Homeowners are experiencing a hot sellers’ market across the country. In fact, we’re hearing stories every day that people are receiving cash offers for their homes before they’re even listed. Many properties that are active and on the market are selling for higher than their original asking price.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you’ve been on the fence about selling your home and moving into a senior living community like Sweetwater, it might be worth a conversation with your local realtor. Depending on where you live, selling your home right now could be the best future investment.

Is 2021 the Year to Sell Your Home?

We recently met with Melinda Jensen, realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Ambassador Real Estate in Council Bluffs, Iowa—licensed in Iowa and Nebraska. We wanted to get her perspective on the home-buying market and first-hand experience with home sellers this year. 

Sweetwater: Melinda, what changes are you currently seeing in the housing market? 

Melinda: In SW Iowa and SE Nebraska, we’re experiencing a major sellers’ market right now. To give you a clearer picture, let’s compare the home buying market from 2010 to 2020. 

In May 2010, there were 925 actively listed houses on the market. In 2020, during this same month, that number shot down to 265 active houses for sale. That’s a huge difference. But let’s break this down even further: In May of this year (2021), there were a total of 118 houses for sale. That tells you all you need to know about the market right now.

Here’s another example: Back in 2010, houses listed in the $0-$100K price category were on the market for about 6 months. Compare that to today, where we’re seeing houses in this same price range sell in an average of 16 days—most in 24-48 hours. Many are selling for thousands more than their asking price. This includes cash offers, too.

Sweetwater: In your state, what do you think accounts for the rise in people buying homes?

Melinda:  I’d say there are actually three reasons why we’re seeing such a surge in the marketplace:

  1. Interest rates are close to a record low.  
  2. Inventory of houses is nothing like we’ve ever seen before (remember, when I said homes are taking an average of 16 days to sell? I’ve been in the business for 15 years and have never seen that before).
  3. After COVID-19, people wanted to move from cities/apartment living into rural areas. As many people are still working from home, the demand for a single-family housing unit is higher than ever.  

On a national scale, another reason we’re seeing such an escalation in house prices is simply due to less homes being built. Since the 1950s, for example, in every decade, there’s been about 20 million homes built. However, since 2010, this number tapered off significantly, causing a tremendous housing shortage that we continue to experience today—with only 5.6 million homes built since 2010.

Sweetwater: Why are these changes beneficial to people considering selling their homes?

Melinda: With the way things are now, if you’re thinking of selling your home, you can hope to get a higher sales price than ever before. In fact, many buyers aren’t conducting home inspections as part of the purchase agreement. To a seller, that means there is less of the normal hassle to prepare your home for market. 

Sweetwater: Why might some people still be hesitant to sell their homes?

Melinda: In my experience, I find the hesitancy comes from people worried about where they will go next. There’s also the stress and financial pressure of preparing your home for selling. If your family lives out of state, then you might feel like you’re on your own, which can be a burden and make you think twice about selling.  

I would like to add, though, there are so many incredible resources available for people in those scenarios. In our states, you can find companies that will help you plan and coordinate estate sales, as well as pack your belongings and ship/move them to your new home. 

Sweetwater: What advice would you give to someone who is still on the fence?

Melinda: My best advice for you is this: make the decision while you can. What I mean is it’s important that you are an active participant in your own destiny. Rather than having someone else make the choice for you, decide when it’s right for you to sell. 

The worst thing would be to wait too long and then find yourself in a situation, where the decision is no longer up to you. I knew a great couple in their 70s, who lived in their own home. The husband was hard of hearing. One day, his wife was going downstairs to do the laundry, when she fell down the stairs and broke her hip. She tried to call him for help, but he couldn’t hear her. It wasn’t until noontime that he found her still laying on the floor because she hadn’t made his lunch. 

She recovered from the incident, thankfully, but the decision to move was now out of her hands. 

Sweetwater: Any final words?

Melinda: If you’re ever going to sell, do it now! The market has never been like this before. I’d also like to add that if you’re considering moving to a retirement community, remember what this past year has taught us. 

You can live at home and be unable to see your loved ones at a drop of a hat. It’s a scary thought, but with COVID-19, many seniors were left feeling isolated and alone. But those living in retirement communities, like Sweetwater, had access to their friends and neighbors. They could still socialize and be a part of their community.

My parents, for example, made the decision to move into a retirement community a few years ago. They sold their home, had an estate sale, and moved in less than eight weeks from making the decision. 

Truth be told, it took them about a year to adjust. Like anyone would, they missed their own home. My dad used to have his own heated and air-conditioned workshop, so he missed being in there building things. But if you asked them today, they would tell you it was the best decision they ever made! 

Still on the fence?

If you’d like to live in a retirement community, but you’re unsure whether now is the right time to move, you’re certainly not alone. 

This is an important decision, and we want you to feel confident and supported every step of the way. We invite you to explore Sweetwater in person or through a virtual tour to get a sneak peek at our exciting communities and luxurious amenities.

At Sweetwater, we believe that residents should decide how to spend their days. Because we offer so many activities, amenities and events, we promise you’ll have plenty to do to stay entertained, active and social. 

Browse our community’s pages to explore our spacious floor plans, photos, and events calendars in each community to get a feel for what life is like at Sweetwater.


We are always here to help. Contact us today to get more information about our community. Please be sure to also browse our senior living blog for more articles and insights on the benefits of retirement living.

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