Greenville has more buyers than homes

Is now a good time to buy a house? The short answer is no.

The current fixed rate for a 30-year mortgage is slightly above 5% nationally.  When asked if this was true, Glenn Cooper from First Realty of Greenville, answered, “The best number is a good lender.”

Cooper said, “Get pre-qualified before you go and look at a home.”

When buying a house, Cooper explained, “The first thing you need to do is go to a lender. Or, you can come see me and I’ll give you the names of some lenders that you might try.”

Why is this the first step? Cooper said, “You need to know how much you’re going to qualify for and the type of financing you’ll qualify for. Not only do you have to qualify, but the house has to qualify.”

On top of that, lenders typically like the borrower to have 20% of the cost of the house as a down payment.

The higher interest rate has hit Cooper’s qualified buyers and some cannot afford the higher interest rate she said.

A trend that has been popping up more and more on the internet recently is “For Sale By Owner.”

“This is not the best idea,” Cooper said. “They could be putting themselves in danger by letting people come inside their home and look.”

“Approximately 75 percent of our buyers are from out of town,” she said. “They are people you don’t know. The seller is taking a huge risk by allowing these strangers into their home.”

There is also the risk of not completing all the legal paperwork and procedures correctly. “They don’t have all the tools they need,” Cooper said. “They don’t have relationships with all the people who need to come together in order to sell a house, such as the lender, the inspectors, the closing companies and others.”

The web site Zillow stated the national home prices are up 18.4 percent since this time last year. Cooper said that’s probably correct.

With inflation at a 41-year high, and continued fear of the Corona virus and its variants, the housing market in Butler county has taken a hit. “We have more buyers than we have houses to sell them,” Cooper said. “We have six houses in Butler County now.” That is in stark contrast to last year. “Last year was a record year for us.”

When asked if COVID-19 affected the business, Cooper said she worked right through it. She went on to say, “I think a lot of people didn’t list their house because they didn’t want people coming in and out of it.”

One of the things that’s helping the housing market in Butler County right now are rental properties. “There’s a huge market for rental property here. You only need a 550-credit score to lease through us. We manage between 180 and 200 rental properties and we can’t keep them,” Cooper said.

Another thing Cooper said she believes will help the housing market in Greenville is a subdivision.

“Greenville needs a new nice subdivision, like you find in Montgomery or Birmingham.”

The term for this in real estate lingo is a P.U.D.,  a “Planned Unit Development,”Cooper explained. “One that’s got a Homeowners Association, so that it protects their property values. One with a club house or a swimming pool, some amenities. There’s nothing like that here.”

Since becoming a real estate agent in 1988, Mrs. Cooper has seen her fair share of market trends. “In Greenville, five or 10 years ago, we would have over 100 listings for single family homes. Now, there’s only six.” This is one trend that First Realty hopes is on its way out.

If you’re interested in buying a home, you can reach Cooper and all the agents at First Realty of Greenville, 100 W. Commerce Street, Suite 102, Greenville or by phone at(334)382-2688. You can also visit their website at