Uncategorized April 17, 2018

Seattle home buying in a competitive housing market — First Published August, 2018.

Growth is good, Seattle.

The housing market in Seattle remains competitive, which is good news for sellers but can be challenging for buyers entering the market.

The growth seen over the past year in Seattle in both the residential home and condominium market has been in double digits all over King County. That said, I am very optimistic when assessing the current growth potential of homes both within Seattle and outside of Seattle’s established core.

Homes at all price points have significant growth potential, be it a small bungalow in South Park, or a more expensive property on Capitol Hill.

I continue to work with buyers within established Seattle neighborhoods, but also now work with buyers in up-and-coming parts of Seattle, farther South and West.

Playing to win. The value of a team. 

Buying real estate in a competitive market requires a focused search with an excellent team in place. Your real estate agent is the cornerstone of your home search.

Due to increased buyer competition, agents are writing more offers than ever, and thus, more properties must be closely examined. There are over 50 data points that a real estate agent should look at when assessing a property.

An agent should have a team of the best lenders, inspectors, and contractors at the ready to quickly look at any property in close detail.

Your agent’s intellect, communication skills and responsiveness are critical when a seller is trying to differentiate your offer from the other offers on the table.

How many offers will a new buyer write?

Agents are writing more offers than ever, but there are strategies to get to the top of the offer pile, and cash is not always king of the multiple offer game.

Winning is not just a matter of waving all contingencies. There are ways to lessen your risk as a buyer and still get the house you want. It is true a buyer may not get their first home, but often they do.

In hot areas, the buyer pool may focus on just 1 or 2 listings, creating opportunity to bid and win on listings with less ‘buzz’. If a buyer wants to avoid a bidding war, new construction may be less competitive depending on the area.

How far over list will a home go?

When trying to figure out how far over list a home will go, data is your best friend. Recent sales will generally set the list price. Active and pending listings within a half mile will also yield clues. It can be beneficial to research the listing agent and see how they historically price their listings, some are priced low, some are high, and some just right.

One of the best indicators of a price surge is data culled from other realtors who have active or pending listings in the area. A thorough agent will be on the phone with other agents asking “How far over list did that home go?” or “How many offers did you get on that property?”

Escalator clauses are a good way to set your upper limit if you anticipate a bidding war.

At the end of the day what really matters most is: what is the home worth to you?

Data matters. Beyond Redfin and Zillow.

The full MLS data is much more robust than anything available to consumers online.

But don’t forget the data points beyond the MLS: data from your lender, the title company, reports from special inspectors, the city, the condo board, other agents, information from the seller, and experiential data from the trenches.

The time to partner with a buyer’s agent is now. 

With housing inventory low and demand high clients are looking for homes longer in Seattle.

It is incredibly important to build a success matrix with your agent now which covers your needs, wants and must-haves in a home.

Also, of critical importance: what is your budget?  How solid is your pre-approval?  How liquid are the assets that will be used to purchase the home? The market moves quickly, preparedness is key.

Seattle. A wonderful place to live.

Housing demand in Seattle is high for a reason. After being here for 15 years, I can think of no better place to put down roots. Our neighborhoods are unparalleled in their charm, natural beauty and history. Our friends and neighbors are educated and kind. In an hour we can be in the mountains. In 10 minutes we can be on a kayak on Lake Washington or walking the beaches of Puget Sound. The list goes on and on.

We do have our dark and rainy days. As I write this I confess waiting eagerly for spring. But I often think of the words of Walt Whitman on these darker days, “Every moment of light and dark is a miracle”.  This city offers us so much.

Jeff Romeo 

Windermere Real Estate Co.

romeo@windermere.com – 206.601.9995