Greater Seattle Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

Here's where I like to write my monthly real estate market updates, give tips and tricks for selling real estate and advice for purchasing a home in King County. It's always best to reach out to me early in your thought process, so I can formulate the best plan for you.  I'm ready when you are. -Elizabeth

June 14, 2019

5 Critical Marketing Strategies

Attracting Buyers

There are so many owners that fail to sell their property and expire from the market every month.  When I look at these homes that failed to sell, I find something in common amongst all of them, A Poor Marketing Plan.

Check out my little list of Marketing Strategies that work in any real estate market.  If you're thinking about selling, then we really should talk about how I can put these strategies to work for you and chat about what you can expect from the market place.

1. Price

This doesn't mean you need to sell your home at a lower price or give your home way.  Pricing is a very important factor to marketing your home properly.  We need to make sure your home is priced based on market value.  We'll review the comparable sales, the active listings and look at the reasons other homes like yours failed to sale.  Don't just pick a price out of the air, be strategic.  Give me a call, and I can pinpoint a price that will get your home sold as well as protect your equity through the process.

2. Exposure

You have heard of real estate brokers that list a property and then forget about it, right?  This is a very big problem in the industry.  It's also a problem that can be very costly if you fall into the trap of using just anyone to help you sell your home.  We need buyers and the best way to attract them to your home is to make sure we expose your property to the biggest database possible.  The internet allows us to reach a wide audience and our current methods of internet marketing are bringing a lot of interest to our listings.  When you work with me, you'll know my marketing covers not only the MLS, but social media, print ads, etc.

3. Promotion

The MLS is one of the biggest under utilized tools that exist in the real estate industry today.  There are so many real estate brokers in the MLS that review the listings as the hit the market each day.  I promote to the agents in the MLS and this gives you the extra exposure needed in order to find a qualified buyer.  Way too many real estate agents list your property, place it on the MLS and wait for someone to call.  This will not work... we need to list the property, promote it to the brokers in the MLS and keep working it until we fid the qualified buyer.  

4. Update Often

I make changes to the MLS listing often.  Remember, the real estate brokers that review the MLS daily and pay attention to any changes that have occurred to the current inventory.  If we change the price or the remarks every so often, then you will show up on the MLS Hot Sheet.  You want to show up on this list as often as possible.  I will guide you through this process and make sure the proper changes are made at the right time.

5. Work Past Databases

Over the years, we collect the names, numbers and email addresses of buyers who were once looking yet decided to hold off their search until more inventory comes onto the market.  We are able to collect hundreds if not thousands of names like this.  This has proven to be a great resource for immediate sales.  I will make sure that we promote your new listing to these old leads.

As you see, marketing your property means exposing your home to as many people as possible.  The more people that know about your property, the more likely a sale will occur.  I'm an active real estate broker that will not sit around and wait for things to happen.  My job is to promote your property until I have it sold.

Let me know if you're ready to get started?

Posted in Tips and Tricks
June 7, 2019

Top 5 Most Popular Areas For Millennials

Cities in Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, and Nebraska top the list of places Millennials move and stay.

Top 5 Most Popular Areas For Millennials

Seattle, WA

  • 70% Millennial Movers
  • 29% Share of Millennials to total population
Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 31, 2019

SAMPLE Craigslist Ad

If you've decided to try and sell your home on your own,

I hope this marketing idea will help you get the home sold. The following ad is just one of many ads that I have posted that has produced results.

Please understand that an ad can produce a lot of leads but it is critical that you prequalify the leads before you let them in your property. Mainly, because there are a lot of dangerous people out there. You don't want to waste your time showing the property to people who cannot afford it. If you need any additional help, please let me know?

Craigslist Description line:

Spacious and Clean Home in friendly neighborhood

Craigslist Ad:

This home is NOT a junker. Recent comments from people who have viewed the home say that it has plenty of space, it is very clean and it appears to have great value compared to the others for sale in the area. The home includes 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with a separate mother in law suite. In addition, the home is located in a great neighborhood aside a great school system. The home can be shown on short notice so please email or call me to set a time. Take a look, I am confident that it will be worth your time.

When you're ready to list on the open market, I'd like for you to call me.  Thank you for allowing me to be your trusted real estate resource,

Elizabeth Russo

Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 24, 2019

When's the best time to sell?

The 90-Day Seller Forecast

One of the biggest questions I get from seller is, "When's the best time to sell my home?"  This is really an interesting question, because I sell property every month of the year.  The fact is, there isn't really very much change in values from one season to the next, unless the actual market is in an upward or downward trend, this of course will affect the values for an extended period of time until things normalize out again.

If you're in no rush and the market is level, I believe the biggest factor when choosing the best season to list a property for sale should relate to the how your home looks in that season.  For example, do you have a Spring or Summer garden?  Basically, what season looks the best, when you peer out of your windows?

