Monday, June 26th, 2017

Strong Northeast Ohio real estate market for buyers, sellers

by SUE REID

Warmer temperatures, low interest rates and packed open houses can only mean that real estate sales are really moving in Northeast Ohio this spring and summer.

“It’s a very active market,” Karen Eagle with Howard Hanna’s Pepper Pike office, explained. “Sales are very strong in Northeast Ohio, and the offices are buzzing with activity.”

The long winter affected everyone, including the real estate market, which experienced some low periods.

“But we really made up for it once the weather broke,” said Ms. Eagle, a recipient of the national sales excellence award and a multi-million dollar producer. “People are out there buying and taking advantage of the low interest rate.”

Real estate agents are seeing a lot of people moving into something bigger or “move up buyers,” as well as a lot of first-time buyers, who are taking advantage of low rates.

“The economy is good; the interest rates are good, and people are feeling more comfortable taking on that extra expense,” she said.

Agents are also seeing “right size buyers,” an example of which is moving out of a 4,000-square-foot house to a 2,000 square-foot-home, but still with four bedrooms. Empty nesters are also moving into condominiums.

“Those are the three components that are keeping our market pretty busy,” Ms. Eagle said of first-time, move up and right size buyers.

As a buyer, it is extremely important to be prepared, explained Ms. Eagle, who holds the Homes of Distinction designation and was awarded Howard Hanna’s Best of the Best.

“You have to be prepared financially,” she said, when beginning to look at homes. “You need to have talked to a lender prior to looking to make sure you have your financing in order.

“We are seeing a lot of ‘multiple offer’ situations, so if buyers find that perfect house, you want to be able to present a strong offer with your financing in place, as opposed to scrambling to get the financing in order.”

For the seller, it comes down to common sense, Ms. Eagle noted. “You only have one chance to put your best foot forward, so make sure your house is ready to go.” Whether it’s a first showing or an open house, it is important that your home looks its best. (See sidebar of prepping steps)

“It bears repeating, but de-cluttering and cleaning are really important,” said Ms. Eagle, a residential relocation specialist and an accredited staging professional. “Once you do that, you are showing how much space you have.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow when a realtor or stager will say, ‘you have to spend x amount of dollars,’” but staging really works,” she added.

There’s no guarantee that staging will sell your house, but time and time again, any Realtor can provide examples of how nicely staged houses sell more quickly.

 Preparing your home to look its best when selling

  • Spruce up your landscaping.
  • Not all buyers love pets — whenever possible, take your pets with you when there is a showing.
  • Go through the coat closet and de-clutter.
  • Use the laundry basket trick — have two empty baskets in your trunk at all times. When there is a showing, grab all the clutter and dirty laundry, put it in the trunk and drive away!
  • Clean you carpets — people notice!
  • Make sure your baseboards are spotless.
  • Repair any chips in your trim or dings in your drywall.
  • Clean your house from top to bottom — make it sparkling clean!
  • Clean your light fixtures – and make sure to replace all fixtures with fresh light bulbs.
  • Make sure all of your doors and doorknobs are clean.
  • Wallpaper is such a personal choice — consider taking it down and painting to appeal to your buyer —chances are that your buyers have really different taste than you do.
  • Have your windows cleaned.

Karen Eagle’s area of concentration is the greater Chagrin Valley and Gates Mills.

She works as both a buyer’s and a seller’s agent. “No home is too big or too small!”

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