With demand for homes continuing to surge in Wisconsin but statewide listings down more than 26% compared to this time last year, we’re undoubtedly experiencing a seller’s market in Madison, WI.
While the current market sees sellers enjoying offers well above asking price, their corresponding purchase of a new home is likely to be difficult.
Buyers and sellers alike have questions about how to play the current market and land new homes. We partnered with Summit Credit Union to help give you insight in how to best navigate this seller’s market.
And we were able to connect with local Alison Crim of Husky Homes, to learn more about current questions that buyers and sellers are frequently asking in this seller’s market. Husky Homes is a premier real estate agency, serving the greater Madison, WI area.
FAQ Buyer Questions
- Is the market going to crash because prices are so high? Buyers are understandably cautious about this market relative to what happened in the 2008 financial crisis, however, the 2008 and 2021 real estate markets are very different. In 2008, risky subprime mortgages stretched buyer’s budgets and offered financing options for buyers who really shouldn’t have been purchasing. Now, there is a seemingly infinite list of bankers, brokers, underwriters and government regulators that have their hands tied with strict loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios and income/employment verification. Supply is also at very different levels than in 2008. Builders were overbuilding in the years leading up to the crash, whereas now we are still not close to recovered from the underproduction of homes over the past 10+ years. Adding COVID to the mix caused even more inventory shortages, paired with heightened demand over the past year and a half; experts say we are still close to 5 million homes short nationwide to meet current demand. The lack of inventory and strict lending standards are precisely why home prices are not in danger of falling sharply/the market quickly shifting down. Given the current lending requirements, it’s important to get your preapproval process taken care prior to beginning your home search. That way you will know exactly how much you can afford, and will have a much better chance of making an offer in a timely manner. You can reach a Summit lender at 608-243-5000 to get started.
- Should I wait to buy since it is so competitive? Each neighborhood and buyer wish-list is so different, so it depends. Universally speaking, we expect prices to continue increasing throughout this year and next. Seasonally, the real estate market tends to have less activity in the cold Wisconsin winter months. This can be great for buyers because they are usually competing with fewer other hopeful purchasers, but also, there is less inventory to choose from. Waiting is rarely in a buyer’s best interest, due to future uncertainties (who ever could have predicted how wild the market would get in the middle of a pandemic?) and rising prices, but sometimes saving up more money to write a more competitive offer or having certainty about whether your work will require you to go back to the office in the future could make the wait well worth it for your specific situation. It’s helpful to speak to a Summit lender to get preapproved and to learn how much you would be able to afford.
Ways to Stand Out/Common Mistakes:
Many agents used to recommend that personal letters be submitted with offers to try to pull at the seller’s heart strings when reviewing offers. Due to liability concerns with fair housing and discrimination, these are no longer recommended by the Wisconsin Realtor’s Association.
The best way to stand out as a buyer in this market is to ensure you have an experienced, up front and communicative agent who is not afraid to pick up their phone and ask questions regarding what the sellers are looking for in an offer, one who is actively advocating for you every step of the way. A direct, experienced agent is also important to ensure you understand the hard truth about what may need to be done to strengthen your offer to compete – it is rarely as simple as a higher price to win the deal. Different price points and locations see different strategies employed by buyers (i.e., some zip codes see more cash offers without financing contingencies than others), and an agent with experience will tell you exactly what is needed to stand out based on what you are looking for and who you may be competing with. We always recommend interviewing several agents to understand their value proposition and how their experience will help you with your goals.
FAQ Seller Questions
- What should I do to prepare for my home to sell? The universal answer that applies to all sellers is that de-cluttering and de-personalizing gives you the most bang for your buck. We always recommend that any personal items, seasonal accessories, pet supplies and/or items that won’t be in use be boxed up and moved out of sight. This allows the buyers to envision themselves and their belongings in the house, and it neutralizes the palette of the house to appeal to the most number of buyers. Outside of this, it depends entirely on the home buying trends in the neighborhood – some houses sell quickly and for top dollar in highly desirable neighborhoods regardless of the condition, others demand updates or they will sit on the market for months. A consultation is the best first step to determine if paint, new flooring, or other projects beyond the basics will make a big difference to increase your return when selling.
