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Home prices are shattering records — especially in smaller cities. As a result, buyers can barely afford to blink or they risk losing the house they want.

Jennifer Steinzer and Garrett Farber wanted their first house to have a backyard for a dog and no stairs.

“We got a three story, no backyard and a cat,” Farber said. They got their home for $295,000 after being outbid on 10 other homes in Las Vegas.

When asked why she was willing to make so many sacrifices, Steinzer said, “Just to get our foot into a house and have a roof over our head.” 

When asked if this was their dream home, Steinzer and Farber said: “No, not at all.”

Desperate buyers, record-low interest rates, along with low inventory and cash-rich investors are driving prices up — nationally, 19% higher. But cities like Kingston, New York, are up 35%, Boise, Idaho, is up 33%, and Las Vegas is up 15%, according to the National Association of Realtors.

One 1,300-square-foot, one bath home in Tiburon, California, went for more than $2 million — 58% above the asking price.

A house that sold recently for $2,057,000, 58% above list price, in Tiburon, California.

Alan Dep

“If you’re putting in asking offers you’re automatically a loser,” Las Vegas realtor Mike McGrath said.

One of McGrath’s clients paid $45,000 above the listed price for a home in Henderson, Nevada.  

“They barely got in the house,” McGrath said. 

After getting outbid on 20 homes in Bozeman, Montana, Sean Hawksford resorted to wearing a sign on the street that read: “Please sell me your home.”

Sean Hawksford posing with a street sign after being outbid on 20 homes in Bozeman, Montana.

Sean Hawksford

“This guy happened to see me and happened to have a house for sale,” Hawksford said. “People shouldn’t have to literally beg for someone to sell them a house.”