If you’re selling your home in the Seattle area, you’re in luck.
Over the last decade, Seattle has become one of the most in demand housing markets in the US. As of April 1, 713,700 people have moved into the Seattle area, with 74 new arrivals coming in daily. Much of this growth can be attributed to electronic commerce and cloud computing giant, Amazon. Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle, hired 76,700 employees in 2015 alone.
With this type of growth, demand is high, but inventory has become slim, creating an escalating market in Seattle, where bidding wars between buyers can raise the price of houses seemingly overnight. Escalation clauses, where buyers offer an additional amount over the next highest offer, have even become commonplace in Seattle’s competitive real estate market.
In Seattle’s dog-eat-dog housing market, there’s a lot of room for error. Rushing towards a fast sale without the proper groundwork has the potential to cost a seller thousands of dollars. So, how can you sell your Seattle home fast and for the best price in Seattle?
Here are some sure-fire tips that will increase the likelihood of selling your Seattle home quickly and still get the most value.
Sell Your House Fast in Seattle: Get a Good Seattle Real Estate Agent
The unlimited amount of information available on the internet has created a whole Do-It-Yourself culture. While it may be tempting to try and save money by not using an agent, selling your own home (known as For Sale By Owner or FSBO) is a risky proposition.
In 2015, 89% of sellers in the US were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home compared to 8% of FSBO sellers. On average, FSBO sellers were able to get $185,000 for their homes compared to $240,000 for a home sold with agent assistance.
Trying to sell your home in Seattle’s competitive housing market is an even more risky proposition. In some of Seattle’s most desirable neighborhoods like West Woodland, Madrona, and Capitol Hill close to 100 percent of houses faced multiple offers with some under contract fewer than 10 days. When selling a house within the city limits of Seattle, multiple offers can come quickly, followed by vicious bidding wars.
The good news is you don’t have to worry – you’re not alone.
Seattle’s top 3 percent of real estate agents got homes off the market 1.5 times faster than the average agent. Top Seattle real estate agents have also saved buyers $53,539 more and sellers 6.7% more than the average agents.
Selling a home is a full-time job and as they say, time is money. An experienced real estate agent’s job day-in-and-day out consists of networking, marketing, staging, negotiating, and being up-to-date on Seattle’s current housing laws. This is a tough job in any housing market, let alone a rapidly growing one like Seattle. Choosing to sell a house in the Seattle market means you’re throwing yourself into one of the toughest lion’s dens around. Don’t enter without arming yourself with a good real estate agent.
Get the Right Price For Your Seattle Home
In a housing market like Seattle’s, pricing is a lot tougher than Googling the average price of a home in your neighborhood.
Matt Warmack, owner of The Warmack Group and top 1% Seattle real estate agent, has been buying and selling homes in the Seattle region for over a decade. According to Warmack, the average price of a single family unit in the Seattle city limits is about $710,000. That being said, pricing from home to home in the Seattle area has some of the most variation in the country.
“One of the more unique things about Seattle is that you’ll have a $2 million house next to a $650,000 house,” says Warmack, “So knowing the neighborhoods, knowing the inventory, knowing the price points is pretty challenging and unique.”
Again, this is why having a top-ranked real estate who knows the Seattle area is your best way to sell your home quickly and for the best price. A seasoned Seattle real estate agent comes with perks such as established buyer networks which can increase market exposure. More exposure means more offers, but it’s what a real estate agent does with those offers which truly shows their value.
Basing your listing price off neighboring homes, comparables, or the average price of a home in a fluctuating market like Seattle’s means you’ll run the risk of selling your particular home for far lower than an experienced Seattle real estate agent would price it. Make a mistake and you’ll cost yourself far more than the 6% commission an FSBO sale might save you.
Know Your Seattle Homebuyer
Over the years, countless software engineers have flooded the city. Seattle is headquarters to companies like Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft, and Boeing so it’s a lucrative job market for anyone with a tech degree. With upper-management software developers at companies like Amazon making upwards to $300,000 a year, many are in the market for a home close to where they work.
