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NE Ohio Home Buying Season Slammed Into Gear Even Though Spring Weather Hid With Puxatawny

April 1st, 2013 · 2 Comments

Still looking for inventory in many areas but one day in mid February the buyers multiplied by..a lot . I guess they looked at the long term weather forecast and decided it wasn’t going to matter if they waited for the end of March.  And what they are looking for in a house has made me smile…in a good way.

I’ve been working with people of all ages, single buyers, couples, families, you name it. One thing they all have in common, is the lack of interest in homes that were built to scream out ‘I cost a lot of money, or at least I look like I do, so buy me.’   So what ARE they looking to buy?

1. Brick homes are as popular as ever. No matter the price range, high or low.

2. They want a home with a workable kitchen. Doesn’t have to be huge, but if it’s not, they want a dining room.  And this room should be updated. Doesn’t have to be fancy but should have a dishwasher and workable counter space.

3. This is about counter tops, and maybe I should say what they don’t seem to care about anymore…granite. They don’t mind it, but they appreciate a nice updated kitchen without granite. I know the national trend is moving away from granite on buyer wish lists and apparently this is true for NE Ohio as well.  I’m also noticing people smiling about white appliances instead of stainless, so maybe things are evening out in that area as well.

4. I love this one. They get approved for a certain amount to purchase, but they want a house in the price range that makes sense regarding monthly payments.  I’m on my 3rd buyer in six weeks who is approved for 125k over what they’d like to spend.  Nothing stabilizes the housing market like people who know what they can comfortable support in a monthly mortgage.  I love it.

5. Needs are outweighing wants.  Things that seem to be on everyone’s list except those looking for condos or condo alternatives are usable backyards.  Some want them larger, some just want enough space to enjoy.  And everyone still wants a fenced in yard, if possible.   Extra rooms, a hot tub, a master suite: maybe on their want list but they are much more realistic these days and have analyzed needs over wants.  This means two full baths would suffice when in years past (for me, that means as recently as 2010) they would have to have a master bath and skylights, the whole kit and caboodle.

6. Floor plans that suit their needs.  Especially repeat buyers.  Decent bedroom sizes.  Most of the people I’m working with are owner-occupying (though I do have two investor clients).  The owner occupants want more of an open floor plan. Even clients who are purchasing homes before open became the builder style, want a family room or dining room that is not closed off to the kitchen.  Alternatively, they want it for a price that will allow them to do the work after they buy it, to make it more open.

That brings up a tip for those of you thinking about selling.  Making your home ‘turn key’ or move in ready is great but you might have to be realistic about a listing price if your floor plan is one that was more traditional in decades before the ’90s.

I do a lot of neighborhood sales reports, yes?  Some things are consistent over the years: brick homes appeal to buyers; upgraded kitchens and baths are almost always on the ‘needs’ list (except for my investor clients). And I’m so glad the trend of comfortable monthly mortgages seems to be added to this list by all ages now. Maybe we really did learn something from the economic downturn.

Peace Out – 3C

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Tags: Cleveland Real Estate · Cuyahoga County Home Sales · housing trends

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