NWMLS: Record Low For Listings, Sales Slip Slightly

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February market stats have been published by the NWMLS this week. Here’s their press release.

Housing Inventory Reaches Record Low

Home buyers are in a spring mood, but sellers are still hibernating, suggested one broker while commenting about the latest statistics from Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Figures for February and feedback from brokers indicate record-low inventory is spurring multiple offers, rising prices, fewer sales, and frustrated house-hunters.

“Our robust market has created extreme conditions, and we’re seeing frenzy hot activity on each new listing coming on the market,” reported J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott. “We’re also experiencing some of the lowest inventory levels on record,” he noted.

Frenzy hot! Mad hot! Crazy hot! Hot hot HOT!

CAUTION

NWMLS monthly reports include an undisclosed and varying number of
sales from previous months in their pending and closed sales statistics.

Here’s your King County SFH summary, with the arrows to show whether the year-over-year direction of each indicator is favorable or unfavorable news for buyers and sellers (green = favorable, red = unfavorable):

February 2017 Number MOM YOY Buyers Sellers
Active Listings 1,434 -8.6% -25.4%
Closed Sales 1,351 -14.6% +1.6%
SAAS (?) 1.13 +41.2% -12.8%
Pending Sales 2,084 +7.5% -9.4%
Months of Supply 1.06 +7.0% -26.6%
Median Price* $560,000 +5.7% +14.1%

The only glimmer of hope for buyers in this month’s numbers is the year-over-year decline in pending sales. Last year pending sales shot up 27 percent between January and February, but this year they only rose seven percent.

Here’s your closed sales yearly comparison chart:

King County SFH Closed Sales

Closed sales fell 15 percent from January to February. Last year over the same period closed sales actually rose one percent, so we’re definitely seeing some weakness in sales. That said, closed sales were still up slightly from a year ago (+1.6%).

King County SFH Pending Sales

As mentioned earlier, pending sales rose seven percent in February, but were down nine percent year-over-year.

Here’s the graph of inventory with each year overlaid on the same chart.

King County SFH Inventory

Listings fell nine percent from January to February, the largest decrease between those months on record. The previous record was a four percent drop in 2012. On average between 2000 and 2016 listings rose two percent. In other words, the change in listings last month is generally just terrible for anyone hoping to see more homes on the market.

Just to drive home the point of how terrible inventory is, here’s the chart of new listings:

King County SFH New Listings

Inventory isn’t just low because all the new listings are being sold quickly. There just aren’t many new listings coming on the market.

Here’s the supply/demand YOY graph. “Demand” in this chart is represented by closed sales, which have had a consistent definition throughout the decade (unlike pending sales from NWMLS).

King County Supply vs Demand % Change YOY

Everything is still strongly in seller’s market territory.

Here’s the median home price YOY change graph:

King County SFH YOY Price Change

Year-over-year home price gains inched up slightly from January to February, but are still below ten percent.

And lastly, here is the chart comparing King County SFH prices each month for every year back to 1994 (not adjusted for inflation).

King County SFH Prices

Still looks like we’re likely to hit new highs in just a few months.

February 2017: $560,000
July 2007: $481,000 (previous cycle high)

Here’s the article from the Seattle Times: Seattle and Eastside home prices, after brief slowdown, surge to record highs


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

394 comments:

  1. 251
    Macro Investor says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 249

    Good for you, commission wise. Personally I wouldn’t pay half that (except for the crowd that would take it off my hands the next day).

    Humans are chimps that went hairless and insane.

  2. 252

    By Macro Investor @ 250:

    Personally I wouldn’t pay half that (except for the crowd that would take it off my hands the next day).

    That different people are willing to pay different prices for different things is the very reason that we don’t have constant shortages of everything. That’s the demand side of supply and demand. What one person is willing to pay for anything is irrelevant when what they are willing to pay is less than the market price.

  3. 253
    Kmac says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 222:

    ….. but the same disclosure issues would exist if a buyer gives a listing agent a complete copy of their inspection (or worse a listing agent asks for it). ,

    I would think that redistributing any report created by a private inspector who has contracted with buyer A would have a copyright claim on those documents regarding its reproduction etc.
    The MLS attorney seems to suggest that if the document is available, whether from a pre sale inspection or a prior buyer’s inspection, that a copy must be attached to form 17.

    If the seller was required to present the report of [ex]buyer A to [new] buyer B, the inspector could be due additional compensation IF he even allowed the document to be used in such a fashion. He basically owns them.
    Ever try to use an appraisal for two transactions in very close proximity? Usually won’t happen without submitting back to the specific appraiser for approval and generally paying a re-issue fee.

    As a contractor, if I draw a design for a clients new addition, but then the documents are distributed by the homeowner to another contractor who actually builds my design, I can possibly be entitled to damages. I own the drawing (work product) not the owner and not the other contractor.

    Would the same not apply to any private company inspection report regardless of the legislatures ill worded and possibly misguided attempt to require disclosure ?

    Sorry for going so far out into the weeds….

  4. 254

    RE: Kmac @ 252 – There are copyright issues present, and if I recall correctly Annie wasn’t aware of them until after shooting that video. Some inspectors do object, and they let her know that after the video came out. One of the inspectors happens to be one I work with, and the first one I asked about the issue after seeing the video. (BTW, Dept. of Licensing once had some material on their website addressing the copyright issue.)

    I had a transaction last year where a seller contacted an inspector prior to contacting me, and then the inspector wouldn’t allow their inspection to be distributed. It made for some extra work on the Form 17.

    I think there’s a couple of legitimate reasons for the inspectors to object. Their contract with their client may have a limitation of liability or maybe an arbitration clause. Those wouldn’t bind third parties to the contract. But going back to my situation last year, an inspector doing an pre-inspection for a seller should let their client know that they will object, because that creates a difficult situation.

    Two last things. 1. I seldom see inspection reports attached to Form 17, and I don’t see that Form 17 even requests that. It just asks if one was done and if done who did it. 2. I think there would be a decent argument of “fair use” if you just gave one page to a LA to better describe a condition.

  5. 255

    Wow, this may give some buyer’s agents pause. Liability down the road for having a buyer who pays way too much for a property because they’ve become desperate.

    Ironically, one of the best ways to avoid that result is to make an offer on a listing that is grossly overpriced, where you can eventually come in and pick it up for less.

    One thing Annie doesn’t mention though is the appraisal, but if the buyer waived some appraisal protections that might not come into play.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK7-ii25Mt4&index=1&list=PLsU-Dcv-PIXZ1SxR0yfh1mwOIoNN3V9ah

  6. 256

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 254

    There were a few cases like that back in 2008. I don’t recall any being successful. It’s kind of like the wood rot case. Courts don’t give buyers a pass for delegating their thought process to a 3rd party. Sellers maybe. But not buyers.

    http://www.today.com/id/22840771/ns/today-today_news/t/home-buyer-who-overpaid-sues-real-estate-agent/

  7. 257

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 255 – The point is to avoid being sued. Being sued sucks even if you win!

    Not to mention that’s really all just part of your job as being a buyer’s agent.

  8. 258
    piggyshooz says:

    Fears apparently coming true.
    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/17/silicon-valley-tech-talent-fleeing-to-seattle.html

    Ive lived in both Seattle and bay area and can tell you first hand that no on in Seattle should want to import the problems from the bay area.

  9. 259
  10. 260

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 258
    WOW Kary Great Article

    I too would love to leave high property taxes and clogged freeways. But alas, part of my family needs Seattle too for stability [and I built up a cool man cave in SE King County]….decisions, decisions….LOL

  11. 261
    jon says:

    At some point, telecommuting will be the norm, but it seems for now that that company believes it is worth paying $10,000 to cut off it’s employees from potential poaching by other employers.

  12. 262

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 256

    No Kary…the point is that the suits all involved a market shift when people bought at today’s market value and tried to sue when the market went down. This is a very important point as today’s market value has decreased the discount for negative factors (busy road etc) to nil or close to nil as it always does in a hot market. When the market shifts even slightly such that there is no perceivable market value decrease, those properties individually will start experiencing that discount for negatives coming back as $25,000 to $50,000 losses…even when it looks like the market didn’t change.

    Some people will pay that extra $50,000 and some won’t. Informed consent is the correct answer, not my preventing them from doing things…but rather informing them specifically of what they are doing. Then it is their choice.

  13. 263

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 261 – Ah, you missed both my point and the point of the video.

    No one said it’s about preventing anyone from doing anything or not about being informed. The latter is what I was referring to as being part of the agent’s job. Go back and read/watch everything again. But since you missed it, the point is to document what you did to inform the client. Believe me, when it comes time to sell and they can’t (and/or they need to do a short sale), they are not going to remember what you told them. Having that documentation may very well be the difference between being sued or not being sued. Just being able to say “I warned them” won’t do a thing.

    BTW, I agree on the negative attribute comments and declining value. That’s similar to the siding issues I mentioned.

  14. 264

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 262

    LOL…I don’t watch your posted videos Kary. Seriously…do you think you can teach me something? Really. Haven’t I been doing this three times longer than you and better since forever?

    Stop lecturing me.

  15. 265

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 263:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 262

    LOL…I don’t watch your posted videos Kary. Seriously…do you think you can teach me something? Really. Haven’t I been doing this three times longer than you and better since forever?

    Stop lecturing me.

    LOL. First, it’s not my video, it’s Washington Realtors. And the attorney is very well respected (although I’ll admit I don’t agree with her 100% of the time).

    Second, that probably explains why you said that other person was “correct” about Redfin on the first page of this thread, right AFTER I quoted their terms of service which makes users clients of Redfin. See posts 239, 240 and 242. It’s not that I can’t teach you something, it’s that you’re unable to learn.

    Third, years is service mean nothing. There are agents out there with 20+ years of service who don’t know what a legal description looks like or why you should order title insurance prior to taking a listing live. Just doing the same thing wrong time after time doesn’t mean someone knows what they’re doing. And actually, whenever I hear the line: “I’ve been doing this for XX years” I know the next thing out of the person’s mouth is likely to be nonsense.

    But whatever. Don’t document what you say to clients. Count on them remembering. That’s very good practice in just about any profession. /sarc

  16. 266

    BTW, Ardell, next time you want to respond to something I wrote, at least try to read and/or listen to what I wrote/linked. Seriously, otherwise you just look really stupid.

  17. 267
    cruzazul says:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 130

    Hi, long time lurker here. I’ve been using this website as a sanity check over the last year , as I’ve navigated the process of buying (done!) and then selling a SFH (sooo close to being done).

    Anyways – I was inspired to post by Gooddeal. I know it’s tough sometimes to determine what’s legitimate information on the internet – and I just wanted to put there that what Gooddeal has been posting in this comment sections is absolutely legit. While not in the residential sector, I do have expertise in building envelope systems. And what Gooddeal is saying is the very best envelope science that we know of to date. Please listen.

  18. 268
    redmondjp says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 263RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 264

    Hey you two, get a room! ;)

    Anybody with mad claymation video skilz that wants to do a Real Estate Blog Celebrity Deathmatch?

  19. 269
    Ryan says:

    Random anecdote: I spoke with an agent this weekend who didn’t know what the HOA included, didn’t know the building construction type, and a couple other basics. This was their own open house. They offered up they had been in the business for less than a year. “I guess it’s so easy to sell in this market, you don’t even need to know what you’re selling,” I thought.

  20. 270
    Brian says:

    RE: Ryan @ 266

    I am not surprised. I’ve talked to many agents at open houses and only a few have had any clue about the HOA. Pathetic. At least know the basics: rental cap, pets, parking, barbecues, special assessments, etc. Or better yet get the resale cert before listing so that you can point buyers to it instead.

