Jackie Headapohl Managing Editor
Now might be the time to “right size” your home.
The last week in June, Howard Hanna Real Estate had the biggest closing week in Michigan in its history.
“It is a seller’s market in almost every price range and community,” said Hoddy Hanna, chairman of the Pittsburgh-based company, the third-largest real estate company in the U.S., who was in Michigan last month. “Oakland County is a real growth market for our company,” he said.
Howard Hanna continues to expand its footprint in Oakland County, adding more and more agents. It saw a 92 percent increase in volume year over year in 2017 as well as a 99 percent increase in units.
Hanna credits two major factors for the record number of closings. One: Millennials in their early 30s are buying their first homes and spending more money on them than in past generations. There are about 83 million millennials — 8 million more than baby boomers. Second: Baby boomers in the 65- to 70-year-old range are done raising their families and looking to “right-size” so they are putting their big suburban homes on the market.
Hanna doesn’t like to use the term “down-sizing” because many of the boomers in Oakland County aren’t looking for a smaller place, but instead looking for a different style of home.
“They’re looking for houses that offer comfort and convenience, homes that have open floor plans and more usable outdoor space,” he said.
The housing market in the Metro Detroit area is very strong right now. Hanna expects appreciation rates in the 7 to 10 percent range this year, the biggest increase in 15 years. The inventory of homes on the market is low. Quality homes are receiving multiple offers and selling quickly — sometimes for more than the asking price.
“The flip side is that those who sell their homes have to find a home to buy, and right now there is a real shortage of properties,” said Yelena Pliskina, managing broker of the Birmingham office. Pliskina grew up in north Oak Park and Farmington Hills in the Russian-speaking Jewish community and has lived in Oakland County her whole life.
Pliskina said that some buyers and flippers are renovating older homes to have more open and modern floor plans to meet the demand. “Buyers looking for condos or looking to move to Florida have it a bit easier,” she said.
Older homeowners might want to take advantage of the market to get the most for their property, but to do so, their homes must be in top-notch condition, Pliskina said.
“I always say that as a buyer walks through a house, they’re creating a mental checklist of what needs to be done,” she added. “Buyers are looking for move-in condition.”
Before listing your home, she recommends a deep cleaning, including new paint and floors if need be. “It’s making sure everything looks neat and put away,” she said. “The way that you live in a house isn’t the way you show the home to buyers. I tell sellers to get rid of half their stuff. This makes the rooms and closets seem bigger to potential buyers.”
Howard Hanna Realtors provide sellers with a checklist of what needs to be done to prepare their homes for sale as well as staging ideas. “If they want top dollar for their homes, we can get it as long as the homeowner is willing to work with us,” Pliskina added.