Homes with good curb appeal provide a great first impression on potential buyers, so focusing on the outside of your home before listing it is important.

Homes with good curb appeal provide a great first impression on potential buyers, so focusing on the outside of your home before listing it is important.

Photo provided by Andrea Esse


Housing market could even out in the summer months

By: Joshua Gordon | C&G Newspapers | Published June 19, 2018

 Kitchen renovations are still one of the best investments before selling a home, as nice kitchens are high on a lot of buyers’ must-have lists.

Kitchen renovations are still one of the best investments before selling a home, as nice kitchens are high on a lot of buyers’ must-have lists.

Photo provided by Andrea Esse

METRO DETROIT —  If you were hoping to get a house in metro Detroit this spring, you may have had to come to the table with contingencies to make your offer rise above all the others that the seller was receiving.

As it has been for at least a year, the local housing market leaned in favor of the sellers this spring, said Andrea Esse, broker owner of ReMax Defined. But higher interest rates and more inventory could make it a little more even this summer.

“It has definitely been a struggle for buyers if a property is priced right, as homes are selling within days and for above asking,” Esse said. “There has been limited inventory, and you find a lot of buyers having to offer contingencies, like cash offers or appraisal gaps.”

Esse — who has offices in Oakland Township, Oxford, Rochester and Troy — said the lack of inventory is because it is hard for current homeowners to find a place to go. If they can find a home in their price range, it still makes it hard if they have to sell their current home first, as it makes their offer not as attractive to the sellers.

So, without anywhere to go, people are sitting on putting their home on the market and causing there to be more buyers than homes available.

However, that could change, as interest rates head toward 4.8 percent, which could slow down some buyers. Plus, with school out in the summer, more people will be looking to make the move, raising the inventory.

Kathy Coon, a broker at Real Living Great Lakes Real Estate in Rochester Hills, said she expects homes to continue to sell well in the summer. Some of the higher-end homes are not going as fast, however, while the middle-priced homes are expected to sell well.

“It’s not so much like the wild, wild west of buyers trying to get a particular house, so there is a little more calmness out there now amongst buyers,” Coon said. “The midrange homes, they are selling as first-time homeowners are moving up. But the higher-end properties not as much, because where do they go? You have to be in a particular market, like Birmingham, to sell those fast.”

New construction offers another alternative that makes it easier for people looking to upgrade from their current home. Coon said it takes anywhere from six to 10 months to complete a new build, giving homeowners more time to settle the situation with their current home.

But it can be a risk-or-reward situation, as you have to determine when you are going to put your house up for sale, as it could sell faster than your new home is being built.

“If you are nervous and put your house on the market early, you may have to bite the bullet and move twice by putting your stuff in storage and getting into temporary housing,” Coon said. “And then sometimes you wait and it doesn’t sell as quickly. It is very difficult to time it perfectly.”

As a seller, when it comes to putting your house up for sale, Esse said there are a number of things you can do. Renovated kitchens and bathrooms are where homeowners get the most value, she said, and working on the exterior so it has good curb appeal is important for first impressions.

It is also important to clear out the house before showing it, Esse said, such as removing personal items so a potential buyer can envision their family in the home.

One of the biggest items on listing a home, however, is getting the right price point, Esse said. In this market, Esse said you don’t even have to worry about underpricing.

“If you overprice, no matter the condition of the home, it all comes down to price in this market and it will make it hard,” she said. “If you price it competitively, you will drive more buyers to your property and cause higher demand, which drives the price. Buyers are offering over asking price, and we have even seen $20,000 over asking.”

Coon said that if you are wavering about putting your house on the market, now is a great time to do it, as the summer is definitely the busiest season for home sales.

As for what people are looking for in the community, homes close to downtown areas — such as Birmingham, Royal Oak and Rochester — are still attractive to younger buyers, as they can walk to restaurants and entertainment. For others, freeway access is important if they live farther from work.

And, as it has always been, having a good school district is important to families.

“People are looking for stability in their cities and their schools,” Coon said. “Whether they have children in school now or are hoping to have children, they are looking at the school districts. But they are also looking at the tax base, because sometimes you can afford a home in one city but not in another because of the taxes.”