Is Seattle Real Estate Chilling in the Fall?

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The word is that several recent sellers have received very strong, full price offers on their homes that they have rejected, even after a week of market time. Why? Because the expectation has become that multiple offers are going to happen.

All we read in the news is how Seattle is the Hottest Real Estate Market in the Country which is undoubtedly true. So it is not a wonder that homeowners in Seattle have dollar signs in their eyes and those banking on selling their homes have sky high expectations.

The reality of course is that if you don’t get multiple offers within the first week, or at least first couple weeks, it’s not happening for you. Rejecting a strong buyer with a great offer after a week on the market is usually a mistake.

True that in the past several years sellers have been able to put almost any price tag on their homes and slap a sold sign in the yard the next day…. but there is a change happening guys… I feel the chill in the air and it is not the fall weather.

Reminds us of 2007/2008 when sellers became crazed and believed that the large scale appreciation would continue forever, only to miss that that the market was heading down. They sat there ignoring the trend and they ended up chasing the market to sell for a much lower price in the end.

I am NOT saying that is the case here.  (That downturn was fueled by nasty subprime loans and risky speculation by homebuyers and investors. We have a much more stable lending situation now and it will be a long time until we can meet the demand from buyers out there).

Even if sellers might have to adjust their expectations a bit, it is still a sellers’ market and we have no indication that prices are starting to fall. The ‘experts’ predict that the huge price surges are coming to an end and we will have a more normal appreciation of 4% to 6% over the next year. Zillow’s prediction is 5.9% into 2018. For more for what is happening right now in Seattle, the NWMLS does a good job summing up local opinions and statistics.

It is our job at Reside Real Estate Group to be fully aware of the market NOW so that we can be ahead of the media on tracking real estate trends. It is also our job to educate our clients about the current market and set realistic expectations.  If you have thought of selling soon please don’t panic! But maybe time to start gathering your thoughts and making the lists for preparing the house so you can catch this market. Let me know if you would like my checklist for ‘preparing to sell a home.’  It is still good and there are still buyers willing to pay big bucks for your place. I’ll let you know if that changes.

 

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Nothing Less Than Extraordinary

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Our transition to Keller Williams as been amazing. It was bittersweet to leave the RE/MAX family after 14 years but several good reasons led me and my friends to make this change. Along with Dale, Erin and couple other superstars we have become Reside Real Estate Group at KW, and the team is growing!

Although we work most of our business independently we support each other, share our strategies and cover each other when we are sick, vacationing or double-booked as tends to happen in this busy market.

And do we have fun! Just this past weekend we had a lemonade stand at our West Seattle location during the farmers market to showcase our office on California Avenue. Our little helpers were there.

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We are growing the team up North as well so we can have a fun bricks-and-mortar spot up my way too (I am the lonely Ballardite in the group). So if you know anyone looking to work in real estate let me know please. We want to work with agents who see teamwork as an asset, have ethics that stretch beyond the golden rule and like to cut loose and have fun with us Reside folks from time to time.  Dale is happy being the only guy but real opportunity here to balance our team out a bit 😉

 

 

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Best Time of Year to List a Home in Seattle

I was just reading an article that claimed the two weeks of the year that homes sell the fastest and for the most money are the first two weeks of May.

The thought is that most buyers start to look in early spring and with our current seller’s market they have had a lot of disappointments by the time May comes around and they are willing to throw their all into their late spring offers.

This rings true in Seattle, I remember having a very busy May last year.  The article, which is based on Zillow research, also makes note that Seattle sales do tend to do better in warmer months.

In my experience listing April-June is a good idea but knowing it is still a strong seller’s market, timing doesn’t  matter much.  List when you are ready to move and as always, when your home looks the best.

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Future of Rentals in Seattle

Do you own a rental in Seattle?   If so, you are likely sitting on a nice chunk of equity, especially if you purchased it many years ago; and for most, the monthly rent more than covers the mortgage.

The current Seller’s Market and phenomenally escalated prices have had my phone ringing if now would be the time to sell rental investment property.  Buy low sell high, right?

Short answer, yes – it is a great time to sell a home in Seattle, best time in years and years and years.   So if the plan is to sell in the near future, I would jump on this Seller’s Market.

Still, for a longer time plan, the ‘experts’ don’t see our local market taking a turn for the worse anytime soon. The continued job growth and lack of development land in our core are good predictors for price stability.

