Economist Matthew Gardner explains why buying now is likely your best choice. Click here to watch his YouTube video, and you can also find more of his forecasts on YouTube.
In Kitsap County, we have a LOT of trees. And windy conditions, especially during winter months. For Bainbridge Islanders and others, keeping the heat and lights on can pose a challenge. If considering a generator, you’ll want to read this.
At today’s staff meeting, we discussed where our Buyers are coming from. Every time we close a transaction, we complete a form that says what part of the world the Buyer lived in prior to this purchase. As in year’s past, in 2016 the vast majority came from our area: 43% from Bainbridge Island, 25% from the Puget Sound area. Not surprising to many of us, nearly one-third came from California! My colleagues and I were responsible for 342 “sides” of transactions last year and only ONE Buyer was from China. There were a total of 2 foreign Buyers for the entire year! So, if you’re thinking of Selling your home, just know that LOCAL marketing and LOCAL impact are still the most important things when choosing your Realtor. Contact me for a copy of the entire report: firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-755-5139.
Check out this article on Realtor.com for housing trends in U.S. major cities.
Many people decide to wait until Spring to list their homes for sale. This can be a mistake. If you have amazing gardens, OK, that's a good reason. But if not, here's why it doesn't make sense:
- Homes sell all year long. Any given month, 6% of the total annual sales will likely occur. In summer months, that volume may double, but people are buying houses every month.
- There is less competition during the winter. If your house isn't one that would be featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, you can benefit from less competition!
- Life changes occur and people HAVE to buy a house. Every day, someone is transferred, family members require moves, health issues happen. A buyer who HAS to move is a great buyer.
- Interest rates are low. Who knows what may happen in the spring and summer of 2014? As interest rates move up, prices become suppressed to keep housing affordable. Take advantage of today's scenario with housing prices rising and interest rates low.
- If you're waiting for huge increases in house prices, expect to wait a long time. Projections for our area are for modest growth; consider 3% per year. That is, unless interest rates rise, in which case housing price increases may flatten.
Twenty two houses went from Active to Pending Inspection from October 15-November 3 on Bainbridge Island. There aren't enough houses for sale to meet the demand. Now may be the best time to put your house on the market.
Professional staging of homes before listing for sale can take a variety of forms. It can mean decluttering and rearranging your existing furniture to make your home more neutral and inviting to prospective buyers, or it can mean taking out all or most of your furnishings and replacing them with the look that sells in today's market. Staging can include painting … interior walls or kitchen cabinets, for example.
Today's Housing Wire Update reports that in a recent study, 359 homes underwent staging before hitting the market, and the homes received a first offer within 26 days after the staging. Of these homes, 69 received multiple offers. When a seller invests in staging before they list their home, the home will sell 87% faster, RESA studies proved.
When you read the article, note that they mention the average staging fees to be 1-3% of the list price. That would mean $5,000-$15,000 on a $500,000 home. The largest staging investment my clients have worked with cost $4200, and that was to completely furnish a 3500 sq. ft. house that sold in the $600,000 range.
Once staged, you still have to price it right and advertise it well. But I agree that Sellers often leave big money on the table by not taking the time to do it right.
Will future home buyers value quality and features over size? Is Sarah Susanka's 15-year old book "The Not So Big House" speaking the language of the next generation of home buyers? Today's HousingWire News feature article says the Gen Y crowd (20-34 year olds) would prefer to live alone and near amenities like restaurants, shopping, theatres, than to live with roommates in a larger residence. To service that sector of the population, a new apartment complex is being built in Glendale, CA, that features dwellings of only 400 sq. ft. but is near a ton of amenities and includes a roof top deck for socialization and a separate deck with hot and cold spas and a fenced dog park. You can read the full article here.
As of 11/13, there are only 138 Active listings for single family homes on Bainbridge Island. This is a very low number, even for this time of year. Remove the 33 homes priced at a million dollars or over, and we're left with just over 100 properties from which people can choose that are priced under $1,000,000. Very few Realtors here can remember the inventory ever being this low.
And buyers are buying NOW, as evidenced by the data below. The data is for Total Listings vs. Listings that have a contract on them and are at some stage of Pending status. (While this is for Bainbridge Island, many Seattle area communities are experiencing the same thing.)
Listing / Pending
Single Family Houses 206 / 68 = 33%
Condos 47 / 14 = 30%
Land 67 / 9 = 13%
Owners wishing to sell need to take advantage of the fact that there are buyers looking for houses right now and there is less competition. Get your home on the market! Waiting until Spring, when supply is expected to be more plentiful, could drive prices down instead of up. What you expect to gain by having your garden looking great may be diminished by additional competition.
Fall is a great time to move plants in your garden, but you need to know what's underground before you dig. First time homebuyers and others may not be aware that Puget Sound Energy will come out for free and mark your property with color coding that tells you what utility lines are below. Just call 811 at least two business days before you dig. Avoid potential fines, injury and utility disruptions. Here's a link for more: http://pse.com/safety/NaturalGasSafety/Pages/Know-Whats-Below.aspx
On Bainbridge Island, inventory of single family residences remains lower than normal because demand has roughly doubled over last year. Here are statistics on listings vs. pending sales.
So, Active Listings – those available and not under contract – are 163 vs. 263 in 2011. This is a very small amount of inventory. If you are a buyer, you would be wise to have a Buyer Broker working on your behalf to screen houses for you as they hit the market and help you work quickly to secure the house you want. Buyers who work with a Broker to help them can also benefit from the Broker researching past listings that may not have sold; we can approach the owners on your behalf and uncover gems for you.
First Time Home Buyers may not realize that Sales Commissions are typically paid by the Seller, so it costs you nothing to get Buyer Broker assistance. Talk with your trusted Realtor about it.