Spring 2019 Grand Rapids price update



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2019 has gotten off to an incredible start as far as our Grand Rapids real estate market is concerned. There has been a surge of buyer demand from millennials entering our market nationwide, and this is great news for anyone thinking of selling this year. In fact, according to Odeta Kushi, the senior economist for First American Financial Corporation, 2019 is set to be even more lucrative on this front than we’ve observed in the recent past. That’s because the “largest cohort of millennials [will soon be] entering peak household formation and home-buying age,” says Kushi. This will have a massive impact on buyer demand across the nation. Yet, despite all of this positive news, the rumors that we’re in a housing bubble aren’t without some truth. I don’t want to alarm you, but I do want to make something clear: There is no time like the present. The opportunity to earn the best possible deal for your home has not yet passed, but it will soon—possibly sooner than we think. The SP CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows that price growth (which has been monumentally strong for several years) is slowly but surely losing steam. Don’t let recent talk of a market slowdown scare you off from seizing this opportunity. Experts like Nick Ron (CEO of Home Buyers of America) agree that selling this year will yield far better results than doing so in years to come. Why? There are a couple of crucial reasons: 1. Rates are still historically low. Sitting at or slightly below 5% on average across markets nationwide, today’s rates are still incredible when compared to what buyers could obtain in the past. It’s also worth noting that rates are still rising, and won’t stop any time soon. Because of this, buyers are eager to lock in a low rate while they still can. This gives sellers an incredible amount of leverage. 2. Supply is down. After hearing rumors of a supposed market slowdown, many would-be sellers are choosing to hold off on pursuing their real estate goals. Yet for any sellers savvy enough to see the “bigger picture,” this means just one (very important) thing: less competition. It’s simple supply and demand—the fewer competing sellers there are in our market, the better chance you’ll have at selling quickly and for top dollar. Of course, these reasons only scratch the surface of what’s happening now. There are many other exciting developments taking place in our Grand Rapids market, specifically. What does this all mean for you? It means now is the time to act if you’re thinking of selling. Delaying much longer could cost you dearly. The good news, as I’ve already indicated, is that our market remains strong for now. If you get off the fence soon, you will still have the chance to sell quickly and for top dollar. If you’re thinking of selling, I encourage you to take a look at what your home is currently worth by using this free home value calculator, which takes into account recent Grand Rapids sales: Enter your home address here to find out what your home is currently worth This calculator will offer a decent estimate of your home’s value, but if you’re serious about maximizing your results, don’t hesitate to reach out for an in-person consultation. I'd love the opportunity to give you an even better idea of what you could earn for your home. I’m very familiar with our national and local market, and would be happy to help you make the most of this opportune moment in real estate. If you’re ready to take advantage of current conditions while they last, please give me a call.


Tips to Help Make Your Final Walk-Through Count


Before you close on your home, here are a few tips to help make your final-walkthrough count.  

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If you’re a homebuyer, the final-walkthrough is an important part of the process that you need to know how to navigate. What is the final walk-through? The final walk-through is the buyer’s final opportunity to walk through the home and check it out before the official closing. This happens after the offer has been accepted and the inspection is done. Final walk-throughs are always a good idea. Why? If the last time you saw the home was two weeks ago, it might not be in the same condition today as it was then. As sellers move out, they take things off the walls and move furniture around, and certain issues you didn’t see during the inspection might be revealed during this time.

 Final walk-throughs are always a good idea.


With that in mind, here are three tips to help make your final walk-through count:

1. Don’t wait until the day of the closing to do the walk-through. By that time, if you find an issue you’d like the seller to take care of, it will be too late. Instead, do the walk-through a day or two in advance of the closing so you have time to reflect on whether any issues you find are worth bringing to the seller’s attention.

2. Use your phone to check the outlets during the walk-through. If you asked the seller to repair the outlets, this is an easy and effective way to know if they’re all working.

3. Watch out for any leftover belongings. State in your purchase agreement which items you’d like the seller to remove prior to closing. If you find any of these items during the walk-through, have your agent add an addendum to the contract and ask the seller to remove those items again. Hold off on the closing if you need to. You can also work out a dollar arrangement where the seller will pay for someone to remove the items for you. If you have any questions about this topic or you have any other real estate needs I can take care of, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.


Market Update


Today I’ve got two things to bring to your attention: First, an update on our market and then a recap of an interesting article I recently read entitled “Older Homeowners Are Preventing Millennials From Buying Houses.” 

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Let’s begin with an update on our year-to-date market conditions for 2019.
The average sales price for 2019 has gone up to $233,000; that’s a 16% increase from last year. Our absorption rate—the number of available homes—is the biggest challenge we have in our market right now. Active listings have gone up 10% since last year, which is a good thing to see, given that it’s only February. If that trend continues, homebuyers will have more options in the market this year than they did in 2018.
As I said before, our lack of inventory is the biggest challenge we’re facing in our market, and this is what The Washington Post article I recently read addresses—what’s the root cause of our dearth of inventory? Entitled “Older Homeowners Are Preventing Millennials From Buying Houses,” the article tacks some of the blame for this issue on the older generation. According to a study by Freddie Mac, senior homeowners (baby boomers and war babies) are staying in their homes longer. The reason cited for this is something called “the lock-in effect.” These homeowners are in love with their current mortgage interest rates and are loathe to give them up in search of a new home.
Perhaps there are some other factors at play here. Maybe senior homeowners are living longer because they’re more healthy and they don’t want to go to an assisted living center. This would allow them to stay in their homes longer.


 Senior homeowners are in love with their current mortgage interest rates and are loathe to give them up in search of a new home.

Other studies suggest that it’s not just the activities of older homeowners to blame for the housing shortage for millennials. Here are three I’ve come across in my research:

1. Student debt. There is $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the US right now.

2. High rent. Increasing rents prevent millennials from saving up for a down payment on a home.

3. Millennials are having kids and getting married later. These life events are typical triggers for homebuyers, but since they’re happening later, it’s reflected in the market.

To learn more about this issue, you can read the full article here.


If you’re thinking of selling your home or would like more information about our current market conditions, you can always reach out to me. I’m here to help.