Real estate has been all over the news the last couple of months. Due to the pandemic, people spent more time than ever in their homes over the last year. They've had to adapt to working from home and physical distance to work became less important. Many people are wanting more space and privacy. Combine that with super low interest rates, and there is huge demand for housing right now. The Covid policy of mortgage forbearance caused even less homes to hit the market than normal. Mortgage forbearance means payments are temporarily suspended for anyone who cannot pay their mortgage with no threat of foreclosure. We've already been facing inventory issues the last few years, so these factors have only exacerbated our problem.
The greater Grand Rapids area hit historically low inventory levels the last four months straight. Refer to the chart below to see the changes in inventory levels over the last seven years. Inventory is a measure of whether the market is a buyer or seller's market. This number is determined by figuring how long it would take to sell through the current number of homes on the market at the current rate they are selling, assuming no new houses hit the market. 5-6 months of inventory is considered a balanced market. In March and April this year, we only had 0.5 months of housing inventory, an extreme sellers market.
Could your countertops use some updating? Do you want to make a huge impact for very little cost? Painting your countertops may be the way to go.
On occasion, I have seen countertops that have obviously been painted and do not look good. As with any project, it needs to be done with quality materials and workmanship. There are many different styles to choose from ranging from granite to butcher block. My friends Matt and Kaitie decided to tackle this project in their kitchen and it turned out amazingly well.
Real estate activity often slows surrounding the holiday season and into winter, especially in areas that get a lot of snow. Many people prefer not to move in winter if they can avoid it. There are always buyers out there and our local real estate market is still very hot, but typically the winter months are not as crazy competitive as the rest of the year. Is it really a good idea to buy a home in the winter? It depends on what your personal situation and priorties are, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to buying in the winter season.
This is a guest article written by Paul Denikin with www.dadknowsdiy.com. Paul shares his knowledge to help homeowners tackle projects on their own. Thanks for your contribution, Paul!
Thinking of sprucing up your home? With a little elbow grease and creativity, you can add some personal flair to your humble abode. Not to mention that with a few simple changes, you can increase your home’s value! Here are some great ideas you can tackle yourself, and tips for knowing when you’re getting in too deep.
For the last three years, the real estate market has held steady with almost identical monthly inventory levels. In true 2020 fashion, this year isn't following suit. While 2020 continues to be a hot seller's market, the monthly inventory levels have been quite different this year.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of inventory numbers, let's look at some general information first. The number of sales is actually down 5.2% compared to last year, but volume is up slightly by 0.6%. High demand for housing and lack of inventory continue to drive up prices. The average sale price so far this year is $263,338, an 8.3% increase above last year. Interest rates have helped keep demand high. Rates are at an all-time low, and are currently about 2.9% for 30-year loans and 2.5% for a 15 year.
This is a guest article written by Patrick Young with Ableusa.info. Able USA provides lots of valuable resources for people living with disabilities. Thanks for your contribution Patrick!
Buying your first house is a landmark moment. It’s also a major investment, so you want to make sure you spend your money wisely. Finding an affordable home if you have accessibility needs can be extra challenging. According to Pew Research, Americans with disabilities earn less, with a median income of $21,572 compared to the $31,871 earned on average by those without a disability. However, by teaming up with Lisa Vanderloo, and with some effort and financial savvy, you can find a first-time home you love — and can afford. Follow these tips for first-time buyers.
**Update: As of Thursday, May 7th, 2020 real estate is back to work with new safety restrictions**
Since the governor extended the stay at home order, it will be a while before we get back to functioning normally. If you were planning to buy or sell soon, you are probably curious about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected real estate.
Real estate agents are not allowed to travel for work and can only work remotely. Buyers looking at homes is considered non-essential travel. This means no meeting clients in person and no looking at houses. The good news is that inspectors, lenders, and title companies are still functioning normally, aside from modifications for proper social distancing. Transactions in process had minimal interruptions as long as buyers were still working. Layoffs have caused some problems though.
There is something about dolls that is inherently scary. It has to be the be the blank staring. The middle doll here is a great example. To amplify the terror, the dolls eyes are an eerie glowing green color. I guess their eyes can fade with sun exposure. To me, it looks like the doll wants to steal my soul. Pro tip- hide the dolls when you sell your house. Enjoy the photos below.
Location is usually the most important thing to someone looking for a home. So how do you know whether a particular location is a good place to live? Can I just ask my Realtor?
Due to fair housing laws, there are a lot of questions Realtors cannot answer. The answer is subjective to each person's own experiences and expectations. Anything referring to the ages of people, racial make up, or safety of a neighborhood is off limits. Although we may not be able to answer a specific question, we can help guide buyers to information to form their own conclusions.
The first thing I recommend to buyers is to go through a neighborhood at different times of the day to get a feel for it. The most important time is during rush hour to see traffic at its worst. The evening hours are great for catching neighbors out and about. I encourage buyers to talk to neighbors and ask questions.
So how's the market? It appears to be holding steady right now. The inventory of homes for sale is a little higher this year versus last, mainly due to softened buyer demand as prices have risen. It is still a seller's market and very competitive among buyers, but not quite to the extent of last year's spring market. I still regularly have buyers running into competitive situations with 10+ offers. Especially, in the $150-250k price range which has extremely high demand.
Interest rates also crept up over the last year to around 5%, but surprisingly, they came back down and are currently sitting around 4%. The number of new residential listings hitting the market is down by about 5% so far in 2019. Until this number starts to increase, our inventory will stay relatively low. Check out the chart below that illustrates the monthly inventory levels over the last five years.
Great info on everything real estate.