By Alex Veiga, AP Real Estate Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Melissa Hughett and her husband set out to buy their first home in the best buyer's market in years, confident they would land a deal within a few months.
The couple put offers on several homes, but lost them all to rivals who weren't offering more money — just a lot more cash.
"Each time somebody came in and put $100,000 down in cash and scooped up the property or they had enough money to pay for the whole property in cash," said Hughett, 30. "It's agonizing."
Would-be homebuyers, armed only with financing, are competing with real estate investors with the means to pay for a home in cash. Often, the all-cash buyers are edging out everyone else, leaving many frustrated at a time when lower prices and tax incentives favor buyers.
The market scuffle is happening primarily over heavily discounted foreclosed homes and other properties typically less than $300,000, or even well below $100,000 in some markets. These homes are attractive to investors seeking a good return and first-time buyers looking for an affordable home.
Although getting financing for heavily damaged foreclosures can be difficult, there's still a healthy competition. Ultimately, cash is king.