I think everyone assumed that because of Covid and the current state of the economy that home sales would slow drastically. In fact, the market is stronger than ever. The seller’s market continues across the country and here in the coulee region. What is a seller’s market and what does it mean for you…the buyer? How can you avoid costly mistakes without losing out on your dream home? In this blog I’ll try to answer these questions and discuss the current state of the l La Crosse market.
What is a Seller’s Market?
When there are more buyers looking for homes than there are homes for sale, it is a sellers market. There are specific calculations to determine this but what it all boils down to is demand. When demand for homes is higher than inventory, sellers have an advantage.
What does that mean for buyers?
Unfortunately for buyers, prices rise, bidding wars commence, and the buying process can become quite stressful. It also means that buyers often make costly mistakes to get their new home. Buyers may decide to waive important contingencies, shy away from negotiations or even accept less than reasonable terms with contracts that favor sellers. There is a way to get through the home buying process in a seller’s market without making serious mistakes. You will need to be prepared and have patience.
Buyer strategies to use in a seller’s market
Hire an experienced realtor/team that has good inventory to help you!
Often in seller’s markets, listings may never even hit the MLS. Realtors or teams of realtors may often get listings and already have a list of buyers to show before it can ever hit the market. It can take a few days to get a home listed and you can believe that the agent is showing all of their buyers the home before it hits the MLS. Having a good agent /team with a lot of listings may mean you get first chance at their new listings before other buyers ever see it. When interviewing potential real estate agents, ask them how many listings they have. Ask them how many listings their team or office has. Ask them if they will make you aware of any new listings in your price range asap and preferably before it hits the MLS.
Be strategic with contingencies
Many buyers will forego important contingencies in order to win a contract. Please don’t!
Winning a bidding war by cutting corners may very well come back to haunt you later.
Home inspections should NEVER be skipped due to market conditions. You may already be paying a premium in a seller’s market and if you skip a home inspection, you may miss expensive defects in the home. Expensive repairs can put a new home buyer in a bad situation.
By being a well informed buyer, you may be able to skip other inspections. Be sure to discuss with your Realtor and your professional home inspector what inspections are NECESSARY for your area. Radon for example is more prevalent in certain areas. You may or may not need a radon test.
When looking for homes for sale, specifically look for pre-inspected homes. That is when the seller has done a home inspection prior to listing the home. They usually have addressed all the major defects. This is the only time it is acceptable to not order your own home inspection.
If at all possible, buy with cash. All else being equal, cash offers will almost always take precedence over financing contingencies. If you can’t buy with cash you will NEED a financing contingency.
Always get pre-approved for lending before you even look at homes. You will almost always lose out in a seller’s market if you have to slow the process to get bank approval. Most realtors request that you are pre-approved before showing you homes because they know this to be true. Besides wasting time, you really shouldn’t look at homes outside of your price range. It will be disappointing when you find out you can’t afford the home you just fell in love with. It is better to know your financing limits and stay within that to begin with.
In a Seller’s market, it is important to be educated and make smart decisions fast. Time on market drops significantly and you very well may miss out if you aren’t willing to move fast. Having a professional, trusted realtor will help. Do your homework before you start your buying adventure and be ready to act quickly.
Current Western WI & La Crosse Area Market
The WI Realtors Association shows the number of home sales and median price in Western Wisconsin is on the rise.
2021 Home Sales – Western WI 2021 Median Price
Jan: 415 – $215,500
Feb: 404 – $225,000
March: 523 – $220,000
April: 602 – $229,450
According to Realtor.com, “In April 2021, the median list price of homes in La Crosse County, WI was $234.6K, trending up 4.3% year-over-year. The median listing price per square foot was $132. The median sale price was $228.6K.”
There are approximately 282 homes for sale in La Crosse County.
Recent News Updates on La Crosse Market
Lumber prices are sky high, but so are La Crosse area home sales, WKBT – News8000.com
‘Very Strong’ Real Estate Market in La Crosse County, The Courier
Even though it is a seller’s market you can find the home you’ve been searching for. Be strategic, be educated and act fast. Good luck!