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Archive for January, 2013

Breaking News!

A housing recovery is underway in West Michigan.  Although many in the real estate community have had their eyes glued to the numbers to monitor the trends for almost a year, the mounting evidence is now clearly evidenced.  In numbers released for January 2013, the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS chronicles what many real estate professionals have experienced over the past year…there has been a significant shift for the better in the real estate market for West Michigan.

What do the Numbers say?

1.  A 10% increase in average Home Sales price from 2011 to 2012 highlights the improvement.  ($120,404 in 2011 vs. $132,676 in 2012)

2.  Inventory levels are way down.  2011 averaged only 4 months supply of inventory the entire year.  This was in stark contrast to 2008 when Inventory levels reached all time highs of 13.3 months of Supply.

3.  New Listings are also down dramatically by almost 40%.

5.  The average number of Current Listings dropped below 4,000 in 2012.  A huge decline from the high of 10,924 in 2007 and the lowest number of listing in the system since 2003.

What should you do?

Well, if you’re comfortable in your home and have a terrific interest rate, it is good to know that things are getting better and you can worry a little less about your home continuing to experience a precipitous decline in value.  If you haven’t refinanced, you might want to take a look at if this makes sense for you as interest rates are already starting to creep up a little.

If you have been wanting to move and didn’t think you could…assess again.  Give us a call at 616-791-0511 to have a FREE detailed analysis e-mailed to you with a potential listing range.  You might be pleasantly surprised to find out what your home value is today.   What’s the difference between our report and Zillow or Trulia?  Well, for starters, our data is gleaned from real estate professionals who are actually selling homes and closing transactions daily.  We live and work in West Michigan and know the market.  Our expert analysis is not just an algorithm of compiled data, but gives you the benefit of professional experience in our marketplace.

Don’t wait until everyone else figures out that NOW is a good time to sell.  Get a jump on the market place and make the most of the improved housing market.  Below is a graphic snapshot of the West Michigan market courtesy of data obtained from Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS MLS database.

Housing Recovery Underway in West Michigan - Grand Rapids Area

Housing Recovery Underway in West Michigan – Grand Rapids Area

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Coins in a Glass JarCold air…if you’re in West Michigan right now, it’s definitely on your mind.  You’re either enjoying it on a snowmobile or skis or trying to defend and protect against it by bundling up in winter clothing and making sure there are no insulation gaps allowing any drafts to enter your home.  When it comes to your home, we all know that cold air can be a thief…sending those utility heating and gas bills sky high when allowed to enter unhindered.

So, why is it that the same homeowners who will insulate and bundle up to protect against the elements invading the home seem ambivalent and sometimes down right ignorant about the prospect of allowing a litany of intruders steal their profits when it comes time to sell their West Michigan home?

Like cold air, these thieves will pick your pockets and the worst part of the problem is most people don’t seem to realize what’s happening – often losing thousands of dollars superstitiously.  Let’s take a look at some of the worst offenders.

1.  Putting your home on the market too early.

Real estate agents who show homes often run into home owners who are simply not ready to show their homes.  Yes, they have listed their homes and had the home advertised for sale on every conceivable medium, but when the call comes in from a ready, hot prospect…the home owner is simply not ready!  Unbelievable but true!

Agents have gotten accustomed to informing eager buyers that unfortunately, the home they wanted to look at and possibly buy is not available today.  And…then prepare to show another home.  It is impossible to calculate how much these missed opportunities have cost home owners who are simply not ready to market their homes.  As an agent, I would estimate that approximately 5-7% of homes we have sold were sold with just ONE showing.  What if our clients had not been ready?

2.  Leaving those small repair jobs for the next home owner…

It’s easy to fail to notice little things.  Especially when you’ve grown accustomed to these minor irritations and learned to ignore them.  You know, the little leak in the faucet, the scratches and dents, the worn out paint job, the grease stain on the carpet, the grimy cabinet doors, the little stain over the area which you patched when the roof leaked…

But, the issue with stuff like this is it almost NEVER looks ‘little’ to the potential buyer who is contemplating spending several thousands of dollars to purchase your home.  All these ‘little’ things begin to add up to BIG dollars.  After all, they’re not sure what else might turn up underneath the initial ‘little’ repair.  When buyers make offers, they will often deduct several multiples of the amount required to make the repair in the initial offer or ask for larger dollar amounts to repair it themselves.  In this way, homeowners unwittingly give away thousands of dollars for repairs which may have taken just a few dollars and some elbow grease.

Don’t allow ‘little’ repairs to shave off hundred or thousands of dollars from a potential offer.  Make your repairs before you place your home on the market and make sure your home is ready and poised to fetch the top dollar.

3.  Not understanding the Over-Pricing Penalty…

Yes, there is such a thing.  Several years ago, I saw some statistics about the cost of over-pricing a home in our West Michigan area. In data obtained from the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS which tracked the impact of homes which were priced above the market and what they sold for compared to competitively priced homes, it was clear that not only did over-priced homes take longer to sell, on the average they sold for 15-20% less than they would have sold for had they been priced correctly to start with.  In fact, these homes on the average eventually sold for LESS than similar homes which were priced correctly for the market.

So, in this way, home owners lost hundred and sometimes thousands of dollars, not to talk about the waste of time and effort.  There is a penalty for over-pricing your home.  Avoid paying it.  If you suspect that you have made this mistake, make haste to remedy the situation.  Take an honest appraisal of your home.  If this proves to be difficult, ask a friend or colleague to give you their honest opinion.  Or perhaps, re-visit the recommendation of your real estate agent and then adjust your price downward immediately by at least 7% and hope that you are able to stop the slide.  This is one situation in which even a late adjustment can stop money from drifting out your door unhindered.

If you’d like to know about more ways to save money when selling your West Michigan home, please contact us.  (616-791-0511)  We can also advise on the current market value of your home.

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Buying a HomeWhile competition is a fact of life, you may not have been expecting to find yourself in one…or two or three bids competing to purchase the home of your dreams.

But, that’s precisely the situation that some West Michigan home buyers currently face as they strive to complete a successful bidding process in  a market which has significantly reduced inventory levels.

What’s going on you ask?  Wasn’t it just a few short years ago that housing inventory levels were 13 and 14 months supply?  Yes, that’s true.  That was then…this is now.

Today, inventory levels are  down below an average of 4.5 months for the past several months.  This restriction in available homes for sale has created some interesting bidding wars for unsuspecting buyers.  Read more about the current ‘SHIFT” in the market

What can you do if you find yourself competing for your next home purchase?  Here are some tips:

1.  Do your research.  

Have your REALTOR prepare a housing market comparison report for your area and neighborhood PRIOR to tendering an offer.

2.  Make sure your financing is set.

If you are paying CASH, have the ability to prove you have the money.  If you will be taking out a mortgage, get a full pre-approval with a lender from the Lender stating that you are able to qualify for the mortgage required on the home you are bidding on.

3.  Be prepared to move fast.

You may not be aware of how much interest a property is getting when you go through it.  If you are really interested in a home, have your REALTOR put you on alert to notify you of any changes in the terms, price or condition of sale.

4.  Know what your limits are.

Don’t allow the frenzy of the situation pull you off your market.  Set your personal limits while you have a cool head and can make an intelligent decision about what works for you.  Then stick with it.  I have always told my clients that if a home is for you…it will be yours.  And if it isn’t, there’s something better around the corner.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of hugs for happy clients…many who missed out on their first deal and found a better one just around the corner!

Please contact us when you’re ready to move forward in the home search.

More reading on real estate curve ball tips:

*When you’re told you paid more than your home is worth.

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