  21. 271

    RE: Brian @ 267RE: Ryan @ 266 – Keep in mind that the agent may be only there for those 3 hours and have no other connection to the property or the seller. I’m not trying to excuse that behavior, because if that’s the situation they should be there to represent the buyers and that’s not very good representation (ignoring maybe the building construction issue, which I’m not clear on). But open houses are seemingly much more popular now that agents want to drive multiple offers, so that means more non-listing agents at open houses.

  22. 272

    I wonder what percentage of these condo buyers plan on actually living in the unit when it is constructed? Hopefully it’s a higher percentage than what was going on in some other cities back in 2006 or so.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2017/03/20/seattles-condo-market-came-back-in-a-big-way-this.html

  23. 273
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 269 – Buy now or be priced out forever. You’re nobody if you don’t own.

  24. 274

    By redmondjp @ 265:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 263RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 264

    Hey you two, get a room! ;)

    I think it would be better if Ardell just agreed to actually read/watch a link before she starts making ignorant comments. And it would not be a bad idea for her to actually read the links that she posts herself. The one she posted above in post 255 was a news story of the beginning of the lawsuit, not the end. I tried to get an update on it, but didn’t find anything, but in any case that link is not really evidence of such suits being futile (even if you ignore my argument that it’s better to not be sued in the first place). It wouldn’t surprise me money was paid to settle that suit, at least if those other comps were close in time to the subject sale.

    There are a couple of differences between myself and Ardell. The first is that I have an understanding of legal matters, where she seems to be on the wrong side of a legal analysis almost 100% of the time. It’s almost amazing to me how one person can be wrong on legal issues so consistently. The other is that when a new issue is raised I’ll actually go back and make sure my practices comply, where Ardell will think that because she hasn’t had a problem yet that she doesn’t have a problem at all.

    This is actually an interesting issue, and in some ways a new issue. The “additional deposit” forms that many firms and now the NWMLS have been developing remove the buyer’s protection if the property doesn’t appraise–at least to a certain point. Before those forms a buyer might actually get a wake up call and decide to back out. Now if they get the message that they are overpaying they can back out, but only with the loss of their earnest money. Not the worst result in the world, but if the earnest money is significant a buyer might be reluctant to back out no matter what the appraisal comes in at. But all that is over Ardell’s head because he has her head in the sand thinking that because she’s been an agent so long she doesn’t need to worry about it.

  25. 275
    Brian says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 268:

    Keep in mind that the agent may be only there for those 3 hours and have no other connection to the property or the seller.

    I somewhat agree if it’s someone assisting the listing agent. However, many times it’s the actual listing agent and they still don’t have a clue.

  26. 276

    RE: Ryan @ 266
    Ryan With any HOA

    The rest is a moot point anyway….what’s the dues each month? Renton Condos: $600+/mo, Seattle Condos: $2000/mo, Kent Modular Communities: $185/mo, etc, etc

  27. 277
    kenmorem says:

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/facing-rental-crisis-seattle-creates-a-renters-commission-to-explore-new-laws/

    the next straw to break some more camel’s (i.e. landlords) backs?

    i’m tempted to pull the plug and sell my seattle rentals…

  28. 278
    Brad says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 274 Yes please do!
    – Concerned home shopper.

  29. 279
    Kmac says:

    By cruzazul @ 266:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 130

    Hi, long time lurker here. I’ve been using this website as a sanity check over the last year , as I’ve navigated the process of buying (done!) and then selling a SFH (sooo close to being done).

    Anyways – I was inspired to post by Gooddeal. I know it’s tough sometimes to determine what’s legitimate information on the internet – and I just wanted to put there that what Gooddeal has been posting in this comment sections is absolutely legit. While not in the residential sector, I do have expertise in building envelope systems. And what Gooddeal is saying is the very best envelope science that we know of to date. Please listen.

    Gooddeal and Deerhawk do make some good points
    I don’t think anyone is questioning their information, even though people should still keep a skeptical eye when told that the old way is no good and everybody should do it this new[er] way… especially when it adds 50k to the price of a house.

    My argument is only that of return on investment and if that will even happen in your lifetime, but if you mortgage everything in your life anyhow, I guess it is a debatable choice.

  30. 280
    Kmac says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 265:

    ……..But whatever. Don’t document what you say to clients. Count on them remembering. That’s very good practice in just about any profession. /sarc

    I’m not going to get involved in this as you both make some pretty valid points over the years, but as my grandmother used to say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

    Instead of going all the way through trial and spending six figures on attorneys etc , only to prove your innocence, (and possibly losing and paying for opposing counsel) I can definitely see the benefits of having a signed document or disclosure, if you will, which quite possibly allows getting the case dismissed/excluded from or enabling a motion for summary judgment in your favor.

    For the cost of a piece of paper and some ink, you would be way ahead of the game.

  31. 281
    screenname12345 says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 6

    Ardell this is a very interesting stat regarding % of homes that actually close at $1 million, I would have thought it would have been wayy higher close in to downtownSeattle at least. Can you share what price points affect buyers when you go above $1 million to $ 2 million. I’m assuming at $2 million you have a way way smaller pool since they are probably coming in with cash.

    How about at $1.75 million, $1.5 million, $1.25 million etc? I am wondering what prices in that range is the sweet spot especially when you get over $1.5 million to $2 million. Thanks.

  32. 282
    Gooddeal says:

    By cruzazul @ 266:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 130

    Hi, long time lurker here. I’ve been using this website as a sanity check over the last year , as I’ve navigated the process of buying (done!) and then selling a SFH (sooo close to being done).

    Anyways – I was inspired to post by Gooddeal. I know it’s tough sometimes to determine what’s legitimate information on the internet – and I just wanted to put there that what Gooddeal has been posting in this comment sections is absolutely legit. While not in the residential sector, I do have expertise in building envelope systems. And what Gooddeal is saying is the very best envelope science that we know of to date. Please listen.

    Hi cruzazul,

    Thanks for taking the time to post. Like you, I mostly just hung back on the sidelines but was a voracious reader of the blog. I would like the see the entire construction industry elevated to a higher standard that is common in other parts of the world where the focus is on quality and not quantity. If everyone gets on board the techniques and materials to build a better home will be commonplace and there won’t be a premium as there is now. For me, I am willing to pay the premium now to reduce my energy footprint, to make a healthier home for my family and to have more control over my energy costs for now and more importantly in the far future. You don’t know how much energy is going to cost in future but I’m certain it will be more than it is now. There may come a time when the cost is exorbitant and I don’t want to regret not spending the money to make my house better when I built the home. Sure, one can always do a remodel but a remodel is much more expensive and in most cases will never match the performance of a system designed and built from the ground up. You can bring a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. Hopefully people considering a new home will take the time and interest to explore how a house’s construction can impact their health, future finances and the planet.

  33. 283
    Brian says:

    By Brad @ 277:

    RE: kenmorem @ 274 Yes please do!
    – Concerned home shopper.

    You sound more like a home owner afraid of others selling.

  34. 284

    By Kmac @ 279:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 265:

    ……..But whatever. Don’t document what you say to clients. Count on them remembering. That’s very good practice in just about any profession. /sarc

    I’m not going to get involved in this as you both make some pretty valid points over the years, but as my grandmother used to say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

    Instead of going all the way through trial and spending six figures on attorneys etc , only to prove your innocence, (and possibly losing and paying for opposing counsel) I can definitely see the benefits of having a signed document or disclosure, if you will, which quite possibly allows getting the case dismissed/excluded from or enabling a motion for summary judgment in your favor.

    For the cost of a piece of paper and some ink, you would be way ahead of the game.

    Since that quote is out of context, I want to make it clear I wasn’t actually taking that position. I do believe in the ounce of prevention. That quoted material was sarcastic as indicated by the “/sarc” tag that followed.

    But that piece of paper isn’t entirely for CYA reasons. Annie’s advice of identifying the risk, trying to reduce or eliminate the risk and documenting the disclosure of the risk goes beyond CYA. Assuming an agent is not able to reduce or totally eliminate the risk, the very act of describing the risk to a client both verbally and in writing may cause the client to alter their decision.

    As an example, there’s a widely used inspector referral form (41D) where agents list three inspectors and their relationship to the inspectors. My wife and I attach a second page to that form that discusses other inspections beside the general home inspection. The client then initials both pages, indicating that they’ve received the form and the additional disclosure. Part of that is CYA, but part of that is to get the client to actually think about doing other inspections, particularly a sewer scope. I’ve found that on houses where a sewer scope is probably a good idea you can tell a buyer about sewer scopes, and also have them sign that piece of paper that mentions them, but they still might not think it’s a good idea to do one until it is brought up again during the general inspection. Yes I’ve covered my ass by taking those three steps, but if that course of behavior gets clients to actually do a sewer scope then I’ve also reduced the clients’ risk.

    Unfortunately I think Annie’s advice on how to reduce the risk of over-eager buyers is a bit unrealistic. For example, while bringing in an appraiser could help, there typically would not be time for that, and it would be the rather rare piece of property (or really bad agent) where the agent couldn’t properly advise the buyer on value. That’s sort of one of our things as agents–property valuation. And I’m not really sure what a tax consultant could tell them, other than that personal losses are not deductible and maybe the consequences of converting the property later into investment property. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things an agent could do. Perhaps for the buyer getting financing discuss the possible appraisal results and draft the additional deposit language in a manner where price negotiations would be triggered at a level the buyer wouldn’t consider acceptable even though the buyer could still perform at a much lower valuation. Or just avoid the additional deposit altogether and just go with 22A which would give your buyer client an out if and when the appraisal comes in low even with a 40% down payment (something probably half of agents don’t realize). Both of those would protect the buyer client, although each might make it less likely their offer would be accepted (depending on the skill of the listing agent).

  35. 285

    RE: screenname12345 @ 280

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say ” I’m assuming at $2 million you have a way way smaller pool since they are probably coming in with cash.” The data doesn’t change if it is cash vs financed. But I’ll try to answer what I think you are asking.

    Doing this as I type the results. I’m doing a radius with the center point in the middle of Lake Union. I went a full circle in a radius of just over 3 miles which takes me through most neighborhoods East to West and South to where I-90 dumps into Downtown and North to the top of Green Lake.

    “How about at $1.75 million, $1.5 million, $1.25 million etc? I am wondering what prices in that range is the sweet spot especially when you get over $1.5 million to $2 million. Thanks.”

    $1M to $1.25M = 358 sold in a year of which 107 were condos, 240 were houses and 11 were townhouses. There are 8 condos for sale half of which are on market for less than a week. So only 4 lingering. Not sure I’d even call that a one month supply of condos. There are 12 houses for sale, 3 of them are on market for a week or less so 9 lingering. 20 would be a one month supply.

    $1.25M to $1.5M = 214 sold in a year of which 72 were condos, 137 were houses and 5 were townhouses. There are 4 condos for sale with 1 on for a week or less. Not a one month supply. There are only 6 houses for sale 2 of which are less than a week on market. Not a one month supply.

    $1.5M to $1.75M = 93 sold in a year of which 23 were condos and 67 were houses and 3 townhouses. 3 condos for sale. 4 houses for sale.

    I’m not sure what you are asking…but I don’t see any “sweet spots”. If what I have answered is not what you asked, try again.

    Require Disclosure: Stats in this comment are calculated in real time by Ardell and not Published, Verified or I forget the third required word LOL! by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

  36. 286

    RE: screenname12345 @ 280 – On that last group of 93 at the highest price point I checked many though not all while watching The Voice as I have to check each one at a time. There were very few all cash purchases. You commented about most being cash and I did not find that to be the case at all.

    There are more stories about cash purchases than there are actual cash purchases.

  37. 287
    Kit says:

    RE: Brian @ 282
    For people who want to sell in the foreseeable future, isn’t the name of game trying to sell right before everyone else does/has to?

  38. 288
    screenname12345 says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 285

    Thanks for the info Ardell. I was assuming buyers in the over $1 million price were more likely going to be cash buyers so interesting to hear that is not the case.

