Olympia WA real estate market update for August 2017

Like our August weather, the Olympia WA real estate market is continuing to be smokin’ hot!

This update is short and sweet, but please contact me for customized information about how your home fits into the market.

Check out my video update here about the real estate market in Olympia WA.

As an Olympia WA seller, here is what to love about this year’s real estate market:

Buyers competing for your home – driving up the price

You may have heard that inventory levels are down.  They are but we are also adding new listings at a record pace.  Even with all the new listings coming on the market, buyers are snapping up the well-positioned and well-presented homes, and are competing with other motivated buyers.  Buyers are looking to buy your home!

Sellers are making higher profits

The simple principle of supply and demand is just one of the reasons why home prices have increased – there are more buyers than homes available for sale.  Buyers are also enjoying low interest rates, which is making home ownership attractive.  And buyers are finding that their potential mortgage payment on a house is cheaper than rent, which is also driving more people to become homeowners rather than home renters.

Homeowners waiting to sell can now sell – and for a profit

Since the top of the market in 2006 and 2007, where home prices were at their peak in Thurston County WA, those homeowners are now, on average, able to see a profit.  Many of these owners have had to wait until the market turned in order for them to sell at a profit.  And many became unintentional landlords.  But the time is here for most sellers to successfully sell!

For more details about your home and how it fits into the current market, please contact me.  With no obligation, I’m more than happy to sit down with you and tell you the facts so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Have a great rest of the summer!

 

 

Home sold in the Edgewater neighborhood in Lacey WA – happy buyers & happy sellers!

This beautiful home at 7601 Kodiak Ave NE in Lacey WA just sold!  

Happy sellers and happy buyers for this home in the Edgewater neighborhood in North Lacey.  This was one of the larger homes (2,173 square feet) available for sale this summer.

This neighborhood of Edgewater in North Lacey offers lots of parks within the neighborhood and just a few minutes away from Tolmie State Park – a great escape to the beach! This is also a commuter’s dream with quick and easy access to I-5. JBLM is just 15 minutes away!

Why did this home sell so fast and for over the asking price?

The sellers:

Prepared their home for sale.  They didn’t need to do much but they did take care of two repair items ahead of time, so that 1) the sale could close on time, and 2) the home inspector had fewer items to write up, which made the buyer feel more confident with their purchase.

Priced their home right for the current market.  Even in a busy market with more active buyers than sellers, properties need to be priced right.  With all of the apps, websites and information available to buyers, buyers are smart and savvy.  They know if a property is over priced or priced right.

Professional promotion and representation.  The sellers hired me to professionally promote their home and to represent them when an offer was in hand.

We had a couple of hiccups in the transaction including an appraisal that came in lower than anticipated.  Because the buyer’s agent, the lender and I have years of experience, we were all able to work together, work with the appraiser, and work toward a mutually agreeable sales price.  What is great is that all parties were happy in the end!

If you’d like a happy ending, too, call me and let’s talk about your real estate goals!

 

 

 

Thinking of selling your Olympia or Lacey WA home in 2017?

Thinking of selling your home in Olympia, WA or Lacey, WA this year?  Now could be the time.

Here is just a sample of the sellers I represented who took advantage of the 2017 market.  The Olympia and Lacey WA inventory of homes for sale remains at an all-time LOW, while buyer activity remains at an all-time HIGH.

Think you missed out on the spring/summer market to list your home?

You didn’t.  This market is going strong and is not showing any signs of slowing down. (In fact, our ratios for buyer activity and sales was actually higher in December than in July of 2016.)

Talk is cheap – and free!

Gathering information is the first step in deciding if selling your home now is the right move.  Please contact me and we can talk about different options, with no obligation or pressure.  (Read what my clients have said about me here, and you’ll see that my clients appreciate that I keep it real!).

And if you email me, I can email you my pre-listing packet with the top strategies to get your home sold and you can see marketing examples of what I do for my seller clients.

I look forward to talking with you soon!

Why all the negativity in such a great real estate market?

Why all the negativity in such a great real estate market?

The real estate market for 2017 has been a good year.

After years of short-sales, bank-owned properties, an unstable economy and low buyer confidence, 2017 is a breath of fresh air.  But sometimes, you just can’t make people happy, especially the media.

Last week, The Olympian, our local newspaper headlined an article, “Buying a home in Thurston County continues to be an exercise in frustration.”