If you don't want the constant parade of strangers in and out of your home, it's important to look at the average days on the market for the home you're selling and determine how long it's taking similar properties to get an offer.  In general, closing in 30 days means you are either selling a very high demand home with almost no competition, or you're pricing it right at the price it should sell and are not willing to negotiate.  This can be an effective scenario, depending on your situation.

If you really are looking for a sales time frame from 3-6 months, I'd like to show you how the time of a year can affect your buyers.  By the way, the time of the year actually affects the way your home should be marketed, more than the salability of the actual property.  I'm a local Seattle real estate broker, and I know what kind of buyers to market the property to based on the time of year.

1. Winter Buyers

There are the least amount of buyers but the ones that are out, are highly motivated, usually because of a move that just happened and they're thinking of the tax penalties if the move doesn't happen right away.  They usually have less time to make a decision and are less concerned with details and more concerned with getting something that fits their general parameters.

2.  Spring Buyers

Starting their process early to move in during the early to mid summer months.  A lot of the time, they have families that are looking for a property to purchase after the school year ends.  Sometimes they have another property to sell and can be lured away from other seller's properties by offering to pay some closing costs or other "incentives."

3. Summer Buyers

Similar to Spring buyers in that they are often families trying to get into a property prior to the school year beginning.  They are willing to pay max prices to get into the best schools.  They can be wooed in because this usually when your home looks the BEST from a curb appeal prospective.  The grass has been growing for a while, all of the landscaping is growing out and generally because of vacations etc, buyers are in very good spirits.

4.  Fall Buyers

This is a very good time to be on the market because the buyers that are looking are very motivated.  There's so much going on in the 4th quarter that people who are looking at homes are NOT tire kickers.  Many people take their homes off of the market so there's less inventory.  This is great because you have less competition out there, especially if your home looks nice.  At this time of the year, there's a lot of fixers on the market.

It's really important to remember that every home is different and the best time to sell for the most amount of money, starts with knowing your audience and having an aggressive marketing plan, like mine, to attract the most motivated buyers.  If you're considering a sell, call me directly (number at the top), so we can sit down and begin to strategize.

Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 17, 2019

Market Update: April 2019

ALERT-Jan 2020 RE Excise Tax Changes

ALERT New formula for real estate excise tax calculations beginning January 1, 2020

CHANGES COMING JANUARY 2020 The Washington State Legislature is changing the way in which real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated.

Currently, the Washington state excise tax is 1.28 percent. Local municipalities add their excise tax on top of the state tax, with most cities in our area adding 0.50 percent, to total 1.78 percent. Effective January 1, 2020, Washington state will begin calculating real estate excise taxes based on a tier system:

New Seattle Real Estate Excise Tax Rates

Example of Excise Tax Rate Hikes

CW TITLE AND ESCROW WILL BE READY FOR US

Their automated Fee Estimator and all other CW systems will be updated with the latest data to ensure calculations are made using the most up-to-date information beginning January 1, 2020.

This message was brought to you by:
Michelle Barry
Account Manager

CW_Title_and_Escrow

Posted in Market Updates
May 10, 2019

3 Strategies To Beat The Competition

Winning The Best Properties

1.  Be Prepared

For Competition:

When you find the best property for YOU, it's very likely that someone else wants it.  The BEST properties get a LOT of exposure and sell in a reasonably quick time frame in most markets.  If you wait, you will lose out.

And Know Your Limit:

Before you even begin it's important that you communicate with me your idea of where you want to start with an offer and how high you are willing to go.  At some point in the negotiation we may realize that you are going to have to go over your limit to get the property.  There's nothing wrong with that as long as you're comfortable and the property is worth the money to you.  The reason I need to know your limit ahead of time is so that we can make quick decisions.  A buyer who hesitates during negotiations opens the door for other buyers to come in and "steal the deal" because the seller has shown some of their cards.

To Start At A Higher Price:

If you know your market and you are working with me (a professional and full time real estate broker), it's likely that the first offer that you are wanting to make is well below the market value.  Consider starting a little higher, and negotiating less.  Once we have the seller in the negotiation they have a fear of losing the deal.

2.  Hire A Watchdog

Establish A Partnership:

The best deals come and go before most buyers ever see them.  I'd like to be your Watchdog.  And I'm constantly searching for the new properties that will work.  Because I know the market so well, I'll often find properties a few moments before they're listed for sale.  This will give you a MAJOR advantage over your competition.

Open Up On Your Goals: 

In order for me (your Watchdog) to be productive I have to know your goals.  Call me, ask me when I'm available to sit down and chat, so you can open up on what you are trying to accomplish, and I promise, your results will show up sooner.

3.  Let Me Do The Homework

What Does The Seller Need - What Do They Want?