    My question was related to your earlier posts about the smaller % of houses actually selling over $1 million which was also very surprising to me. I am trying to understand how that % changes between $1 million and $2 million and at the heart of my question is at what price are houses more likely to sell at or below list. From what I understand the bidding wars are really happening under $1 million. The market is not as hot in the higher price points as you move above $1 million and houses take a little longer to sell.

  39. 289
    Brian says:

    RE: Kit @ 286

    Yes, I was pointing out how Brad is a closet homeowner that wants to convince kenmorem not to sell because that mentality threatens his investment.

  40. 290

    RE: Brian @ 288 – It’s quite a stretch that one person’s decision would have market impact. Even all the people on this site don’t have market impact.

    On the other hand, the chance that one seller’s property would be something that a particular buyer would want is also pretty low. Even if you included the possibility that some buyer would take this seller’s property and not bid on another property the particular buyer wants is minuscule.

    The most realistic possibility is that a number of SFR landlords in Seattle would decide it’s time to divest due to a hostile political environment. Even that number though is likely fairly insignificant, but it could help a few buyers and harm a few renters.

  41. 291
    Brian says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 289
    I never said it was a good attempt.

  42. 292
    Deerhawke says:

    I am going to agree with Kary here. Regardless of any one market participant’s effort to shift the market, their market leverage is pretty minuscule. Nonetheless, in the aggregate the market’s participants seem to have gotten the same memo. Don’t sell. Or at least, don’t sell now.

    Looking at the Estately figures above, with the caveat that this covers only SF homes and not townhouses like the MLS inventory figure, we see that we are down a clean 500 listings since last year this date. On 3/22/16, we were at 1935 listings and today we are at 1435, a drop of just over 25%.

    I bought two teardowns in the last 2 months and each one was very late in the pre-foreclosure or foreclosure process. But despite the fact that neither of the two sellers was what I would consider a sophisticated market participant, they had gotten the same memo. Don’t sell now. What’s the hurry? Next month will be better for sellers than this month.

    Weird but powerful group psychology.

  43. 293

    RE: Deerhawke @ 291 – I wonder how much of it is we broke that crazy cycle from before 2007 where people just planned on moving every 2-5 years into “better and better” houses. Maybe more people are now happy where they are, either because they’ve fixed the place up or they’ve gotten used to it.

  44. 294

    This week’s Washington Realtor’s Legal Hotline question was about a seller trying to back out. That seems to be more and more common. Quite a change from a few years ago where a seller was typically very excited to be selling.

  45. 295
    redmondjp says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 292:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 291 Maybe more people are now happy where they are, either because they’ve fixed the place up or they’ve gotten used to it.

    Oh ha ha ha, Kary!!! Try instead: Maybe more people are now trapped where they are by the extremely high prices and they can’t afford to move. Plus, in this market, it is much harder to move because you can easily sell your existing home with no guarantee of getting the house that you want, potentially leaving you without a place to live.

    I’ve been looking into this myself over the past few years (moving to a larger home). Right now, I would have to move into an apartment and move all of my stuff into storage, then get my home sale-ready and staged, and then hope to purchase another home within a week or two of selling mine. That’s an incredible amount of work, not to mention the perfect timing and luck involved. It’s much easier to stay put.

  46. 296
    OyVeh says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 294

    Completely agree. Also, the way prices are increasing…things can increase in the 1-2 mos that it takes the new buyers to close on your home.

    The best thing to do would be to buy and then sell, but you have to have the extra cash for down-payment, etc. And you would probably be paying 2 mortgages for at least a month.

    It’s a bit of a game of luck.

  47. 297

    RE: redmondjp @ 294 – I was just trying to throw out a new idea. It used to be somewhat common that buyers would be talking about their next house before closing the current sale.

    We did have a transaction last year, representing the buyer, where the seller did not have a property identified before committing to our buyer. We gave them something like a 60 day close as an accommodation. I was slightly surprised that there were actually able to find a place and close it on time, particularly since they were limiting themselves to a fairly small area. So it is possible, but also difficult and somewhat risky.

  48. 298
    Kit says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 293

    My lead was walking around his neighborhood and started talking to someone about a house that sold. Lead was talking about his woes of thinking of going from a starter to something bigger and his decision not to sell and buy now. Well, the person turned out to be the seller of the house and to paraphrase, the seller goes “well, I don’t even know these people cause they never came to see the house. I’d willing to back out for you since I know you and your kids mesh well with the neighborhood”. My lead declined, but wow.

  49. 299
    Marc says:

    By kenmorem @ 276:

    i’m tempted to pull the plug and sell my seattle rentals…

    Amen brother. We’ll be listing our Seattle rent house next week or the week after. Between a city that hates landlords and wanting to lock-in gains before the house of cards collapses, now seems like a great time to unload.

  50. 300

    RE: Kit @ 296 – Not sure what would make them think they have the right to back out. Absent a defect in the contract (e.g. an improper or missing legal description), there’s little a seller can do to back out. There’s no right for the seller to back out as part of the inspection contingency. There are a few situations where the seller can send a notice for a buyer to waive a contingency, but if the buyer waives the seller looses the power to terminate.

    And the risk to a seller breaching is that they would owe both sides of the commission. Plus whatever risk there might be of litigation or even possibly the filing of a lis pendens which would tie up the property.

  51. 301
    Kmac says:

    By Marc @ 299:

    By kenmorem @ 276:

    i’m tempted to pull the plug and sell my seattle rentals…

    Amen brother. We’ll be listing our Seattle rent house next week or the week after. Between a city that hates landlords and wanting to lock-in gains before the house of cards collapses, now seems like a great time to unload.

    RE: Marc @ 299

    House of cards, huh? Hmm…..
    I’ve had a rash of re agents calling up (for sellers) looking to get houses doctored up prior to selling.
    Maybe your sentiments are what everyone else is thinking also.

    We shall see.

  52. 302
    Brian says:

    By OyVeh @ 296:

    RE: redmondjp @ 294
    The best thing to do would be to buy and then sell, but you have to have the extra cash for down-payment, etc. And you would probably be paying 2 mortgages for at least a month.

    They used to have bridge loans that would help with this but I think those mostly died with the 2008 crisis. However, I suppose one could use a home equity loan as an alternative to get most of what you’d need for a down payment and/or temporary multiple mortgage payments.

  53. 303

    I remember this coming up recently, but there are restrictions on terminating a tenancy in Seattle, including those that come into play if the owner is selling. You have to jump through the right hoops in the right order, and I don’t remember what those hoops are, and even if I did I wouldn’t give such advice here. The applicable ordinance is SMC 22.206.160 C.

    So basically if a Seattle landlord wants to sell an occupied rental not subject to the tenancy, they should consult a real estate attorney.

  54. 304

    By Brian @ 302:

    They used to have bridge loans that would help with this but I think those mostly died with the 2008 crisis.

    I remember looking at Washington Federal’s products within the past couple of years, so they still exist. But they aren’t for everyone. As I recall though they gave you some flexibility in deciding how much of the proceeds of your old house to apply to the loan (which would obviously affect the final payment).

    https://www.washingtonfederal.com/washline/news-and-articles/2011/04/15/what-is-a-bridge-loan-2

    One other possibility is using a HELOC against the old house for the down payment on the new house, but you would need to make sure the bank’s HELOC terms allow that use.

  55. 305
    sleepless says:

    @Gooddeal, we would love to build our own house, the question is, where to buy buildable lot. Anything that is suitable for construction is in $400K+ range in nice areas…

  56. 306
    kenmorem says:

    RE: Kmac @ 301

    it doesn’t take much to see a situation where a certain someone is impeached, the stock market crashes, tech money dries up, and seattle is SOL and overbuilt. that’s my fear. realistic…? dunno. worried? sure.

  57. 307
    Doug says:

    RE: kenmorem @ 306 – Not realistic. Equal chance of getting a 10.0 earthquake.

  58. 308
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 304 – The other way to do it, which we did, is to use a 401(k) loan to fund the down payment on the new place, which can then be paid off with the proceeds from the sale of the old house.

  59. 309
    Kit says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 300

    Oh I figured that, but I guess it was worth it? Who knows. My lead and I were puzzled too, but he didn’t ask. It is strange all around, but your comment reminded me of bold sellers.

  60. 310
    Benvolio says:

    By Brian @ 302:

    They used to have bridge loans that would help with this but I think those mostly died with the 2008 crisis. However, I suppose one could use a home equity loan as an alternative to get most of what you’d need for a down payment and/or temporary multiple mortgage payments.

    I did that last year with a HELOC. It helped cover some of the down payment.

    We paid double mortgage for a few months while we did some cosmetic improvements to the new place before moving in. Was pretty stress free being able to dictate out own timeline, and knowing the old house would sell immediately as soon as we were ready to list it.

  61. 311
    screenname12345 says:

    By kenmorem @ 306:

    RE: Kmac @ 301

    it doesn’t take much to see a situation where a certain someone is impeached, the stock market crashes, tech money dries up, and seattle is SOL and overbuilt. that’s my fear. realistic…? dunno. worried? sure.

    Stock market doesn’t care. It’s been going straight up regardless of what the Shmuck does. It’s going up even with the Fed raising rates.

  62. 312

    RE: screenname12345 @ 311
    The Only Folks Facing Prison Time

    Are the intelligence executives [Progressives?] that controlled the Oval Office [Trump Tower] classified surveillance and whoever the Hades leaked this classified information….this Dem/Rep anarchy has been this way for decades. Then the establishment open borders press against the majority of American citizen voters can invent fake news from illegally obtained fake documents using their Shadow Government brainwashing…and keep out of prison by 1st amendment lies…God help us.

    We all know I’m speaking the truth too.

  63. 313

    RE: screenname12345 @ 311
    Stock Losses Big Tomorrow If the American Voters don’t Get Repeal of Obamacare Today

    Seattle Real Estate will suffer too when pension and investment funds lose trillions from stock market collapse tomorrow if the law isn’t repealed today. Remember, I warned you today.

    Do we have a “proverbial” deadly weapon to our own Seattle Real Estate heads wishing the potential federal tax decrease away? This is not a political question, its an investment question.

    We’ve lost all our business savvy?

  64. 314
    sleepless says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 313
    So, tomorrow is the day when everything comes crashing down? Should I buy ammo, food, and other supplies?

  65. 315
    sleepless says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 312
    I don’t want to hijack the thread again, but c’mon. Trump doesn’t give a sheet about little guy. Look at his cabinet, filled with filth and corruption. Look at his policies, he backtracked on most of his promises. Pentagon cannot account for wasted $125 bil, but Trump need to increase the DOD budget? Who are you kidding? To be clear, i despise democrats just as much as I despise Republicans. Deep state cronies fight each other for the piece of cake. Trump is a part of the same establishment, he is a lair and just as corrupt as the lairs before him. It is time to admit SE, you were duped by Trump’s rhetoric…

  66. 316

    RE: screenname12345 @ 288

    Sorry it took me so long to answer your question but I don’t jump to conclusions. Even though I do this every day, I test even my own perceptions against the data of most current reality. You asked:

    “My question was related to your earlier posts about the smaller % of houses actually selling over $1 million which was also very surprising to me. I am trying to understand how that % changes between $1 million and $2 million and at the heart of my question is at what price are houses more likely to sell at or below list. From what I understand the bidding wars are really happening under $1 million. The market is not as hot in the higher price points as you move above $1 million and houses take a little longer to sell.”

    First a small visual presentation I created and while I did it for Kirkland, when I checked the data I used that methodology in both Seattle and The Eastside. I did this to see if a million dollar home in the lower Average Price area of Kirkland took longer than in the higher average priced area. I broke it down by Average Price per Elementary School vs “neighborhood”.

    https://www.realtown.com/Ardell/blog/tracking-the-market/2017-home-prices-kirkland-wa-by-elementary-school

    The answer was no as to over a million and the clearer point was over three million. What was surprising was that even those longer on market had odd results in the PI vs STP segment.

