GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — When Janelle Mergan and her family planned to sell their Grand Rapids house and move to Kansas, their realtor assured them it would sell fast.
It did. Within four days, there were 52 showings and multiple offers. The winning bid was well over asking price and waived the inspection.
"Knowing and moving out of state knowing we don’t have to live somewhere else, and worry about the house still on the market, is a sigh of relief," said Mergan.
Angela Worth, a real estate agent with Bellabay Realty, sold their house. She said the current market is much, much different than in years past. Basically, there just is not enough inventory. With about half as few houses on the market than a typical year, there are still as many, if not more, buyers looking for their home.
"I had the first open house in a year," said Worth. "We had a line out the door of people trying to get in because you can only let two households inside at a time."
So for the Mergens, the time was perfect to sell their home and make a great return on investment. However, for someone looking to buy a home right now, the odds are not in their favor.
"I had a colleague who had a home he listed for $220,000," said Worth. "He had 120 showings on it in the weekend and 58 offers. So, you can you imagine as a buyer, knowing you’re going up against 57 other individuals who want the same house, it can be very heartbreaking."
In Grand Rapids, the median sale price of a home is $239,000. At the start of 2020, the median price was just $175,000. Most of the time, the home remains on the market for less than a week; 18 months ago, homes could stay on the market for nearly four weeks.
Worth said buyers typically have to make six to ten offers before one is accepted or even in the top three. These days, there are often unique offers, like above asking price and waiving the inspection. She said homes below $250,000 are very hard to come by on the current market.
"And if people want to build," said Worth. "Product is super expensive and its hard to even get builders to schedule you in the next year."
She does have some tips for those selling and buying. For sellers, still clean up and update the home before opening for showings. Even though the market is hot for sellers, Worth said it's important to still make the home look as nice as it can be.
For buyers, Worth recommends:
- Patience. It can take some time in this market to find the perfect home and win the bid.
- Get pre-approved before even starting to look, so sellers will take that offer seriously compared to many others.
- Shift some must-haves and find compromise.
- If it is not possible to compromise, consider waiting until the fall to house hunt.
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