Not long ago, a house for sale in the suburbs would draw frenzied buyers and multiple offers. But the mood among Chicago home buyers has changed, and home sellers will need to adjust their expectations.
Ryan Gable, CEO of StartingPoint Realty, has been working with home buyers since 2004. While he’s used to Chicago’s ever-changing market, the recent turn in conditions feels abrupt. “I’ve never seen the market change this fast, like someone flipped a switch,” says Gable. “A few months ago, buyers would punch each other in the nose to win a bidding war. Now they’re walking away from any home that isn’t perfect.”
Even homes in popular neighborhoods are sitting on the market longer. Gable reports that a recent listing in Hoffman Estates had 48 showings before going under contract, despite the home being in good condition and correctly priced. “The home was on a corner lot,” explains Gable. “That wouldn’t have mattered to buyers last spring, but today it’s a different story.”
There are exceptions. Homes that look like new, situated in highly desirable locations, can still command multiple offers and sell above list price. “There isn’t much middle ground,” says Gable. “Buyers are willing to spend big when they find their dream home, but they won’t look twice at a house that needs work.”
Other buyers have taken to the sidelines, despite a modest improvement in home inventory. While this could be a seasonal slowdown, Gable believes there may be more to it.
“The pandemic created an outsized sense of urgency for buyers. There were practical reasons for this urgency, like needing room for home schooling and remote work. And there were emotive reasons, too – the need for comfort and security. As things have been gradually returning to normal, some of the edge has been taken off. Buyers are still motivated, but they are not desperate.”
Homeowners who plan to sell should pay close attention to recent sales in their neighborhood, and factor in any condition issues. “Ideally, you’ll want your home in the best possible shape to draw the best offers,” says Gable. “Buyers want move-in ready homes with updated interiors. Without that, you’re looking at a different pricing strategy and you’ll need to be flexible.”
Since 2004, StartingPoint Realty has specialized in educating first-time home buyers throughout Chicago and the suburbs. StartingPoint Realty offers free, first-time home buyer seminars without any obligation, as well as home seller consultations. For more information, call 847-348-1154 or visit www.startingpointrealty.com.