Tag Archives: sellers

Shift in the Market?

We are seeing a shift in the market, but it’s not a cause for alarm. This shift is a balancing. We have reached the point where prices have hit the top and now they’re settling down. A recent article from CityLab.com explains it well:

“Housing prices are cooking. Across the nation, the price of homes is rising faster than the rate of inflation—in some places by a factor of three. That’s true of high-cost cities such as Seattle and San Francisco and lower-cost cities such as Charlotte and Tampa alike. And the overheated market for homes is costing the middle class the American dream.

Nationwide, the price for homes is approaching the zenith seen in 2006, just before the market fell into a foreclosure crisis and the economy sank into the Great Recession. . . 

But there are key differences between the housing peak in 2006 and the housing peak today. This surge in housing prices is not necessarily evidence for a bubble—much less any indication that a bubble is about to burst.

Late in July, the S&P CoreLogic Case–Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index tracked a 6.4 percent annual gain in home prices for May 2018. This index has recorded year-over-year increases of at least 5 percent every month since August 2016—a sign of the strength of the recovery. . . . in Seattle, which saw a year-over-year price increase of 13.6 percent for May, home prices are already well above the 2006 high-water mark.

But since most workers aren’t earning 6 percent raises year after year, eventually this party has to come to an end. (Indeed, for four-fifths of privately employed workers, wages are actually falling.) Housing prices will stabilize or soften because they have nowhere else to go. The prevailing trend is unsustainable. “If something can’t go on forever, sooner or later it will end,” says David Blitzer, managing director for S&P Dow Jones Indices. With mortgage rates and prices rising, sales in both new homes and existing homes are starting to slow. ‘Either buyers have gone for the summer, because it’s too hot to look at housing, or they’re pausing to see what’s going on,’ Blitzer says. ‘If the pause continues, you’ll see sales go down.'”

And this is what we’re now seeing in Seattle. Most homes are not selling in 7 days and significantly above list price right now. I’m seeing a significant increase in price reductions and less multiple offer situations as well.

What does this mean for you? If you’re a buyer, this is all good news. It means you may be able to get into the market without a bidding war and having to look at homes significantly below your price point.

If you’re a seller, it’s not a time to panic. This shift is actually creating a healthier market. You probably will get less for your home than if you listed 6 months ago. But you probably will still have significant profits if you sell as prices are at record highs. We still have a significant shortage of housing so even with the increased inventory, demand still outweighs supply. Inventory levels are still under 2 months which means it’s a seller’s market – a balanced market would be 4-6 months, and a buyer’s market would be greater than 6 months.

As I’ve said often, there’s no crystal ball in real estate. In my predictions for 2018, I said price increases would slow down. In fact, year over year prices are still up about 11%. I also predicted interest rates would hit 5% before year-end; we have already hit this number which is reducing buying power for buyers.

If you’re thinking of buying, this is the time to get pre-approved and start your buying process. If you’re a seller, I’d be moving quickly to get your home on the market while prices are still at the peak. Please call me at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com for a complimentary market analysis for your home.

Marketing Plans

This morning I’ve been working on marketing plans for two different sellers, so I thought I’d share with you what goes into a plan.

First, no two plans are identical. Price range, location, timing, features of the home – all of this comes into consideration.

It all starts with pricing. I will do a market analysis to determine a recommended price range for your home. I don’t rely on automated values, but look at actual listings and sales, market activity, and market conditions. If we don’t price your home properly, no matter how great the marketing materials, it probably won’t sell. With our current market, you definitely don’t want to overprice your home.

The first thing I look at is if your home meets the criteria for Coldwell Banker Global Luxury. This is based on zip code and condition/features of the home. If your home qualifies, it will be included in Coldwell Banker’s luxury marketing materials.

Are staging and landscaping necessary for your home? We want your home to show at its best. All homes I list will have high definition professional photography, and then depending on many factors, some form of video. That video might be a video tour, a live walk-through video, a 3-D Matterport video, and/or a neighborhood video. Most listings will have drone photos as well.

The photos and video will be used for all the online marketing, including the listing itself and its syndication, social media, and websites. Photos will also be used for print marketing such as home flyers/brochures and mailings to neighbors and targeted buyers.

Most listings will have 3-4 open houses during the first week on market. I also network to my local sphere of real estate brokers.

Want to know what a marketing plan for your home might look like? Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email to chat.

Getting to Sold – Seller Classes

This April I will be hosting two “Getting to Sold” classes for those considering selling a home. In Getting to Sold you will learn valuable insights about the current home selling market including:

  • key steps to prepare your home for market and receive top dollar
  • options for buying a new home while selling your current one
  • why it might be in your best interest to sell sooner rather than later.

The two classes are open to anyone interested and there is no fee to attend.

Wednesday, April 4th, 6:00-7:30 pm will be at the Greenwood Senior Center

Friday, April 13th, 1:30-2:30 pm will be at the Wallingford Senior Center.

Questions and reserve your spot by calling/texting Jamie at  206-790-0081 or by email: Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

 

January Inventory Report

In both Snohomish and King Counties we saw an increase in inventory in January, but not nearly enough to meet the demand. I know of a home in Everett that received 27 offers and one in Seattle (Fremont) that had 18. Looking at January 2018 inventory you can see that the numbers are continuing to decrease, year over year. In King County the number of active listings at month end is down 50% since 2016, 21% from 2017; in Snohomish County it is down 81% since 2016, 30% from last year.

