When Is the Best Time to Buy or Sell a Home?




Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation


When is the best time to buy or sell a home? It’s an age-old question in real estate. Perhaps a better question is, “Is there a time that’s best for buying or selling?” 

Because so many factors are at play, there’s really no definitive answer. Let’s talk about what those determining factors are, starting with mortgage rates. 

Rates are constantly ebbing and flowing, so it’s important to be mindful of what they’re doing as you prepare to buy a home. There are all sorts of online mortgage calculators that can guide you through the process and won’t cost you anything to use. Simply search “free mortgage calculator” and once you find what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to plug in the approximate price range for the home you’re looking to purchase and get an idea of the current prevailing interest rates. 

Though it’s rarely talked about, it’s important to keep in mind that the prevailing interest rate will influence your monthly mortgage payment more than the price of the home itself. Many buyers assume that rising home values will have a bigger impact on their payment, but they’re mistaken—interest rates are the true driving force behind what you pay. Even if home prices are increasing by $10,000 or $20,000, it’s far less consequential than the interest rate attached to your loan. That means if rates are hovering in the high 3% or low 4% range, it’s time to jump into the market.  

Second, consider the fact that statistics only tell part of the story. What do I mean by that? When we’re trying to determine if it’s an optimal time in the market, we can use national, state, and county stats as a barometer, but we can’t forget that real estate is hyper-local. For that reason, we need to pay more attention to neighborhood- and area-specific data, and we should really limit our research to a particular region or metro area. Don’t base your understanding of what’s happening in the market on national media coverage. 


The bottom line is, the right time to buy a home has less to do with the market and more to do with your individual circumstances.

Finally (and most importantly), your personal circumstances matter. Beyond external factors like market conditions and interest rates, give careful thought to your specific situation. Do you need to move because of a job relocation? Do you want to quit renting and purchase your dream home? In the end, no matter where rates are at or how the market is behaving, when it’s time to move it’s time to move. The bottom line is, the right time to buy a home has less to do with the market and more to do with your individual circumstances. 

As we approach the fall selling season, I’d like to end by shattering some misconceptions about our seasonal market for all you sellers. The first common misconception is that buyers tend to stay out of the fall market, so it’s no use listing this time of year. In reality, between September and Thanksgiving, buyers enter the market by the flock in hopes of finding a home before the holidays. So long as the weather holds up, fall is actually the perfect time to sell. 

So if you listed your home this past spring or summer without success, consider re-listing your home this season. It may very well be your opportunity to get your home sold and for a great price while most other sellers sit this season out. 


If you have any questions or would like any real estate advice whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or email. I’ll talk to you soon!

Do You Know Your Home’s Value?


Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation


If you haven’t checked your home’s value in a while, here are the six reasons why you should do so more regularly:

1. Get rid of your private mortgage insurance (PMI). If you don’t put down at least 20% for your mortgage, you’ll have PMI attached to your loan. After a certain time, though, you can get this removed, but that starts with knowing your home’s value. This can save you up to $90 per month. 

2. Make sure your homeowners insurance covers the full value of your property. If you bought your home a long time ago and its value has increased, you’ll want to know this so you can adjust your coverage. 

3. Lower your property taxes. In this type of market, you won’t find many homes that are depreciating, but that doesn’t mean this won’t change in the future. If your home’s value goes down, you can save on your property taxes. 

4. Update your information on online syndicates. Many websites, such as Zillow, give you the ability to update your own home’s listed value on the site. This is important because Zillow's home value algorithm doesn't take all necessary information into account. This means that what buyers see might not be entirely accurate. You, of course, want your home to be represented in an accurate (and favorable) light.
5. Equity for a HELOC (home equity line of credit). If you’re getting a HELOC, you need to know your home’s value so you can determine what you can pull out of it to make home improvements or invest in real estate. 

6. It’s time to sell. If you’re selling your home, you obviously need to know how much it’s worth. Beware of online valuation tools, though, because they used fixed algorithms that encompass entire ZIP codes. They’re useful if you want a ballpark idea of what your home is worth, but after you have that number, go ahead and call a real estate agent so they can calculate an exact price. 


If you’re selling your home, you obviously need to know how much it’s worth.

I recently did an interview with HomeLight about this very topic, so if you’d like to read more about it, click on this link. 


We would be happy to give you a free home valuation so that you can maximize your sale in today’s market, so if you have any questions or if you'd like to get started, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Spring 2019 Grand Rapids price update



Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation
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.  

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation
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.” 

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation
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.


5 Home-Selling Myths to Stop Believing Immediately


There are five myths about real estate that home sellers NEED to stop believing. 

