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Companies buying large portfolios of homes in Jacksonville

8:52 PM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The local real estate market is heating up, and home buyers now have some new competition.

Investor groups are taking advantage of our real estate market and buying large portfolios of homes, then renting them out.

Jennifer Serrano and her family have been looking for the perfect home for the past six months. 

"I have seen it go from being a buyer's market, to now, it's pretty tough looking into buying a home," she said.

To add to the competition, buyers now have to beat out investment firms that are snapping up literally thousands of homes. These companies are some of the largest buyers of homes in Jacksonville.

"Yes they are. They can be anywhere from a number of one to hundreds," said Terri Rigdon, an agent at Exit Real Estate Gallery.  

She said there are positives: "They help revitalize some of the communities by purchasing these properties, getting them rented." 

And some possible negatives to the extra investors: "That can make the competition between the two for the purchase competitive and raise those prices."

It could be good for renters. Many of these investment firms, like American Home out of Malibu, Calif., focus on renovating and leasing homes long-term. County records show they have been busy in Duval County. We found 28 pages of transactions in public records since last June. 

"They're really looking, targeting move-in properties right now," Rigdon added.

Some of these companies offer investors a chance to get in the landlord game without actually being a landlord. Think of it as a mutual fund that includes a portfolio of rental properties. 

It's called a real estate investment trust, a REIT. Keeping families like the Serranos in the competitive spirit as they look to buy their new home. 

"I don't like it, but that's because I'm looking to buy the home," Serrano said.

The reason some of these companies are beating out traditional buyers is because they buy with cash and can close in a matter of days.

First Coast News

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