The summer selling season is behind us. If you’re worried you’ve missed out on listing your home this year, don’t be. Fall is a great time to sell a home in Seattle. In fact, last year the selling season extended into early Winter for homes that were properly priced and presented. Rely on your broker to guide you in preparing and pricing your home.
If you’re starting to notice mixed results in listings you see in your neighborhood, realize that we’ve had double digit home price increases, year over year. We are due for market stabilization. Seeing a longer marketing time will drive buyers back into the market for Fall and isn’t anything to worry about. Our educated Seattle buyer is looking for a place to call home and realizes the investment potential Seattle real estate provides.
In the past several weeks we’ve been seeing fewer homes with “Offer Review Dates,” and many that have set dates are bypassing them without receiving any offers. This is obviously discouraging for sellers, but the funny thing is that we’ve seen several examples where there are still two or three buyers competing for the same home only now the offers are coming in after the review date has safely passed. We have a fatigued buyer pool and the hardy buyers who haven’t found anything yet are looking to push any advantage they can find. We’re also seeing them pushing back against Contingency-Free offers, wanting instead to maintain a financing contingency and other common buyer protections.
Review dates do serve a purpose as an organizing principle for buyers. It allows them the time to view and inspect your home without feeling rushed. When sellers take offers as they come, buyers will often rush to bring an offer in and sometimes be punished for acting as the first mover. The seller doesn’t owe the buyer a duty of confidentiality so it’s inevitable that if other buyers are sniffing around the property, they will learn of the offer and what they need to do to beat it.
This week I was stopped in Met Market by buyers of mine who bought earlier in the spring. They were under the impression that the market was crashing due to some long market times in homes in their neighborhood. It’s imperative to price your home properly. Even in an overheated market, you can be penalized for overpricing. Cautious fall buyers were often frustrated spring buyers, so any perceived flaw, such as a busy street or no backyard can become a focus and affect the ability to get your price.
By realistically pricing your home at or near neighboring properties, buyers will believe you are a fair-minded seller with realistic expectations. When a property is substantially over-priced, bruised buyers may mistakenly believe that the final selling price will be substantially over your list price and hesitate to make an offer at all.
Through our most recent months of data, the Queen Anne/Magnolia homes that sold above asking were on the market for an average of six days, while homes that received price reductions before selling were on the market for an average of 70 days. Quite a difference. You can never price your home based on a previous sale at the tip-top of a multiple offer battle and expect the same result. To attempt to recreate that result, you have to price your home at where the earlier listing started at, all else being equal. What we have now are homes that are coming on where others were driven to in March with six-offers and these homes are appearing overpriced in the heat of August.
Here are the Fall Statistics you’ll want to keep in mind:
Last year from September 1st until year-end our neighborhoods of Queen Anne/Magnolia had 231 single family home sales. Average dollars per square foot were just under $498 and the average sales price was $1,106,396. The median sales price was $960,000. Cumulative days on market were a reasonable 21 days.
As agents, many of us had active buyers who hadn’t found anything yet and were avidly touring every new home that met the buyer’s criteria. Although there is naturally seasonal slowing, it’s this slowing that’s encouraging this year’s buyers to come back to the market. We’re optimistic about a healthy fall real estate market. Talk to your agent about listing your home this fall and get ready for great results!
Last year combined sales for September and October were 129. Average days on market increased to a reasonable 16 days from the listing date to sale date. Homes sold at just over $475 per square foot at 104% over the listed price. (Some of these homes had price reductions before they sold.)