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    A friend eyes the clock as she folds over a bike for a noon spin class at the downtown YMCA. A few hours ago, she learned about two houses that just came on the market in Germantown. When the class ends at 12:45, she’ll team up with a realtor to put in offers on both houses…by 2 that afternoon. She has been trying to purchase her first house for months with no luck. The good ones disappear — poof! No time to vacillate. Best to sprint through that pro/con list. 

    For a little more than a year, homes in the Highlands, Crescent Hill, St. Matthews, Clifton and even Germantown might pop up for sale midday, and, before lunch has digested, sellers have clinched a buyer. If it doesn’t happen in the first day, give it another 24 or 48 hours. Realtors say competition is the greatest for homes priced between $150,000 and $350,000. (I should note that other neighborhoods, like Hikes Point and Bashford Manor, have also nabbed more interest as families look for affordable residential neighborhoods beyond the trendy core.)

    In January, John Flower sold his 1,000-square-foot Crescent Hill bungalow for $220,000 in just a few hours one Sunday afternoon. He and his wife had bought it for $193,000 just three years before and completed a few cosmetic upgrades, but no drastic renovations. With an active toddler, the family needed more room. But Flower quickly realized his luck as a seller vanished as a buyer. “We largely had to throw out Crescent Hill, where we really wanted to stay,” Flower recalls. “The level we were looking at, there was literally next to nothing.” They wound up in Indian Hills. A few coats of paint and the place will be a gem, Flower says. 

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