First-Time Buyers


I was in a department store this past weekend looking for new bed linens and their were Christmas carols reverberating through the aisles of sheets and duvet covers.  I’ve come to haunted-house.jpgterms with Christmas starting before Thanksgiving, but now it starts before Halloween?  Maybe I’m just alarmed because I’m so Halloween focused right now what with being a Lansing Jaycee who is all about our Haunted House project. 

The Christmas music did get me to thinking about what the Lansing real estate market is usually like for buyers during the holiday season.  Buyer’s usually don’t want to look for homes in November and December because they feel like the market is cursed after Halloween.  They think the inventory of homes is low, that the won’t have enough homes to choose from.  I don’t think a lack of selection is going to be a problem this year.  Here are some current inventory statistics for homes in the average first-time buyer’s price range, between $100,000 and $150,000.

Lansing: 1,579 homes available

East Lansing: 201

Okemos: 221

Haslett: 158

Total for areas covered by the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors: 5260

That is a lot to choose from – Happy House Hunting!

photo by Frankeys Creation

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Realtor Magazine has a new survey out listing the 9 home features most desired by buyers.

1. Central AirCheckmark

2. Oversize Garage

3. Walk-in Closet in Master Bedroom

4. Backyard/Play Area

5. Cable/Satellite TV-Ready

6. High-Speed Internet Access

7. Separate Showers in Main Bath

8. Patio

9. Fencing

How do your desires stack up? 

CalcYou’ve decided to buy a home in the Greater Lansing area.  Congratulations! – you read this blog so I know you have all your ducks in a row.  So I’ll assume you’ve already found a great Realtor, and you’ve hooked up with a lender who has told you how much you qualify to borrow. 

Chances are you qualify for more than you want to spend.  If you’re like me you want to know what the bottom line is – you want to know how much the monthly payment would be on the homes you’re interested in buying.

Here is a mortgage calculator that will help you find the bottom line. 

Yesterday Matt Bowler, the current President of the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors published a list of reasons why there is “Good News” for Greater Lansing.

Some reasons that made the list:

  • 94% of the work force in Lansing is working!
  • Lansing is the only region in the world with two new auto plants!
  • Sparrow Health Systems is growing and building at a record pace!
  • Ingham Regional is constructing a state-of-the-art Heart Center!
  • Cooley Law School is the largest law school in the country!

The list goes on and Matt is right, the Lansing area is growing and good things are happening. 

An item on Matt’s list that pertains to this blog, “The largest selection of homes in years is a major benefit for the buyers.”  INNW?

Currently in Lansing there are 1,583 homes for sale under $200,000.  That’s a lot to choose from.  Lately I’ve been working with several 1st time buyer’s looking for homes in the $100,000 to $125,000 price range.  In that price range there are 371 homes for sale in Lansing.  With all these homes to choose from there is something for everyone. 

Here are a few examples of what you can buy in Lansing for about $125,000 (click on the picture to find more details on each home):

2427-washington.jpg 2315-devonshire.jpg 2307-chatham.jpg 109-lincoln.jpg 1906-holly-way.jpg

calendar.jpgA few days ago someone found my blog by using the search phrase “when is the best month to buy Lansing real estate?”  I’ve been thinking about the answer to that question so I’ll take a stab at it…

I think the best month to buy real estate is any month when you’re ready.  I could argue that summer months are best to buy because there is typically a high inventory of homes on the market in the summer.  I could argue that winter months are the best to buy because sellers desperate enough to try and sell over the holidays might take low-ball offers.  I could argue fall months are the best time to buy because everyone else is busy watching MSU football…

All joking aside, any month of the year is a good time to buy in this market.  In Lansing we’re experiencing a buyers market.  So as a buyer as long as you have a competent real estate professional researching prices and negotiating for you, you’ll be able to get a very good deal no matter the date on the calendar.

This is the first post in what will someday be a snazzy resource for buyers looking to research all the different neighborhoods in Lansing.  Each Friday I’ll give you the dirt on a new neighborhood in the Greater Lansing area. 

My plan is to start by reviewing neighborhoods with housing options in a typical first-time buyer’s price range – $150,000 and below. 

My first target is Lansing’s Colonial Village Neighborhood.  Colonial Village sits in south Lansing and is bounded by Mt. Hope Ave. on the north, MLK on the east, Holmes Rd. on the south and Pleasant Grove on the west.  Colonial Village has a very active neighborhood association.  On top of their other duties, the CVNA provides residents with an annual garage sale, neighborhood picnic and holiday lighting contest.

The neighborhood boasts two parks, Holly Park & Elmhurst Park and has easy access to schools, shopping and the freeway.  This neighborhood appeals to a wide variety of buyers.  You’ll find retirees, newlyweds, families and singles all living in Colonial Village.

Typical homes in Colonial Village are between 900 and 1500 sq ft.  Many of the homes are cape cods, but there are also ranches and some larger two-story homes.  The homes were built anywhere from 1930 through the 1970s.  From the exterior, most of the homes in the neighborhood are well-maintained.  The residents here seem to take pride in keeping their homes looking good and keeping their neighboorhood neat.  Residents volunteer to plant flowers in the public spaces throughout the neighborhood.  Regular speed bumps keep the already light traffic moving slow. 

Right now there are 56 homes for sale in Colonial Village with listing prices from $80,500 to $154,900.  5 homes have sold in the past 30 days.  Here are the details on some of the recent sales in the neighborhood.

2116-quentin.jpg2116 Quentin Ave.
Sale Price: $130,000
Sq Ft.: 1,400
Beds: 3  Baths: 1.5
Days on Market: 98

1628-victor.jpg1628 Victor Ave.
Sale Price: $124,500
Sq. Ft.: 1,179
Beds: 3  Baths: 1.5
Days on Market: 37

1821-rundle.jpg1821 W. Rundle Ave.
Sale Price: $115,500
Sq. Ft.: 816
Beds: 2  Baths: 1
Days on Market: 28

I’ve said it before, but Colonial Village is one of my favorite Lansing neighborhoods, especially for first-time buyers.  If you live in Colonial Village or if you’re a buyer who passed on the neighborhood I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The sales staff at Townsend on the Park in Grand Ledge have unveiled a new marketing campaign.  Mazda 3Buyers are being enticed with a 2 year lease on a Mazda 3 when they purchase any of the available condos.  Townsend on the Park has 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units with starting prices at $101,000, $115,900 and $129,900 respectively. 

Crippen Auto Mall is providing the leases on the Mazda 3s being dangled.  Cars.com gives the Mazda 3 an average rating.   

An average condo and an average car might make for an above average deal.  If you’re in the market for a condo it can’t hurt to check it out.

Note: Townsend on the Park isn’t being represented by my broker and I haven’t been bribed with money or cars to write this entry. 

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