The first two paragraphs read:

“If you’re a prospective home-buyer looking for a little relief in a market that favors sellers, you didn’t find it in June, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data released Thursday.

 

The inventory of single-family homes remains low and few listings were added in June. In fact, the number of new listings increased by only 10 units last month compared to June 2016. Meanwhile, existing inventory fell nearly 25 percent over the same period, the data show.”

 

Whoa-there Negative Nelly!

What a sour view in just the first sentence!  Buyers are actually finding much success in this market.  (If they weren’t, how is it we are having record sales?!)  New listings are coming on the market, offering buyers many choices.  The only caveat is they need to act quickly.  But buyers are finding and buying newly-listed homes that meet their needs, and if the right home isn’t there today, it will probably be there tomorrow.

The second paragraph makes it sound like we only added 10 new listings in June.

Here’s what really happened in June in Thurston County

In June 2017, 697 new listings came on the market.

In June 2016, 687 new listings came on the market.

So the reporter was correct by stating we only added 10 more listings than we did in June 2016.  However he really had to dig for this negative spin on a market where we have added close to what we did at the height of the downturn in 2006 and 2007.

High-quality new listings

The Thurston County market not only is adding many new listings but these listings are of better quality than in the past, meaning there are less distressed (short-sales and bank-owned) properties.

Few buyers can tolerate the extended timelines for a short-sale to close, and just as few buyers can tolerate a neglected home in need of major repairs like as typically seen in distressed properties.

As of now, only 9% of our market is made up of short-sales and bank-owned properties compared to 34% in 2012.

Too bad good news doesn’t sell newspapers

Record number of buyers and sellers are having success in the 2017 market.  Every month we are breaking records that are good not just for sellers, but buyers, too. Buyers are more financially sound with responsible lending practices, are mindful of staying within budget and not buying more than what they can afford.  It’s just too bad good news doesn’t sell.

 

What happened when I used Fred Meyer’s ClickList online shopping feature

What happened when I used Fred Meyer’s ClickList online shopping feature……I’ll tell you what happened…..pure joy and bliss!!   My life has changed!

Simply put, I ordered my groceries online, selected the time of when I would be there to pick them up, pulled into a reserved parking space just for ClickList shoppers and called the number on the sign.  Then my knight in shining armor showed up with a wagon filled with groceries and he loaded the bags into the car!  I’m in love.

The Fred Meyer in Lacey, WA now offers this magical service!

The ClickList shoppers selected better produce than I could have.  When I was shopping the old fashioned way of actually going into the store, it was basically armageddon in the produce section and I just grabbed whatever I could, and screw the plastic bags that were stuck together that I couldn’t open.  I just threw bare, unbagged produce into the shopping cart and hauled out of there as fast as I could.

The most perfect onion I’ve ever seen – thank you ClickList shoppers!

But the wonderful ClickList shoppers not only were able to open the produce bags but they also put on twist-ties!  Yes, twist-ties!  I’m so in love with these people!

Grocery shopping has become the bane of my existence.  I hate everything about it – driving there, finding parking, finding a cart that works, fighting through the aisles, waiting in line, and don’t get me started about the mistake of going there on the first Tuesday of the month.  (You know what that means, right?!  Just stay home on that day – who cares if you are out of food – wait until the next day – trust me!)

ClickList is a beautiful thing.  I love it.  I am a ClickList Shopper for Life!

 

7601 Kodiak Ave NE in Lacey WA – home for sale!

This beautiful home at 7601 Kodiak Ave NE in Lacey WA is now for sale!

Click here for all the details for 7601 Kodiak Ave NE in Lacey, WA that is now listed for sale.

This is one of the larger homes (2,173 square feet) available for sale in the Edgewater neighborhood.

This neighborhood offers lots of parks within the neighborhood and just a few minutes away from Tolmie State Park – a great escape to the beach! This is also a commuter’s dream with quick and easy access to I-5. JBLM is just 15 minutes away!

This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home features an office and a bonus room. The kitchen is open to the huge family room. And you’ll enjoy “private seating” on your back patio!

You’ll appreciate the extended hardwood floors, granite kitchen island, and how neat and clean this home is! It has been well-cared for and is move-in ready.

Click here to watch the quick video:

For all the details, click here.

Seller FAQ: If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

If my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

The answer to this is…..it depends. It depends upon:

• What are the seller’s goals, needs, timing?
• What is the current market?
• Is the house the only similar home available in the neighborhood?
• Are you positioning the house to deliberately create a bidding war?