This is the time to sell – let’s talk about your needs. Give me a call/text at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

2017 in Review

The story of the Seattle real estate market in 2017 continued similar to the past few years. Low inventory drove our market, with the number of new listings down from 2016 and prices up significantly. While the median sales price for a single family home citywide increased 13.7% to $705,000, in many neighborhoods that increase was even higher. For the 23 counties in the MLS area overall, inventory shrunk 19% from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017. That’s the smallest selection for any month in the past decade.

December is traditionally a slower month, but that wasn’t the case this year. While the inventory was low, the number of buyers seemed to be high, with multiple offers the norm (I heard a story of 28 offers on a Queen Anne listing as well as multiple offers even during the week between Christmas and New Year’s) and packed open houses (100+ visitors at times). At year end, there were only 256 single family homes and 95 condos for sale in Seattle, a decrease of approximately 30% from 2016.

Until we see an increase in inventory, we can expect the market to be strong. We need property owners to list their homes at higher rates as well as an increase in new construction. See my predictions on the next page for more details.

Please give me a call/text at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com if you have any questions or would like further information on the market or your specific area.

 

Market Update

November and early December market activity is not showing as much slowdown as usually seen this time of year. Open houses over the past couple weekends have had lines to get in, with some receiving more than 100 visitors on a weekend day. With our low inventory and pent up buyer demand, we don’t expect to see as much a slow down this winter. Additionally, with some proposed changes to the tax code affecting home ownership, some buyers are jumping into the market, hoping to buy before tax reform is passed and implemented. There are also signs that the interest rate may increase slightly.

Let’s talk about the market, give me a call/text at (206) 790-0081 or email me.

 

Market Update

Is the market starting to slow down? We are seeing signs that the market is changing, although rather than calling it a slow down, I would say it’s a market stabilization. There are fewer and less intense bidding wars and the price increases are less dramatic than we have seen over the past couple years. Additionally, we are seeing homes not receiving offers by their review date and there have been more price reductions.

These changes are not a reason to worry. They may signal that we are moving toward a more balanced, healthier market. Because we still have a serious shortage of inventory, I don’t foresee that we will see a major change in the market. Instead, the market for buyers may become less challenging.

For sellers who have been holding off on selling because they’re waiting to see how much more money they could get on their homes, I wouldn’t wait much longer. If you want to get top dollar, you should get your home on the market while there still is a shortage of inventory.

How To Price a Home

There is an art to pricing a home but in the end, Economics 101 and seller needs determines how to price a home.

To get an accurate picture of market activity in your area, I will give you 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.

However, 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.

 

Attention Seattle Rental Property Owners

 

 

 

 

 

The City of Seattle continues to increase the number of rules and regulations that impact your options as a rental property owner.

These regulations include:

  • The Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance requires landlords to register all rental housing units in Seattle, from single-family houses to large apartment buildings. The ordinance requires that all registered rental properties be inspected at least once every 10 years. This ordinance covers any rental property including AirBnB’s and ADUs.
  • Move-In Charges: There are new security, pet deposit, and move-in fee limits. Landlords must allow an installment plan to pay these fees. The total amount of all these deposits cannot exceed the amount of one month’s rent.
  • Landlords are now prohibited from discriminating against a prospective tenant’s income, as long as the source of income is legal.
  • The first come, first served rule requires that landlords must accept the first qualified applicant.
  • And most recently, the Seattle City Council approved an ordinance that will prohibit landlords from screening tenants based on their criminal records.

For more detailed information and links to the specific rule changes, read my blog at www.jamieflaxman.com.

Some investment property owners in Seattle no longer feel that the benefits of owning a rental property outweigh the restrictions that the City has placed on landlord rights. If you are considering selling your investment property, let’s talk. Give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email me. Seattle is in a real estate market that heavily favors the seller, resulting in quick sales and top dollar for most Seattle homes.

 

 

 

Don’t Listen to the Media!

“Is the housing market ready for a crash?”

“Will I ever be able to afford a house?”

“Zillow says my house is worth $________.”

These are headlines that both the Seattle and national media are spreading. Here’s the reality:

Housing prices are appreciating at record rates. However, if we go back to 2007, when the market was at it’s peak before the crash, prices have increased 52% – that comes out to 5% a year appreciation over the 10 years.

Buying a home is within reach for many. The media often says it’s hard to get a mortgage, but that’s not the reality. The two most important factors for getting a mortgage are your credit score and the amount of debt you have. Only a lender can tell you if you qualify or not.

The “Zestimate” from Zillow is not an accurate representation of what your home will sell for. Zillow is an automated valuation, there are other companies who provide similar numbers. Because it’s automated, the algorithm has no idea of the special features of a home, the quality of the finishes or view, and any updates that have been done without permits. Even Zillow admits that their numbers are not accurate – the last time I looked Zillow said their Zestimates typically are off 10-20%.

So didn’t listen to the media! Talk to a real estate professional to get your questions answered. You can reach me at 206-790-0081 or mailto:jamie@jamieflaxman.com.