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Home bidding wars continue around West Michigan

Experts weigh in on what home buyers can offer to stay competitive
Home Prices
Posted at 6:43 AM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 08:17:41-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Homes around Grand Rapids are only staying on the market for less than four days.

So when dozens of offers are put in within hours of a home getting posted, finding the right home can be a real struggle for West Michigan couples, like the Avery’s.

“We haven’t been able to find anything,” Carly Avery, a prospective home buyer in Grand Rapids said. “We check everyday for something new, and nothing new comes up on the market. “

Sound familiar? It’s no secret the West Michigan housing market is giving families major headaches when it comes to finding their next home.

“I think about the house I sold just two years ago and how much it’s worth now, and it’s worth like $75 thousand over what I sold it for,” Craig Avery said.

Carly and Craig Avery have been married six months now, and they’re ready to expand their family which means new digs. But like so many, they’re scratching their heads at what homes are going for.

“It makes us not even want to put an offer in on something because we're just going to be disappointed,” Carly said.

Dan Bradley, MR with GR Home Group works with couples just like the Avery's to navigate these treacherous waters.

“Just a general rule, if you're not 10 to 15%, over asking price, you're not even in the conversation,” Bradley said. “So from 2019, before everything hit until now, we've seen a 25% increase in pricing.”

Bradley says it all goes back to rising prices on new builds. Construction costs are up with the rise in prices on goods and that’s having a trickle effect on the rest of the housing market.

Here in Grand Rapids, it’s keeping inventory extremely low. As of February 17th, there were 121 active homes in all of Greater Grand Rapids. If you want a home under $250 thousand dollars, only 24 homes are available at the price point.

“ This last offer we lost out on was $40,000 over asking price, and we covered appraisal gaps, and we covered different things,” Bradley said. “Well, this one, we have to go higher, we have to do that.

So what can a buyer do to make their offer more attractive to sellers? Bradley says, for starters, buyers can waive inspections. They can find out how long the seller wants in the house after closing and agree to that. Covering appraisal gaps with cash will also give you a leg up. After that, more cash helps.

“Then there's the sellers' cost,” Bradley said. “The sellers in the real estate industry pay the commissions on both the sellers and the buyer side.

“The buyer's agents are the buyers who did not pay any commissions so you have the ability to offer to pay some of those costs to the sellers.”

For now, the Avery's search for their next home continues, 7 months in and they continue to hold out hope for their forever home.

“I hope it feels worth it when you finally get into something that we love and hopefully we never have to do it again,” Carly said.