Starting the home buying process can seem stressful. With so many factors to consider, where do you even start? But more importantly, when do you even start? Here are some tips for choosing the optimal time to begin house hunting in Michigan to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Buying a house is a stressful and emotional process. You'll likely have to spend weeks touring properties, fill out hundreds of forms, and invest a large chunk of your savings to secure the right house.
One way to make buying a house easier is starting the process at the right time. In Michigan, housing inventory, mortgage rates, and market trends vary from month to month.
For example, this year listing prices for homes in Michigan were lowest in January. On average, homes were $39,163 less expensive. While in August — the month with the highest prices — the listing prices were $23,786 more than the annual average.
In truth, the best time to buy a house really depends on your priorities and situation. Read on to find out which time of year will give you the most options and the biggest savings when buying a house in Michigan.
Best Month For
11.5% lower than average
19.8% more homes to choose from
2.93% interest for 30-year mortgage
Realtor.com data (October 2020)
Bankrate data (December 2020)
If you're interested in buying a home, the first step in the home buying journey is getting preapproved by a licensed lender. Even if you’re already pre-approved, shopping around for lower rates can pay dividends over the life of the loan.
You can fill out the form below to be instantly matched with a licensed lender who knows the area and can guide you through the process.
Best Time of Year to Buy in Michigan
For Michigan buyers that are interested in finding the most amount of homes listed for sale, spring is the optimal time to shop around and make an offer. In fact, more new listings tend to hit the market in April, May, and June in the state of Michigan than any other month, according to Zillow.
This springtime pattern is especially extreme in the Michigan market, due to its harsh winters.
When searching for a house in the colder months, it is often difficult to fully understand how much yard you would be getting if it happens to be covered in snow. When you first view it, you may perceive the yard space to be far smaller than in actually is.
This could be a downfall for two reasons: you’ll either be turned off by the small yard and look the other way, or you’ll purchase the home regardless, and end up with much more lawn maintenance than you were initially expecting once the warmer weather hits.
Since spring offers the newest selection in Michigan, it also has a tendency of being the season where buyers face the most competition — which in turn hikes up the prices. In fact, one in four U.S. homes sells above the initial list price in March through May, which is higher than at any other point in the year. By late summer, this falls to one in three.
July, August, and September have the highest percentage of listings with price deductions in Michigan. Sellers who are struggling to obtain buyer interest for their property are lowering their asking price more often during these months, which is something you can benefit from if you play your cards right and time your house hunting accordingly.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Michigan
Here’s a list of the five best places to purchase a home in Michigan in 2019.
1. Birmingham, MI
The five public schools in this city of 20,500 are known for their excellence in education, with test scores that are about 21% higher than the national average. Income levels are pretty high here too, averaging $108,135 per household annually.
Birmingham’s unemployment rate is 48% lower than the national average, and the city is safer than 83% of all American cities. These are some serious locational perks for you to drool over.
2. Troy, MI
Located in Oakland County roughly 25 miles north of Detroit, Troy is another great place to live in Michigan. The town offers a low crime rate and reasonably priced housing, with homes averaging $230,400.
Troy also boasts a vibrant economy, and commute times average a little under 25 minutes. To top it all off, Troy has top-rated schools, beautiful homes, world-class dining and plenty of attractions.
3. Ann Arbor, MI
Known for its nature areas and bountiful parks, Ann Arbor is a prime spot to buy a house in. But don’t just take it from us; Ann Arbor made second place in Niche’s list of 2019 Best Cities to Live in America.
And we can see why: the area has a vibrant economy, low crime rate, a progressive culture, regular festivals, and free outdoor music. Let’s not forget first-rate schools, beautiful neighborhoods, and a happening downtown area. Sounds like a great place to call home in our books.
4. Berkley, MI
Berkley is a suburb of Detroit that is home to over 15,000 people. The town is known for its amazing dining, shopping and nightlife options.
The suburb provides home buyers with ample housing options that include cottage, Cape Cod and craftsman style properties — and for a great price, too. Berkley homes are very affordable, with the median value standing at $150,800. Let’s not forget the overall cost of living is also low here.
With a number of high-performing public schools and low crime, buying a house in this beautiful corner of Michigan would be a smart choice.
5. East Grand Rapids, MI
The suburb of 11,000 residents is known for having some of the best schools in the state, steady, high-paying job market with median household income averaging $112,000 (double national average), low crime rate and a high quality of life. Homes are valued at an average of $270,100.
4 Ways to Get a Great Deal On a Home in Michigan
1. Find a Great Michigan Real Estate Agent
Working with an experienced, local buyer’s agent can be extremely valuable when buying a home; they will know the area’s housing market and will be able to guide you in finding the perfect place to call home. If you’re looking to get a great price for your home, it’s best not to go through the home buying process alone. An esteemed agent will negotiate for the best deal possible for you.
Learn More: What Does a Real Estate Agent Do for a Buyer?
2. Assess Your Needs and Lay Out Your Goals
To ensure a smooth home buying experience, first work with your real estate agent to determine what you need and want in a property, and identify your budget. Once you’ve got your requirements laid out, you’re all set to embark on the house hunting search.
Learn More: What to Look for When Buying a Home
3. Find a Lender and Secure Financing
Unless you plan to buy your home with cash, you'll need to apply for a mortgage. For most home buyers in Michigan, interest rates are among the biggest factors when choosing a lender. Doing a little upfront research and comparing options to find the best rates could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
For example, in Michigan a typical house is worth $186,000. Assuming a 20% down payment, if you took out a 30-year mortgage for 3.5%, your monthly payment would be $664. But if you shopped around and found a 3% mortgage, your monthly payment would drop to about $627.
Getting a mortgage is a big decision – and it pays to shop around! Keep shopping until you find a lender with competitive rates who also understands your goals. Don’t get pressured into taking on a bigger loan than you’re comfortable with – work with a lender who explains what you’re really signing up for.
It’s easy to start your home buying journey – answer a few questions to get instantly matched with a lender who works in your area.
4. Negotiate for the Best Possible Price
Once you’ve chosen your dream property, your agent will be able to assist you in making and submitting an offer. Following the home inspection, your agent will negotiate to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
Learn More: How to Find a Buyer’s Agent That’s a Good Negotiator
Fill out the online form today; a Clever representative will be in touch shortly to answer any questions you may have, and connect you with a local Partner Agent for a no-obligation consultation.