Best Time To Sell A House?

According to the data, the time is NOW (and the next 2 months).

 

Supply and Demand.   It seems simple, but supply and demand is a HUGE driver of the Seattle real estate market.   When supply most exceeds demand, the buyers have the upper hand.  When demand is closest to (or exceeds) supply, the sellers have the upper hand.  Seattle real estate has distinct seasonal trends.   Let’s look at the relationship between houses for sale (supply), and pending properties (demand) over the last few years in Seattle:

 

Houses and Townhouses:

 The blue line is the number of homes for sale, and the yellow line is the number of pending listings.  Those lines are closest (therefore indicating most favorable seller conditions) in March and December of 2019.   Our Spring market historically starts in April, but last year it started much earlier than normal, with early March being the peak.  This year, we are seeing the Spring market start EVEN earlier, with demand exceeding supply here in January 2020.  Seattle home prices also trend up from January til July, so you will likely sell your home for more money in the Spring!

Condos:

 As you can see, condos have a lot more supply (compared to demand) than houses do.  The gap was smallest in April 2019, and is smaller now than it has been since then.  The condo market is more balanced than the house market, but if you want to face the least amount of competition and a large number of potential buyers, March and December will likely be the best months in 2020 to sell your condo. 

Watch the Video Here

Access the video transcript here.

 

 

 


Dude – Death Happens. Get Prepared!

Guest blog today written by Kristi Richards of Northwest Elder Law Group

 

The Natural Conclusion to a Successful Life:  Estate Planning 101

Watch the Video HERE.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.

As part of living, things go wrong.  Few things in life are as difficult and challenging for your family and friends as things going wrong for you without the ability to ask you how you want to handle those lifetime speed bumps. Preparing an estate plan lets you control decisions about those speed bumps in life and death.

You worked hard to be successful.  An estate plan protects your family, helps protect your assets, and protects your decisions.  Your asset strategy likely focuses on growth, transfer, and avoiding income or estate tax, but your hard work can stall if you do not formally set out your wishes in written documents.

A successful estate plan generally includes a Will or Revocable Living Trust to transfer your assets after your death. Both of these can assist you with protecting assets after you die (for you children or vulnerable family members), transferring assets to the specific recipients you choose, allowing you to name a guardian for young children, and potentially lowering your taxable estate.  Without you taking the time to make these decisions and putting them in a formalized document, your state has a set of rules that will determine your end of life answers.

More importantly, a successful estate plan generally also includes durable powers of attorney and health care directives, and can include a variety of other documents for you to make personal care decisions.  Durable powers of attorney allow you to choose another person or professional service to make your financial and health care decisions if you are unable to do that for any reason – from being out of the country to being unconscious due to an accident or being unable to make decisions due to dementia.  You also have the option to decide if you want ongoing medical interventions if the intervention will only prolong your life. Again, without a formal written document in place, your state of residence will have a set of rules will likely make your decisions for you.

Your financial success took a lot of time and effort to achieve.  The state creates a default set of rules to ensure you and your assets are protected, and that your assets are transferred if something unexpected occurs, but you have the ability to prepare an estate plan and make your decisions.  Making those plans allows you to make your personal decisions and choose the individuals that carry out those decisions. 

The information above covers the simplest parts of an estate plan, but you may have more difficult questions and documents that could or should be prepared.  Every individual can benefit from discussing their life and death preferences with an attorney experienced in creating estate plans.

Disclaimer:  This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular matter or person. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your attorney. This posting is also not intended to constitute an advertisement or solicitation.


Seattle Real Estate – 2019 in Review

The Most Remarkable Thing About Seattle Real Estate in 2019?

It was the least remarkable year in almost a decade.

 

Let’s talk about the thing you likely care most about.  The median sales price:

Houses and Townhouses:

During most of 2019, our median sales price was lower than it was in 2018.  Seattle home prices saw the usual price increases through early summer, then it levels out and does a gradual decline at the end of year.   Interesting to note… The median sales price in December is almost the same for the past 3 years.  

Condos:

Not as smooth and predictable for condos.   2019 was like a puppy at his first day at doggie daycare.   All over the place!  Ups, downs and obviously at least one nap in August.  Condo prices don’t follow the consistent annual trends that houses do, so timing the market is trickier when you are buying or selling a condo.  Seattle condo prices are unpredictable!

Supply and Demand Heavily Impacted the Market:

 Seattle real estate doesn’t exist in a bubble.  It is influenced by global economies, trade wars, the influence of our major employers (Boeing, Amazon and others) and by good old fashioned supply and demand.  We had a lot more houses, townhouses, and condos for sale in 2019 than we did in 2016,2017 and early 2018.   But we had a better ratio of buyers to available properties than we did during the steep drop in the Seattle housing market during the last 6 months of 2018.

Houses and Townhouses:

 For most of the year, we had more homes for sale that were selling (meaning the buyers had several options).  In December, we saw the number of sold properties EXCEED the number of homes available for sale.  That was really common during the frenzy of the market, but not something we have seen since early 2018.   The closer those lines get to each other, the more the seller is in charge and the more competition buyers see.

