The struggle of buying a house in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — House hunters are having a difficult time scoring a new home in Grand Rapids, especially first-time home buyers.

Home seekers and home builders told 24 Hour News 8 that as the city continues to attract more people, the process of purchasing an affordable home is becoming increasingly more difficult.

Alison Black experienced the frustrations firsthand for months. After a breakup, Black downsized from a two-story home to a one-bedroom apartment. 

She didn’t expect what would come next: months of searching and unsuccessful home offers.

However, on a dreary March day last week she was finally seeing a beam of light as she moved into her new two-story home in Grand Rapids.

“It’s just shocking to me that it actually happened the way that it did,” she told 24 Hour News 8 as movers loaded her stuff.

Black explained that an offer on a northeast Grand Rapids home she had previously lost out on fell through. They called her to see if she still wanted it — she pounced on the opportunity.

Prior to her new house, 616 Lofts on Michigan Street in Grand Rapids became her home for two years. She said her house hunt became serious last February and she closed about 11 months later.

The house closing came after she made bid on six different homes.

“Not only was I bidding over, I was beaten with bids that were not only over but also in cash people were waiving inspections,” Black explained.

She ended up paying $7,000 above asking price and picking up a second job.

“I had to look at listings every day. I had to go look at homes on my lunch break from work. I had to book my weekends up where I just went to showings all day Saturday [and] open houses all day Sunday, and did that for months on end.”

Her constant work paid off when she landed a three-bedroom house in a location that met her criteria. It also boasts the yard, deck and garage she was looking for.

“I have cabinet space,” she said with excitement. “I have room to actually accommodate all my things.”

Even with all the heavy lifting, Black doesn’t think her story is all that special — especially here in Grand Rapids.

“It’s expected! I would never say to anybody going out to buy a house ‘expect to get a deal,’ you’re not [going to]. You’re going to pay over.”

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