Open houses open doors to homeownership

2013-04-21T00:00:00Z Open houses open doors to homeownership nwitimes.com
April 21, 2013 12:00 am

You’re invited to join REALTORS® across the state and country during the final day of the Fourth Annual REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Weekend. The goal of this event is to give buyers a stress-free way to visit homes for sale in different neighborhoods where they might want to live.

With the housing market heating up this spring, it’s an exciting opportunity to see a number of properties currently for sale. Whether you’re ready to make your move now or sometime later this year, today is the perfect time to start that conversation.

Look for the blue balloons. You’ll find more than 200 of them displayed outside homes that are open for you to come inside and take a look. While you’re there, you can meet a member of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR) and ask any questions you may have about that particular home or the real estate market in general.

“I’ve been in real estate since 2006, and the market is definitely different at the current time,” Treasurer of GNIAR’s MLS Board of Directors Kathy Boswell of RE/MAX Realty Associates in Munster said. “Over the last several years, I’ve been very fortunate to remain busy as a full-time agent. It’s been a lot of hard work for all of us, and the focus has changed. We need to educate our buyers on the process of purchasing a home now more than ever. Through the winter season this past year, things have really started to pick up, and it’s been a very successful first quarter in 2013. With inventories a little lower than they’ve been in the past, we’re finding we’re finding more buyers are putting in offers as soon as they find the right property and if the property is priced correctly by a full-time REALTOR® with accurate data, we are finding multiple offers on properties.”

Considered by many to be the real estate equivalent of an automobile test drive, open houses give buyers a chance to get a feel for several different homes, as well as the neighborhoods and nearby amenities.

“The Nationwide Open House encourages people to participate who may not want to have an open house otherwise,” GNIAR Board of Directors member Nina Wiseman of McColly Real Estate in Crown Point, who has been a REALTOR® since 2006, said. “We’re definitely seeing more qualified buyers out there right now, and sales are booming. The economy has definitely picked up, and houses are going faster. I really enjoy this weekend because it gives people the freedom to move around, see a lot of different houses without a lot of pressure. It takes the pressure off for us too.”

REALTORS® will be onsite at all the open houses to discuss the home buying process and local market conditions based on their experience. Buyers who have been checking out their options online can now freely walk through a number of homes, getting a better idea of what it would be like to actually live there, while open houses are also a great way for potential sellers to see what their home will be up against and ask questions about the smartest home improvements to make this spring.

“Open houses are definitely generating quite a bit of activity right now, and this weekend couldn’t be better. With spring arriving, more people are coming out to look at houses than I’ve ever seen before. I’m a third generation REALTOR®, and I’ve been in the business for the past five years. My grandfather started this company in the 1930s,” GNIAR Board of Directors member Nathan Reeder of Reeder Companies in Hammond said. “There are still a good number of people who are looking for that good deal, but it’s just not always possible. In some places across the region, we’re seeing a sellers’ market - lower inventories and an increasing number of buyers. I would have never dreamed of it before, but I’m bringing contracts with me just in case somebody is ready to buy.”

Last year, 45 percent of all buyers used an open house as a source in their search process, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. You can expect that number to rise sharply this year.

Consumer confidence is improving and so is the real estate market. Many people who have been sitting on the sidelines are discovering that right now may just be the best possible time to make a move, while interest rates remain near record lows and prices are just slowly starting to inch up.

In the ever-changing world of real estate, working with an experienced and knowledgeable REALTOR® is key – whether you are buying and/or selling.

Approximately 89 percent of buyers purchase homes through a real estate agent while just 9 percent of sellers sold their home without the assistance of an agent, according to NAR. REALTORS® deliver invaluable insights – from honing in on what buyer’s value to what conditions will help or hurt a homes ability to sell.

“The real estate market is back as we once knew it. We’re seeing movement at all price points, and the average days on the market for any new listings that are priced right in our office is less than 60 - we can have as many as 30-40 showings in the first week,” GNIAR Board of Directors member Magdalena Lybolt of Prime Real Estate in Schererville said. “Typically most real estate firms have somewhat of a slow entrance into the spring market, but that just isn’t the case this year. The market has been amazingly strong – buyers are coming out of the woodwork. Rates are still extremely low - many people remember when rates were as high as 18-19% in the early ‘80s.”

More than 200 houses are scheduled to be open at various times throughout Northwest Indiana in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper and Newton counties.

Today’s open house locations are featured on gniar.com and in local papers.

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