This doesn't mean I'll find out how much they want and pay them their price.  It simply means I can negotiate a better deal and keep the competition at bay if I can create your offer in a way that it meets some of the sellers goals.  Finding out what the sellers time frame for moving is, would they consider selling some personal property, are ways that I can add "value" to your offer without spending more money.

What Will Shut Them Down:

In addition to what they are wanting, it's equally important to know what will turn them off.  Things like closing costs, home warranties, low ball offers, etc. will completely SHUT DOWN a seller during negotiations.  I'll find out if a previous buyers made these mistakes, so I can give you an advantage.  I'll get a preview of what the seller has dealt with in the past and use that information to help make the deal work.

Always feel free to contact me directly (my contact info is at the top of the screen).  Let's set a time to meet, so you can open up and tell me about your home goals?  I'm very much looking forward to hearing from you!

Posted in Tips and Tricks
May 3, 2019

3 Traps When Selling Your Home

Selling Mistakes

When you decide it's time to sell your home, there are a few road blocks that can be completely avoided once you know how to look out for them.  I mean, who doesn't want the most amount of money possible in the exact time frame that works best for them?  It's very important you follow a proven road map for getting the property listed, properly marketed and negotiated for the highest price possible.

If you're thinking about selling, remember there are speed bumps that can cost you equity and precious time.

1. The "Right" Time To Sell

Many often avoid putting their home on the market because "it's not the right time":

This means, the seller is hoping if they wait a little while (maybe until Spring), they'll get the highest price.  So you know, this isn't how the real estate market works.  Why you sell in a particular season isn't because the market is going to be any better or worse, it's because your home looks best in that specific season.  The fact is, the market generally moves in 7-10 year cycles.  If you're ready to sell, a good marketing plan will bring you top dollar.

2. Choosing A Broker

Choosing the Wrong Broker:

Most times you can just see the writing on the wall, "THIS IS THE WRONG BROKER."  The right broker will have a written marking plan for your type of property.  You just can't sell a home with a one size fits all approach.  Most licensed brokers sell fewer than 6-10 properties a year.  Brokers, teams and companies with good track records for selling property will understand the financial costs of properly marketing a home.  And we're generally more skilled at negotiating your offer when it comes across our desk.

3. Pricing Right

Pricing the property outside of the market range:

This is the most costly mistake you can possibly make, because it will not generate the offer your home deserves.  It's really important to properly evaluate your home through the eyes of your future buyer.  When you have a realistic asking price, you'll get a lot of activity early in the marketing of your listing.  The more attention your home gets, the faster your buyer will find your home and want to make it their own.  Remember, you can always turn down or counter unrealistic offers, but if you don't get any offers, you're going to have a really hard time selling for top dollar.  This will cost you real money in the form of an extra mortgage payment etc.

Make contact me when you're in the beginning stages of selling your home.  I'm ready when you are,

Elizabeth Russo

 

Posted in Tips and Tricks
April 26, 2019

How Properties Sell For Top Dollar

Have A Marketing Plan

When you drive through ANY neighborhood you'll always find the same thing.  There are homes that sell fast for top dollar, and you'll see others that just sit, sometimes for months, without selling.

The #1 reason a home sits or sells is the demand created for the property.  It's my primary objective to create a lot of demand for your home.  This wont only get you an offer, it'll also sell your home for the highest price possible.

One way I create a demand for a property, is my specific written marketing plan for your unique home.  Most other agents use a "one size fits all" approach.  Just think about the many different types of property in your neighborhood alone.  There's a different type of buyer for each one.  Throwing a sign in the lawn, posting on the MLS and praying it sells, is like getting in the car, with no particular plan, and driving for hours with the hope God will just bring you to the right destination...

I've seen many agents, with no particular real estate marketing plan decide the only option is the lower the asking price.  Lowering the asking price will bring you more interest, it will also cut into your bottom $$ line.  If you're picking an agent solely based on pricing, you may end up disappointed.

Selling a property for the highest price possible requires a marketing plan.  If you're planning to sell, contact me sooner rather than later.  This will allow me the time to best determine a marketing plan and a pricing strategy, in a time frame that works best for you.

My contact info is at the top of this page,

Elizabeth Russo :-)

Posted in Tips and Tricks
April 19, 2019

3 Characteristics Of A Savvy Investor

Investing

I'd like you to be a Savvy Investor.  Here are three goals you should have and tell me about them, so I can help you hit a home run?  My contact info is at the top of the screen.

1. Clear Goals

Have clear goals for your investments.

Time Frame:

I've noticed a Savvy Investor has run the numbers, and they have a time frame for how long they're going to hold a property based on the next two goals.

Expectations: 

They will have a realistic approach to the future appreciation and those expectations will typically be based off of logic and data.  They're not trying to hit a home run each time they step to the plate.  Instead, their plan includes a lot of times at the plate and a continuous flow of base hits.

