CALEDONIA, Mich. — Furloughed workers aren't the only ones hindered when it comes to buying a home during a government shutdown.
"We don't know how long this is going to last," said Ethan Leavitt, a real estate agent with Keller Williams. "A few more days, a week, a month. This is a big deal for a lot of people. It's really a wrench in their lives."
Rural development loans acquired through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's loan program are often used by home buyers in rural parts of West Michigan. Mortgage banker David Jackson says more buyers are looking outside the Grand Rapids city limits.
"People are finding more opportunities as you go further out - away from the city," Jackson said. "Once you do that, you fall into a loan product like this one with the USDA."
Jackson said the USDA loan is an attractive one with low down payments and favorable interest rates.
But, thanks to the weeks-long government shutdown, any scheduled rural development loan closing has been postponed indefinitely.
This isn't the first shutdown Jackson's worked through, but he said it's certainly lasting longer than the others.
"It's highly uncertain compared to times we've had in the past," Jackson said.
Leavitt's only worked as a realtor for a handful of years, he said this is the first time he's witnessed how the shutdown impacts the real estate market.
"We were actually supposed to close today on the sale of this property," Leavitt said from the front yard of his client's house on Jan 11, 2019.
"We can't close, they cant move, and the buyer can't come this direction and move in. She's coming from southern Illinois," Leavitt explained.
This isn't even the worst of it, though. Leavitt said those with a lease set to expire and a delayed house closing could end up without a home if the shutdown isn't resolved soon.