With typical low inventory in November, we saw an uptick in the number of homes going into contract. In fact, for King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties combined, accepted offers increased 9.2% over November 2018. (And in just King County, that increase was about 12%.)
Median sales prices increased as well. In King County the median sales price for a single family home was $650,000, up about 1.6% from November of last year.
What this tells us is that buyers are out there – that is demand is high. Record low interest rates are partially driving this demand. And inventory of homes for sale typically drops in November and December, so there’s a shortage of homes to meet demand. The housing market is virtually sold out in the more affordable and mid-price ranges where 75 percent of sales activity occurs in each market area.
If you’re a current homeowner on the fence about selling, now is a great time to get in the market. The buyers out in December and January are serious buyers who want to get into a home soon.
30 days ago the owners of my Shoreline mid-century listing drove away from their house to their new lives in South California. Today their home sale closed, and they area moving forward with the next phase of their life.
Let me share their story. Pat & Charlie approached me last spring as they were considering a move. Pat was about to become a grandmother and she wanted to be closer to her daughter and future granddaughter. But Charlie had a good job in Seattle, they had lived in their Shoreline home for many years, and she was overwhelmed about the prospect of packing up and moving. We talked, I provided a complimentary market analysis of the home, and it was left that they needed to figure out what they wanted to do.
Fast forward to September and I get an urgent message from Pat – “need to talk with you today.” Charlie had received a job offer in Southern California, it was a great fit, but he’d need to start in 2 weeks, and they had no idea how they’d have the house ready.
Now it was my turn to show them what I do as a full-service real estate broker. Within days, we had a plan. I referred them to the service providers they needed: power washing/yard work; housecleaning; movers who could help with packing as well; and stagers. Charlie got some updates done in the house – among them new flooring and radiant heat – before he had to hit the road for his new job. Pat handled the rest, called me when she needed help or support, and 2 weeks later, the movers arrived. In the days that followed, I oversaw the listing preparation – house cleaning, yard clean-up, staging, photography, and home video. The result was that on October 24th, I brought their beautiful home on the market for $590,000.
Within hours of coming on the market, there was a handful of showings including I received phone calls from brokers with clients wanting to submit offers. Pat and Charlie wanted to wait and see what the weekend open houses looked like before accepting an offer – good move on their part – more than 70 groups of buyers toured the house during 2 open houses that weekend. And Monday morning we had multiple offers and they accepted one.
The final price was substantially higher than the list price – $650,000. It sold in 4 days on the market and closed 3 weeks later. This wouldn’t have happened if Pat and Charlie had not worked hard on their home preparation, and more importantly, had not trusted me with the sale of their home. Thank you for believing in me and on moving forward with your lives. (And welcome to your very beautiful granddaughter.)
For more information on buying or selling a home, including a complimentary market analysis, please give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
Many prospective sellers feel they should wait for spring to sell their home. They feel this way because of the seasonal downturn in the market and because homes don’t look as good without exterior flowers and plants and the general grayness of our part of the country.
However, there are several good reasons to list your home during the winter. The most serious buyers will still be out there – those that need to buy because of job relocation or need different space. And inventory is at it’s lowest, giving buyers fewer choices, so your home will stand out more.
To sell your home in the winter, there are some key things to do. Keep your home warm and cozy – buyers need to be comfortable when they come in the house and the warmer it is, the more likely they’ll stay longer. Leave lights on and shades open to keep the home bright. Make sure the yard stays neat and the roof is clean. Stage the home and have professional photographs that show off the home at its best.
If you’ve been debating whether or not to sell your house and are curious about market conditions in your area, give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com so we can discuss the best time to list your house.
The Washington State Legislature is changing the way real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated. This change may affect the amount of excise tax you pay depending on the sale price of your property. For sellers whose homes sell for less than $1.5 million, you will see a slight decrease in the amount of tax paid. For homes over $1.5 million or more, you will see an increase in taxes paid, and this may be a substantial increase.
Currently, the state excise tax is 1.28 percent. Local municipalities add their excise tax on top of the state tax, with most cities in our area adding 0.50 percent, to total 1.78 percent. Effective January 1, 2020, Washington state will begin calculating real estate excise taxes based on a tiered system:
Sales under $500,000: 1.1% tax rate (down from 1.28%)
Sales from $500,000 to $1.5 million: 1.28% tax rate (unchanged and 1.1% marginal rate on first $500k)
Sales from $1.5 million to $3 million: 2.75% tax rate (115% increase, but marginal rate increase means first $500k @1.1%, then $500k to $1.5M @ 1.28%)
Sales over $3 million: 3.0% tax rate (134% increase, marginal rates in effect)
If you are thinking of buying or selling soon, now would be a great time to contact us and find out how this new legislation will affect your transaction. Whether buying or selling, knowing the effect of this excise tax could save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The following graph shows you a comparison of taxes in 2019 (the gray) and after January 1st (the blue).
