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'Absolutely awful': Young couples struggle to buy new homes in Central Georgia

Homes may stay on the market for 1-3 days and be bought by people who put 10K to 35K over the asking price in cash, putting young couples in a pinch.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — In today's market, younger couples are having a harder time than others to secure a home.

Nick and Erin Harris moved to Houston County just a year ago and they've been living in an apartment ever since, but it's always been one of their dreams to live in a family-friendly home.

The couple got married in October. At the beginning of the year, they started hunting for a home.

"Relieved now that the searching is over, because the searching has been absolutely awful," said Erin.

The Harris' closed and moved into their new home Wednesday, but it wasn't easy.

"We've looked at houses, at least three houses every week for at least the last two months. We've put in offers 7-8 times," said Nick.

Real estate agents say homeowners list their home and dozens of offers often come flooding in within hours. Homes may stay on the market for one to three days, and be bought by people who put $10,000-$35,000 over the asking price, in cash, putting young couples in a pinch.

"Honestly, it's almost discouraging, because we don't have the ability to do that. We are not as established as other couples or even singles who have had time to build those types of resources. It's also frustrating to see a place, be able to envision ourselves in it and put down the best offer that we can, and it not be accepted," said Nick.

Century 21 Homes and Investments real estate agent Helen Hunt says Houston County is also a "desirable place to live."

"It's getting more competitive. We are not seeing it slow down at all. We are seeing buyers that don't have money to pay their own closing costs or don't have money to go over asking," said Hunt.

"We were competing with not only our own age group or general situation, we are also competing against people who have raised their family and want to move into something smaller. They are able to put down cash, and living in a military area, we are competing in an area with people who are moving in from other areas who have already sold that previous home and have more money," said Erin.

Hunt also says they have several people looking to sell, but can't get into apartments, so they are buying RVs and also waiting to buy.

"We were always optimistic, but always just planned for the worst. We would put an offer for a house and then look at two more that day. We never expected to have an offer accepted, so that way when it wasn't, we weren't as discouraged," said Nick.

The Harris' said they would not be in their new home if it wasn't for their realtor who found it for them off-market.

Their real estate agent, Shelley Six-Mays with Southern Classic Relators, says there are programs to help young couples with down payment costs, etc. She told them about USDA and Georgia Dream.

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