Statistics recently released forecast a light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone seems to be hoping to find some nugget of information that predicts a beginning to the end of this problematic economy and falling home prices. But economists look at the numbers and try to project the future. Sellers need to stay focused on what is happening right now.
According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service numbers for Areas 500 and 600 (Sammamish, Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah), there has been a steady increase of closed sales each month since the beginning of the year. Inventory supply in months (calculated by dividing the number of active inventory by the number of closed sales for the month) for all price ranges is holding steady at 4.6 months. This means that it should take this long to sell all of the existing inventory.
Using the same Multiple Listing Service statistics for the rest of the Greater Seattle area, all but six are below this mark, putting everywhere except a portion of Renton, Bellevue and Seattle into a balanced market. Pending sales have increased 28 percent over June of last year and market time is down 13 percent. Could this be a sign of a stabilizing market? Only seeing these results for several more months can bring an answer to that question.
Although every community is different, there are some threads of similarity running through them all. Pricing right puts a "Sold" sign on your property.
Dennis Brown, a Realtor with Windermere in West Seattle, sees sales increasing especially for first-time homebuyers since they are the ones that are not restricted by having a home to sell. “In just my office, there have been over 20 multiple offers in the last two months. It is not unusual for homes that are priced right to receive 10 to 13 offers as soon as they go on the market,” she said.
Only a portion of these homes are short sales and they encompass all price ranges.
The Eastside also is experiencing multiple offers but not on the same scale. Paula Sanford, a Realtor with Windermere in Issaquah, has recently participated in two multiple offer situations just over last weekend, one in Sammamish and one in Bellevue. “We were one of 10 offers on one property and one of seven on the other. The winning bid on both came with an all cash offer,” she said.
A buyer has to depend on his or her Realtor to constantly look for new listings. “One of the homes came on the market at 10:30 p.m. and had all seven offers by 4 p.m. the next afternoon,” she said.
She believes that escalation clauses can be useful to ensure a successful offer, something we have not considered for a long time.
These Realtors are not the only ones that are seeing multiple offers. But, not all homes will receive multiple offers. This is just a way to let sellers know that there are buyers for their home no matter what price range. It has long been understood that buyers are constantly using the Internet to evaluate homes and know not only prices but values.
If you plan to sell your home now, you can’t depend on the price of homes in the future. You have to evaluate the value of your home based on the . Unfortunately, some homeowners confronted by current information still elect to select an unrealistic selling price, a price based on future projections. The result is usually a long market time after several price reductions. Although pricing right does not guarantee multiple offers, it does ensure that buyers will see your home with a "Sold" sign in front of it.
Richard Bergdahl with RE/MAX Northwest Realtors in Kirkland put it this way: “The good news is that homes are selling in your neighborhood. The bad news is that if you don’t price it at market you will not 'net' the next buyer walking through your neighborhood.”
Joan Probala is the managing broker for Issaquah Windermere (Windermere Real Estate/East Inc.). She has 30 years of experience in real estate, construction and sales.