- By Cheryl Grant, ABR, GRI, Re/Max Sunquest Realtor
If you live in the Grand Rapids area and listen to media reports, you’ve likely heard that housing prices are up and that inventory on the market is tight. But you may wonder whether that actually means it’s a good time to list.
The answer is as unique as you are! Every homeowner’s situation is different, and at CherylGrant.com, we’ll help you assess the right move. Here are a few tips to help you decide, but please contact us for a free home evaluation and assessment of whether the time is right for you!
How much have home values actually increased?
When the local real estate board, or the National Association of Realtors are estimating housing trends, they use averages, or sometimes median values. The Grand Rapids Association of Realtors estimated that the average home price rose 10.5% last year to $121,889. The National Association of Real Estate, which uses median values, has tracked values as increasing by 13.4% year over year in Grand Rapids, with the median value of $112,500. (In 2010 the median value was $91,500; in 2011 it was $99,500.) In it’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Grand Rapids is thus out-pacing the national average by about 3.4%.
According to Lawrence Yun, the chief economist of NAR, all the conditions for strong growth are at play because homes sales are on a sustained uptrend, mortgage interest rates are hovering near record lows, and unsold inventory is at the lowest level in 12 years.
If I wait to list, won’t values continue to increase?
While all predictions suggest continued growth in the real estate market for the foreseeable future, there are some phenomena that in some cases make this the best time to list. In some ways, that question depends on the type of area you’re presently living in, and what the neighborhood trends in real estate are. That’s where customized advice comes into play.
But in general terms, even if prices are higher a year from now, your odds of making a stronger sale do not necessarily increase.
Right now, the market inventory is “tight” – meaning there aren’t a lot of homes on the market to choose from. If you live in a desirable area and your home reflects good value for “condition, price and location,” you may find yourself with multiple offers, which drives up the net profit. If you wait, and more inventory comes on the market, your home will be up against stiffer competition.
At CherylGrant.com, we help homeowners be exceedingly competitive through professional staging advice, professional pictures for a superior online presentation, and aggressive marketing tactics that net high percentages of list price in the shortest selling window possible.
Whenever you’re ready to list, we’re ready to help you stand out in the marketplace.
If inventory is tight, won’t I have to pay more for a new house (if I sell my old home)?
Yes, possibly, you may. But your “net gain” over the long term may still be more advantageous, and a good Accredited Buyers Representative can help you make smart moves in the market by staying on top of the hottest listings as they hit the market.
For example, if you have adequate equity in your existing home now and you use it to purchase a home at a higher value in a conventional mortgage with a highly attractive interest rate, over the remaining life of your mortgage you will have paid less for the home you buy today than the home you might buy next year. In other words, the differential between the price increase of selling a lower priced house is negated by the comparative increase in a more expensive house over time.
Likewise, if you decide to downsize from a higher-value home, or seek an “empty nester” home such as a one-floor ranch, you will have shrunk your living costs sooner, even if it means you’ve received a possibly lower price than you might next year. Again, the individual answer depends on variables such as your mortgage rate, balance, taxes and other associated costs, plus your ultimate motivation to move.
But there’s still snow on the ground…shouldn’t I wait for the Spring market?
The people looking to buy homes in the Grand Rapids area during winter are not tire-kickers! They’re ready to buy, and don’t mind going out in the snow to find the right home. Homeowners who are savvy list their homes before the spring market blooms, thereby beating the competition! It’s one strategy that helps your home stand out! With our proven selling strategies, we sell as many – and sometimes more — homes in the “winter” season as any other season.
If you’re still not sure whether it’s the right time to list your home for sale in Grand Rapids, contact us for some individual advice on the conditions in your neighborhood and your unique real estate goals. We build long-term relationships with our clients so that we’re ready when they are to bring their home to market.