Seattle Market Update – July 2013

Great selling conditions have continued into the summer months. However, we are starting to see some opportunities over the last few weeks for buyers. The hot summer heat and rising interest have cooled this mad market.

Transactions traditionally slow down in the summer months, and while that has been true this summer, the market is still active and inventory continues to be tight. According  to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, King County has 1.4 months of inventory (which means that all homes currently listed for sale would be sold in 1.4 months if no new listings came on the market.) We expect inventory to increase, and those sellers who will be listing their homes in the future will have the advantage of setting their price off of comparable listings that have seen healthy boosts in value.

The most important advice that we can give to sellers is this:  be realistic with your asking price. Yes, it’s a sellers market and prices are going up. And yes, buyers are willing to pay market value or more for a home if needed. However, homes that are priced too high tend to sit and play the price drop game.

If you’re looking to buy, come prepared. Talk with your financial advisor and/or mortgage provider and get pre-approved. If you see a home you like, make an offer as soon as possible. If you wait, the home will likely sell. With most desirable homes receiving multiple offers, we’re also advising buyers to find out what sellers are looking for aside from price.

Want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood? Check out our monthly Neighborhood Report for:

Laurelhurst

Windermere

View Ridge

Sand Point Country Club

Bryant

Wedgwood

Capitol Hill

Madison Park

Montlake

Portage Bay

Ask the Home Advisor – Is Now A Good Time To Sell?

Q: I’ve read that home prices are up in Seattle. Is now a good time to sell?

A: A lot of homeowners have spent years waiting for prices to rise before putting their homes up for sale. Seattle has seen double-digit price increases in the past year. Should homeowners wait and see if home values continue to rise, or should they sell now while the market is hot and many sellers are getting over asking price?

Trying to time home values is like trying to time the stock market. It’s tough to recognize the turning point.

Rather than just asking “When can I get the highest price?”, homeowners should consider the cost of staying in a home when they’d rather live somewhere else.

Many people choose to sell their existing home and move to a new property for lifestyle reasons- a more desirable neighborhood, better schools, shorter commute, downsizing, etc. Delaying that increased “happiness factor” has an emotional cost.

There is also a financial cost. If you wait to sell your current home until prices rise even more, the price of the home you want to purchase next will no doubt rise as well. Interest rates may increase as well, so any added profit you make would be used to pay a higher price on your new home.

My advice?  If you’re motivated to sell, there are plenty of people who are motivated to buy. For the first time in years, it’s a seller’s market. Inventory continues to be limited. Multiple offers are the norm. If you are willing to price your home appropriately, it will sell quickly, freeing you up to move on to the home you really want.

Great Reads – July 2013

Here are a few great articles that caught our eye:

Top 5 Things Today’s Home Buyer Wants

How to Win Bidding Wars in Seattle

How to Choose a Front Door Color

Seattle Market Update – May 2013

April was a very active month for the Seattle housing market. Inventory is increasing…and so are prices.

Rising home values have enticed sellers to put their homes on the market. April saw the highest month of new listings since June 2011. While buyers now have more homes to choose from, the influx of new inventory is still is not meeting demand. Multiple offers are the new norm for any home that is priced correctly.

Homes in King County continued to appreciate . In April, the median selling price of a single family home was 11% more than a year ago. We’re in the peak selling season now, and expect to the strong activity to continue through the summer.

Want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood? Check out our monthly Neighborhood Report for:

Laurelhurst

Windermere

View Ridge

Sand Point Country Club

Bryant

Wedgwood

Capitol Hill

Madison Park

Montlake

Portage Bay

Ask the Home Advisor – How to Get the Best Price for Your Home

Q: With the real estate market bouncing back in Seattle, I’m planning to put my home up for sale. What can I do to make sure I get the best price?

A: We always tell sellers to make sure their home is in the best condition it’s ever been in. How you live in your home and how you present your home to sell are two different things. While you might overlook a little pet hair or flaking paint, potential buyers won’t. They also assume that if you aren’t taking care of the things that they can see, you’re also not taking care of things that they can’t see.

It’s difficult for buyers to visualize how an empty home can look, so we always advise sellers to have their home staged.  Skillful staging can turn that too-small bedroom into the perfect home office or yoga studio.  And it’s been proven that homes that have been staged sell faster and for more money.

