What to Know About Buying in West Michigan’s Competitive Housing Market
May 22, 2020 | Ed Vasterra
If you’re buying in a competitive market, you’re familiar with the experience of seeing a sign or listing go up on an available home, and almost as quickly, the house is already pending or sold. In a competitive market, there is a high volume of buyers looking for a low volume of homes available for sale. A highly competitive market is advantageous to the seller because they can often sell a home for much more than it’s worth because they know there will be buyers lined up around the block to place bids. Unfortunately, this means the average buyer with an average budget will have a hard time finding an affordable home in their desired area.
You have to act fast when you see a home come on the market you’re interested in, knowing that many others are doing the same. Particularly in West Michigan, people are flocking to the area, drawn to top performing school districts, exciting job opportunities, growing cities with small town charm and, of course, the gorgeous great lakes. To get the jump on upcoming homes for sale in the West Michigan housing market, you’ll want to work with people who know what houses are going to be available before they’re listed, like a real estate agent or investment firm that flips and resells local houses.
Tips and Tricks for Buying in a Competitive Market
Buying in a competitive market requires careful financial planning, thorough neighborhood research, and the development of good instincts that will allow you to make swift and sound purchasing decisions. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate a highly competitive market.
Make a List
Do your research ahead of time about the areas you want to live in. Make a list of your top neighborhoods as well as characteristics you’re looking for in a home. Think carefully about the value of each of those items and rank them in priority. Planning ahead for what you’re looking for in a home means when one is available that checks all the boxes you’ll be ready to jump.
Make a Plan
Have a clear idea of your finances before trying your luck buying in a competitive market. If possible, get pre-qualified for a loan so you’ll have a better idea of your price range. Work with a lender you trust who can help you through the lending process and move things along quickly when you’ve found the right home.
Keep Your Cool
When it can seem like all of your top choices are getting swept away, it is best to keep an open mind. Try to be flexible with your criteria and expectations and, above all, be patient. It can be tempting to make offers left and right like a game of whack-a-mole to try and land a house when the market is hot, but trust that your ideal home has yet to come on the market and it’s waiting for the time to be just right.
Getting Ahead of the Game in the West Michigan Housing Market
In the West Michigan housing market, it can be tough to find the house you want at the right price. If you’re struggling to get ahead of the game, consider adding professionals to your house search team, or expand your search parameters.
Assemble Your Team
Working with a local real estate agent can have serious advantages when buying in a competitive market. A real estate professional can help you scout out homes you’re interested in and may know through their realtor network what homes are going to be available before they’re formally listed. Especially if you have no idea what you want in a home, an agent can work with you to refine your vision and make a list of features that are most important to you.
Out with the New, In with the Old
If you’ve been exclusively looking at newer homes, consider widening your search to include older homes that might need work done. You can often find these homes available at lower prices. If you’ve got DIY skills or are willing to put in the time and capital for home remodeling projects, these can be great price opportunities that don’t sell as quickly as other homes in a competitive market.
Find Hidden Gems
Another class of homes to look for are ones that were recently remodeled. You can still have the price savings and durability of a new home without putting in the remodeling work yourself. To get the jump on recently remodeled houses coming on the market in your desired area, work with a company that specializes in flipping houses.
Real estate investment firms are great to work with in the West Michigan housing market because they have a catalog of hidden-gem properties that have recently been remodeled or are currently being renovated for you to view. They purchase homes at a lower price in order to fix them up, and can pass those savings onto you as the buyer. These homes are typically in up-and-coming neighborhoods and offer you a great quality home for a discounted price.
If you’re hoping to purchase a home in West Michigan, Hometown Development can help! As a professional real estate investment firm, we remodel a number of homes in attractive neighborhoods here in West Michigan. Take a look at our gallery to see some of our previous projects, and give us a call at 616-379-3090 for information about our available properties.