January 2020 is starting out as the most robust seller’s real estate market we have seen in Olympia, WA in Thurston County.
- There are currently less than 250 active listings for sale (a balanced market is about 1,200+ listings countywide).
- Thurston County is in the longest stretch of time in a sellers’ market (63 months and counting).
- Now is the first time sales have outnumbered listings.
With impressive statistics like this, you’d think buying and selling a home is easy. In fact, it is just the opposite. Buyers are frustrated with low inventory and high competition; Sellers are struggling to pick the right Buyer who can actually buy/close on their home (as we are seeing lofty and creative offers and terms). As an experienced REALTOR®, I can help both my buyer and seller-clients successfully reach their real estate goals. Who you work with matters.
In these current Olympia/Thurston County real estate conditions, here are the key points I discuss with my buyer-clients to guide them through this market:
- Be Financially Ready – buyers must be financially prepared and have their funding source firmly in place. This means if a buyer is a cash buyer, have those funds liquidated or know how to liquidate, what penalties, fees, and/or taxes are involved by liquidating, and how long it takes to liquidate. If a buyer is relying on financing, their lender will be key for their success. Sellers today are expecting buyers to have been approved, not just qualified, by a reputable and local lender.
- How to Sell in order to Buy – buyers who need to sell a property in order to purchase a new home will have more challenges that a skilled REALTOR®, like myself, can guide them through.
- Be Ready to Make Decisions – buyers will be asked to make big decisions in a short amount of time. Understanding the market, understanding if a listing is properly priced, and understanding their own risk tolerance will help a buyer to make sound decisions under short time constraints.
- How to Deal with Competition – when buyers find that right house and are ready to make an offer, it can be devastating to learn there are other interested buyers. Some buyers ignore this and submit an offer as if they are the only buyer (and lose out); other buyers don’t even try and walk away (and lose out); and then some buyers have already prepared for this scenario and are able to submit a competitive offer. As an experienced REALTOR®, I help get buyers ready and prepared for this situation, which leads me to my next point below.
- How to Structure a Winning Offer that isn’t too Risky for you – I work with my buyer-clients to learn their tolerances for risk, what terms are most important to them, and then we can craft a winning offer that still protects their interests. For example, an offer filled with tedious contingencies can quickly turn off a seller. I really want to learn if these smaller contingencies are make or break issues for my buyer-clients, and then we can submit a stronger offer.
- Get Advice from Experts, not Novices – many professionals will be involved in the transaction from the REALTORS® to the inspector(s) to the appraiser to the lender to escrow/title and more. When seeking advice, facts, and information in order to make a decision that is best for you, talk to the experts in those fields. Relying on information from “armchair quarterbacks” can be disastrous.
You’d think it would be easy to be a seller in today’s market! Well, not so fast. New challenges (and opportunities) are cropping up in this uncharted market. Here are the key counseling points I discuss with my sellers so they can get the most this market can give.
- Listing Price Still Matters - Overpriced listings will still be ignored by buyers. Even in this market, we are seeing price reductions. On the flip side, there are some sellers who want to encourage multiple offers and will price lower than market value. As a former appraiser, I can help you determine a strong listing price to meet your goals.
- Preparing your Home for Market is Still Needed - I know, this one is a big bummer for some sellers but yes, cleaning, prepacking and tidying up the yard to get the home in show-ready condition is still a must in order to attract buyers, shorten the days on market, and get the most money for the property.
- Vetting Out the Offer(s) – this a big bullet point that warrants its own post but in short, many sellers in Thurston County are receiving multiple offers, “creative” offers, and offers that are not what they seem. Vetting out these offers can be challenging. Again, this is where I come in to assist sellers, to tease out information from the buyers, and learn the intent and motivation of buyers that can help sellers reach an informed decision. Accepting the highest priced offer is NOT the way to decide which is the BEST offer. There are many other terms, conditions, and contingencies the seller will need to understand before they accept an offer.
- Understanding the Buyers’ Process – buyers will have contingencies and processes to satisfy those contingencies. Some sellers can get frustrated by a buyer’s inspection(s), appraisal, walk-thru, ongoing questions, requests for information, etc. but all of this is normal. Setting this expectation can make for a smoother, less stressful transaction for all parties.
- Hiring the Right REALTOR ® – not all real estate agents are created equally, just as not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. There is a difference. Experience and education also play an important role in selecting a professional that can provide the seller with the most desirable outcome – not just AN outcome. If you are considering making a move, call me today to discuss if I’m a good match for achieving your real estate goals.