Potential buyers wait to go inside a home listed for sale in Rochester. In what has been described as a seller’s market, local Realtor Caron Koteles Riha recently said that it’s been “really frustrating” for prospective buyers.

Potential buyers wait to go inside a home listed for sale in Rochester. In what has been described as a seller’s market, local Realtor Caron Koteles Riha recently said that it’s been “really frustrating” for prospective buyers.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Local Realtors discuss current market conditions

By: Mark Vest | Metro | Published March 17, 2021

 Debbie Corey, of Real Living Key Realty, recently described market conditions in Rochester as “the best seller’s market I have seen in my 26 years in the real estate business.”

Debbie Corey, of Real Living Key Realty, recently described market conditions in Rochester as “the best seller’s market I have seen in my 26 years in the real estate business.”

Photo by Deb Jacques

METRO DETROIT — Local Realtor John Cotter recently described the current real estate market as a little crazy.

A case of supply not meeting demand is the primary reason for the state of the local market.

“The market as a whole in southeastern Michigan is pretty nuts,” said Cotter, who works out of Keller Williams Domain in Birmingham. “There’s a lot (of) buyers out there, and it’s creating bidding wars, and that in turn is driving prices up. Because of this lack of inventory, it’s the biggest issue the real estate market has faced since 2008.”

Stacy Miletti, of Real Estate One in Troy, discussed some of the results of an “extremely hot” seller’s market.

“People are writing multiple offers, going well above asking (price), waiving inspections, waiving appraisal contingencies,” Miletti said. “Buyers are competing with multiple offers daily.”

As for how long it’s taking homes to sell after going on the market, Miletti said, “Hours. Days.”

A house Miletti listed in Troy is an example of what has become commonplace in the local real estate market.

“It was on the market three days, (and) I had 16 offers,” said Miletti, who has been in the real estate business for approximately 17 years. “We listed it for ($340,000) and it went for $372,000 with an appraisal contingency waiver. … When you waive that, that means the buyer will pay the difference between the appraised value and the sales price.”

Miletti helped Terri Tschirhart find a home to buy in Rochester Hills this past October. Tschirhart shared her perspective on the process.

“If it was something that was good, you couldn’t even turn around and walk away,” she said. “They were going so fast. It was challenging. It took me a long time to find something.”

Tschirhart recalled starting her search in May.

Caron Koteles Riha, of Real Estate One Max Broock in Rochester, has been in the business approximately 27 years. She attributes the lack of inventory to the pandemic and people not wanting to leave their homes due to health concerns.

For as much as sellers may be enjoying current market conditions, the experiences of prospective buyers have been quite different.

Koteles Riha shared what it’s been like for those in the market for a home.

“It’s really frustrating, especially if you’re not getting the proper guidance from an industry expert,” she said. “People have to be prepared and strategize with a professional so that when they do see a home they like, they have an opportunity to get it.”

Debbie Corey, of Real Living Key Realty in Rochester, shared a similar perspective.

“Unless a buyer is working with a seasoned agent, they may not have the right tools to compete in this market,” Corey wrote via email. “Traditional offers won’t cut it in this competitive market. An offer has to include some variables that will entice the seller to accept a buyer’s offer over another competing offer.”

Going through a loan approval process can add to the frustrations that prospective buyers have been experiencing.

“The banks are backed up because interest rates are so low,” Cotter said. “People are refinancing, (and) there’s a lot of home purchases, so that can delay things. … What normally took 30 days can take 45 days, and depending on the loan and depending on the institution, can take a couple months.”

Corey likely would concur that a frenzy has been created due to the low interest rates, which she said are at the 3% level.

“This is the best seller’s market I have seen in my 26 years in the real estate business,” Corey stated. “Extremely low inventory and historically low interest rates are driving the market. … It’s definitely the time to buy vs. rent. Most renters can cut their monthly payment almost in half due to the low interest rates.”

Aside from strategies such as waiving inspections and including appraisal contingencies, writing “love letters” to sellers has also been a strategy employed by potential buyers to help their offer stand out.

The letters can include details such as family information and why a home is so appealing. Prospective buyers have also been known to include photos with the letters.

Miletti said “love letters” can foster a lot of goodwill.

When Gary and Judy Holmes decided to put their home in Troy up for sale last year, they used Miletti as their agent.

There were multiple offers on the home, with most of them being “well over asking.”

The couple who ended up purchasing the home included a “love letter” with their offer.

“I was impressed,” Judy Holmes said. “The love letter did help. It personalized it for us.”

As for the most common price range homes are selling at, Miletti said, “Anything under ($550,000) is super hot.”

“Five hundred fifty (thousand dollars) to ($800,000) tends to stick around a little bit longer, and that’s just because we don’t have as many buyers in that price range,” Miletti said. “They’re selling — they are just taking a little bit longer. We’re talking months, maybe two to three months versus hours to days.”

Ranches have been a popular style among those looking to buy a home, and Miletti shared one of the reasons for it.

“A first-floor laundry is a hot commodity right now because we have an aging community that is not wanting to deal with stairs, but they don’t (want to) move out of the area,” she said.

Koteles Riha anticipates that it will remain a seller’s market for “at least a year.”

She discussed what it’s been like to be a Realtor during this time period.

“It’s a love-hate relationship,” Koteles Riha said. “I’m loving it, but there are times when I’m standing in line to get in the house for my buyer. … For instance, today I will go out to a home in Macomb Township, FaceTime my client, and I’ll probably wait in line about 30 minutes to get in for my appointment. Because we have (to) be very careful with safety and health guidelines, there’s no overlappings in showings, so we have to wait until the party ahead of us is done with their showing before we can get in the home.”

With the current market being what it is, buyers’ agents can also sometimes find themselves playing the role of counselor.

“If you’ve been with buyers for (a) couple months, they’ve written three offers, each home they could see themselves raising their family in, and they don’t get it, they’re heartbroken,” Miletti said. “And then you can talk to the (other) agent after it closes, find out there were multiple offers, and you got outbid by 20 grand.”

Both Koteles Riha and Corey encouraged prospective buyers to get professional help when attempting to navigate the homebuying process.

Miletti suggested that those interested in buying a home make sure that they get preapproved, with a strong preapproval letter from a lender.

She also offered some words of encouragement.

“You may have to pass on a couple because you didn’t get the house, but just know in the end your dream house is out there — stay positive,” Miletti said.

Cotter also shared a reason for optimism.

“I am starting to see a little bit of an uptick (in) inventory, which is a good sign, I think, for buyers,” he said. “Hopefully, that trend will continue into the spring. I think everyone, with the exception of sellers, of course, are kind of hoping for a more balanced market, where you have a more equal number of buyers to sellers.”