A pair of articles today from the Seattle P-I and King 5 News focus in on those poor, poor sellers that actually have to work to sell a home in today’s slow market. No longer are run-down shacks full of years of accumulated junk being bid up to ridiculous heights. Now, you actually have to clean out your crap, paint a few walls, steam-clean the carpets, take decent pictures, and—oh yeah—knock a few thousand (or a few tens of thousands) off the price.
A year ago, buyers regularly bid above asking prices, waived stipulations such as inspections and used escalator clauses, which raise offers over competitors’ bids up to a set ceiling. Now, good homes in nice neighborhoods with realistic asking prices still can get multiple offers, but many sellers put more time and money into fixing them up, offer more incentives and accept more conditions, including offers contingent on sale of another home.
These days, it would take twice as long to sell the current number of homes on the market in Seattle and King County as a whole at their current sales paces than it would have a year ago. Seattle had 50 percent more homes on the market in September than a year earlier, while the countywide increase was nearly as large. Pending sales, which can be the best indicator of recent market activity, declined by more than 25 percent in Seattle and 30 percent countywide.
Update: Matt Goyer over at Urbnlivn points out a Baghdad Bob-style denial of reality from a condo marketer quoted in the P-I article. “Prices have not been cut.” Wait, yes, they have.
How about trying some of those good ol’ incentives to lure in an unsuspecting
Selling a home in the Seattle area has become tricker. What used to sell in one week can now take months. Home sellers are going to more and more extremes, offering enticing incentives to hook a buyer.
Those boom days when homes in Seattle could be sold in a matter of hours are for the most part over. Residential homes can languish on the market for months, so sellers are relying on incentives to try and seal the deal.
I expect a lot of languishing to carry on through the winter, and probably throughout next year.