    Backing up a minute. I was thinking in theory the one and only million dollar house sold in the lower price average area would have taken longer, but no. It sold in 7 days at full price with an Inspection Contingency (PI)

    When trying to test further what I found was the Million Dollar plus houses mostly only existed where you would expect million dollar plus houses to be. So between one million and two million they acted pretty much the same as lower price points that exist where that price is the norm.

    You can’t do “average DOM” because if you have most selling in 1 to 7 days and a few at 228 or 1105 days (which I did see) the huge disparity gives a false reading.

    What was surprising is there are three indicators:

    1) Days on Market
    2) % of Asking Price i.e. a bid up might say 107% and under asking would be 98%
    3) PI or STP Buyer had an Inspection Contingency (PI) or no inspection contingency (STP-Straight to Pending).

    At over two million and especially over three million you had more that sold in more than a week and several that sold at or less than asking. BUT the surprising piece of data was that many that clearly only had one buyer bidding, took longer to sell, sold for less than asking…still went Straight to Pending with no Inspection Contingency. That’s a bit odd. I can only guess that sellers are requiring that buyers do a pre-inspection even when they are the only buyer before the seller will accept the offer. They want the sale to be final before putting it pending even when it sold for less than 90% of asking.

    What I did see more in the over $2M (vs $1M to $2M) market was the same bidding war on day 85 that they would have had on day 1 except it was within a day or a few of a price reduction. So those that were overpriced didn’t sell until they did a price reduction and then the sale acted the same as it would have if the seller had priced it right in the first place. I did see one of those first hand this weekend where after the 2nd price reduction they had multiple offers immediately. Though those tend to bid up only a tad and the price reductions are major and not little nudges.

    “My question was related to your earlier posts about the smaller % of houses actually selling over $1 million which was also very surprising to me. ” The only reason THAT happened was because Brian used the territory as “from Lynnwood to Renton”.

    This is why I created this visual of only the chart and map of Kirkland.

    https://www.realtown.com/Ardell/blog/tracking-the-market/2017-home-prices-kirkland-wa-by-elementary-school

    In Brian’s example, Lynwood and Renton and some others in between will act like the first four bars on my Kirkland graph and dilute the % of million dollar homes sold since there aren’t many or any. Adding all of the sales in areas with no or almost no million dollar homes will skew the data. If you do only the areas likely to have million dollar homes, the result is quite different.

    I tested this in the Seattle “near downtown” as you had asked earlier while I was doing these stats and it took you out to neighborhoods like Broadmoor before the $2 Million plus homes started to act differently than lower priced homes. Magnolia fared a bid better than closer in but still sold quickly…just not a bid out. Again we are talking over $2 Million.

    I think the bottom line is $2 Million plus is the new $1 Million plus.

    P.S. I did the data and created the two visuals in the link using Public Source vs “in the mls” so that you and anyone else can do these yourself. Easiest to do on Redfin. Change your filter to homes sold in the last 90 days for most recent stats and uncheck “for sale” and everything except Houses. I like to check minimum 3 bedrooms as well so we are not getting “value in the land” as much. At the bottom of the string of properties on the right it will give you average price, average $ppsf, days on market, etc. You can then click on any and all of the houses to dig deeper into how many bid out and by how much. I did the deeper dig in the mls because I wanted the PI – STP ratio which won’t show in Redfin as the P will replace the PI and give you a false result on a public site.

    So I don’t need the required disclosure because I only posted data that came from Redfin. Play around with putting a school in the search field and then seeing the up to date, actual averages post at the end of the list of homes on the right. You want the actual averages of your data that show in small print above the Page 1 of 2 or more and NOT the “overview” printed more obviously and easy to find below that.

    The Overview is not the data you just calculated via your search and is not as current as the data you are collecting. You can do many different averages for Currently for Sale or Sold in the last 3 months or 6 months or a year. Very useful tool for those who “fact check” everything like I do. :) Better than using overviews from Estately or Zillow or even Redfin. You can calculate it and check the data yourself. There is also a button for downloading the full data that created those averages so you can play and double check accuracy to your heart’s content. :)

    Hope that is helpful, if not to you than to someone else who likes to fact check and do their own stats, as many do.

  67. 317
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 312

    Yes, yes we know you are speaking the truth dear. Of course you are one of the chosen ones who know the truth.

    Now let’s just double up on your doses of Aricept and Namenda and maybe that will help. OK dear?

    And lets just let these nice people talk about real estate while we go take a nice long nap, shall we?

  68. 318
    Blurtman says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 317 – Fearless leader Inslee would disagree with your suggestion of maintaining the somnambulistic RE diddling status quo. He is offering testimony of a changing WA state climate, including more droughts, unprecedented forest fires, etc.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/inslee-to-speak-before-united-nations-about-climate-change/

    Of course, RE playuhs can try to profit on the trends.

  69. 319

    This doesn’t say where Seattle stands, but it very likely is a reason Seattle city government is so pro-renter. (Even ignoring the fact that the percentage of landlords is well under 50%.)

    http://nreionline.com/multifamily/renters-now-rule-half-us-cities

  70. 320

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 319

    All major cities have stronger tenant vs landlord considerations. Burbs and smaller cities the opposite. Pretty much true everywhere in the Country.

  71. 321
    ronp says:

    This new house near us finally sold for just under the asking price – https://www.redfin.com/WA/Seattle/5704-NE-60th-St-98115/home/120544. Hello higher property taxes. Ouch.

    I was convinced the price was $300,000 too high. I cannot see anything but a slow down ahead. Who are the buyers at these prices? We are running out of doctor-lawyer, software engineer dual income households…

  72. 322
    Brian says:

    By ronp @ 321:

    Who are the buyers at these prices? We are running out of doctor-lawyer, software engineer dual income households…

    I am constantly asking myself that.

  73. 323
    MGSpiffy says:

    Re: ronp @ 321

    Ouch – is that box designed to maximize buildable volume on that lot?

    > Who are the buyers at these prices?

    I’m still seeing large numbers of foreign nationals in our neighborhood looking at 1.2 – 2.0M houses.

    I finally got the word directly from our landlord that she would be happy for us to keep on renting her rather nice, and what is by now probably under-market rate, house, especially in light of the maintenance and general caretaking I’ve been doing on it. We’re going to keep renting until my current situation allows us to enter the market with a strong hand or the money train fizzles out.

    Hmm.. kinda of interesting. Zillow’s zestimate of the place we’re renting went from 1.35m to 1.05 in November. Quite a drop. What’s up with that?

  74. 324

    More videos for Ardell not to watch because she thinks she knows everything.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjGTYbWN26A&index=2&list=PLsU-Dcv-PIXZ1SxR0yfh1mwOIoNN3V9ah

    This one is on limiting buyer inspection rights, and it mentions the Douglas v. Visser case which I’ve often cited to. I don’t go quite as far in my reading of Douglas as Annie does (I don’t think it necessarily protects sellers as well in all situations), but I agree limiting buyer rights is not a good thing for sellers.

    It’s amazing to me how few agents are even aware of this issue. I’ve seen a couple of agents with over 20 years of experience not know a thing about it. But the thing is, if and when one of their listing clients gets sued, those clients are going to sue them.

    What I also don’t understand is why this has become an issue in such a strong seller’s market. Yes the sellers have a lot of power, but you can carry that too far. How much negotiating based on inspection is a buyer going to do in this market? This market should be where there is the least concern for sellers about inspections.

  75. 325
    jon says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 324 – Wow, that is a brutal decision.

    Not only did the buyers have to pay the price of the house, they had to pay 18% interest and attorney’s fee to the scumbag sellers. Every potential buyer should read this before they agree to purchase with that clause removed. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-court-of-appeals/1624461.html

    “on top of the Vissers’ previous evasive and incomplete answers and the Vissers’ on-going failure to provide their own prepurchase inspection report, either of which should have caused concern and further inquiry, there is no evidence that the Douglases made any inquiries whatsoever after the inspection. ”

    So mere evasiveness on the part of the seller puts the buyer on notice of their obligation to make further inquiries.

  76. 326
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Brian @ 322RE: ronp @ 321

    I toured this house to try to figure out what the market at the higher end between $1.5 and $2.0 million looks like. SF lots have gone up about $200K (from about $400K to $600k) in the last two years. So if we apply Ardell’s 3X rule, that makes what was a $1.2 million house in 2015 now a $1.8 million house. That shocks me, but I guess it is (or will be) the new normal.

    This one was an exercise in bad planning.

    First, it is in a neighborhood near Windermere but is not Windermere –despite being called Windermere Heights (or whatever). And this particular block/location was surrounded by especially shabby or oddly painted little war-boxes. If I were going to contemplate a teardown-rebuild in that location, I would have built simpler and not tried to hit that price point. Maybe a target of $1.4, but definitely not $1.8. (Then again, the builder bought the teardown for $550K.

    This designer did some odd things to the exterior that messed up some of the traditional styling, but that was mainly repairable with paint. The much weirder thing was that there were nineteen (yes 19!) relatively narrow (4′) steps straight up from the front yard to the main floor. I counted them. It looked like a ladder.

    They could have dug the house down and in. They could have put winders and a landing to break up the stairs. They could have at least made the stairway wider. Or better yet they should have done all three.

    I would guess 60% of the people previewing that house took one look at that ladder and did not even get out of the car. Another 20% probably got half way up, felt like a Sherpa and turned back. Anyone who cares about Feng Shue (Asian or not) looked at that house and said, “Nope.”

    So the surrounding area and the terrible ladderway were the main reasons this place sat on the market for 120+ days.

    But there was some odd pricing strategy there too. First it was listed at $1.859M, then a month later $1.875M and then $1.895M. (“Buy this house now or we will increase the price in 2 weeks!!!)

    Eventually rationality prevailed and the price was cut by $100k to $1.795M. It went pending soon after.

    I think the lesson though is not that the builder was wrong about the price point for that area, but about the product and specific location. And as for your question “Who are the buyers at these prices?”, I can assure you that there are a fair number of doctor-lawyer, software engineer and dual income households out there still. And also people who work in finance, branding, robotics, game development, animation, and movie production who are moving to the area.

    How do I know? Those are the people coming through my homes. And all the other houses in the $1.5 to $2.0 million range that I visited are now pending or sold.

  77. 327
    Jon says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 326 – Those steps remind me of some Buddhist temples in Korea that I visited. It would be interesting to hear the designer’s rationale for those.

    But in addition to the dual income professionals, there are a lot of small business owners who are doing quite well in this booming local economy.

  78. 328

    By jon @ 325:

    – Wow, that is a brutal decision.

    Yes, and as I recall, the seller was a real estate agent! Usually a professional gets hammered when they do something shady.

    What’s really crazy is how few agents are even aware of this case. It’s near total incompetence to be so ignorant of a major change in the law, but all the time you see listing agents take listings straight from active to pending. And unlike Annie in her video, I don’t think this is seller driven, I think it’s most likely agent driven. Agents are looking for the easy transaction rather than looking to protect their clients.

    Of course for this to even happen you need to have the buyer willing to buy without an inspection (or relying on a questionable seller inspection–which is another bad listing agent practice). That’s the desperate buyer half of this video series.

  79. 329
    boater says:

    RE: MGSpiffy @ 323

    Nationally both Zillow and redfin seem to have decreased their valuation on homes. I think it’s tied to interest rates and just assumes if rates go up value goes down. It does not appear to be accurate for Seattle.

  80. 330

    RE: Jon @ 327 – BTW, this issue goes back a long way. There was a state Supreme Court case back in 2007 (or so) called Alejandre v. Bull, where the buyer lost on a septic case where it was very likely the seller knew of the septic problems, but the buyer did not have the inspector check the distribution box. The court based the loss on the “economic loss rule” which basically says that where the parties contract the duties and burdens the court will leave the parties to their contract.

    The then local powers that be in charge of the statewide forms went into a huge panic, and created a choice for buyers and sellers to negotiate regarding some very ill-defined contractual language liability. They amended that nonsense at least once before dropping it altogether.

