If you’ve tried to buy or sell a property in Steamboat over the last six months, you may have noticed the market is drastically different than it was just a few years ago. Multiple offers, bids over asking price, and properties that are selling in a matter of days or even hours, characterize a market that is highly competitive. Market activity in the first half of 2021 has been unprecedented in every category in total sales volume and number of transactions. “I’ve been licensed since 1992 and never seen anything like this before,” says Jill Limberg, Managing Broker, Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. With a large influx of buyers and not a lot of inventory, the market can be a little trickier to navigate. “It’s the old supply and demand situation,” she says.

While it’s clearly a seller’s market, opportunity for buyers still exist; it just takes a little more preparation and thoughtful strategy. Limberg shares a few tips for buyers, sellers, and first-time buyers for ways to stay in the race in this fast-paced market.


As a buyer, one way you can position yourself better if you need a loan is by getting pre-approved, which is different than being pre-qualified. When you go through a pre-approval process, the lender will then write a letter you can attach with your offer. It shows you’ve already gone through process with the lender and the only thing the lender needs is a contract that’s signed by both parties. As a seller, check with your listing agent to understand the offers you receive. If it’s not a cash offer, you can verify if your best offer is from a buyer who has been pre-approved with a lender.

Terms vs. price.

Because most of these deals involve multiple offer situations, buyers have to be prepared to potentially pay more than the asking price. Buyers have to get their ducks in a row and know exactly what their cap is and how far they can go. Can they make up the difference in cash? Are they going to borrow money from a relative, or take out a loan to make up difference? Buyers are pulling out all the stops. Sellers should determine what’s most important to them – price or terms. Sometimes, the best offer isn’t necessarily over asking price. It can be a quick closing, few contingencies, or no appraisal.

Speaking of terms.

In order to stay competitive in multiple offer situations, buyers are offering to pick up costs that traditionally, the seller would be responsible for, such as title commitment, surveys, and inspections. Less is more when it comes to contingencies. Buyers who are willing to waive inspections can still rely on the termination clause that’s standard in most contracts and get inspection completed after the offer has already been accepted. That way, they have the ability to terminate the contract if it turns out there is something major wrong with the property. The bottom line is, often sellers are going to go for the buyer with the fewest demands.

Pay to play.

Anticipating a multiple-offer situation, buyers are putting escalation clauses into their contracts. The clause will state what the buyer is willing to pay—say, $5,000 more than the next highest offer—up to a set amount (for example, up to $475,000). Now that multiple offer situations also involve multiple buyers with escalation contracts, sellers then have to look at what the cap is. The seller is likely going to go with the higher cap, as long as that offer has fewer contingencies. Sellers should consider the offer price, escalation clause, inspection, survey, appraisal contingencies, and pick the offer that makes sense for what’s most important to them.

What about first-time buyers?

The fact is, first-time buyers can be at a disadvantage because they are often trying to get into the market with little money down, and when you’re competing with people who have cash to put down, it’s hard to stay competitive. A lot of first-time buyers are getting FHA loans and VA loans, but those programs have some rules; there are certain costs that the seller is required to pay, and that can be problematic in a multiple offer situation. That said, it’s certainly not impossible. Another strategy for first-time buyers is to invest in a community outside of Steamboat to build equity. Even though we are seeing multiple offer situations in Oak Creek and Hayden as well, it’s still more affordable and your money goes further. It’s really important for first time buyers to sit down with a Broker who can educate them on what they’re getting themselves into, so they are best prepared.

A heyday for sellers. 

Even though it’s undeniable that sellers are holding most of the cards in today’s market, we are starting to see some resistance in the market to these unprecedented prices. Price reductions are happening when sellers get too overzealous. You can never price your property too low because you’re going to see multiple-offer situations and get what you hoped for anyway. Sellers need to be prepared for multiple-offer situations and know they are going to have a lot to consider in order to pick the right buyer. Even though buyers are waiving inspections, sellers still need to disclose any major issues. Because so many buyers are paying over ask and giving up contingencies, we’re seeing an uptick in buyers’ remorse. As a seller, make sure you disclose everything you know about the house, even it seems unimportant, so you’re doing right by the buyer. And as a buyer, remember that by giving up some of your rights to get the deal done, you may run into issues you and the seller aren’t aware of that you will need to be prepared for after closing.

At the end of the day…

Navigating today’s real estate market is exceptionally difficult for both buyers and sellers. Now more than ever, it’s of utmost importance to buy or sell property with a real estate professional. livingsteamboatsprings.com