Tracking the Trends

What you need to know in a hot real estate market

The Fox Cities housing market is hotter than ever. Though past patterns have seemed to benefit only buyers or only sellers at any particular time, the current market does have advantages for both sides, depending on the price range the potential transaction falls into.

Judd Stevenson, owner of Stevenson Appraisal Company and president of the Realtors Association of Northeastern Wisconsin, notes that it’s a sellers’ market for those homes that fall in between $150,000 and $300,000.

“If we had the inventory, we could sell more,” he says.

He’s observed that sellers in that price range are putting their homes on the market for one of two reasons: either they’re expanding into a larger home, or they’re downsizing.

“They’re the young couple who maybe started out and their house is a $150,000 to $170,000 home; they need more space, so they’re going to try to find a bigger house,” he explains. “And the down-sizers, who are at the $250,000 to $300,000 range, they’re trying to downsize and move into a smaller house; they’ve been sitting in their home trying to look for a better market since 2008.

Now it’s 2019, it’s been about 10 years and they’ll say, ‘I’ve got to get out, this is a good time, I’m putting it on the market.’”

Karen Cain, Realtor with Coldwell Banker, The Real Estate Group in Appleton, says she sees benefits for both buyers and sellers.

“For sellers, prices from 2018 are up around 8 percent in value and many homes, particularly those under $225,000, are receiving multiple offers and competing buyers, which often boosts purchase price.

“For buyers,” Cain continues, “current mortgage rates are as low as they were in 2016 – well under 4 percent for most buyers – and although inventory was tight this summer, more listings have been hitting the market and it looks like fall will have a lot of opportunities.”

Karl Volkman, Realtor with The Karl Volkman Group, First Weber Inc., agrees that anything below the $225,000 mark and in turn-key condition is a “super hot” market for sellers.

“Buyers – for something that they can move right into – are really paying a premium for those homes,” states Volkman. “It’s a bidding war; I showed a house last night that hit the market the day before at $160,000 and the agent already had seven offers on it and expected more. All [offers] were over the list price.”

Take advantage of the current trends












Whether you are a prospective buyer or seller, there are ways you can take advantage of what the current market offers.

“Buyers: talk with your lender and get pre-approved,” Cain says. “This helps you understand what price point you can comfortably afford and keeps you from falling in love with a home that just won’t work for you financially. The pre-approval process is totally painless and just takes a few minutes of your time.”

Volkman says that a buyer may have to expand their horizons and not just look at turn-key homes, which are going for the premium.

“I think that buyers, in order to take advantage of [market conditions], need to be more open-minded and look at some of the homes that have been on the market for a while,” he adds. “Maybe that seller is in a position to really discount it to get it gone. If [a prospective buyer] is saying they won’t buy anything over five years old, well guess what – they’re going to compete with five other buyers. In order to take advantage of it, they need to look at the whole market and maybe look at the most motivated seller, versus the newest house.”

If you’re trying to sell your house in one of the price points that aren’t experiencing the surge, such as the $400,000 to $600,000 range, Volkman says it may be time for an aggressive price reduction, dependent on the seller’s motivation for putting the home on the market.

“Realize sometimes it’s no one’s fault, it’s just what the market is,” he states. “[Ask yourself] do I just need to do a major price reduction – not $10,000 but maybe 10 percent – just to unload this thing and move on? Because I don’t really see that pattern changing. There’s enough inventory in that price range that isn’t getting any showings and that could go on for a long time.”

Sellers in this market need to take care in preparing their home for the sale process as well, adds Cain. A fresh coat of paint, cleaning up landscaping and new light fixtures can help the seller.

“Eliminate things you don’t love and pare down, pack away, and purge anything you don’t want or need,” she says. “Get out your toolbox and check off the pesky to-do list of repairs so that your home is fresh and ready when you are!”

Local Realtors and housing professionals are here to help

As we’ve learned in the past, the housing market can have volatile moments. The future cannot be predicted, so it’s helpful to have a trusted real estate agent by your side. A Realtor is there to help the process along and provide knowledgeable, objective information and negotiation power, says Stevenson.

“They also have expanded search power,” he adds. “This becomes important when you are searching for a home in the price ranges that are selling quickly. A Realtor also has knowledge of properties that are coming onto the market and may not be in the MLS. It may not be on Zillow or may not be on Trulia, yet, but the Realtor will know that information and you can get a head start on the process. Most properties, if it’s priced right and there’s nothing wrong with the house, it’s selling within a week. And that Realtor is going to let you have the capability of turning over an offer immediately.”

Homes on Parade 

Looking to immerse yourself in the latest and greatest when it comes to home construction? Fox Valley residents are in luck – there are two Parade of Homes happening this fall. Find out about the trending colors, window treatments, exterior designs, floor plans and furniture trends – and so much more. Detailed information is available regarding each home in the tours, so you can start making plans for your own home!

Winnegamie Home Builders Association

October 24-27: less than 15 homes

October 25-27 and November 1-3: Fifteen or more homes.

Tickets go on sale October 10; advance tickets are $8, while tickets can be purchased at each of the homes on the days of the event for $10. For questions about the Parade of Homes located in Winnebago & Outagamie Counties, please call 920-235-2962 or visit the website at:

Home Builders Association of the Fox Cities (HBA Fox Cities):

October 5-6 and October 10-13 (Remodeling projects open October 11-13).

The event features 25 houses ranging in size from a 1,214 square foot remodeling project to a 7,474 square foot new-construction house, and showcases new trends and styles.

To preview the homes, visit Tickets are $12 per adult ($15/adult beginning Oct. 5) and $10/child (ages 5-17), and are sold at, and all of the Parade homes during event dates and hours.

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