This is a decent article about buying a home in Seattle in the current intense seller’s market. The article does a good job discussing the challenges, potential pitfalls, and steps to successfully purchasing a home. While I don’t completely agree with some of the statistics (such as the % of homes that generate bidding wars), overall I think the author has a good grasp of the current situation. Two of her best pieces of advice: First, “Treat this like interviewing candidates for a job.” In other words, don’t hire Cousin Eddy to either buy or sell in order to keep the family peace, especially if Eddy is not a full-time agent. 2/3 of all agents have another primary source of income.
Second, save your pennies! I cannot stress this enough. The winning offers I’m seeing provide abundant liquid funds for a sizeable down payment and for covering any potential appraisal gaps. Buyers are also waiving most if not all terms (inspection, financing, title, etc.). Most noteworthy, in this market where there are literally dozens of good offers, sellers are almost always taking the offers that don’t promise the most money, but instead provide the best terms. Last week on my listing near Echo Lake, for example, there were 21 offers, three of which were more than $200k over asking price. At the end of the day, the seller chose the offer with slightly less money but with better terms. Almost without exception, sellers are willing to give up a few thousand dollars for an offer that provides less risk to them. In this market, terms win!
On the buying side, be sure you work with an experienced agent. Find someone who will explain the contract terms and who will help you understand the risks & rewards of different negotiating strategies—be sure you know what you are waiving! Also, be sure to work with someone who listens well, will devote 110% to you, and who will go the extra mile to get the deal done.
A final word that the article mentions…it is disheartening to see the racial disparities and equity disparities playing out in the housing market. Current housing trends reflect larger societal inequities and problems that have been happening for decades. The pandemic seems to have not just revealed but exacerbated these trends. We need to do work to reverse them.
For the complete Seattle Times article, click here.