- How do we transition from our existing house into a new one, without needing to stay somewhere short-term in between? A decent agent will handle the logistics for you to ensure you can buy a new house and sell your old one. A great agent will set you up for the ideal scenario where you can use your current home’s equity to purchase your next home, without having to move out until after you have already closed on your new home, allowing for a seamless transition. It comes down to asking the right questions to your lender, understanding what options you have for financing and how flexible the timelines can be. Additionally, an agent with a strong team who can handle the logistical complexities of two simultaneous transactions is essential. A listing agent who knows the conversations to have with buyer agents in order to get the sellers the preferred terms for their unique situation is key – it can be the difference between you having to load up a U-Haul and move all your belongings from your old house into your new on the same day vs. having post-closing occupancy for an extended period of time so you can slowly transition from one home to the next, while using your equity and sale proceeds to purchase the next home before moving out.
Contact Summit Credit Union to Get Started!
- Summit is the #1 Mortgage Lender in Wisconsin1
- Summit offers free preapproval – the best first step to take in the homebuying journey
- Preapproval can take as little as 15 minutes2 once you’ve submitted your paperwork
- Summit offers $500 off closing costs2 ($1000 of for first time homebuyers3)
- Potential homebuyers can meet with a Summit Mortgage Loan Officer (MLO) to get the process started – by phone, video or in branch.
- A Summit MLO will get in touch with you within 24 hours of you reaching out
- For more information and education on the homebuying process, readers can check out Summit’s Homebuying How-To videos.
Summit Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender.
1The Wisconsin’s #1 Mortgage Lender designation is based on the number of loans originated in 2020, gathered from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data compiled annually by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The results of the data were obtained through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website: https://ffiec.cfpb.gov/data-
2The following loan programs are not eligible for the closing cost credit: Federal VA, FHA, Rural Development, WHEDA, Investment Property and Construction loans. Offer valid on home purchase applications submitted from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 where the loan’s interest rate is locked by December 31, 2021. The $500 closing cost credit cannot exceed the actual amount of closing costs, prepaid interest and escrow reserves. This includes if the credit is combined with a seller closing cost credit. First mortgages only (offer does not apply to second mortgages or home equity lines of credit). The credit will be applied at the time of the loan closing and will be reflected on the closing disclosure. Not valid with any other offers.
3Preapproval request is subject to applicant providing required financial documentation. 3 The following loan programs are not eligible for the closing cost credit: Federal VA, FHA, Rural Development, WHEDA, Investment Property and Construction loans. Offer valid on home purchase applications submitted from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 where the loan’s interest rate is locked by December 31, 2021. The $500 closing cost credit cannot exceed the actual amount of closing costs, prepaid interest and escrow reserves. This includes if the credit is combined with a seller closing cost credit. First mortgages only (offer does not apply to second mortgages or home equity lines of credit). The credit will be applied at the time of the loan closing and will be reflected on the closing disclosure. Not valid with any other offers. 4 Offer valid for first time home buyers and requires a Summit Credit Union checking account. Minimum to open Free Checking account is $25. Primary Savings account required to have Free Checking. Primary Savings account: minimum to open $5. Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as of 2/1/2021 is 0.03%. An individual is to be considered a first-time home buyer who is purchasing a property; will reside in the property as a principal residence; and has had no ownership interest (sole or joint) in a residential property in the past 3 years. This program is not eligible for: Federal VA, Federal VA, FHA, Rural Development, WHEDA, Investment Property and Construction loans. The offer does not apply to second mortgages, home equity lines of credit and refinance. Offer effective with purchase applications dated February 1, 2021 or later and subject to change at any time. The $1,000 closing credit cannot exceed the actual amount of the closing cost, prepaid interest and escrow reserves. This includes if the credit is combined with a seller closing cost credit. The credit will be applied at the time of the loan closing and will be reflected on the closing disclosure. Not valid with any other offers.
Financial education and wellness are at the core of everything Summit Credit Union does. Over the past several months we have partnered with Summit Credit Union to help our readers understand how to navigate the current real estate market and how to get the best interest rates, and to help you know that you are not alone in navigating all of this!