The local housing market is hot and is benefitting sellers. Almost as quickly as a seller lists their home, it sells and often at the listed price or more.
Dan Krieter of Rockford was able to sell his former home and get into his new home in a timely basis. His new home is his second time as a buyer and his first as a seller. He said that the process of selling went so quickly, he was pressed to find a place to move.
“Once our home was sold, there was a great deal of pressure to find a home in time before we were forced to find a temporary housing situation,” Krieter said. “There was nowhere near the pressure to find a home as there was the first time back in 2016.”
He added that their home sold on Sept. 2 and they are scheduled to close on their new home on Oct. 9. His house was sold in a near-record time of three days. In that time, he received seven offers and they eventually sold at higher than the asking price. The buying process did not go as smoothly with offering more than $20,000 more than the list price and still losing the bid.
Krieter’s wish list was not outlandish either. He and his wife were looking for a pretty standard home with three bedrooms, a garage, a basement and not older than 45 years old. He said while they were fairly flexible in what community they resided in, as long as they were happy with the neighborhood and the school district. He does offer advice for potential homebuyers in this competitive market.
“I would suggest to anyone looking to buy a home to put your best offer in on a potential home right away,” Krieter suggested. “It is heartbreaking to have a home you love slip through your fingers.”
Like Krieter, Tara Fuller is in the market for a new home. Unlike Krieter, however, she has not been able to secure a new place to hang her hat. Fuller, of Belding, has been looking for a home anywhere between Belding and Lansing to accommodate her husband’s work commute. As a mortgage underwriter, she said that the housing market is the same all over the area.
After completing some projects on her Belding home, she listed it and it sold in a matter of a week. She sold in June and she has put in three offers since that time. Two of the three offers resulted in her being outbid and the third, she has yet to hear anything even with offering more than the asking price, which she said, “in this line of work, is insane to even think about.” For the time being, she and her husband are staying in their camper in a campground until they find the right home for them.
“We started out our search for a new home wanting a five-bedroom, 2-bath home,” Fuller said. “We have since narrowed it down to a three-bedroom, 2-bath since there are so few homes within the price range I would like to stay in. I do prefer to have a ‘newer’ home than I had before and have it move-in ready.”
Having been in the mortgage business since 1993, Fuller has seen several housing market changes in almost 30 years. That said, she commented that this is the busiest she has been as an underwriter, especially picking up steam in March or April.
For other potential homebuyers, Fuller offers advice from both the standpoint of a homeowner and as a mortgage underwriter. She suggests that shoppers should be wise about what they spend and not take out a loan to cover costs and to maintain employment and hours as to when first qualified for a mortgage. She also said that she has been searching for listings multiple times a day, every day and that she keeps regular contact with her agent.
“Save as much money as you possibly can while you’re looking for a home,” Fuller said. “That way, you will have the funds for closing and some extra if you need to make any home improvements.”
Tori Ensing has been a realtor since 2016 and she has been fortunate to work in a strong local housing market in those four years. She has, however, seen for the first time houses selling at 100 percent of their listed selling price in August of this year. She said compared to last year, a seller typically topped out around 97 percent of their asking price.
Based out of Greenville at Five Star Realty, Ensing works with clients within an hour-drive time radius of her home. She typically works with clients from Montcalm, Ionia and Kent counties but she sometimes works with Newaygo County residents as well. She echoed the sentiments of Krieter and Fuller when it comes to clients looking for their home.
“It can be pretty devastating,” Ensing said of finding a home. “They have written multiple offers, they are fully approved, they are doing everything right and they are still not able to secure something.”
One thing Ensing suggests for a potential homeowner is to consider searching a little outside of a specific community into more rural areas. She recently worked with a couple who originally wanted to buy a house in the City of Greenville but due to a lack of listings that met their parameters, they purchased a home in Orleans and are still within a reasonable driving distance for their jobs.
Ensing also recommends that potential home buyers go into the process knowing that it will take time and that it can be a trying process of finding exactly what they want and what meets their needs. A benefit of record low mortgage rates is that home buyers can stretch their budgets a bit more and get into a home they might not otherwise have been able to afford.
In addition to the time it takes to possibly sell and find the right home to buy, a home buyer and seller has to consider the time it takes to close the sale of a house. The low mortgage rates and COVID has slowed this part of the process as well.
“The mortgage side of things is really slow because the rates are so low,” Ensing said. “A lot of people are refinancing and title companies are really slow too. Normally, you could kind of say 30 days from an offer being approved, closing would take place. Since COVID, I have not closed one in 30 days, they are taking weeks longer.”
While spring and summer are typically faster-moving real estate times, Ensing said that things have not slowed even with the start of school. She still suggests to sellers to consider listing in the winter because there is less competition for buyers because life-changing events that require a move do not stop for the seasons.