I leave a home, I know that the seller loves their home, and they want someone who loves it too. So that's important that they know that person's going to love their home."

Don't ask for repairs, closing costs, or any other concessions from the seller.

"Especially not in in the New Tampa Wesley Chapel area. South Tampa same, I'm even finding that in Brooksville," Bohannon-Myers said.


As Tampa Bay continues to attract new residents and businesses, the impact of living in paradise comes at a cost for all of us— from the increasing cost of housing and infrastructure to utilities and insurance. ABC Action News is committed to helping you and your family make the most of your money and navigate through the Price of Paradise.