    Because of those changes in the forms, agents were somewhat familiar with the existence of that septic case decision (Alejandre v. Bull), but somehow they didn’t really understand what it meant. Douglas v. Heller is in effect just an extension of that earlier Alejandre v. Bull decision, which is why attorneys give Douglas so much weight despite just being a Court of Appeals decision.

    Anyway, here’s a blog piece I did way back in 2007 being critical of the changes to the statewide forms. Fortunately the drafters of the statewide forms came to their senses 3-4 years later and got rid of the offending language. I’ve always wondered though how many people and agents were involved in lawsuits over that poorly drafted language.

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/realestate/2007/10/03/form-17-liability-be-prepared-for-big-headaches/

  81. 331

    By boater @ 329:

    RE: MGSpiffy @ 323

    Nationally both Zillow and redfin seem to have decreased their valuation on homes. I think it’s tied to interest rates and just assumes if rates go up value goes down. It does not appear to be accurate for Seattle.

    I checked and that’s not true of all houses in our area, so I suspect something else is going on, like maybe Zillow being affected for a time in some areas by recent past by bidding wars or maybe more recently by houses of a less desirable type or condition selling in an area.

    Also, sometimes an owner will go in and alter the features of their home and those changes will result in a decrease in value (something quite different than what the owner was expecting).

  82. 332
    Gooddeal says:

    By sleepless @ 305:

    @Gooddeal, we would love to build our own house, the question is, where to buy buildable lot. Anything that is suitable for construction is in $400K+ range in nice areas…

    Yes, buildable lots are becoming scarce. You need to look farther out from Seattle and Bellevue such as around Tiger Mountain, May Valley, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Ravensdale, Cedar Grove, Hobart, Black Diamond, Lake Youngs, North Bend, Enumclaw, Lake Tapps, and Auburn. Try to target lots that have had a county critical area designation done or at least a wetland reconnaissance so you know if there are critical areas. Assuming you’re going for 5 acres the going rate is around 220K. If it’s a really nice lot with no critical areas and a flat building site expect to pay at least 250K. In Auburn, you can find plenty of land cheaper than the other places I noticed. If you want smaller than 5 acres make sure that the land has access to public water if it’s less than 1 acres because it may be very difficult or impossible to fit a well with a 100 ft radius wellhead protection zone around it while making space for primary and reserve septic drainfields which require a lot of area. For example, check out MLS 941468, a .88 acre lot that is unbuildable because it’s not large enough for a well without obtaining a restrictive well covenant from the neighbors and so far they have not been too receptive on doing that unless you’re willing to pay mega $$$.

  83. 333
    screenname12345 says:

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 316:

    RE: screenname12345 @ 288

    Hope that is helpful, if not to you than to someone else who likes to fact check and do their own stats, as many do.

    Ardell thanks for the long response. I didn’t quite follow everything you said but it had some great nuggets from what I did follow. My agent listed my house too high and I just did a price reduction. Now that I am paying attention to pricing I am not sure how to handle the next drop if we need one. Is it better to price lower than the market and try to get multiple bidding going which was the intention or just do smaller price drops until you find the right price. I was wondering why agents were pricing things low on purpose on my hood, they apparently can’t figure out how to price houses like mine that are not in the 1 million sweet spot. I don’t want to spook a buyer with too many small price drops either though.

    I would prefer one more medium one and let the market price figure out the appropriate price since it continues to be strong.

    I do not want to wait 2 plus months for a buyer but I see people doing one drop and then waiting this period only to get an offer but it’s lower anyway. Rather get to the right price quickly.

  84. 334
    ess says:

    I have heard/read that spring is the hot season for sales of houses. Well – rumor has it that it is spring!
    Of the folks in the real estate bizz – what is the market like these days out there? Slow, multiple offers, steady, panic, no sellers, no buyers, no inventory? Would love to read people’s opinions as this is allegedly the height of the market. Or is the height not here yet and it is too early to tell?

  85. 335

    RE: screenname12345 @ 333 – I haven’t been following your discussion, but it sounds like you’re basically in the situation I described in my neighborhood where one seller started high and one seller started low and the low seller ended up selling quickly almost exactly at the high seller’s original price, and the high seller took 4-8 weeks to sell (I don’t remember) at near or below the low seller’s original price. There was almost a 10% swing in price, and the one that started high ended up selling below their first price cut (which probably would have been a good starting price that might have got them to their first list price). But that ship passed when they priced too high. You don’t often get a second chance at that sort of thing (and note the high seller was doing other things wrong too, it wasn’t just price–and it’s often not just price).

    Nothing is impossible, but in general it’s not likely to get the same type of bidding action that would have occurred with proper pricing at the new listing stage, but some smarter buyer’s agents will circle around on older listings realizing those will have less buyer pressure. I’ve seen a couple of situations where two or more buyers will make an offer nearly simultaneously in those types of situations.

    And in case it’s not clear, I’m talking in broad generalities and not with respect to your specific situation. I’m purposefully offering no specific advice to you on price, pricing decisions or other decisions at all.

  86. 336

    RE: ess @ 334 – Inventory is jumping around a lot–there was a swing of over 150 the last two times I checked. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have less than one month’s supply of inventory based on March sales volume and the month end active inventory number.

    Vague references to numbers and ratios of and differences between and two unspecified numbers from NWMLS sources, but not compiled by or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  87. 337
    screenname12345 says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 335

    Thanks Kary. I am not sure what to think. I am not seeing higher priced homes over $1.5 million selling that have listed when we listed except for 2 brand new homes. So not necessarily just us. My agent thought she was listing a little low but she also thought we were as nice as the nicer homes that are selling at multiple offers and I never thought that myself but trusted her. Her appraisal was in line with other agents I spoke last year so figured that price was going to be correct. Well it’s not we are not even at last year’s supposed price from what I see! So mistake on price out of the gate and my first guess at being close to market is not right yet. She is still optimistic at this price but I think I am the realist. I still see houses in the higher end selling quickly so would like to figure out the best strategy now to get out of Seattle relatively soon even if we started too high. I have assumed the market here is efficient and when you hit the right price a buyer will show.

  88. 338
    Baffled in Bellevue says:

    re: ess @334 – that’s what everyone wants to know. West Bellevue here, and maybe a half dozen homes under $2M! No buyers – or no sellers?

  89. 339
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: ess @ 334

    The spring market is not yet in full swing because the weather has been so awful, but it is really competitive out there. If you look at the Estately figures above, we are still at about 400+ SF homes less than last year at this time.

    I focus on Seattle close-in neighborhoods north of the ship canal. Inventory definitely seems drum tight. If it were not for this practice of “offers to be reviewed on XX date” listings would be going straight to pending in two or three days, instead of 10 or 12 days.

    I have a nephew trying to buy in the under $500K market in Seattle. He took me to see some of the things that are listed and they are just simply… trash. Small, badly designed, wet, smelly, crowded with trees and excess foliage– you name it. A few days after it goes on the market, there is a cheerful and bewildered young couple out in front of their new “fixer” trying to act brave while they figure it out.

    Hard not to feel sorry for them.

  90. 340
    Lisa says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 338

    ” A few days after it goes on the market, there is a cheerful and bewildered young couple out in front of their new “fixer” trying to act brave while they figure it out.”

    Indeed. We have been following the market for awhile. We are now prepared for the low-mid 500s, but sadly the inventory at that level is basically garbage. The market is going up faster than we can save. Our rental is fine for now but won’t work forever. It’s not a fun position to be in, but we don’t want to do anything stupid. We recently paid for a pre-inspection on a cute(ish)house in Matthew’s Beach on a large lot listed for $435k. They only give you 3-4 days between listing and the review date so you have to make a huge financial decision in a hurry. That felt really icky. While the house had many good points and the lot was beautiful, we walked away from it because of slope issues. It had a cinder block foundation that was in good shape. However, the house had a 4″ slope. The fake fruit in the kitchen rolled down the counter. Underneath, it was being held up by random stacks of cinder blocks and wood pieces. It’s likely that the settling happened early in the house’s life and it’s possible that we could have lifted the floor a bit from underneath, then poured leveling cement in while doing a full kitchen remodel. But then we’d have spent thousands on renovations and STILL be stuck with a cramped floor plan and no garage. It went for $500k so we would have won the bidding war had we entered… but we feel sorry for the people who did get it.

    Sigh. Time to sign another lease!

  91. 341

    RE: Deerhawke @ 338 – I don’t think you can get a complete picture just looking at active inventory (even ignoring price and area limitations). Down in the neighborhood I follow whether I need to or not (Fairwood) the inventory is really low, but the sales have been running about 30% faster than last year at the same time (Dec 1 to 3/20). And higher sales seem to be the case countywide for the months Dec-Feb in the graphs above. So in a sense that means there’s been more opportunity for buyers if they’re looking over a period of time rather than just a day. It’s sort of the difference between taking a snapshot and taking a movie.

    I would also note that for my Fairwood samples the CDOM mean and median are both almost identical (actually the median is identical and the mean only a day shorter). So you had more houses being on the market for the same amount of days this year. Again, more opportunity for the buyer whose actively in the market looking over a period of months.

    Unfortunately the one thing I cannot check is how many listings were actually active 3/26/16 to compare against 3/26/17. But it sure seems lower even though sales have been higher. But I’ll admit I may be wrong about that.

    Another problem with just looking at active inventory is the mean and median in the Fairwood area are now much higher than last year, with the median being up well over 18% for sales in those time periods. Part of that is mix, but it doesn’t matter if you’re looking in a lower price range there will be significantly less choice even though more volume is flowing through.

    Don’t get me wrong. The low inventory is a problem for buyers, but I’m not sure the small differences in active inventory actually show that it’s worse than last year. You need to look deeper.

    Numbers from NWMLS sources, but not compiled by or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  92. 342

    RE: screenname12345 @ 337

    Up until now we have been talking general stats and hypotheticals. Once you say ” My agent thought…” and that you are currently on market, the agents have to take a different stance as in Kary’s “I’m talking in broad generalities and not with respect to your specific situation. I’m purposefully offering no specific advice to you on price, pricing decisions or other decisions at all.”

    There are only 3 properties in all of Seattle that can be you based on what you have said to date. I often am contacted by agents with property on or going on market and I can and do assist them. But it’s different when another agent’s client is asking.

    Here’s what I will say given I can kind of tell which house is yours. Go to a coffee shop and pay 3 people 5 dollars to look at your photo array. Tell them nothing. Don’t tell them it is your house. Don’t show them the price. Just the photo array. Ask them to just speak what comes into their mind when looking at the pictures. In fact ask them to only tell you the negative things and not the positive things.

    Price is not the only thing and people stare at photos more than the actual house in person. I am saying this because of the small number of homes not sold, most have photo array issues. It’s not ONLY about price. Online Display and Condition when at the house play a huge role, but because I know the homes not sold I’m pointing you in the direction of Online Display first.

    Just saw one that over priced intentionally at over a million and dropped $50,000 once and then $50,000 again and the 2nd $50,000 drop hit the spot because it brought it a hair under $1,000,000 and it sold for a hair over a million. Remember we are in the Technology Age so “hard numbers” are good for sellers and bad for buyers. $1,000,000 as example is a “double hit” for a seller in that they get everyone looking “up to” that number and also everyone starting at that number. $998,888 misses anyone starting their online search alerts at $1,000,000 and so is invisible to the correct target audience.

    When someone starts at $1,049,000 they are missing everyone who ends their search at $1,000,000. This is important in the current market because in that price range people are setting their searches $100,000 under what they can and will pay to allow for the escalation addendum. That’s why we can’t start where the escalation will end or above where the escalation will end. Sellers always have to “do” what the market of this exact time directs us to do. In this market we have to cater to both the Instant Alert system and the range numbers and double hit position we most always need to take and also the fact that buyers are assuming in most all good areas that if they can pay $850,000 they can only look up to $750,000.

