You could feel the turn of the market in mid-summer of last year. While prices continued to be soft in many areas, the close-in markets in Seattle and the Eastside started to show signs of stabilizing as did affordable housing ($300,000 or less) in most of King County. We are now seeing multiple offers in many price ranges. First time home buyers moving out of rentals (or their parent’s basement) and investors who want rentals, are competing against each other in the low end. Move up buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are now coming back in to the market before interest rates and prices rise. High end buyers have regained confidence in their stock portfolios and are coming back in with cash or huge down payments.
What does the market look like for 2012? With inventory down over 20% overall and down 32%+ in Snohomish County, it is a Seller’s market in most areas however the level of distressed properties (24% in King and 35% in Snohomish counties) will continue to put a damper on prices.
How does this impact our businesses? As always, well priced listings are key. Buyers do have fewer choices but are more informed than ever and won’t bother with overpriced properties. If a seller won’t price and prepare their home properly, don’t take the listing. Our brokers utilize a unique 16 step seller process that helps us only take listing that sell quickly. As for buyers, with fewer quality properties on the market, they need to be prepared to act quickly and decisively. Being pre- approved by a reputable lender is a given. Making sure your buyers are fully informed on the market so they have the confidence to write an offer when they see a good value is critical. We use a 10 step buyer process to clarify our buyer’s needs and educate them on the market so they can make a confident decision after viewing 5-8 homes rather than 20+ homes.
So what will your business results be in 2012? The brokers in our office increased their commissions 25% in 2011 using our proven processes even though the market was down. We should all have a plan in place to outperform the market. If you don’t and would like help to create one, please contact me. I would be happy to share with you our practices and help you make 2012 one of your best years ever.