The seller is the boss
The listing agent’s goal is to educate the seller on all aspects of the current real estate market so that the seller can make the best decision about where to position (price) the home within the market. Pricing depends on not only what is happening in the market but also what are the seller’s goals?

For some sellers, time is of the essence and a speedy sale has monetary value for the seller. It might be worth a seller pricing just below the market in order to get an offer quickly.

For other sellers, getting the price they want is more important and are willing to stay on the market longer.

If you received an offer on your home on the first day, would you accept it? Wait for other offers? Reject it outright? It all depends on what your goals are for the sale of your home.

The first offer may not be the best offer
The blanket advice I’d offer for sellers in a fast-paced market is to let the house “season” on the market for a few days. In the Olympia, WA market, we have a provision in the listing agreement that allows for a seller to review offers on a future date. For example, if the house was listed on June 1st, the seller would review offers on June 5th.

This delay in response has shown to be a very profitable tactic for sellers in my current market. Some benefits of this delay in response include:

• Giving time for more potential buyers to see the home and to submit offers.

• Quelling the anxiety and rush buyers in a fast-moving market are feeling.

Why is this important? Because too many buyers get into auction-mode and end up submitting an offer and escalating their offer just because they are in the frenzy of a bidding war. Sometimes these buyers who end up “winning” experience remorse and then back out of the transaction.

Evaluate what is happening in the market

  • How many showings are happening?
  • What is the feedback?
  • What is the competition? How many homes in this price range/location are available for sale?
  • Is the market in a decline or on a rise?
  • Are the marketing, the photos, the description effective?

Every market at any given moment is different, and your Realtor can guide you. For some properties, getting one showing a week is very positive while for other properties, this is disastrous.

Planned multiple offer strategy
Some sellers want to create a bidding war with the thinking that they can get more for their house than if they priced it at fair market value. This strategy definitely has its pros and cons, and those are unique to each seller and each property.

In general and in my experience, most buyers do not want to be involved in a bidding war. In fact, I’ve had some buyers give up in this seller’s market because they don’t want to compete.

Deliberately trying to create a bidding war can backfire for sellers. If buyers don’t want to play the bidding game, the seller may end up with a much lower offer than they had anticipated. It all depends on the property, the market, the buyers and the sellers involved.

Sellers, talk with your Realtor and discuss what the best listing strategy would be for you and the property. One of the many good things about real estate is that there are several ways to reach your goals.

It takes an experienced Realtor on your side who can objectively discuss the best strategies for you so that you are not left asking the question, if my home sold in a day, was it underpriced?

Seller FAQ: Should I have a home inspection before listing my house for sale?

Home inspections, in my opinion, are always a valuable tool, and provide an overview of the condition of the property.  But an inspection is not just for buyers.  A home inspection can also be important for sellers when they are getting ready to list their home.

 

Here are some examples of how getting a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale can help you have a successful transaction.

 

Know what you are selling

Location, size of the home, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths are just some of the criteria used to determine a list price in comparison to other properties.  Condition is also a big factor in that decision.  If you don’t know your condition, you could be pricing your home incorrectly.

 

Pricing confidence

With the knowledge of the condition of your house, you can price your home appropriately.  If the home has a “clean bill of health” or you can repair all the findings, then you can have the confidence to price at the higher price range for your market.  And you can also market that you have had a home inspection and that can relieve many buyers’ fears.

 

Buyer psychology of a house needing repairs

When buyers discover items that they feel need to be repaired, this can lead to the buyers questioning their decision to buy your home.  Keep in mind, the buyers are excited to buy your home but also have some apprehension.  Even the smallest repair issues, if there are several of them, can scare a buyer and make them second-guess their decision.

 

Repairing issues prior to listing will save you money

The buyer’s inspector discovered a leaking washer valve in the laundry room.  This simple fix required a new ring washer – about a 5-cent part – to replace the existing worn out washer.  But since the seller was under contract with the buyer, the buyer asked for a licensed plumber to fix the leaking valve.  The seller agreed and had the plumber fix it for a cost of $420.

 

Had the seller know about this leak, they could have fixed it themselves and saved over $400.

