Multiple bids? Housing market showing signs of life
Karen Boguslawski says she was "shocked" when she received 2 offers for her house, which she put up for sale for $479,000, within 9 days of when she listed it this past November. She wrapped up the sale in January for $475,000 and moved into this new home, which she is renovating. Photographed on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
ELMWOOD PARK SALES UP
Elmwood Park has seen 33 sales in 2012, compared to 23 in the first quarter of 2011. Those figures do not include condos and townhomes.
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:50AM
Karen Boguslawski was stunned when she started getting competing bids for her home in Chicago’s Edgebrook neighborhood, resulting in a 12-day race toward signing a contract with a buyer.
“I was completely shocked when I had a scheduled showing within a couple of hours of it going on the market,” she said of her listing on Nov. 11. “I was arranging more showings every day or every other day.”
Boguslawski ended up with two bidders, both of whom had visited the home prior to the scheduled open house. One of her two bidders accepted her counteroffer immediately, while the other didn’t respond.
“I really thought it would sit for a while until after the holidays,” she said. “On the one hand, I was happy that I didn’t have to keep it ‘open house’-ready on a day-to-day basis, but I wasn’t quite prepared to pack and find movers and figure out temporary housing within 60 days.”
Chicago-area housing experts said Boguslawski’s experience is becoming more common. Even though the housing market is far from recovered, more and more sellers are getting multiple bidders on their properties.
“Quite honestly, it was a change, and some people questioned initially whether there really were multiple offers,” said Eve Bremen, who runs Coldwell Banker Winnetka North and who started seeing the phenomenon in March.
What’s going on? To a great extent, it’s supply and demand, Bremen said.
New construction has been stalled for years, and finally the stock of existing homes has been nibbled down. Plus, historically low interest rates on mortgages are luring more buyers into the market.
Steve Scheuring, an agent with Baird & Warner in Oak Park, has been involved in five or six multiple offers in the past two months.
“There are a number of factors contributing but this does NOT mean prices are rising,” he said. “Most of the bidding wars involve offers still under asking price.”
Jim Blaha, owner of the River Forest-based, buyer-specialized JFB Realty, said multiple offers are just getting the sellers closer to their list price — but still not reaching it, he said.
“Buyers often start aggressively low, but if another offer comes in and the buyer still wants the house, the buyer will get reasonable quickly,” Blaha said.
And the phenomenon is not limited to high-end properties.
Diane Lynch, a Realtor at Realty Executive Premier in Wheaton, represents a buyer who lost out to higher bids on four different homes listed under $160,000 in the Hanover Park-Glendale Heights area.
Boguslawski listed her 1,450-square-foot, three-bedroom and 2.5-bath Georgian for $479,000 after she decided that she wanted a smaller, one-level home that was easier to care for.
She sold it for $475,000, closing Jan. 17.
Boguslawski bought the house in 2003 for $370,000 and invested $75,000 in remodeling the kitchen, bathrooms and basement.
“I wanted less maintenance and fewer rooms to clean, and at this stage in my life, I decided it made sense to sell sooner rather than later,” said Boguslawski, a 50-year-old project manager at BMO Harris Bank. “I felt the price was appropriate based on the work I’d done.”
Realtors say all signs point to a continued strong market.
To avoid getting into a bidding war, Roz Byrne, an agent with the Oak Park-based RE/MAX in the Village, advises her buyers to be decisive once they see a home they like.
“As soon as you like a house it’s not that uncommon that another buyer may like it too,” said Byrne. “When a house is priced correctly in the first place or when a price adjustment brings it to the sweet spot, a buyer will come forth and sometimes more than one buyer,” she said.
Contributing: Art Golab,
Irv Leavitt, Felicia Dechter, Chuck Fieldman,