    What happens when you don’t sell is a lot more specific and honestly I have no recent experience with what happens when something doesn’t sell in 4 days except what I see when with buyers. It happens, but not in an unpredictable way. Most times the agent knew they were doing it that way and has a good reason why.

  93. 343
    Deerhawke says:

    By Blurtman @ 318:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 317 – Fearless leader Inslee would disagree with your suggestion of maintaining the somnambulistic RE diddling status quo. He is offering testimony of a changing WA state climate, including more droughts, unprecedented forest fires, etc.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/inslee-to-speak-before-united-nations-about-climate-change/

    Of course, RE playuhs can try to profit on the trends.

    From my perspective, Inslee is finally earning our respect. The news that he is now coordinating his efforts with the governor of Oregon is impressive and shows actual leadership. Who saw that coming?

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/gov-inslee-ore-governor-vow-to-fight-trump-environmental-proposals/

    In order to get through the next 4 years with the least damage possible, we need to either follow or coordinate with Jerry Brown. If the West Coast states can act as a bloc to promote rational data-based environmental policy, maybe we can do something about global climate change.

    I don’t know of any real estate “playuhs” who know how to make money from global climate change. It seems to me that climate change mainly creates a whole class of losers, not winners.

  94. 344

    RE: sleepless @ 315
    Do Nothing Progressives and Establishment Rinos

    Call failed ACA Medicaid insurance? LOL….have you got a bridge ya can sell me too?

    Failed OVERPOPULATION Medicaid hurts disabled and elderly American citizens REALLY BAD NOW. Yet, we pretend its the “cat’s meow”. We live in the Twilight Zone and the slave trade overlords control the Shadow Government….to keep the American citizen sheeple slaves quiet.

  95. 345
    screenname12345 says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 340

    This is great info Ardell. I will go through the photos as you suggest and gather some opinions. I am obviously not familiar with rules but I would definitely be interested in your quick critique. I can probably find your email if this is something that is within “the rules” of your profession. Thank you for the responses all the same, it’s very much appreciated.

  96. 346

    RE: screenname12345 @ 342

    When you break the rules…you don’t leave a paper trail. ;)

  97. 347
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 340
    RE: screenname12345 @ 342

    This is really smart advice from Ardell. But let’s not pull punches here.

    Look, it is your property and your money. The MLS rules may constrain its members in certain ways, but you are not an agent and you are therefore not subject to its rules. You have to do what is in your interests. You need to talk to whoever will speak with you to get the information you need to make sound decisions.

    If you have lost faith in your agent and think they have encouraged you to make bad choices, it might be best to pull the house off the market and find a new agent who can advise you on the basis of real market knowledge and real experience.

  98. 348

    RE: Deerhawke @ 344 – The rules don’t constrain what a seller does, but they do constrain what agents do. Agents cannot engage in activity that is seen as poaching another agent’s active listing. So yes a seller can act in their own best interest, subject of course to the terms of their listing contract.

    The rules for agents are a bit archaic (and also not clearly drafted). As I recall, an agent can ask a listing agent when their listing expires, and then there are other rules that go into play if the listing agent doesn’t respond with that information.

    But I’m not so sure that the rules ever prevent an agent from responding to contact by a seller if that seller is investigating getting new representation at the end of their listing term. And unlike attorneys, who need to report non-client contact to the attorney representing the person who contacted them, I don’t believe there’s any requirement that an agent inform a listing agent that they were contacted.

    Again I will mention it’s not always price. Sometimes it’s showing terms. Sometimes it’s issues regarding the house itself that are not apparent in the pictures (e.g. smells, small bedrooms, messy neighbors, siding issues, etc.). If a listing is getting a fair number of people looking at it, then it’s probably not price or showing terms.

  99. 349

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 345

    “But I’m not so sure that the rules ever prevent an agent from responding to contact by a seller if that seller is investigating getting new representation at the end of their listing term. And unlike attorneys, who need to report non-client contact to the attorney representing the person who contacted them, I don’t believe there’s any requirement that an agent inform a listing agent that they were contacted.”

    If a seller contacts you to talk about hiring you then yes, you can respond in that context. There is allowance for a seller to be able to interview agents while still on market so they don’t lose days on market when changing agents.

    That is different than getting a 2nd opinion from an agent, which is what I was telling you before. It is one of the only fields does not allow for 2nd opinion, but I think it has more to do with contract interference than “rules” sometimes.

    You can ask 100 questions of 100 agents…until you pick one to be YOUR agent. Then it becomes one on one. What happens after it is listed is extremely important and since you are now limited to one agent…you have to trust that one immensely and exclusively.

    Though the agent can ask other agents during the listing and I get a lot of calls like that.

  100. 350
    pfft says:

    By softwarengineer @ 341:

    RE: sleepless @ 315
    Do Nothing Progressives and Establishment Rinos

    Call failed ACA Medicaid insurance? LOL….have you got a bridge ya can sell me too?

    Failed OVERPOPULATION Medicaid hurts disabled and elderly American citizens REALLY BAD NOW. Yet, we pretend its the “cat’s meow”. We live in the Twilight Zone and the slave trade overlords control the Shadow Government….to keep the American citizen sheeple slaves quiet.

    you are barely more coherent than Trump. got any sources? the expansion of medicaid has saved thousands, maybe tens of thousands of lives. my god even republicans were against repealing medicaid expansion.

    unlike 99% of the people here, I back up my claims.

    New Study Shows That Medicaid Expansion Really Does Save Lives
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/07/new-study-shows-medicaid-expansion-really-does-save-lives

  101. 351
    Deerhawke says:

    If you are in an extreme seller’s market and ask your agent, “Why is our listing not selling?”, that agent should have a good reason (“Well, we have discussed the fact that it takes longer to sell houses on a busy street.”)

    If they simply say, “Let’s just be patient,” that is the same as saying, “I really don’t have a clue.”

    A good agent would generally have people they trust who they could reach out to for advice and counsel. If they go back to the seller and say, “Look, I know you are concerned. I have checked with 5 other experienced people in the industry and they think we are well priced, but they don’t know why it isn’ t selling either.” that would tell me I could probably trust my agent. Then I might be more inclined to be patient.

    But really at the end of the day it is about the 4 P’s — product, price, positioning and presentation. It is the whole value proposition.

    If the seller is one who listens (rather than one who tries to tell the agent what to think and do) and the agent is not getting offers in this market, the 5th P is not necessarily Patience.

  102. 352
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: ess @ 334 –

    Regarding your question on perceptions of the spring market.

    Every week I pull up all the single-family new-construction in the neighborhoods where I build — 705 and 710. Basically this is far Ballard to Sandpoint. I pulled it up today and where there would normally be 15-20 listings, there was a total of 3. I thought there was a problem with my browser.

    Part of the problem is that not very much is being built– no question. But the bigger issue is that everything else that was brought on the market recently is pending, pre-sold or sold. Those 3 holdouts are substantially overpriced in my estimation– say $80k-100k overpriced.

  103. 353

    RE: Deerhawke @ 348

    Once a house is on market it’s easier to pinpoint why it isn’t selling. One of the most recent calls I received asking me why a house wasn’t selling it was something in the Agent Only Remarks. I told them to change that and the house sold immediately. No price change. No new photos. No change to the house condition. Just a change in some wording in the Agent Only Remarks.

    The good thing about a hot market is “fixes” are sometimes as easy as that.

  104. 354
    Deerhawke says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 350

    Right before the tech meltdown in 2001, a friend was listing his house in Medina. It had its quirks but everything else in that price range was selling, quirks or not. His just sat and weirdly was getting very little traffic. I asked one of my agents to check into it.

    Turns out the listing agent had put in the commission structure as 4% listing office and 2% selling office. I thought it smelled to high heaven but the listing agent insisted it was just a clerical error. By the time it was all worked out, the market had tanked and my friend had to pull it off the market. This was a case where it was hard for him to get a second opinion, but I could get one for him on the QT.

  105. 355

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 350 – Agent errors would be another reason for listings not selling. My favorite in that area is the agent not checking the pin placement, so that the house doesn’t show up in map searches for the neighborhood, or having the address wrong (Ave rather than Place, etc.).

    But there can also be reasons related to the seller. For example sellers who want 24 hours notice, appointment only, no keybox (or a keybox they hand to a buyer’s agent) and/or who refuse to leave the house during showings. I know of one such situation where the sellers listed five times over a period of four years and still own the house to this day, even though they were retired and wanted to move out of the area. They were also unrealistic on price, but a lot of their lack of success was showing terms (the house itself and the neighborhood was very nice–no problems there at all).

  106. 356

    RE: Deerhawke @ 351

    Yes. Same. The person who approached me for a “read” on why not, was a mutual friend of the seller.

    Old School rules of thumb:

    If no one is (or few are) coming to the house, it’s the price (or online presentation) or something people don’t have to come to the house to say “no” to it.

    If lots of people came and left but did not make an offer it is something AT the house. A looming electric tower, even in the distance, that didn’t show in photos. A smell. Liar, Liar, Pants on fire – house does not match what the listing said it was.

    20 people through should include 5 people who are ready to pull the trigger and 1 of those 5 (or more of those 5) will bring an offer. That is where my 90 showings in 3 days produced many “1-5 of 20 people through” offers. Other houses can take x days to get to 20, and in a weak market it could take a month to get 20 people through.

    Long story short…no one is coming at all…the problem is not AT the house. :) These days a bit different as people can see the electric tower on Google Maps. :)

  107. 357

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 353:

    If lots of people came and left but did not make an offer it is something AT the house. A looming electric tower, even in the distance, that didn’t show in photos. A smell. Liar, Liar, Pants on fire – house does not match what the listing said it was.

    That’s a big one! A 3 bedroom house listed as 4 bedrooms. A 1,700 square foot house listed as 2,300. It can even be pictures of the house which are “too good.” In general, anything that leaves a buyer disappointed rather than excited when they actually see the house.

    Well before the peak I knew a tenant living in a house that was for sale. I asked him how things were going and he said a lot of people were coming through, but they’d all leave really fast. The house was a two bedroom house with a single car detached garage, but it was listed as a 4 bedroom with a 2 car garage. And the difference in bedrooms wasn’t just lack of closets–it’s that the rooms were too small to be bedrooms. (Rather an odd house). Eventually it was listed as a 3 bedroom and then a three bedroom with one car garage, and then a two bedroom with one car garage. After finally being properly listed it sold. And this was when the market was still hot.

    Anyway, if you’re showing your house to buyers who need or want four bedrooms and your house only has three bedrooms, you’re unnecessarily inconveniencing yourself and those buyers.

  108. 358

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 354

    Yes. I was picturing in my head after I wrote that how different it can be in Seattle vs The Eastside. Typical in Lakemont for agents to check 4 bedrooms and also check off den/office. Also typical when you get there to find 4 rooms and not 5 and while the 4th one could technically be a den/office OR a bedroom, it can’t be both at the same time. :)

    Seattle you run into people including unfinished space or garage space (townhouse) in the square footage.

    Most always on both the reason the agent is doing that is because other agents did it and they don’t want to look smaller when people compare “the comps” to determine offer price.

  109. 359

    By Ardell DellaLoggia @ 355:

    Most always on both the reason the agent is doing that is because other agents did it and they don’t want to look smaller when people compare “the comps” to determine offer price.

    I can sort of get that (but not approve of it) when talking about square feet. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, West Seattle is particularly bad for square footage lies, and 2,500 square feet sounds better than 1,700 square feet. But a four bedroom house is only an advantage to someone needing a four bedroom house. If a buyer only needs three bedrooms than a three bedroom house with 2,500 square feet is better for them than a 4 bedroom house with 2,500 square feet. And if that house only has 3 bedrooms, it won’t appeal at all to those needing 4 bedrooms. I don’t get at all the reason for lying about the number of bedrooms.

