Successful Tactics for Buyers and Sellers
Buying or selling in the Grand Rapids –Kent County market requires an understanding of not only the seasonal shifts in market activity but also the weekly flow of the market.
This ebb and flow are not quite so simple to describe. So let’s take a look at it so you can better understand it.
Whether you’re listing a home or searching for one, you need to change tactics depending on the current flow of the market. It’s time to think strategically when you decide you’re going to be a buyer or seller in today’s market.
That’s why you need to understand –
- The dates that are best to list your home to attract buyers ready to purchase.
- The day of the week that is best to jump-start your home search.
- How to take advantage of an increase in market activity or decrease in activity … yes, even a decrease.
Since the local housing market can change daily and reacts differently during different seasons of the year, you need to be prepared to respond to this cyclical flow.
Don’t be frustrated with it, but rather become attuned to it. That’s where going with the flow of the market comes in!
If you’re thinking about buying – you will get a better idea of why timing can affect how you go about looking for a home.
If you are thinking of selling – you will gain some insight into why your strategies to attract buyers may change depending on the month.
When you learn to understand the twists and turns in our market, you CAN end up buying or selling well.
Let’s get started!
Weekly cycle – homes tend to come on the market on Thursday or Friday.
Buyers need to have their research (needs, wants, deal breakers, location, lifestyle) and finances (budget, mortgage pre-approval, absolute max offer price) in order by Tuesday if you want to be able to make a serious offer when homes hit the market by Thursday.
At certain times of the year such as spring and summer you could face lots of competition from other buyers, so be ready to make quick decisions with no regrets.
Sellers may want to get a jump on the market by making their home available for viewing on a Wednesday to tap into the more serious buyers who want to make an offer on a home. Weekends can bring out the more curious rather than determined homebuyer, especially during the busy spring season.
The most popular month for new listings is usually June, followed by September, then May, and March.
Buyers will need to be completely ready to “purchase” if they want to make any of the top dates. That means being pre-approved for a mortgage loan, having a down payment strategy (knowing if you qualify for any down payment assistance programs), and truly understanding your price range based on what you can afford monthly.
You’re going to face lots of competition from eager buyers in this market with historically low inventory. It would be best if you were confident and ready to make an offer when you see a home you want. That’s why you must do your research beforehand to confirm what everyone who lives there needs, and wants, as well as what their deal breakers are. You won’t have as much time to “think” things through and will need to react quickly when you find a house you want.
Sellers should know they’ll have more competition from fellow neighbors who also list their homes during this time. Since inventory has been historically low lately, your home and theirs will most likely attract lots of buyers during this busy market time.
However, you still need to price it right from the get-go and have a strategy in place prior to listing. You don’t want to scare buyers away if priced too high (they may fear it could go even higher in a bidding war) and it could end up sitting on the market and you’ll end up with low-ball offers.
And, your home needs to shine in order to stand out (more on that below). Or you can go over the options on selling your home “as-is.”
Kent County homes follow the school calendar and tend to become available in May, June, July.
Buyers who have targeted more suburban or family-friendly neighborhoods should prepare for heavy competition from other buyers and hectic weekends looking into the early summer. Don’t give up if you can’t find a home earlier during the spring market.
No matter what, it’s important to be an educated buyer ASAP if you want to be settled in your home by summer’s end and prepare your children for their new neighborhood and school. That means knowing your budget, knowing your needs and wants (and deal breakers), and getting ready to play hardball if necessary!
On the flip side, be on the lookout for homes that come on the market at other quieter times of the year. This is perfect for many first-time buyers or downsizers who aren’t married to the school calendar. Be patient, be flexible, and stay in touch so you don’t miss any opportunities that may come along.
Sellers who have homes in these neighborhoods need to get their homes ready for listing by spring.
The bottom line – get your home in “show-ready” shape well before late spring. Get organized with your to-do list and start purging stuff, cleaning top to bottom, refreshing with painting, staging rooms, and creating springtime curb appeal.
Start planning for this move as early as possible – so you can properly time your listing for this rush of serious buyers.
The market slows down a little in August but picks up right after Labor Day.
- Buyers who are serious and more flexible should still keep an eye on the market even though fewer homes are listed over the late summer. So don’t go completely on “vacation” from looking! Keep in mind that sellers are usually more willing to negotiate on price and terms if they need to make a sale during this market lull.
- Sellers need to tap into those serious buyers who haven’t completely stopped looking. If you live in a young, hip neighborhood, you’ll be better off attracting first-time buyers or people who have more flexibility when it comes to moving. Price your home right, be generous with your terms, and make your home a summer oasis for them.
For those in suburbs or in neighborhoods tied to the school calendar, it’s critical to price your home correctly to bring in foot traffic or serious buyers. And even better, wow them with a home that is more move-in ready than not. Again, be generous with your terms and conditions and showcase your home so it looks like a great place for a summer staycation!
Understand the yearly highs and lows of market activity in several key categories.
- Searches – Buyers are searching the most in March. Some of these searches could be buyers just thinking of buying and learning about the market to prepare themselves for the late spring/early summer. If you do need to list at this time, you could snag one of these many potential buyers if you market your home correctly.
- Prices – Prices appear to hold somewhat steady throughout the year with the lowest being in December and January. Sellers need to remember that pricing their home correctly is important no matter what time of the year they list their home. Never get overconfident about the market as a seller even in low inventory times.
- Housing Starts – Construction of new inventory peaks in June, typically rising and falling along with the weather. Lots of construction in the springtime in certain neighborhoods can play a part in how sellers price and market “older” homes. Buyers need to be aware of the changing landscape of even urban neighborhoods now. What’s new and what’s coming down the road – both can impact buyer and sellers’ tactics.
- Sales – As expected, the number of sales starts a steep climb after February and then peaks in June and September. It’s a slower route going down through the remaining year. December and January usually have the least number of sales – the holidays and cold or snowy weather can influence the buyers trekking out to see homes.
- Inventories – Inventory does increase in the spring but not as drastically as one might think. The number of homes on the market is a steady curve rising until June and then going down slowly until December. More buyers with almost the same amount of inventory mean lots of competition for those homes. But it also means your home will get traffic if you list it … how you market it depends on if it’s sold well.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and the “flows” we explained above differ in certain areas. If you are thinking of buying, selling, or doing both anytime soon, email us at email@example.com so we can talk about how to go with the flow in your particular area.
We're April and Jean and we love helping people get into a home that fits their lifestyle. We call it "Right-Sizing", whether that is moving up to a bigger home or downsizing into something smaller. Let us know how we can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
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Grandville, MI 49418
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