If youre in the market for a home in Wisconsin, be warned: it’s tough out there.
A combination of strong demand and tight inventory is leading to one of the most difficult and competitive environments in some time for buyers.
I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and this is the most competitive market I’ve ever seen in real estate, said Tina Balaka, sales director of Shorewest Realtors’ South Metro office in Greenfield. We’re seeing buyers really have to compete in order to get an accepted offer on a property that they love.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association reports record homes sales in the first quarter of 2017, and prices are heading up as well. Median home prices rose to $163,000 in March 2017, a 5.2 percent increase from the previous year.
While urban areas such asMadison and Milwaukee are hotspots for home sales, Balaka has heard of similar activity all across the state.
Buying a home right now iseven tougher if you’re in the market for your first home, said Balaka, who is also the former chairwoman of the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.
The first time homebuyer market is incredibly competitive, because that’s your most affordable housing right now, and that’s where we’re seeing the pricing going up,she said.
And real estate experts, including Balaka, believe this trend could continue.
Based on what we’re experiencing right now, we do think we’ll still see some tightened inventory for the rest of the year, and we do see prices continuing to go up,she said.
So, if you’re still looking to buy in the coming months, what do you need to know in order to even have a chance in this market?
First off, be prepared to move quickly.
Buyers have to have their running shoes on,she said. If you’re thinking about buying a home, you almost have to consider this a part-time job.
That means scoping out properties as soon as they hit the marketand being ready to jump on them immediately.
If you like it, write an offer, she said, noting it’s likely numerous other offers from prospective buyers will come in as well. But you have to be prepared.
That means having your mortgage pre-approval letter ready, as well has having your personal finances in order.
In addition, Balaka suggested including a little extra something in your offer that may give you a leg up: a personalletter detailingwhat you love about the house, or why you’d be happy living there.
A seller looks at all of these (offers), and it’s very hard to decide at times, and it can be overwhelming, she said. Anything that a buyer can do to have just a little extra leg up …can make that little difference, to help them get that offer accepted.
But she also stressed that even then, you may not get your first choice of house.
It could be the second or third or fourth offer that you write on before you actually get the house, Balaka said. There are several buyers that are all doing the same thing, so you are competing.
That said, she encourages buyers not to force an offer, if they’re just not feeling a house.
While the search for a house can be frustrating and emotionally draining, Balaka encourages prospective buyers not to give up, and said a little bit of patience can go a long way.
If your dream for home ownership is really going to happen, it can happen, but you just have to have some patience, she said. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. The right house for you will come along.