Steve Meyers is a Real Estate Agent/Realtor at RE/MAX Metropolitan in Shelby Twp., and a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Steve Meyers)
Q: I was looking at a house listing and it showed that it had a wood foundation. I looked at a photo of the basement and it looked like the basement wall was plywood and two-by-sixes? Not sure if this was the way the homeowner finished the basement or is this a thing? I’ve seen poured concrete, concrete block and stone, but have never heard of or seen a wood foundation.
A: Yes, wood foundations are a thing, although rare in our neck of the woods. They are referred to as permanent wood foundations or PWFs for short. They are constructed of treated lumber and installed by specialized contractors. The ones I have seen were backfilled with stone/gravel. One had a concrete basement floor and the other one had stone/gravel covered with a vapor barrier with a wood platform type of basement floor. I highly recommend that you do research on wood foundations before purchasing a home with one. They don’t last as long as concrete and are more susceptible to water damage if not properly drained. Like anything, there are pros and cons. The couple that I have seen over the years were both out in country/rural areas.
Q: We’ve been trying to buy a house for over a year. The real estate agent we were working with has gotten out of the business. He always put an offer acceptance deadline with our offers. Is that a good thing?
A: In my opinion, experience shows that it’s not a good idea; especially in a seller’s market. I have seen it often on offers for my new listings and just shake my head. Here’s the normal scenario: A new listing goes active on a Thursday afternoon. A buyer goes through the house Thursday evening with their agent and writes an offer. The buyer’s agent submits an offer with an offer time limit of 6 p.m. on Friday. Now, with the huge inventory shortage, the seller usually has nonstop showings all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will receive multiple offers if the property was prepared right to be in show condition, marketed correctly including professional photos and priced right. Now the offer that came in with a deadline is automatically extinguished after 6 p.m. Friday and is technically no longer valid. Some inexperienced agents think the buyer is king and is in charge. Nothing could be further from the truth in a seller’s market. I personally do not use time limits because of all the possible scenarios that could be going on behind the scenes. If a buyer no longer wants to wait for an answer on an offer, their agent can withdraw the offer before it is accepted. It would be a different ballgame if the offer was for cash, no inspection and $50,000 over asking. Then an offer deadline might get the seller’s attention away from the 20 or 30 showings they have scheduled for the weekend with more than likely multiple offers competing against each other.
November’s market update for Macomb County and Oakland County’s housing market (house and condo sales) is as follows: In Macomb County, average sales price was up by 12% and in Oakland County, average sales price was up by more than 4% for the month. Macomb County’s on-market inventory was down by almost 37% and Oakland County’s on-market inventory was down by almost 25%. Macomb County’s average days on market were 27 days and Oakland County’s average days on market were 27 days, as well. Closed sales in Macomb County were down by more than 7% and closed sales in Oakland County were down by more than 14%. The closed sales continue to be down as a direct result of the continued low inventory. Demand still remains high. (All comparisons are month to month, year to year.)
By the long-standing historical definition from the National Association of Realtors, which has been in existence since 1908, a buyer’s market is when there is a seven-month supply or more of inventory on the market. A balanced market between buyers and sellers is when there is a six-month supply of inventory. A seller’s market is when there is a five-month or less supply of inventory. Inventory has continued to stay low. In November, the state of Michigan inventory was at 2.2 months of supply. Macomb County’s inventory was at 1.7 months of supply and Oakland County’s inventory was 1.9 months of supply. As you can see, by definition, it is not a buyer’s market.
Steve Meyers is a real estate agent/Realtor at RE/MAX First in Shelby Twp. and is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. He can be contacted with questions at 586-997-5480 or Steve@MeyersRealtor.com You also can visit his website: AnswersToRealEstateQuestions.com.