Of course rental rates and vacancies are influenced by a number of factors. A good read can be found on Zillow: 5 Rental Market Predictions: What to Expect in 2017 (and Beyond).

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S&W has moved to Ballard Avenue!

sus-dale-infront-of-office3Susanne Stauffer real estate has partnered up with Dale Wampler, another long-time real estate agent to form the S&W brand.

We are still with RE/MAX as our parent company but we wanted a more local feel to our branding.

Please come visit on our Ballard Avenue Grand Opening party

November 12th 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Please RSVP so we can direct you to the workspace.

SusanneStauffer@remax.net or (206) 412 4663

 

 

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Waiving Appraisals to Win

How to ‘Win’ in multiple offer scenarios?

This is an often discussed topic with my agent friends. All of us have been in the situation with our buyer clients where we are just one potential purchaser in a sea of offers…. the most I have competed with were 17, seriously!

Cash offers are ruining it for many of our ‘regular folks’ looking to purchase with a hefty downpayment and a mortgage.  Often it is impossible to compete with the cash buyers as they can close in a matter of days and they have no appraisals.

When we obtain a mortgage, the mortgage lender requires an appraisal on the property. If the property does not appraise for the purchase price, then the lender will not loan on it with the terms that were promised to the buyer.

Thus, appraisal matters for the seller.

Say my buyer, Simon, offers the moon on a house – a whopping $600,000 when similar properties have sold for tops $575,000 in the recent past.  He is taking out a mortgage. He wants to be as competitive as possible.

Simon has already waived his inspection, reviewed title and has no other contingencies in the offer. He in offering a hefty amount of earnest money.  Only thing looming over his head is a financing contingency and an appraisal. What can he do?

Simon can opt to not include a financing contingency and/or the appraisal portion of it.  If Simon does not include the financing contingency and his offer gets accepted (yay!) then he has no way out of the deal.  If for any reason Simon does not complete the purchase then his earnest money will be easily contestable by the Seller.

What if the home doesn’t appraise?  To stay in contract, Simon will have to bring the difference between the appraised price and the offer price in cash to closing.

The seller would now look at Simon’s offer almost as good as cash.  Simon could potentially beat out a cash offer that was lower and he would likely beat out other offers with mortgages including appraisals.  It’s a risk, but it works, has worked many times for my buyers who have a good risk tolerance.

Here’s the deal, appraisers are very lenient right now, most homes appraise.  And say you are like Simon and putting down $120,000 for your 20% downpayment, you probably have the ability to fork out another $20K if the place does not appraise. The price you are paying for the property has no changes, it’s still $600K.

I have had Buyers leave in the appraisal contingency but allow for a cash amount they are willing to bring to close, with a cap, if the property does not appraise. This is a nice alternative for those less risk tolerant.

I laugh when people say to me “hey, the real estate market is so hot, agents must be killing it!”  Remember every offer we write, we write for free. It isn’t until a purchase closes that we get paid.  This market is killing us! There just are not enough listings to go around for the buyers. Means many agents driving/writing/driving/writing day in and day out with no paycheck.  So heck yes we will be looking for ways for our clients to ‘Win’ – within their risk tolerance of course.

And if you have a home to sell? Call me! (206) 412 4663 – this is the time to get it on the market – you will be the ‘hot stuff’ in town. I promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When is the Best Time to List a House in Seattle?

I get asked this often, when is the best month to list a house in Seattle?  It is true there is some seasonality to real estate sales, so this is something worth thinking about.  However, from my experience, the best time to list a house is when it looks the best, when it is show-room ready!  Rushing to get a not-so-shiny house on the market will probably leave more money not he table than would be gained by timing it just right.

That said, our friends at Zillow have an answer for you. No surprise springtime listings do well. May is your month! “Houses listed between May 1 and May 15 sell 20 days faster than the yearly average. They also sell for an average of $2,600 more.” 

Zillow’s Chart indicates that you don’t want to wait until July to sell your home as mid-summer, end-of-summer homes don’t fetch as higher prices. I think this is because many buyers are con vacation by that time!

This is all fun information, and if you can time it right, great!  Rest assured though that the 2016 Seattle real estate market is still a seller’s market and I don’t see much changing for the summer ahead of us!  (Sorry buyers – at least the interest rates re still very low!).

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