While this spring was insane in the Seattle real estate market, we’re coming into a temporary slowdown. Independence Day marks the beginning of a traditional lull for a few weeks every summer, even in the hot home-sales climate we’ve experienced.
There are several factors colliding for the next few weeks. The kids are out of school, families are traveling, we usually see nicer weather, and people’s minds are simply elsewhere. Many buyers are taking themselves off the field, battered and bruised by finding the right next home, losing it in a competitive bidding scenario, and starting over. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you’ve got some dejected buyers who need to lick their wounds. Buyer fatigue is real.
While the market slows, it doesn’t stop. June saw a record number of houses come on the market — more than we’ve seen since 2008, when the market fell apart. A lot of that rush was based on fear, and the uncertainty of what the head tax would mean for home sellers. They wanted to sell before any ramifications of the tax, like businesses moving out and taking their employees with them.
That fear evaporated with the repeal of the tax.
If you’re selling
You have a home for sale, but it didn’t get under contract in June. If your home is in good shape — no deferred maintenance — and is priced right, don’t panic. The buyers will be back, and you’ll be busy by the beginning of August. Probably by the end of this month — after a couple of vacation weeks — it suddenly dawns on buyers with families that they want to settle and move in before school starts. If they’re trying to enroll their children in a highly rated school like McGilvra Elementary, it limits where they’ll buy. But even if the kids are in private schools, moving before school starts is much less of a hassle.
Additionally, I like to touch base with other top-producing brokers in various neighborhoods from time-to-time. A few I spoke with mentioned that due to the amount of homes that came on the market in June and the fatigue buyers are feeling at the half-way point of the year, they are advising against offer-review periods for certain price points in July.
Advice for buyers during the lull
That advice depends on what kind of buyer you are. If you need the mental break, take it. Sit out for a week or two and think about something else. Get out of town, watch a ball game, or just relax. Get yourself ready, though, because August is coming, and the pace likely won’t settle until Thanksgiving.
And while there are a record number of houses on the market, there are more buyers than ever, as our economy adds jobs and people move here for them.
In the next few weeks, reevaluate your strategy. Talk with your broker — what are they doing to help you? Because of the pace of this market, many homes sell before they even officially list on the multiple listing service. Having an experienced, dialed-in broker could be the difference between you and another lost opportunity.
Just a few days ago, while everything was still insane, I had clients who really loved a particular home, that had just hit the market with an offer review period. But with a caveat — the sellers stated they could accept an offer prior to the period ending.
The home was getting great traffic and inspections, it was clear this could go into a bidding war. So, we went in at an amazing price, and my buyers were willing to get very scrappy with their contingencies and could settle quickly.
Figuring out what will win the battle takes some experience. We were able to tap into exactly what the seller was looking for and won the house prior to the review date.
If you’re still out there swinging, take advantage of the decreased competition. It can pay off. Last July, I had buyers who found the right house, but the seller had a review period for all offers.
We held off on making an offer, waited and watched. As soon as the 10-day period expired, with the home still active, we were the first to make an offer, and my clients got the house without having to escalate the price and waive all contingencies.
Whether you’re buying or selling, it all comes down to timing. And we’re heading into half-time, so either rest if you need it, or get out there and make a play.
Chris Sudore is managing broker at Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and a Madison Park resident. Reach him at Chris@KingCountyEstates.com