  110. 360

    RE: Blurtman @ 318
    Yes Blurtman, Are We shooting Ourselves in the Seattle RE Foot?

    And smile its for the better….stocks after ACA remains….

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/27/us-markets.html

    And while Progressives always blame Populist trump warning voices as lies….hey, wasn’t he right? They did surveillance on Trump Tower when he was called a raving lunatic by Dems and Rinos for the accusation?

    Lies trump truth now and no one loses? LOL Ask the disabled and elderly now forced on FAKE Medicaid [Apple insurance]….where the only doctor available is 100 miles away with a 4 hour long food bank line…we’ve fooled them well so far haven’t we Progressives?

    The American Citizen disabled and elderly now have Fake Insurance because the ACA is giving their insurance away to healthy folks…many are IAs.

    Ask my severely Autistic adult son…..or me, he can’t talk, he’s like a 2 YO. The Progressives call themselves liberals? LOL

  111. 361

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 350

    I have been thinking about the ones I had that I didn’t sell “by offer review date” in the last few years.

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2006-N-145th-St-Shoreline-WA-98133/49049857_zpid/

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/13625-108th-Ave-NE-Kirkland-WA-98034/48775692_zpid/

    https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/15150-140th-Way-SE-UNIT-R103-Renton-WA-98058/58386689_zpid/

    Good examples of the “stages” of the market. The first two had lots of showings. The Shoreline is obvious ON 145th and right near the freeway entrance. Can’t get much busier as to major arterial and stretch of major arterial than that. This is a good example of when the Listing Agent has to think beyond and when a 3rd party looking in to determine “why not” doesn’t work. Though for me it almost never works as I don’t miss much so someone else being able to find “why not” is something I do for others and never helps me.

    I was pushing the price a bit on the high side on all three. Two of three because I knew the buyer would deduct for the property weakness whether I listed it lower or not, so I had to go high to end up at a better place. Though two of the three ended up at full price on day 30 anyway and one all cash, full price on day 30. The third one had a significant “at property” problem that the seller couldn’t fix…because she was dead.

    Which brings up another rule of thumb. Not hard and fast as only the Listing Agent knows for sure (kind of like the old “only your hairdresser knows for sure).

    Rule of thumb: Tough it out to day 30. This is where patience IS usually a virtue. Not everything can sell in 1 to 7 days. Sometimes you have to work your butt off from day 7 to day 30 to get to a good result by day 30 and on those two it worked and I was able to sell them at full price on day 30.

    The third one, the Kirkland one that didn’t sell at full price, is what you do if “no offers on review date”. It sold quickly after that. Lots of showings but no offer “by Monday”. It’s assumed that if you bring an offer ON or before the review date that it has to be full price with an escalation clause. Sometimes people like a house enough to buy it, but not to waive all contingencies and pay full price or better. In that case I worked the agents who had already shown it and moved on to quickly let them know that I didn’t have offers and got an almost full price offer the day after the review date.

    When the answer to “not selling” is something the Listing Agent has to “do” and quickly, usually no one else can tell them what that is as you have to be inside the transaction to know what it is. In fact it is usually something you already knew before you listed it, but not something you could address until you had someone in the room to “work” i.e. an actual buyer. This when I represent a seller of course. Same thing on the buyer side but in reverse. If a house comes on that shouldn’t get any offers by review date, meaning full price, no contingencies with an escalation clause, you usually have to wait for that to play out.

    So “patience” does in fact come into play…but you have to know exactly why you are being patient and what you are being patient about that is going to happen. Not just “wait and see” but usually more about a weakness you could not correct, but at the same time not a surprise that a 3rd party has to tell you about either.

  112. 362
    ess says:

    By Deerhawke @ 352:

    RE: ess @ 334 –

    Regarding your question on perceptions of the spring market.

    Every week I pull up all the single-family new-construction in the neighborhoods where I build — 705 and 710. Basically this is far Ballard to Sandpoint. I pulled it up today and where there would normally be 15-20 listings, there was a total of 3. I thought there was a problem with my browser.

    Part of the problem is that not very much is being built– no question. But the bigger issue is that everything else that was brought on the market recently is pending, pre-sold or sold. Those 3 holdouts are substantially overpriced in my estimation– say $80k-100k overpriced.

    My area of interest is further north – western South Snohomish Co. I review what is for sale, what is pending and what is renting for single family houses. I have noticed that listings for sales and rentals have decreased substantially. What isn’t selling is may be overpriced, or the house is of minimal value and being sold for the lot which presents other issues. I haven’t been to too many open houses for sale or rent this spring as of this time – as there are so few of them in this area to attend. So I await information as we head further into the buying season. It should be interesting to see how the numbers come out both in terms of sales prices and rents. Added to the mix is information that Snohomish County is one of the faster growing counties in the US.

  113. 363
    uwp says:

    Thanks Ardell.
    Always good to have real life examples.

  114. 364

    The joys of owning real property. Here two or three owners are fighting each other over a roadway/driveway off Dorre Don Way in the Maple Valley area. Most of the case turns on interpreting a 1907 agreement and a 1908 deed, but despite the age of those documents, the appellate court found summary judgment inappropriate. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found the case interesting.

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/744232.pdf

  115. 365

    RE: uwp @ 363

    We can only use examples if they are our own transactions. Agree. Discussions without specific property examples are not as easy for people to follow.

    I just realized that while I used 3 examples of didn’t sell the first week “by offer review date”, I never put an offer review date on the Renton one. At that time and for that type of property, it wouldn’t have been appropriate. There was never an expectation to sell that before day 30, which is when it sold.

  116. 366
    Kmac says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 364
    I hope the legal bill was picked up by someone’s title insurance.
    I’m sure that it was much more than what the land value in question was.

  117. 367
    Marc says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 364 – I am a little surprised the court didn’t decide this one as a matter of law at least as to which document controlled. They make no mention of specific additional facts that might be forthcoming or any suggestion that any of the parties sought to present more factual evidence. If that’s true, why not just make the call? In any case, they ruled as they did so back it goes.

    One other surprise but a pleasant one is that they gave as much guidance to the lower court as they did. It can be so frustrating when you read an opinion where the case is remanded and it seems obvious that the appellate court knows the answer but just won’t give it.

  118. 368
    Marc says:

    RE: Kmac @ 366 – This is why I tell all my clients to meet the neighbors before they make an offer or waive their inspection contingency. It’s your only chance to “pick your neighbor” and if they’re crazy, I don’t care how good the deal is or how much you love the house – Don’t Buy It. You cannot beat crazy.

    The second reason is that the neighbors are often one of the best sources of information on the house you’re buying and they’ll usually spill the beans.

  119. 369
    Gooddeal says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 364:

    The joys of owning real property. Here two or three owners are fighting each other over a roadway/driveway off Dorre Don Way in the Maple Valley area. Most of the case turns on interpreting a 1907 agreement and a 1908 deed, but despite the age of those documents, the appellate court found summary judgment inappropriate. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I found the case interesting.

    http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/pdf/744232.pdf

    That case is fascinating. I can see how the appellate court arrived at their decision. However, I would side with the original court’s ruling because it satisfies the interest of the greater good, as well as being inline with the railroad’s original intent to dedicate that strip of land as a public right of way. The Southworths seem unreasonable in their expectation that the Tondas cease to use their only access to the main road. The Southworths must really hate the Tondas.

  120. 370

    By Kmac @ 366:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 364
    I hope the legal bill was picked up by someone’s title insurance.
    I’m sure that it was much more than what the land value in question was.

    I sort of doubt it was covered by title insurance, because it seems to be more of an issue regarding other property than the two parcels owned, and also about an alternative means of access (the one parcel fronts on Dorre Don Way).

    But maybe it was covered. I always say that title insurance companies cover claims they shouldn’t and don’t cover claims they should!

  121. 371

    RE: Gooddeal @ 367 – Most those cases that make it up to the appellate court involve neighbor hate. Having good neighbors is really important.

  122. 372
    Kmac says:

    By Gooddeal @ 332:

    By sleepless @ 305:

    @Gooddeal, we would love to build our own house, the question is, where to buy buildable lot. Anything that is suitable for construction is in $400K+ range in nice areas…

    Yes, buildable lots are becoming scarce. You need to look farther out from Seattle and Bellevue such as around Tiger Mountain, May Valley, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Ravensdale, Cedar Grove, Hobart, Black Diamond, Lake Youngs, North Bend, Enumclaw, Lake Tapps, and Auburn. Try to target lots that have had a county critical area designation done or at least a wetland reconnaissance so you know if there are critical areas. Assuming you’re going for 5 acres the going rate is around 220K. If it’s a really nice lot with no critical areas and a flat building site expect to pay at least 250K. In Auburn, you can find plenty of land cheaper than the other places I noticed. If you want smaller than 5 acres make sure that the land has access to public water if it’s less than 1 acres because it may be very difficult or impossible to fit a well with a 100 ft radius wellhead protection zone around it while making space for primary and reserve septic drainfields which require a lot of area. For example, check out MLS 941468, a .88 acre lot that is unbuildable because it’s not large enough for a well without obtaining a restrictive well covenant from the neighbors and so far they have not been too receptive on doing that unless you’re willing to pay mega $$$.

    Most vacant land you find now is vacant because there are issues with it.
    The easy is long gone and now the more difficult properties are all that are left.

    I don’t think that a novice should be buying land without putting a ton of legwork into it.
    There are so many things that aren’t so obvious and every area has its issues.

    Examples:
    King County = native vegetation- limitations on clearing
    Thurston County= mazama gophers
    Grant County= bunny rabbits and ground owls
    health distr. sign off on septic design…. no approval…ooops….
    water availability and a will serve in hand?
    Is there going to be a well?
    Another 20k and probably much more (with no guarantees on sufficient supply).
    Water and exempt wells is going to become an ever increasing problem in this state too.
    Just because services are there doesn’t mean you get to use them.
    Upgrade a transformer and add a convenience pole to an already there power source and there goes a potential 8-10k
    on and on…..
    Then there is native artifacts that are prevalent in certain areas.

    Lots to learn…..

    I almost always seek a minimum 60 day feasibility on rural land and trust me, it almost always takes that long to seek sufficient info to move forward in an informed fashion. (and I’ve been down this road many times) Sometimes even more time is needed in which you will need to seek an extension on the p&s.
    All to the chagrin of the listing agent, who almost always insists “no way” to a 60 day feasibility and 9 times out of 10 they haven’t even applied for septic clearance, which is the one thing that all sellers should do if they want a faster sale.

    Gooddeal, is this you?:
    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/forum/#/discussion/comment/14847

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/forum/#/discussion/comment/21567

    Before placing the offer I researched the property studying the geography, soils, access, restrictions, encroachments and sensitive areas. I didn’t have time to hire consultants to do it because I wanted a quick close so I did it myself. Armed with knowledge of wetlands and steep slopes I went to the property and did my own reconnaissance. No sensitive areas I could tell. None on neighboring properties as well. Also highly unlikely due to the elevation.
    …Well, guess what, King County Public Health told me that yes, they’ve put a moratorium on all septic permits that require a well. Doesn’t matter, I’ve got patience and I’m 100% certain that in a few years this issue will be resolved and I can build my perfect house on my perfect lot.

    Is this the property you are building on now?

  123. 373

    RE: pfft @ 350
    No I Don’t Trust Your Fake News Either

    I make my comments based on actual family history….you read Soviet Pravda, the MSM…you’ve been brainwashed.

    You got a special needs case in your family? I assume no. Case ended.

  124. 374

    RE: softwarengineer @ 373 – One thing I’ll agree with SWE on is that no one should blindly accept what the MSM puts out as news. They put ratings above providing useful information, and most of them are not qualified to report on or even understand the topics they cover. You need to look at news reports with a skeptical eye.

  125. 375
    Brian says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 374

    Yep, it’s definitely questionable what stories they choose to cover vs. stories that we never hear about.