Still, as much as tech employees rush into the Seattle area, a surprising number of new Seattle home buyers over the last year are actually from outside of the US.
Since popular housing markets such as Vancouver, have instituted taxes for international home buyers, many out-of-country real estate investors are looking to Seattle. Foreign buyers make up 55% of all home purchases in the state of Washington, many of which are coming from China and prefer all cash purchases.
One way real estate agencies attract wealthy out-of-country buyers is with 3-D guided tours with Matterport cameras, which can take shots of every nook and cranny of a home. A foreign buyer appreciates the 3-D listings as they often can’t physically attend the open house. Overall, in a survey by the National Realtor Association back in 2015, 40% of home buyers found virtual tours to be “very useful” over more traditional online videos.
Know Your Location, Even the Cloudy Parts
Seattle has become synonymous with tech culture, coffee shops, clean living, and walkability. Buyers looking to make the move to Seattle are often looking for a home where these images become a reality.
“[Seattle] is a pretty neighborhood-focused city where a lot of people want some walkability, want some local, non-chain coffee shops or something of character they can walk to. That’s a pretty big focus in a lot of the neighborhoods,” says Warmack.
Know the local hot spots by your house and use that to your advantage. One great example of this is the monumental rise of coffee giant, Starbucks. For years, Starbucks has strategically placed stores in areas based on in depth demographic and property data. Sometimes concentrating multiple stores in one area based on their data.
This has actually become a boon to homeowners as well, known as The Starbucks Effect. Homes within the proximity of a Starbucks have been shown to appreciate in value.
By taking a page out of Starbucks business strategy, you can attract home buyers easier by noting the hotspots near your home. Spots that represent the quintessential Seattle life. Make sure to mention nearby coffee shops, grocers, and public transportation in your listing. Doing so will attract more buyers and increase the value of your home.
Image is Everything, Especially for Seattle Home Sales
A study done in 2016 by the Real Estate Staging Association, showed that unstaged homes in the US spend on average 184 days on the market. On the other hand, homes staged before they hit the market spend a mere 23 days on the market.
Not only do staged homes sell faster but, particularly in Seattle, they sell for more too. A 2015 survey by the National Association of Realtors reported that buyers often offer a 1 to 5 percent increase on the value of a staged home, with some agents putting the increase as high as 10 percent.
That’s just the open house though, Seattle buyers see your house online first.
With 90% of home buyers searching online for a home, you need to make sure your online listings are as attractive as possible. Generally, high-quality indoor photos of the important selling points like kitchens and bathrooms are a plus, as well as curb appeal. More specifically though, Seattle home buyers are looking for a bit more.
When out-of-towners think of Seattle, they most likely think of the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, or anything else they might have caught on Frasier – but another thing that comes to mind is cloudy weather. They don’t call Seattle The Rainy City for nothing!
Because of this, you should emphasize natural lighting in your home to dispel out-of-town buyer’s fears. Also, for condo owners, a nice shot of the Seattle skyline on a clear day is a great way to play to your target audience and show the beauty of the city.
While you could try and stage the home yourself, the best way to get your house looking as good as it can be is to hire a professional staging company. Considerable time and effort goes into preparing the home for a sale. Staging companies not only know how to stage your home to look as bright and spacious as possible, but they also come with professional camera equipment that can be pricey to purchase on your own.
It’s best to look at professional staging as an investment – one that can drastically limit the time your home stays on the market and increase its value.
Seattle: A Great Place For A Quick Sale — With The Right Resources
Selling a home in a large and escalating housing market like Seattle can be intimidating but it’s a good problem to have. The influx of people looking to move into the area means you’re primed for a quick sale. Still, there are a lot of ways you can miss out on value if you don’t make the proper preparations.
Getting a good real estate agent who knows the Seattle area is paramount. Seattle has proven to be one of the most unique housing markets in the U.S., with homes varying drastically in price even within a few miles of one another. Because of this, your city, more than any other, requires a trusted and experienced agent to get you the fastest sale at the best price.