 

Negotiating power

Since you have already had a professional home inspection completed, you are better equipped to negotiate on price and on buyer-requested repairs.  Buyers tend to “round up” for costs of repairs.  A list of small repair items, in the buyer’s eyes, rounded up to the buyer asking the seller for a $5,000 credit, when clearly the cost of the repairs would have been well under $1,000.

 

Some sellers do not want to know the condition of their home, and may say that they are going to “sell it as-is.”  But this avoidance can cost you money.  Spending a few hundred dollars up front to know the condition of your home can pay off in thousands of dollars when it comes time to price and list the property for sale.  Don’t step over a dollar to pick up a penny!

 

Seller FAQ: What do I do with my pets during showings?

What do I do with my pets during showings?

Sellers with pets can have an extra burden when listing their house for sale. If the pets cannot be removed from the house during showings, here are some tips that will ease the stress for you, your pets and the potential buyers touring your home.

Indoor-only cats
As a buyer’s agent, I certainly have had to chase down an indoor cat that decided to become an outdoor cat! It’s very stressful on everyone because how horrifying would it be if the cat got out during a showing and was lost?

You know your cat best. If strangers scare the cat into hiding, you might be okay. Posting reminders and warning notes on the front door that the cat is an indoor cat and to keep all doors closed is helpful to the buyer’s agent.

It’s also helpful to have a screen/storm door at the entrance. The screen door will always be closed even if the front door is left open.

 

Dogs
If I had a nickel for every time a seller told me how friendly their dog was….!

Dogs are naturally going to defend their territory, and will bark and do whatever they need to do to protect their home and owners.

If the dog cannot be removed from the house during showings, then the dog will need to be crated. I know this is tough to hear but even having the dog loose in the garage or the mud room poses a problem for buyers. I had a showing where the dogs were in the garage, uncrated, and were having a fit that there were strangers in their house. We could not view the garage and had to reschedule the showing.

Dogs without their owner’s presence may also act unpredictably. Please do not put your pet, yourself or the buyers viewing your home in this situation where you dog may attack or on a lesser scale, have a nervous bladder and have an accident.

Reptiles and birds and other pets in cages
For some reason, it’s human nature to tap on a glass aquarium or to try to touch or poke an animal in a cage. I have no idea why but we all have the urge to do this! For sellers, my recommendation is to cover the cage with a towel, if you can, and put “do not touch” notes on the cage.

Minimize distractions
The overall goal is to minimize distractions for the buyer. This is always why your listing agent will tell you to declutter and depersonalize your home – to reduce distractions to the buyer so they can envision how they will live in the home.

If buyers have to be stressed out whether or not a cat escapes the house or deal with an angry dog, it takes away the experience for the buyer in truly viewing your home and considering it.

The gold standard is to remove the pets from the home, but if that cannot happen, hopefully these tips will help. Please share other ideas you have!

Seller FAQ: What to do with all the house keys, remotes and keypad codes?

Congratulations – you closed on your house!  Transferring the keys over the new owner is probably the easiest part of the whole transaction but even this task can go awry!  Take these simple steps to deliver the keys to the new owner and avoid getting calls after closing.

How to get the keys to the new owner

Commonly, your listing agent will have the house key from the lockbox and then will ask you to leave all the keys belonging to the house on the kitchen counter.  Or you can give all the keys to your agent.

 

What to do with all the keys – label them, please!

House keys – If the front door has a different set of keys than the patio door, please label them appropriately.  If your front door has a keypad, leave a note in the house with the code.

Mailbox keys – do not deliver the keys to the post office.  Label the keys with the mailbox number and the location.  There is nothing worse than standing at a bank of mailboxes, trying to figure out which key works (and doing this without having a neighbor call the police).

Garage remotes – leave in the house or with your agent.

Garage keypad code – leave a note in the house with the code.

Community clubhouse/park, gate/entrance keys and remotes – Contact the community or homeowners’ association to find out if you can transfer your keys over to the new owners.  Sometimes the community will require the new owner to get their own key (for example, if a keycard is used instead of an actual key).

Built-in safe – if you have a built-in safe that stays with the house, please leave a note with the combination.

Equipment keys – if the sale includes a golf cart or a riding lawn mower, for example, label and leave those keys in the house.

 

Sellers, the new homeowners are excited that closing day is here.  Make the key transfer easy and simple for them by gathering all the keys and labeling them.  They and the agents will be most thankful!

And if I’ve missed any keys, remotes or codes that should be on this list, please let me know.