  126. 376
    ronp says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 326 – wow! thanks for all the good info!

  127. 377
    Gooddeal says:

    RE: Kmac @ 372

    Excellent information, Kmac. Prospective buyers should definitely do their homework when looking at land since, as you said, the easy properties are mostly gone. If it’s your first time I would recommend hiring a custom home builder to do a feasibility study. For my first land purchase I used Sockeye Homes which did an excellent job.

    Yes, Kmac, that poster was me. I purchased the lot and everything has gone perfect thus far. Already got a good septic feasibility study done, the topographical survey(I highly recommend HGDA in Enumclaw, only cost $3800 for a 5 acre forest lot), and I’ve applied for the CAD and hopefully I’ll get that approved soon. The Hirst decision looks like it’s about to get fixed soon with HB 5239 already clearing the state senate so the permit exempt water wells will be a non-issue. I intentionally purchased my lot during the this well debacle as a vehicle to negotiate the price down and it worked. Saved me $15K.

  128. 378
    cruzazul says:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 282RE: Gooddeal @ 282

    I certainly agree.

    I’d love to see the entire industry elevated. And I’d love for consumers to be more educated.

    I’m never going to tell someone what the right decision is for them. I would just like folks to have all of the information available to them for when they make a decision.

    Anyways, keep posting the good word. I’m enjoying your other content (ie property purchases, etc). Design/construction I know well. When it comes to the real estate side of the table – I know literally nothing…

  129. 379
    Kmac says:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 377

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because this bill passes that it will be a given.
    I think the Hirst decision only applies to the determination of sufficient water in the issuance a building permit.
    The words in the original house bill that you mention state that you are still subject to Ecology’s rules regarding exempt wells.

    I won’t get into all of the six pack well and 5000 gal a day “per project” (and what that means) withdraw rules that would still apply.
    Then there is the whole stream inflow issue where Ecology can basically shut you off if the fish become threatened.
    And there has actually been talk the last few years about Ecology enforcing the private well water meter requirements which are currently there but not enforced.
    In fact, there is an entire legal industry associated with water law, because it can be very murky.

    My neighbor is a well driller around here and I hear many stories of $100K + dry holes in the cascade foothills (King County) when everything pointed to water being availability.

    Overall, not for the faint of heart.
    I decided that I only want to build where there is a water purveyor with a hook up available at a reasonable price.

  130. 380
    Gooddeal says:

    RE: Kmac @ 379

    Even Ecology doesn’t agree with the Hirst Decision. They would rather things be the way they were. I spoke to them myself when I was trying to figure out where things were headed. In the end, there is no way that the state won’t fix it. Rural landowners aren’t going to let the government basically steal $200K or more of their money, which is basically what it would be if the Hirst decision stands and people’s land become worthless. Being the independent bunch they are, won’t stand for it and rebel. Not figuratively either – I’ve heard so many declare that they will take up arms against the state if they must and I’m sure they were serious.

    Equally important is the commitment to protecting the environment. Honestly I’ve only met two rural landowners that didn’t care for the environment (typically people who operate illegal wrecking yards) but the majority due which is why they choose to live amongst nature. Congress needs to come up with a plan that serves both sides. I think it is reasonable to assume that a private exempt well need not require a water rights permit but if the government conducts a (sound) study and determines that in a certain area minimum instream flows are being affected that permits may still be granted but all the wells in the area must be metered in a manner that is least invasive to the homeowners while meeting the necessary water reduction goals to protect the environment. I can think of some examples, such as capping water usage to 5,000 gallons a day to prevent abusers of permit exempt wells or, if that’s lot enough, permitting a certain amount of “free” water such as a reasonable 1000 gallons a day (really, who uses 1000 gallons a day anyways?) and then charging extra for anything over.

    That said, I honestly think that most of the water rural landowners withdraw end up back in the ground through the septic system so I’d like some hard data to show that permit-exempt wells would even affect instream flows before accepting attempts to control it.

  131. 381
    Deerhawke says:

    Somehow I thought that developing out where they measure land in acres rather than square feet would be so much easier.

    Evidently not.

    Ecology is also driving a lot of the complexity of the current code in the city.

    Not too long ago, if you were building a single family house, your storm water was dealt with by putting splash blocks at the bottom of your downspouts. Then it was required that it either went to the curb or went into the combined sewer. But the storm and sewer systems soon maxed out and so now you have to try to treat and/or infiltrate your water on site. This requires you to pay close attention to drainage as you build the structure. And it means that you will have bio-retention planters or swales or rain gardens or permeable pavement facilities under driveways or…. a combination of the above. This adds $5000 to $10,000 to the cost of construction of a new house in the city.

    So for those who predict a drop in the cost of housing, it will not be because new housing is getting any simpler or cheaper.

  132. 382
    Marc says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 381 – In Mercer Island I had a client buy new construction house where the city required the developer to install a huge tank under the driveway to catch rain water runoff. The project manager told us the size as we stood on the driveway above the buried tank. I forget how big he said but I remember being astonished and reaching my hand above my head. The guy said no, taller than that but if you jump you could touch the top.

  133. 383
    Jasper says:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 380 – Who would use 1,000 gallons of water per day? A farmer, or someone with a large lawn or garden.

    At one-tenth of an inch of water per day, 1,000 gallons of water per day is enough to irrigate 16,000 square feet. 5,000 gallons of water per day is enough to irrigate 1.84 acres.

  134. 384
    Gooddeal says:

    By Jasper @ 382:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 380 – Who would use 1,000 gallons of water per day? A farmer, or someone with a large lawn or garden.

    At one-tenth of an inch of water per day, 1,000 gallons of water per day is enough to irrigate 16,000 square feet. 5,000 gallons of water per day is enough to irrigate 1.84 acres.

    I guess the question then becomes, should permit-exempt wells be used for farming irrigation? Unlike residential water that ends up being reabsorbed by the ground through the septic system water used for irrigation is absorbed by crops which probably don’t return the water back to the soil (my assumption). My 1000 gallons a day was based on residential use. I don’t see residences using that much water unless they’re watering a huge lawn which IMO is highly wasteful (I’m a believer of freedom so I wouldn’t ban it but simply hope that people are more considerate of the planet).

  135. 385
    Gooddeal says:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 381

    Yeah, construction will only get more and more expensive as population density increases. Impermeable surfaces cause major problems with erosion, pollution and aquifer levels. What was fine decades ago is no longer sufficient given that we get 1000 new people moving in every week. I imagine as the density increases our building codes will get stricter and stricter. I’m a big supporter of environmental protections, though I wish environmentalists would back up their policy recommendations with actual scientific data instead of using blanket rule changes that affect everyone regardless if they were even contributing to the problem. Case in point, the “turd tax”, which assumes that septic systems are polluting groundwater when there really isn’t proof of that. I could lump Futurewise into the mix as a horrible environmental group that fights for extremist policies that created this whole Hirst decision mess.

  136. 386
    Kmac says:

    RE: Gooddeal @ 384

    I think the average household uses less than 300 gpd.
    My 8 lot subdivision was required to split the 5000 gpd amongst all lots.

    Water for livestock has no gpd limit.
    Water for non commercial yard or garden is limited to 1/2 acre or less w/ no gpd limit

    Even though I agree with you about water re-entering and being filtered throughout the earth and recharging the aquifer, I don’t think many “professionals” agree with the assumption.

    Just like the fury over the 405 toll lane debacle a few years ago, I find it ironic that so many of the people I spoke with that supported charging “others” to fix the woes got all indignant when they discovered that they were the “others” they were trying to stick it to.

    I agree that common sense needs to rein soon because we are heading down a path that I see a hard time turning around from.

    Oh, and a thousand new residents a week is the exception to the norm. Sure, we will continue to grow, but most likely not at the current level. Things will moderate before long.
    Despite the popular meme, it really isn’t different this time.

  137. 387
    redmondjp says:

    By Marc @ 382:

    RE: Deerhawke @ 381 – In Mercer Island I had a client buy new construction house where the city required the developer to install a huge tank under the driveway to catch rain water runoff. The project manager told us the size as we stood on the driveway above the buried tank. I forget how big he said but I remember being astonished and reaching my hand above my head. The guy said no, taller than that but if you jump you could touch the top.

    You said it. On the four-lot short-plat recently completed behind my house, the dirt developer spent about six months to construct a massive underground concrete storage tank, at a cost to them of $240K. It is as large as my house. And one of the $1M+ new homes sitting adjacent to it has a 4′ x 8′ steel grating right in their postage-stamp front yard that is open to the tank below (recent I walked over there and they have covered it up with that green indoor/outdoor carpeting, heh heh heh).

  138. 388

    RE: redmondjp @ 387 – Do these concrete tanks drain into the soil somehow, sort of like the many drainage system ponds that are scattered about? Or do they have a pump to pump out slowly, sort of like pressurized septic drain fields? If not, what is their purpose?

  139. 389

    I Can’t Remember Who Blogged It

    But its funnier than heck…”and the weather lately has been crappy”….LOL

    I just found a few hours respite from the storm winds and Noah’s Flood constant rains to get out and mow the lawn….wear double clothing and expect rain torrents even before ya finish….better yet, hire a gardener wearing a parka jacket and pay the piper :-)

  140. 390

    RE: kenmorem @ 277
    Interesting Article on Possible Rent Controls in Downtown Seattle Kenmorem

    What they don’t tell tenants is the lack of parking and joke grocery shopping there…

    and 15 city councilmen will solve this problem, including looming evictions….LOL….our Sanctuary City politicians are a joke and pipe dreams are real?…..add this rattle snake to the chicken coop…..AG Sessions wants to take federal dollars from Seattle for being a Sanctuary City. Ohhhh…Seattle can stall things in court, but can do nothing but live without federal funding in the mean time…the courts will delay their federal support [for many years] and they can eventually lose in court too.

    Funds for public safety [like much larger old fashion Medicaid aid to our legal citizen elderly and disabled instead of anchor baby medical care to healthy citizen stealing a lion’s share of it, reducing our country’s safety and health] instead of longer lines to compete for no doctors on Medicaid now for other uses besides IA and healthy citizen, i.e., anchor babies….

    IOWs the American majority hate Seattle Sanctuary City policies and 15 city councilmen fighting essentially the whole country is a complete joke too. Overpopulation is simply sucking us dry.

  141. 391

    RE: softwarengineer @ 390
    Brainless Sanctuary City Councilmen at the Rent Control Helm

    LOL….I just read the article in April 3’s Time magazine…called “The Home of the Future”…every flipper and home buyer should read it, even in Seattle. Its truth to the savvy investor.

    A quote [hey Eric, flipper advice for you….LOL]:

    “As America gets poorer, mobile-home parks are the only form of housing devoted to this demographic,” Rolfe points out. What’s more, the stigma actually works to the advantage of investors [ask SWE]. Because local authorities seldom approve new parks, supply remains constant even as demand [like where I live, modular community with lot ownership] grow and grows. In the past half decade, Wall Street has caught the scent. A former Goldman Sachs associate and a Harvard graduate started buying parks, riffing about methamphetamine and SWAT teams.”

    Rent controls are slam dunk if housing costs decrease, especially assuming no one can save for their retirement adequately in this NWO.;…..give us legal citizens cheaper housing Seattle City Council!

  142. 392

    Tim Eyman, the story that never goes away. Note these are only allegations, but he’s not denying getting some of the donations made to his initiatives–just claiming that they were compensation.

    http://komonews.com/news/local/attorney-general-tim-eyman-misused-initiative-donations

  143. 393

    RE: softwarengineer @ 389
    Hey….We Got a Couple Great Sunny Days Thursday and Friday

    Now its back to crappy weather again….rainy and cold….just in time for the weekend.

  144. 394
    Blurtman says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 393RE: softwarengineer @ 393 – Rented a Charger recently. Sweet ride, power and good gas mileage. Hope it was made in the USA.

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