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

If you’re thinking of putting your home up for sale this year, and you’re planning out how you’re going prepare your home for the market, pay attention—these myths can cause home sellers some trouble:

1. You can do it solo. I’ll say this: Yes, you can sell your home on your own. But I’d follow that up with this question: “At what cost?” There’s always a cost when you sell your home by yourself. This year, an agent I know placed an offer on a home that was For Sale By Owner. We figured out that the home in question was priced at least $15,000 to $20,000 under the market price. Of course, the agent put an offer on the home and got it for a great deal. The seller didn’t know what they were losing out on because they didn’t have access to the metrics that we, as agents, do—metrics that allow us to use data to properly price homes. Unless you’re actively involved with the industry, there’s a lot of critical information you’ll miss out on.

2. You know what your home is really worth. It’s really difficult to assess the value of your own home without a professional understanding of the market you’re in. The emotions a seller has for their own home can skew their perceptions of its worth.
3. It’s fine to sell a home as-is. There are things we can do to prepare a home for sale that allows us to make low-cost, high-impact improvements Before putting it on the market, there are low-cost, high-impact improvements we can make to prepare a home. Touching up paint, updating light fixtures, and cleaning up the landscaping are all examples of simple, little things homeowners can do that will boost your home’s value. Selling your home as-is is rarely a good idea. The time and relatively low amount of money you put into making these improvements will turn into a better price at the closing table.

 It’s really difficult to assess the value of your own home without a professional understanding of the market you’re in.


4. Spring is the only time to sell. This absolutely isn’t true—it’s just what most people think. With the exception of crazy, weather-related events, you can list your home at any point there are buyers out looking. Keep in mind the law of supply and demand: When there’s less of something in the market, then demand goes up. This same thing applies to real estate. Since most people wait until spring to list, that means that demand is lower than it would be when there are fewer homes on the market.

5. You can rely entirely on home evaluation sites. These sites are simply starting points, but it’s impossible for the algorithms they use to accurately determine your home’s value. They don’t take into account all the upgrades you’ve done (or haven’t done) when they compare your home to those they have in their database. The only way to get a truly accurate estimate of your home’s value is to contact an agent to have them do a comparative market analysis.


Hopefully, you found this list of myths valuable! If you’d like to read more about these myths (plus an additional one I didn’t discuss here), visit this article from Realtor.com.
If you have any questions or need any assistance selling your home or preparing it for the market, feel free to reach out. We’re here to help.


6 Home Seller Presale Mistakes to Avoid


If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2019, today I want to help you avoid making the mistakes that others have made. 

Buying a home? Click here to perform a full home search
Want to know what your home is worth in today's market?
Check out our Free Online Home Price Estimation Tool.
Call me at (616) 942-2449 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation

Remember: Home sales aren’t about you or what you want. They’re about the potential buyers and what they want. Since you don’t necessarily know the identity of your potential buyers, a good rule of thumb for home improvements is to stay as neutral as possible. Avoiding the following mistakes could help you save thousands of dollars on your home sale.

1. Going too trendy. If your home improvement projects appeal too much to your own taste, it won’t bode well for a home that’s featured on thousands of websites around the world. It diminishes the home’s ability to show nicely to the masses. When it comes to home sales, neutral is definitely better than trendy.

2. Smart house, dumb decision. Smart home technology is getting more and more popular, but that’s not to say that you should assume buyers will always care that much about it. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on smart home technology, it’s better to do it for yourself rather than potential buyers.

3. Adding a guesthouse. Most buyers probably won’t care about having a guest home on the property, and they might even just demolish it if they do decide to purchase your home. It’s a waste of money to add one in for the purpose of selling.

4. Rehabbing the roof. Roofs are important to keep the rain and elements out of the home. The challenge is that sellers think they can get more money by putting on a brand-new roof prior to listing. Yes, the roof should be repaired if it’s leaking, but don’t expect to get more money out of a new one; buyers expect the roof to be in good condition. As long as the roof has a few good years left in it, they won’t much care if it’s brand new or not.

 When it comes to home sales, neutral is definitely better than trendy.


5. DIYing to cut corners. Sometimes it’s okay to do small home projects on our own, but for many projects, it’s important to hire a professional. There’s a reason why they’re called professionals—it’s what they’re paid and trained to do. If you’re working on a high-impact zone like the kitchen or bathroom, remember that small mistakes stick out to buyers. Don’t overestimate your ability to do it yourself.

6. Opening Pandora’s box. Sometimes you start a project, thinking that it’s one simple thing at first. That project can then turn into another, and another, and another—this can cost you thousands of dollars. Hiring a professional will allow you to get the one project you had in mind finished without creating a bunch more.

If you want to learn more, check out this article that goes into more detail about these home seller mistakes to avoid. For any other questions you have, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. At Yoder Real Estate, we’re here to help you.