Condos:

  The Seattle condo market wasn’t as competitive as the house market.  Condo buyers had the upper hand all year, with over double the number of available condos for sale compared to the number of active buyers.  The supply and demand did tighten up in December for condos also, but not to the extreme that it did for houses.

In Conclusion:

  The Seattle real estate market typically ebbs and flows during the course of a year, and it actually did in Seattle in 2019.  Long gone are the frantic and relentless month-over-month price increases and homes flying off the market in under a week.  2019 was still a competitive market for buyers looking for houses under $500,000.  The Seattle condo market continued to be soft, with a steady amount of inventory and condos taking an average of a month to get an offer.

2019 Seattle Real Estate Year in Review

Watch the Video Here

Download the video transcript here.

Looking forward to 2020:

  You will have to wait for that!  My 2020 predictions blog will be out the first week of February.


Hannah and Tim Get to STAY in the Neighborhood!

  So often, first-time home buyers end up leaving the neighborhood they live in, searching for more space and some affordability.   Well, not Hannah and Tim.  These two are die hard lower Queen Anne people.  They know all the baristas and the grocery clerks and the neighborhood “characters”.  They love their walk to work and being surrounded by the vibrancy of the city.   So when they decided to buy a condo, it was Queen Anne or NOTHING!

Hannah and Tim smiling posed in front of a brick wall

  We wasted no time touring all the available condos in lower Queen Anne that met our criteria.   We only had to see 4 places to know we had found THE ONE.  This condo had it all.  Tons of space.   Newer construction and a well-funded HOA.   Views of the Space Needle from their private balcony.  A fireplace, big kitchen with a gas stove and an actual laundry room IN the unit.  After sleeping on it, these kids decided to go for it and put in an offer!

 

  To make a good story even better, these kids happened to be buying during that brief window that favored buyers.  Not only did they get the lowest price for any unit in the building in the last 3 years (you might remember this building, it’s been in the Seattle Living Spaces family before), AND they were able to get the seller to give them some credit towards closing costs.  The ultimate win-win!

  Offer accepted!  Inspector Gadget came in and the inspection went well.  We were on our way to a smooth closing.  And then we hit a MAJOR hurdle.  I won’t go into detail, but the lender had a company wide issue, and wasn’t super transparent with us about it, and we almost didn’t close on time.  But the important word in that sentence is almost.  We did close on time!  Just 2 days before Christmas, and on the “meet-day anniversary” of these two newlyweds, they got the keys to their first home!!

Congrats Hannah and Tim and welcome to the family!   Since I know y’all like those GOOD bubbles, I’ll make sure to have you over next time I decide to crack open the nice bottle.


Seattle Housing Market – December 2019

This month for Seattle real estate was anything but predictable and sleepy.  

#1 – How much??!?!?

  What we care most about is the home prices in Seattle.  Let’s take a look at the median sales price in Seattle:

The past 10 years of median sales prices for condos and houses in Seattle

Seattle home prices dipped $10,000 from November, but are exactly the same as they were this time of year in 2018.  Seattle condo prices went up $22,500 from November prices, and the median sales price is down only $2,500 from this time last year.  The Seattle housing market turned out to be a lot more stable and healthy that I had predicted at the start of the year.

When we look at the past decade, we easily see the sharp rise in values from 2011 to 2017.  And what we have had for the past two years resembles more of a balanced and healthy market, even if it has felt a bit chaotic and unbalanced.  It’s funny to look back and realize that we had been so accustomed to the madness of every increasing prices and competition, that once we got what we wanted, a more balanced market, we acted like the sky was falling.  SMH.

#2 – How competitive??!?!?

December is historically a FANTASTIC month to be a buyer,  You often have reduced choices, but far less competition from other buyers, and really motivated sellers.  This month turned out to be the opposite.

WHOA!  For the first time since the peak of the market (May 2018), we saw the number of sold houses exceed the number of houses for sale.  Now it seems crazy to sell what you don’t have, but it was common to have the sold number exceed the total available homes number during 2016, 2017 and early 2018.  In 2018, there were 826 houses for sale, and only 484 sold.  The buyers came OUT this December.  If this continues, we will see steep month-over-month price increases follow.

#3 – How long??!?!?

  The market is still moving slowly, despite the increase in number of properties sold and the steady prices.   It took condos, on average, 52 days on the market before they got an accepted offer.  That is 10 days longer than November, and 12 days longer than December 2018.  What likely happened is that the surge of buyers was enough to finally get all those “Crusty Rusty” condos (the ones that had been on the market for over 90 days) interested buyers.

  Houses and townhouses took an average of 36 days to get an offer.  That is just 2 days slower than November, and the same as December 2018.  Only 19% of the homes that sold in December were Crusty Rusties, and 38% of the houses sold had been on the market for less than 2 weeks!

 

#4 – Other Fun Metrics

We saw inventory tighten in December, but not to the point where it had a huge impact on median sales prices.

  • Houses and townhouses sold for an average of 99% of list price
  • Condos sold for an average of 98% of list price
  • Houses are worth, on average, 82% more than they were a decade ago
  • Condos are worth, on average, 52% more than they were a decade ago

**  Stay tuned for my 2020 real estate predictions coming by early February  **

Watch the Video Here

Download the transcript here