It’s been a pretty nice summer in West Michigan! There’s been more rain than normal which has sustained beautiful green lawns and fairly temperate weather. The other summer tradition which we have all come to expect is road construction.
With the harsh winters in Michigan, the roads take quite a beating with all the salt and sand poured on them to provide traction against slippery conditions. So summer is when we repair and renovate. Which also translates to possible travel delays as traffic is routed into single lanes. So depending on where you are in the traffic pattern, you might be having a uniquely different experience than a fellow driver on the other side of the expressway.
That pretty much sums up the picture with regard to the real estate market in Grand Rapids, Mi as well. The Spring market has had some unique peculiarities this year. Last year’s Home Buyer Tax Credit artificially increased home sales and subsequently, housing sales are lower this year than at the same time 12 months ago. However, a comparison to 2008 and 2009 numbers shows that home sales have actually improved from the crisis that occurred in the wider economy at that time.
This Spring, we’ve witnessed a number of homes which have been on the market for some time receive offers and close. Investors are purchasing properties at bargain rates in the case of distress sales. The volume of homes sold through Short Sales has hovered between the 40 – 45% range which is lower than many areas of the State. Over the past six months, the second home and high end market has experienced some improvement and some area banks are offering good incentives for individuals involved in certain sectors of the healthcare industry.
There are a few distinct traits that characterize the process of successful sales. These are:
1. Correct Pricing
The market determines the value of the home. Distress sales have been a factor in pushing sales values in a downward direction. However, there is an increasing appreciation by many home buyers of the VALUE of a home which is not encumbered by a lengthy closing/negotiation process. And increasingly, there is a premium that home buyers are willing to pay to avoid potential costly delays.
Selling and/or buying a home today requires flexibility and patience. The more options you keep open, the more likely you are to obtain your goal. Home owners who are not maxed out on their mortgage have more flexibility for negotiation. Delays need not be Deal Killers if both parties can adapt to the obstacle course which can be a part of some Short Sale negotiations. Adopting a more relaxed approach towards the process removes a high degree of stress and allows clear minds to prevail.
3. Check Things Out before You Buy…
Although it may not be possible to know everything about a purchase, the importance of a home inspection should not be underestimated. No home will be perfect. Knowing as much as possible is important in the negotiation process. Yes, this may create some delays, but it’s better to have a slow down in traffic as the system routes you through an obstacle course than to have a complete shut down due to an avoidable accident.