A Letter To A New Real Estate Investor In Seattle, WA – 2023

Dear New Real Estate Investor I Talked To Last Year….

Of course I remember you.  Thanks for reaching out.

Uniform Real estate, like condos or homes in a development, will have a uniform range of apapraised values.
Seattle employers are getting more aggressive in requiring their employees to return to work. This means less “migration” to other cities with a lower cost of living, or higher sunshine quotient.

You are right that the whole market has slowed down since mid-2022 when they started cranking up interest rates so aggressively.

Additionally, a lot of people were relocating because of covid – either to go to states where they liked the covid policies better (e.g. no lockdown requirements, etc) or because they were on a permanent work-remote option with their jobs and could move to a place that was warm and sunny where they wanted to live.

Both of these trends have changed, and with the slowing economy, many firms are getting more aggressive in their requirements that employees return to work.

The market is going back to normal, which means we no longer have a firestorm of transactions going, especially in some of these “covid-hot” markets.

What’s Happening In The Seattle Real Estate Market?

Here in Seattle, the data I am seeing suggests the market went UP like crazy spring of 2022, and down again. losing that gain in the 2nd half of 2022.  So we are now about even where we were this time a year ago. 

So far, I am seeing a lot of buyers coming out on the market, and houses are starting to get snapped up quickly again, even in multiple-offer scenarios, due to low inventory.  However, we are not (currently) seeing a run-up in prices due to that. 

We have less than 1.5 months of inventory, and less than one month average days on market, so fundamentally, we are still looking good here.  

Should I Be Investing Out of State?

Nationally, the top markets for apprecition are all in Florida, with a few looks at North Carolina.  Both of my last 2 acquisitions have been in Florida – Tampa and Cape Coral.  We never know how long things will continue, but I think their governor’s freedom-oriented policies (and good weather) have created an attractive combination for people who are location flexible, retiring, or worried about COVID politics.

Overall, as the market has slowed, I would put more emphasis on cashflow.  Dont get into a negative or marginal cashflow situation with the hopes that appreciation will carry you.  Make sure you can afford to stay in the property long term.

What About Turn-Key Rental Property Providers?

Emily Cressey, Real Estate Agent, At the office in downtown Seattle
Your real estate transaction is my top priority.

Regarding Rent-To-Retirement… they are one of several “turn key” property companies that specialize in rehabbing properties and selling to investors.  It is just one solution. I personally don’t love all their properties or all their markets, but it’s good to see how they work and what’s out there.  I bought my build-to-rent property in Cape Coral through there, but I have not bought any of their older rehabbed homes.

I’m sure they do a decent job, but yes – you have to be careful with how they determine values and how they estimate costs because sometimes that can make the picture look too rosy.  The main value is that it’s all done for you.  It makes buying the property more like buying a stock – easier to get the job done, team in place to facilitate things.  Otherwise, you can end up putting in quite a bit of time into every acquisition.

But, for the most part, I like to work with individual investment-oriented real estate agents in markets I have chosen, and that’s why I introduced you to those folks in the markets you had mentioned being interested in. 

Let me know if you need additional support or introductions.

Always happy to chat.


Emily Cressey

Emily Cressey is a real estate broker residing in Lake Forest Park, WA who services the Greater Seattle area including Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Bothell and Edmonds, WA.

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