If you have been thinking about selling a house this year, you are probably wondering how the corona virus pandemic is affecting the Seattle real estate market.
Late 2019 and early 2020 looked very promising for home sellers. But then everything slid sideways when the corona virus came on the scene. Listings have dropped and sales have decreased, and the very process of selling a house has changed. But it’s not all doom and gloom, and, in fact, by late summer home sales should rebound – but there will be some differences. So let’s examine 5 ways that selling a house that will be different in Seattle this summer.
1. Home Prices Will Continue to Rise
First, the continuing (though slowing) rise in home prices will make selling a house different in Seattle this summer. Nationally-known financial expert Dave Ramsey says, “Overall, home prices grew slower in 2019 (3.3%) than in 2018 (5%). And this year seems like it will be no different. In fact, real estate gurus predict that home prices will only rise by 2.8% in 2020. So, you’ll likely see home prices continue to creep up, but they probably won’t knock your socks off with rapid growth as we’ve seen in previous years.”
Since historically Seattle has enjoyed strong price appreciation, this is not great news for real estate investors in the area, and our inflation-adjusted price appreciation had softened in recent years anyway. We are certainly not seeing the strong double-digit rise in home prices that we have in some years, but prices DO seem to be holding steady, and since there are fewer sellers putting their homes up for sale in this time of uncertainty, they are still seeing strong buyer interest and quickly attracting offers from buyers.
Seattle real estate is some of the most expensive in the country and affordability has been very low in the city itself for years. Many would-be buyers have been kept out of the market and forced to continue renting. As home price growth slows, more buyers may feel comfortable attempting to enter the market and get into their first home. If you are ready to sell, this summer would be a great time to take advantage of pent up buyer demand. Some pundits say we are in an asset bubble right now and fear that ongoing restrictions on personal freedom may hinder the economy, especially without the governmental financial support we saw earlier in March 2020 with the distribution checks and PPP loans.
So this summer, making your home stand out, strategic pricing and aggressive marketing will be even more important. Your local agent can help you get these critical components right. Call (206) 578-3438 to find out more.
2. Millennials Will Make Up The Majority of Home Buyers
Now let’s look at the demographics. If you’re selling a home, chances are it may be to someone from the millenial generation! Further, selling a house will be different in Seattle this summer because millennials will make up the bulk of the home buying market. Last year, millennials – those people born between 1980 and 1998 – made up 37% of home buyers. And that percentage will be even higher by this summer.
So what, exactly, does this phenomenon mean for you as a seller? Consider these three things . . .
ONLINE LISTINGS MUST BE TOP-NOTCH
“Virtually all millennials (98%),” industry watchers say, “use the internet for their home search—and more than 80% of them found their home on a mobile device last year. So, you need to make the best possible impression on the internet.”
FEATURES/AMENITIES MEAN MORE THAN SIZE
For millennials, lifestyle benefits mean more than square footage. The good news is that your home does not have to be huge to attract them. These are the folks who are buying condos buildings featuring shared space and community, and 3-level townhomes near Greenlake and Ballard where they can be close to the action. Many have been renting for years and are used to smaller more urban quarters. However, this generation is aging and they are starting families now. Some are moving out of the city and into the suburbs, like Shoreline, Edmonds, Bothell and Redmond, where they can spread out a little more with their kids.
To attract millennials, you’ll need to emphasize, short commute times (no problem as long as so many of us are working from home!), nearby amenities, and the quality of the neighborhood.
CERTAIN FEATURES MEAN MORE
In addition, millennials are looking for certain features in a home more than others. Here are some of the top home features millennials want, according to the Dave Ramsey real estate trends report.
Home Features Millennials Say They Want:
- Laundry room (86%)
- Hardwood front exterior (81%)
- Patio (81%)
- Garage storage (80%)
- Walk-in pantry (79%)
3. Virtual Marketing Will Rule
Selling a house will also be different in Seattle this summer in that your marketing should focus on virtual marketing. This means chiefly online 3D home tours, but there are a couple of other important tactics.
Virtual Open Houses: In-person open houses have been cut way back, and that means many more “virtual open houses. ” A virtual open house will still allow you to showcase your home’s best features to as many buyers as possible. But don’t neglect to consult your agent so that you can get the virtual staging right.
Agent-Led Video Tours: A growing virtual marketing tactic is the agent-led video tour. This is your agent’s opportunity to invite a videographer standing in for the home buyer into the home and show him around, highlighting the unique features of your home, and selling it to the viewer. Sometimes, a buyer’s agent will come in with their phone and facetime their clients – showing them the house and answering questions about it while the buyer watches on video.
It’s currently harder for many people to get out to view homes, and harder for sellers stuck at home due to quarantine and work-from-home orders to get out of the house so buyers can come look at it.
When buyers have narrowed down their choices, most will still want to come see the house in person before they submit an offer, but a lot of the preliminary weeding-out is done online these days. With masks and deep cleaning protocols, most sellers and buyers feel comfortable letting buyers in to confirm they like the home. If you want your home to make the cut, make sure it shows well on video and with your photos!
4. Remote Closing May Become the Norm
Fortunately for us, applications like DocuSign have allowed real estate clients to sign purchase and sale agreements and related documents online, without having to sign and mail or fax paperwork back and forth like we did in the old days. However, real estate closings are usually done in person at a “signing ceremony” in the title or escrow company’s office.
Another difference for selling your Seattle house this summer will be the growing number of remote closings. Washington is moving toward allowing electronic signatures and notarization for real estate closing documents (effective October 2020), but for many, signing the documents in front of a mobile notary can be another way to limit the exposure from going out. Remote closing allows the closing protocols to be met while reducing risky contact.
Here’s how typical remote closings work: “Title companies prepare the required documents and mail, and then email or upload them to a portal. The title company verifies personal information and identification by video, and the documents are signed electronically. Another option is using a mobile notary, who travels to a buyer’s or seller’s home or workplace to complete the closing to limit in-person contact.“
5. Partnering With a Good Agent Even More Important
Finally, selling a house will be different in Seattle this summer by virtue of the fact that partnering with a good local real estate agent will be more important than ever. We will be on top of all the changes as they come through and will help you understand how to best help you sell your house in current market conditions. A qualified local agent with a good sales track record will know exactly what it takes to make your home stand out and sell in the most effective way. Find out today how our agents can help by calling (206) 578-3438 or sending us a message!