Kalamazoo's Real Estate Blog

6 Areas You Must Check When Out House Shopping

1/29/2019



I am writing this assuming that the home your looking for is a "turn key", meaning you can move right in. These areas are often skipped over because they are not the picturesque areas of the house. These areas will, however, help you determine how your experience will be if you end up living there.

1. The Roof. You don't need to be a builder to know when something doesn't look right with the roof. Look for shingles that are bowed up or missing. Look for fading, if the shingles have discoloration that means they have been there a while. If there are a bunch of leaves and branches laying on the roof, that is not good either. Are there gutters and downspouts? And last, check the condition of the soffit, or the part of the roof that is under the overhang. Is it vinyl or wood? Is it rotten or fresh?

2. The Siding. As you’re walking toward the house and you just got done looking over the roof, move down to the siding. Find out whether it's vinyl, wood, aluminum, brick, stucco or shingled. If it's dirty vinyl or aluminum it can be easily cleaned by a power washer, but if pieces are cracked or hanging off, that may be more of a problem. If it's wood, check how well it's painted and notice any chipping, or rotting. If it’s brick, look at the mortar between the bricks. If it's stucco, check if you can see seams or holes in it. If it's shingled, check for the same aging signs you would on the roof.

3. The Pipes and Plumbing. The next two areas are in the basement mechanical room. When you get into the unfinished part of the basement, find out what piping material was used for the water and sewer. Check if it is copper, pvc or pex. If you’re in an older house you will be able to determine how many updates have been done based on how the plumbing looks.

4. The Heater and Water Heater. When you look at the heater, check to see if there is a maintenance schedule attached to it. That will give you an idea of how well it's been taken care of. Look to see how clean it looks, and check for burn marks on the outside. Check if it has an aluminum exhaust going straight up, or if it has exhaust running into a chimney, or a pvc exhaust going out of the basement wall. Lowest efficiency is the chimney, then aluminum, the highest is the pvc exhaust. With the water heater, simply check to make sure it's clean and free of rust.

5. The Electrical Wires and Outlets. As you’re looking through the house, you’re going to be drawn to the fancy new appliances in the kitchen and bathroom or the floor plan and whether or not you like the colors. It is at this point that you need to look at the outlets. Again, if they are old, you will be able to tell. Check to see if they’re grounded, meaning they have 3 prongs, (even though they have 3 prongs doesn't guarantee they’re grounded). Last, while you’re in the basement look at the electrical wires and box, just to make sure there isn't knob and tube, and that it's clean.

6. The Windows. The last thing to pay attention to is the windows. You will want to know whether or not the windows are vinyl, aluminum or wood. You will want to know whether they are painted over. If they are they may not open. And the last part to examine with windows is whether or not they have all the fixtures.

As you pay attention to these things, you will start to develop preferences as to what you like and what you would want in your home. All of these things are easy to change and may affect what you’re willing to offer for a house. Don't get distracted by all the nice updates a home has to offer without checking these important areas.

Market Start for 2019

1/8/2019

Last Week saw a slight emergence in new homes to the market in the greater Kalamazoo area with 89 new listings and 59 pending.  The average price for those new listings is $222,514. Listing prices will most likely continue to rise as inventory stays low. The tough part of the market is in the $350,000 range, which was the average for listings that expired last week...compare that to the average of homes back on the market, $173,466.  Houses are selling at list price 97.35% of the time.

Last year in the first week of January there were 891 single family residences active. That was down to 802 this year, but new listings were up 32%.  Sold homes were down 44%, due to the low inventory leaving the volume down 55%. Surprisingly, last week the the price was down year over year 20%.

The constant is still a lack of inventory, which could cause home buyers to search other markets, such as Battle Creek, Van Buren or St. Joseph county.  It’s still early in the month and it will be interesting to see what the market does in the next couple of weeks.

Kalamazoo Real Estate 2019

1/2/2019

Welcome to 2019.  We welcomed in the New Year with 9 new listings on the market.  Last year there were 855 Single Family homes listed at this time, which was down nearly 200 from 2017.  Today in Kalamazoo there are just 726 listings. That is down 15% from a year ago.


Compared with our neighbors, Grand Rapids is down 6%, Battle Creek is down 9%,  and St. Joseph is down 7%. It continues to be a great time to list, especially if your home is under $200,000.  For Southwest Michigan’s MLS, the average is a decline of 5% year over year for listings.


I am curious to see the trends in the next few weeks. We know this all bodes well for homeowners who are looking to upgrade their home.  I don’t know what the numbers are exactly for this, but I imagine there is a lot of positive equity in the market right now. This is the reason I think buying now is also a benefit for some people.  It’s a great time to upgrade your home, and it’s a great time to buy your “forever” home.


One of the best signs about the current housing market in Kalamazoo is that people are not packing up and leaving.  That is why there is so little inventory, and that is good for everyone.

Jared Stout

Fantastic Home Open House

12/30/2018
http://www.homeskalamazoo.com/Home/18035331/XWT/4440-E-De-Avenue-Kalamazoo-MI-49004/

I am doing my second open house at 4440 E De Ave in Kalamazoo.  This home is in Parchment schools and is located in a great country setting on a corner lot, just minutes from 131.  It is a beautiful Ranch with plenty of room.  

I like the location of this home, being out in the country but still minutes away form shopping on Gull Rd.

This is the type of home that can be lived in forever because of the floor plan, and has great bones if someone wanted to make updates.

Check it out!

Jared Stout

How to price your home

12/26/2018



Everyone should have a good idea of what their home is worth, and there are a lot of sites that are willing to give you an online snapshot of how much a house is worth.  Shoot, I have a link on my website to do just that 
www.bhhsmi.findbuyers.com/JaredStout.  With that being said, chances are you’re going to get a very broad range, depending on who you use to get the outcome.


That is why hiring a Realtor is about the only way to know how much money your house should sell for in your market.  As a Realtor, I walk through hundreds of homes with different types of buyers. I know these neighborhoods, and can tell you what people are going to say when they walk into your house.  So, looking at homes in your neighborhood with the same kind of updates and floor plan can be tricky. Looking at sold homes and then having an unbiased observer compare your home to the homes that have sold will give you a consistent range when it comes to pricing your home.  


The time of year will also determine how much your house will sell for, as well as the amount of houses in your neighborhood that are on the market.  If you're comparing sold houses that were listed in the Summer when there were 2 other listing in your area against the Fall with 8 listings, the price is going to be on the lower side.  If nobody else is listing in your price range, you will have a big advantage on getting your house sold quickly at a higher price.


The market is bound to fluctuate throughout the year, and even years, for that matter.  It’s always best to have a realistic number in mind when you make the decision to sell your house.  It will take some work, but if you do your homework and team up with a good Realtor, it can be a very satisfying endeavor!


Jared Stout

Realtor®

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