Potential buyers really notice dirty or dated carpets and marked walls. A fresh coat of paint and new carpet are inexpensive ways to freshen up a home, and always pay off in return on investment. They also can help alleviate stale smells.

Unless it’s a high-end home, we usually advise against kitchen or bath remodels, which rarely pay for themselves. Luxury homes are an exception. No one wants to pay $2 million for a home and have to tear out the kitchen before they move in.

WANT TO GET THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR HOME?

DEALMAKERS

  • Meticulously clean, uncluttered rooms.
  • Fresh paint in neutral colors.
  • Sparkling windows.
  • Clean, contemporary furnishings (either your own or a stagers) arranged to showcase each room to its best advantage.
  • Great curb appeal: Nicely landscaped yard, pressure-washed patios and walkways, a nice entryway (a large flowering container, new house numbers, and a freshly painted front door make a welcoming first impression.)

DEALBREAKERS

  • Any bad odors, from mildew to pets to strong cooking odors. (Even if the rest of the home is in great shape, we have seen people turn around at the door and walk away because of smells.)
  • Dingy grout in the bath and kitchen.
  • Peeling paint.
  • Roofs covered with moss and debris.
  • Dripping faucets.
  • Other obvious deferred maintenance issues like sagging fences or moldy basements.

Seattle Market Update – April 2013

March was another incredible month for the Seattle housing market. Inventory and interest rates remain low and the trend of multiple offers and escalating home prices has continued. Properties that sat in 2012 are now being snapped up by eager buyers.

We have seen houses receive 10 or more offers, and sell for 10-20% above asking price. The market for $1 million+ properties is getting stronger, although it’s not as brisk as the market for homes priced at the neighborhood median

Want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood? Check out our monthly Neighborhood Report for:

Laurelhurst

Windermere

View Ridge

Sand Point Country Club

Bryant

Wedgwood

Capitol Hill

Madison Park

Montlake

Portage Bay

Ask the Home Advisor – Navigating Multiple Offers

Q: I am looking to buy a house, but I keep hearing about all the multiple offers. What’s the best strategy for finding a home in today’s hot market?

It is amazing what a difference a year makes. The last few years have been tough on sellers. They needed to price their homes aggressively to attract buyers. Today inventory is at a historic low, and buyers are competing  to get the home they want. About 70% of the inventory we see is selling very quickly, and usually with 2 to 15 offers.

Here are  some tips for buyers on how to navigate the current real estate market:

Get to know the market and the houses in your price range.

As I mentioned, the market looks a lot different than a year ago.  Getting a feel for what homes in your price range and neighborhood of choice are selling for today will help you make the right offer when the home of your dreams comes on the market.  Take some time to tour properties that fit your criteria. Even though you might not be interested in a particular home, seeing it in person will help you to compare it to the home that you are interested in.

Know your budget and look accordingly.

Be prepared to look at homes +-10% of your budget.  We are seeing homes sell for 5, 10 and even 20% above the asking price right now.  We are also seeing some homes that don’t sell quickly go for 10% below asking price.

Think about how long you plan to stay in the home.

Will this be an interim home or a “forever” home?  If you plan to sell again in three to five years, you don’t want to overpay in a hot market and find yourself selling at a loss in a cooler market.  On the other hand, if you love the home and plan to live there for decades, you don’t need to worry about return on investment.

Talk to your lender and be ready to go.

Don’t wait to find the perfect home before you call your mortgage professional.  Sellers want to know that you are qualified when you make your offer.

Be prepared to make sacrifices.

It may be that the house you want, you cannot afford.  Have an open mind and consider a property’s potential.  A home in need of a bathroom redo or a kitchen remodel isn’t as appealing as a move-in ready home, but it’s usually more affordable.

Seattle Market Update – March 2013

The 2013 real estate market is starting off with a boom. Houses are selling faster and for considerably more money now than they have over the last several years. The lack of quality inventory and extremely low interest rates have made home buying desirable again.

First time buyers, as well as developers, have decided that now is the time to dip into the market. Prices are still lower than our 2007 levels, which was the market peak locally, but are slowly making  their way back.

Want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood? Check out our monthly Neighborhood Report for:

Laurelhurst

Windermere

View Ridge

Sand Point Country Club

Bryant

Wedgwood

Capitol Hill

Madison Park

Montlake

Portage Bay