Real estate: Adjusting to the new market

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While popular opinion held that higher mortgage interest rates would cool housing prices, that’s not the reality here. Prices are high, inventory is low, and it’s a whole new market to adjust to in Seattle real estate.

It’s a logjam. Despite being in a strong seller’s market, few houses are on the market. Analysts describe a neutral market as having between four to six months of inventory. Our area of Seattle has 1.7 months of inventory available.

With rates high, many people who would otherwise sell and move up in the market are standing pat, looking at their current low mortgage rates and unwilling to take on a loan with a higher percentage. Instead, they’re drawing on their equity for home improvements. The few houses that do come on the market find buyers ready to pounce.

It’s unlikely we’ll see much of a change unless interest rates are cut.


If you’re looking to buy, it’s frustrating. The few turn-key properties available get swarmed. Multiple offers come in, and they’re competitive — no contingencies, lots of cash. This is where buyers have to get smart, and their brokers have to get scrappy. Now, more than ever in my career, is when the right well-connected broker can make the biggest difference for a buyer.

My team has completed a handful of private transactions in the early part of this year, properties that never came on to the multiple listing service. We had buyers with specific wants and needs. We used our network to find houses that owners would sell if the price and conditions were right, but weren’t in any real hurry. We knocked on doors, talking to homeowners. We got the deals done. The buyers got the homes they wanted. Sellers signed the contracts, got cash, bought somewhere else or stayed in town, renting until the logjam breaks. Our success came from market analysis, years of relationships with other brokers and former clients, and plain hard work. That’s what it takes right now.


Relocations are driving much of the real estate market now. Folks who need to move versus those who want to. Those who need to are controlling and creating most of the transactions in this first part of the year. It’s new hires transferring to Seattle or someone who needs a better commute as companies impose more return-to-office policies. There are also relocations going out of the Seattle area.

With more than 20 years of experience in relocations, my team and I have a network of brokers across the country. I’ve had clients contemplating a move, or the purchase or sale of property out-of-state who ask “How do I find another you where I’m going?” My answer is simple, “You don’t, I will.”

I know top brokers in every part of the country, and if I don’t already know them, I find them. I give clients a list of three brokers to interview before making their decision. I’ll advise them on the interview and choices, and line up the other help they may need, like tradespeople for repairs or sprucing up, stagers, photographers, and movers.

Over my career, I’ve helped hundreds of buyers and sellers across the country accomplish their moves. Often it’s after or instead of the relocation help offered by their employers because the clients were dissatisfied. It’s understandable. Typical relocation work doesn’t attract the top brokers. Big relo companies working for big employers take away significant portions of broker’s commission, while adding at least seven times more work. It doesn’t make financial sense, so too often clients get worse service and more hassle from indifferent brokers. Moving is stressful enough, so my team and I make sure the details are handled.


If you’re selling now, you can’t just stick a sign in the yard and wait. To get the best price, and buyers who will pay it, your home and property need to be in great shape.

We just sold a 3,000-square-foot house in Denny Blaine. Though it was on a sloped hill, it was a to-the-studs remodel, with top-notch details and quality. This made all the difference. It was listed at the very top of the comp scale. We had three brokers scrambling to make offers immediately and the house sold in 24 hours, over asking price with no contingencies. That’s what turn-key condition does.

Spending before you sell right now will net you a higher price and better terms from buyers.

If you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for those improvements but still want or need to move, we have resources to help make it happen. We work with third-party companies that will help. They’ll see what needs to be done to make the property market-ready and bid those jobs out. Sellers sign a contract for a loan to cover the cost, then the loan is repaid at closing. Again, if sellers want to achieve the best price, the investment is worth it.

My team and I work with our clients to put them at the advantage for their unique wants and needs. We’re experienced, data-driven, and prepared to do the hard work. My office, team, and home are here in Madison Park, and we love helping our neighbors make the right moves for them and their future. If you’ve got any questions about navigating this real estate market, let’s set up a time to talk.

Chris Sudore is a Madison Park Resident. Visit his website at or reach him at He is Managing Broker Coldwell Banker Bain | Global Luxury.