First Rule of Buying or Selling a Home-Know Thy Local Marketplace

Real Estate Agent with Russell Realty,Westlake, Ohio 419-602-0339 DRE#446391

When you read the national real estate news and you are a potential seller, you may believe that home prices continue their downward trend and in order to sell you must compete with homes in foreclosure that are priced well-below market value. If you are a potential buyer, you may believe from what you read that for the same reason, it’s not a good time to buy because you’ll buy something that continues to lose value or if you wait, you might get the house for less money. These national trends may have very little to do with what actually occurs in the area where you want to purchase, invest or sell your home. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about your local real estate market.

The market here in Huron, Ohio situated along the shores of the beautiful, Great Lake Erie, is undergoing a metamorphosis right now. I currently have five homes under contract in this area. All are due to close within the next several weeks. There is a lot of activity in certain price ranges. Clients, both buyers and sellers, are people relocating in and out of the area, second-home buyers, those wanting to downsize, first-time home buyers and those who went through tough times a couple of years ago but now are back on their feet with good credit, ready, willing and able to qualify for a home loan.

What I'm currently seeing is a big demand for homes priced between $140,000-$180,000. Supply in this price range isn't keeping up with demand. Buyers want a home in move-in condition. They have demanding jobs and families or have raised their children, retired and now want a smaller home and yard with less maintenance. Most people don't want to spend weeks of their life in their new home fixing it up or spending tens of thousands to make a bank-owned property habitable again. Unfortunately, many of the homes currently for sale in this price range are either distressed properties or homes needing a lot of updates. Homeowners over the past several years have been reluctant to sell unless it was necessary-divorce, job loss or relocation for a job-because they felt they would lose money. As a result, buyers are struggling to find something/anything that is in decent condition to buy.

When someone puts their home on the market in good condition and prices it competitively, it is still possible to get a full-price offer and sell within days. I recently took a listing in that $140,000-$180,000 range and had to strongly urge the homeowners to price their home higher than where they originally thought they’d list it. They finally agreed to increase the listing price by $5000. It sold within 3 days because they priced their home to sell quickly so they could relocate to another state. They also asked my opinion on what they could do to make their home attractive to prospective buyers without spending a lot of money and as a result, did a great job of staging their home to sell.

The market for waterfront homes on Lake Erie and homes near Lake Erie with private beach access remains strong in any price range. There will always be a limited supply of these homes because there is a finite amount of land along the lakeshore where homes can be built. However, if you are considering a purchase of one of these homes which typically sell for a much-higher price per square foot, it is important to align yourself with a local Realtor who understands this segment of the market.

Potential buyers and sellers read about national trends and statistics and become reluctant to do anything. They need to understand that all markets are not created equal and the only market that really matters is the one where they are planning to make one of the biggest financial investments of their lives. The truth is, there has never been a better time to buy or sell a home if you understand your local marketplace. 


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Ann Steinemann

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