Attention Sellers: Are You Preparing for the Spring Real Estate Market?

Things to Do to Net you the Highest Return on the Sale of your Home

Spring is coming, and the new year is underway. You want the right buyer for your home. Here are some simple and proven ways to get results.

  • Work with the right Realtor. Experts make things easy, so choosing an experienced and successful Realtor who really knows your area will make it easier for you to get the results you want.
  • Something I like to do with my clients is to explain market expectations and current trends. This will help you to know what to expect in terms of price and timeframe. We want spring cheer to spill over into getting your house on the market and under contract.

Having your home on the market in the spring often means a better sale and a quicker sale, because motivated buyers start looking when the weather picks up. Now is the right time to do your prepping, so you are ready when the buyers come looking.

Things to Do to Get the Sale

Getting your home ready to attract your buyers can be fun. It can also make you money. According to the National Association of Realtors, 71% of sellers’ agents say a well-staged home increases the dollar value. Putting these ideas in place to get your home ready has two other benefits; you have already eliminated clutter and gotten rid of items you don’t use and you’ve likely already started packing.

Let’s divide your prepping into three simple sections: outside appeal, inside focus points, and the overall feel you want your buyers to take away with them. These are the three biggies:

  • First impressions matter.
  • Guiding the buyer’s eye helps them to notice your home’s best features.
  • Helping them remember your home more than all the others encourages that second viewing and their final decision.

First Impressions Matter

The buyer pulls up outside your home and immediately sees what you want them to see, so:

  • Trim the hedges, keep the lawn looking good, clear away the things that didn’t make it through the winter, and put in some spring flowers. Spring flowers are cheerful, and a well-kept yard says you care.
  • Check out your home’s exterior. Does it need a clean, are the gutters clear, does the front door say “Welcome”?
  • Clean the windows and mirrors to let in, and to reflect, as much sunlight as possible. Sparkle sells and sunshine is free.

Guiding the Buyer’s Eye

As they step through the door, you want your buyer to notice your home’s special features. You do this by putting simple things in the right place. For example:

  • If they step into a small entrance area, have a small table with a vase of flowers like those in your garden to greet them.
  • Polish the floors and clean the carpets.
  • When the buyer enters each room, you want them to focus on whatever that room has to offer. It may be the view from the window, the height of the ceiling, the amount of closet space, the kitchen layout, or he comfortable living areas. Put a picture on the windowsill to lead them to the view, tall flowers or greenery help people to notice ceiling heights, neat closets with empty space point to good storage, and new cushions on the sofa say it’s comfortable; please sit down.

Helping Them Remember Your Home

Here are two simple ideas:

  • Encourage people to stay. Bottled water or cookies get people to stay a little longer. An album of photographs showing your home, yard or views through the year is a powerful way to keep buyers in place. The longer they stay, the better they feel and the more they remember. As your Realtor, I will have brochures for them to look at and to take away.
  • Buying a home is emotional, people want to imagine what it would be like if it were their home. Focusing, lingering, and taking things with them all work on emotions, and all build the desire to buy.

The Takeaway

This is where I come in. I know King County, both Seattle and the Eastside. I know how to help you get the price you want in your preferred timeframe.

Now is the time to plan. Get in touch with me, so I can advise you on price, how I market homes, and how to prep your home to maximize the offers.


King County’s Real Estate Market is Strong

There are several factors supporting the market’s strength. The 2020 Housing Forecast for Greater Seattle covering King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties, says the housing demand should stay strong and first-time buyers have a great opportunity. We have a strong job market which should see a 2.2% employment increase over last year. Millennials are buying rather than renting, especially as they begin a family and, as first-time home buyers they are a major part of the housing scene. King County’s property prices are less than those in many metro areas, including the California Bay area, so we are seeing out-of-state buyers moving in. There is limited new construction to compete with resales, which is good news for home sellers. Let us check out some statistics.

King County Housing Stats Support Predictions

2019’s stats show the market should hold for 2020. Based on average days on market for homes to go under contract, it is a seller’s market. The number of homes on the market shows sales inventory was down in December by almost 40% compared to December 2018. The single-family home median price rose 6% over December 2018 and was even up over November 2019. That is an interesting point given that December is a traditionally slow month for house sales because of winter weather and holidays. If we drill down into the numbers for Auburn, Kent, and Renton, their home prices rose 16% year-on-year.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS) issued a news release saying (in January 2020) that “buyers are out there and are showing up at open houses and making multiple offers on new listings.” This is due, partly, to lower inventory and partly because buyers believe prices will continue to rise this year. The actual stats for single-family homes and condos were way down in 2018 in three counties are: King -38.8%, Pierce -38.9%, and Snohomish -35.6%. All pointing to a strong sellers’ market.

Eastside’s active listings in December were only 642, compared to December 2018’s 1,213 homes on the market. As we move into the spring weather, there are likely to be more homes coming on the market, so buyers may have a broader selection, but the number of buyers may also increase, so we still expect to see a seller’s market in 2020.

Home supply in King County is below one month. To put that into perspective, a “balanced real estate market” is considered to have an inventory of no less than four months’ supply of homes for sale. The record suggests that today, a properly-priced home marketed correctly should be on the market for less than 30 days.

The obvious conclusion is that home sellers may expect either multiple offers and to accept one of them within a month. The other side of the coin is that home buyers are preparing properly as far as loan pre-approval and other lending qualifications are concerned. Realtors are bringing ready, willing, and able buyers to view homes of serious sellers.

The Takeaway

The forecast for 2020 looks good. Sellers who price their homes right, and who have them marketed effectively, should see contract prices very close to, or at, listing price. Buyers should have a greater selection of both single-family homes and condos, but they may have more competition for those homes. It looks like the demand for homes will not be met by new construction to move us beyond a sellers’ market.

With strong employment figures, good wage-earning potential in the tech industries and continuing low-interest rates, 2020 should be good for sellers who want to sell. It should also be good for buyers because, even though they may pay top dollar, they should see continuing appreciation on their new home’s market value.

Buying or selling is complex. Pricing and marketing a property effectively take experience and a strong track record. Helping buyers find the right home in the right area takes experience – and keeping one’s ear to the ground. Successful selling and buying come from making good decisions based on accurate and timely advice. So if you are thinking of selling or buying, please contact me to discuss your options so you take the best next step.