For more information on the real estate excise tax or on selling your home, please call me at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
As you may have heard, some parts of the Puget Sound have seen home prices drop over the past year. Real estate is a long-term investment, so even if there’s been a price drop, you likely still have a great return on your investment.
This table shows the median sales price in Seattle over the last 10 years. As property values increase, so does the equity of your home. That means if you’re thinking of selling, your investment could pay out!
Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email if you’d like to learn more or would like to know how much your home has appreciated.
When you go to sell your home, you’ll want to know what to price it at. As your real estate broker, I will help you determine the best price.
You’ll get a report that looks at houses similar to yours in size, location and features, whether they’re for sale, have sold, are pending, or failed to sell. Understanding the realities of the current market allows us to accurately assess your home and arrive at a price that properly positions your home for a successful sale.
The real market value of your home is determined when someone tells us what they are willing to pay for your home, you decide to accept that price, and escrow closes!
This may sound odd, but until this event happens, determining market value is really a matter of making an educated guess. Are you kidding, you guess? There are lots of opinions on price, yet only one set of facts. We will examine the facts of record (current, pending, sold, and expired listings) and together we will determine a pricing strategy designed to sell your home for the most money in the shortest period of time.
No one can tell me what my home will sell for? Not really. Someone might tell you a figure but no one knows the market value of your home because it is not established until someone buys it for a specific price. That’s why we use facts of record to determine a pricing strategy. Zestimates, tax assessments, and other automated values are not good estimates of market value – they are, however, pieces of information that can be looked at as part of pricing a home.
Therefore, in pricing a home, we must look at a variety of factors, including recent sales, current listings, homes in contract, location, condition, and amenities. I will gather information on recent and pending sales, as well as active listings, to identify current fair market value. This is a called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), and both buyers and sellers will want to have their broker complete a CMA to help them understand price.
Chances are that your home will sell at its fair market value. Pricing it realistically at the outset simply increases the likelihood for a timely sale with less inconveniences and greater monetary return.
Buyers educate themselves by viewing many homes. They know what is a fair price. If your home is not competitive in value with those seen, it will not sell. Overpricing causes most homes to remain on the market too long. Buyers, aware of a long exposure period, are often hesitant to make an offer because they fear something is wrong with the home. Often homes on the market for a long time eventually sell for less than fair market value.
80% of the marketing of your home is done the day we decide at what price to list your home. If you are unwilling to list your home at or just below the current market value, you are better served to not put it on the market at all.
It will still sell quickly. While the average days on market in Seattle for a single-family home in July was 26, my Wallingford listing just sold in 7 days with multiple offers.
As you work with your real estate broker to price your home, it’s important to find the sweet spot – that is, the spot that is likely to bring in the most buyers. The sweet spot means you’re in the market, not on the market.
For more information on selling your home or the real estate market, please call me at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
Appraisals are one of the most confusing aspects of buying or selling real estate. When a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, it can be frustrating to hear that the appraisal came in with a value too low. It’s not enough for the buyer and seller to agree to the price, the appraisal is the lender’s way to ensure they are not loaning money over the actual market value of the property.
The appraised value is reached by a licensed professional who looks at the real estate market in which the target property is located. They start with the target property and then look for recent sales in the area of comparable properties. These comparable properties will be located within a short distance of the target home. They should also be of comparable size and often fall within the same housing development.
Once these homes are identified, the appraiser will adjust for the specific differences. For instance, does the target home have an upgraded kitchen or swimming pool? They add or subtract value based on such things as location, view, lot size, upgrades, additions, condition, and many other factors. They can then arrive at a valuation for the target home.
Once the appraisal has been completed, the lender is notified of the value. At this point, the loan amount is either confirmed or declined. If the appraisal comes in too low, the buyer and seller can choose to make up the difference in the sales price, lower the sales price, or cancel the transaction.
An experienced real estate broker will help you manage the appraisal process. By learning about recent sales in your area ahead of time, you can price your home appropriately up front; then the appraisal should come back as expected.
Several things stand out when looking at market statistics for the 2nd quarter of 2019.
There are a lot more condos and single family homes for sale.
For both condos and single family homes, prices are still down from the peak of 2018.
Days on Market is down for condos and relatively stable for single family homes.
It is important to note that we hit the peak of the market in May/June 2018. We have had a market adjustment since then, primarily driven by increased inventory. However, for single family homes, we have around 2 months of inventory, meaning we are still in a market that favors the seller.
This increased inventory is great news for buyers who have more choice in finding a home. We have seen some return to multiple offers but not at the pace we saw over the past few years.
With condos, in June we had just over 3 months inventory. The condo market is being driven by more condo projects under construction and being announced, meaning that the inventory level for condos should continue to rise. The increase in the number of available condos is great for buyers and home affordability—condos usually allow for buyers to get into the market at a lower price than for single family homes. In fact, my first purchase of a residential property to live in was a condo as that was what I could afford back in 1995.
The best news for both buyers and sellers is that we’re at a 12 month low for interest rates which are under 4%.
For more information on buying or selling, please reach out to me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com or (206) 790-0081.