Performance:

When I ask a great investor what type of performance they're looking for, they will tell me EXACTLY what works for them.  They have this down to a science, because if the performance works, the expectations work, and their time frame for owning or selling is met.

2. Logic Based

Be logic based and unattached.

The Property Fits The Plan Not Vice Versa:

Experienced investors create a plan that is profitable and then find a property that will fit the plan.  Novice investors put a plan together that is based more on the type of property they think they want and try to created a solid investment plan for a bad investment property.

Know Good Investment Was Bought Right:

They understand that holding a bad investment doesn't make it a good investment.  If a property is good at the beginning, it will perform well and be profitable when it's sold.  A property purchased wrong will always be wrong.

3.  Old School

Use Old School Investor Requirements

Make Decisions On The NOW vs The POTENTIAL:

In past markets, investors lost site of the current performance and made decisions to buy based on the potential for future appreciation. For a period of time it worked.  This is why so many, get rich quick, home investment books were written.

Plans For The DOWN vs Hoping For The UP:

Now, a buyer/investor buys a property that makes sense today, plans for and is OK if there's a downturn in value, cash flow, etc. in the future.  They don't include potential appreciation in their strategies.  If it happens, it's simply a BONUS.

Has Exit Strategy B And C For Flips:

When FLIPPING properties a novice buys improves, and tries to sell.  If any of the variables that are typically out of the buyers hands change, the sale doesn't happen and there's a significant risk to the buyer in owning that property.  Savvy Investors will buy properties and flip, with a 2nd and 3rd exit strategy, if the sale doesn't work.

I'm working hard to make sure my little blog is helping you make more informed home buying decisions.

When you're ready step up to the plate, reach out by writing me a message below?  Ask me for my "favorite resources," so you'll have the tools to realize your investment strategy? 

I want to be your real estate broker and will make sure your home investment is a home run. 

Posted in Tips and Tricks
April 12, 2019

Market Update: March 2019

2019 Cherry Blossoms at UW in Seattle.jpgMany of you know, I'm a walker and a flower lover.  Previewing homes and walking to open houses this Spring has been a joy.  Even the National Association of Realtors has been telling us that foot traffic is up.  If you're looking for flowery things to do this Spring, check out my checklist:

  1. If you haven't had a chance to see all of the daffodils along Bell Street in Belltown and at Denny Park in Seattle, I suggest you see them ASAP as they'll be gone soon.
  2. Take a picnic to The University of Washington's Quad, it's glowing with cherry blossoms.  I think the fresh warm air made my food taste better too.
  3. This coming week, play hookie with some friends (I'm doing this mid-week) to see the tulips at Skagit Valley.  Do read this very funny news article by: The Stranger and don't forget to poop before you leave town!

Now, down to King County Real Estate business, and I'm loving these numbers!  *Woo-hoo*  It's becoming a Seller's Market.  Besides nice postcard-esk walks to showings, there are a couple of reasons why this might be the best time for you to call me and sell your home, if this is something you're considering:

  • Property that SOLD: March sales were down 15.8% from this time last year and 12.7% higher than last month.
  • Property Currently for Sale: The total amount of property available went higher by 106.8% from this time last year and 17.4% higher than last month. Meaning there's more for buyers to choose from.
  • Property under Contract (Pending): March homes under contract increased 8.3% from this time last year and 72.3% higher than last month.April 2019 sale, sold, and pending data for Seattle show it's a sellers market
  • Average Sold Price per Square Footage: Shows we're appreciating. March was at $370 this was up 4.5% from $354 last month and down 1.1% from $374 in March of last year.
  • Days on Market: Is showing a neutral trend.  Upward trends show a buyer's market and downward shows more of a seller's market.  The DOM for March was 42, down 16% from 50 days last month and up 110% from 20 days same time last year.April 2019 Average Days on Market and List to Sold Price in Seattle
  • Sold/Original List Price Ratio: Is remaining steady at 98% is up 2.1% % from last month and down from 4.9% % in March of last year.  This ratio shows you how willing sellers are to agreeing to come down from their original listing price.  Above 100% shows a Seller's market.
  • Months of Inventory based on Closed Sales of 2: Increased by 147% compared to last year and up 5.2% compared to last month. March 2019 is Seller's market.

2019 Daffodils at Denny Park Seattle.jpg

Home affordability continues to be the big topic of 2019.  Obviously, there are already signs that show our inventory is improving.  There are even areas showing a year-over-year increase in value (find yours by clicking here).  If you're a motivated buyer, and you're already looking at annual goals, there are many new homes coming onto the market every day.  Let me know when you're ready to start looking?  I've got great backend information!

Remember, I'm working hard to be your only Realtor.  Make contact with me when you're ready?

-Elizabeth Russo, your total home resource :)

Follow me on Twitter @eliseswalk

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Posted in Market Updates