Welcome to winter in Snohomish County and a serious housing shortage


Are you looking for a home this winter? If so it could be a long wait to find that perfect one and you will need lots of patience.

Historically after Thanksgiving inventory of homes on the market are down 15%. Last year it was down 25% on average nationwide.  So far it seems that might be a pretty accurate percentage this year too. Home prices in the Snohomish County have also gone up.  For example the Northwest Multiple Listing report for the year shows some pretty good numbers.

The Bothell/Kenmore/Kirkland/Woodinville area shows in 2011 Median Price was $372,990 and at the end of 2012 $400,000.

Lynnwood/Edmonds/Mill Creek/Mukilteo areas show 2011 Median Price $299,900 ending 2012 at $339,000.

Marysville/Lake Stevens/Snohomish/Smokey Point areas show 2011 at $239,900 as the Median and at the end of 2012 $259,450

For the areas above only 620 total active listings at the end of 2012 versus 2011 with 1204. That is almost half. The majority, of course, were short sales and bank owned but it shows a definite change is happening and predicted to creep up more in the spring.

This will help more distressed home-owners who are starting to recover from delinquencies and can finally start to consider refinancing giving them some relief. It’s an important start to a healthy Real Estate Market.

Another sign of improvement is a lot of new home construction again.  I occasionally work and sit in a new home plat that is priced in the high 4K range and another in the 200K range. Buyers are coming in and all saying the same thing:  I have been looking for a while and there is not much out there.  My advice? You need a good agent that will be right on top of your search and listen to you. Don’t wait! When they tell you there is a hot one you need to go see it ASAP. And don’t be surprised if there are multiple offers. If it’s in a good location, good conditions and the right price it will go fast. I have seen bidding wars this year bringing the asking price up $10,000-$25,000. NO JOKE!  Buyers just can’t believe it when they offered 5K over asking price and they didn’t get it. Bottom line?  Offer what you will not bang your head against the wall if you don’t get it. Like the saying says “put your best foot forward” FIRST.

A few years ago you could play around a bit but, no longer, otherwise you will be putting in offer after offer and not get the house you want. Another mistake I see is many potential home-buyers thinking short sales are the best deal. NOT!  To add to this further- 3 out of 4 fail.  I know this first hand as I negotiated a short sale for a seller of mine and we had no problem getting offers; it was a great property.  The problem was 3 buyers backed out before we got bank approval and we had to start over again.  Causing major frustration for my sellers and me. You see each time I had to redo the paperwork, beg the bank to take another offer and start negotiating all over again. If you have your heart set on a home that is a short-sale you must commit yourself 100% to that home or do not waste your time. Why? Because on average you will wait 3-9 months.

Another one of my clients, a buyer, bless her heart, was the most patient client I have ever had. We put an offer on a short sale in January of 2012. She finally closed on the home in October.  The bank also came back with a higher price. They wanted 10K more than we offered. She had been waiting so long and loved the house so we went ahead and she finally got to move in before Halloween. If she had not been able to come up in price she would have had to walk because the banks final price is just that, their price. You either go for it or walk.

These are questions and scenarios that buyers must be aware of as they enter the market. I know most potential buyers search all over the web for homes. Sites like Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com and of course my new favorite; the new and improved Remax.com but, bottom line you are getting old information. It’s great to educate yourself, see what are out there, prices in certain neighborhoods, types of home, new construction and find yourself an agent (hint,hint). I can guarantee you however, if it’s a great home a Realtor is getting their client there first or it already has an offer. Consumer websites are not always up to date. There good don’t get me wrong and some better than others but, they can’t keep up with how fast homes go pending.  I even have verbiage that I copy and paste to respond to consumers that contact me when the information is on a home that is not available. I always check on there request, of course, it just happens 9 out of 10 times the home they are asking about it not available any longer so I have a response ready. I wish it was not the case because I want to get you in and show you a home you want to see. Reality is however y re, take a need to get their first.

Well take it in stride March is coming and with the first pop of bulbs the Spring buying season pops up too with more buyers and more competition on those great homes. A lot of potential sellers are still on the fence and are going to want to make sure they’re going to break even or be able to trade up. It will be an interesting year, in my opinion, to see how it changes. I hope that rates stay low which will bring the buyers and I hope that prices do come up a bit to bring more sellers into the market.  We need to have more of an inventory which will bring stabilization of prices and more choices of homes for people.

Here’s to Spring!


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