September is Usually “Back To School” Month – Not This Year!

Seattle real estate market impacted by online schooling
As fall comes, Seattle is enjoying a strong housing market as buyers vy for scarce inventory. The housing market in Seattle is tight, and so are the houses – residents cram into homes as children, parents work from home.

September is usually a “back to school” month but with all of the new issues in the Seattle area surrounding schools being shut, distance learning, colleges being re-opened and then closed again (across the country) and people working from home, many families are asking themselves questions about the suitability of the house they currently live in. The question is: Given all that’s going on in the world right now, does this house still meet our needs?

Issues of Safety and Health

Some people are worried that their house is too close to areas where protests and riots are taking place and they do not feel safe in their homes.
Some people are worried about the spread of disease and population density in their town or county.

Balancing Childcare and Working From Home

Others are enjoying working from home and wonder if they can keep their job on remote access long-term and move out to the countryside or another part of town that may be closer to family, less expensive, or better-suited to a lifestyle that they would like to enjoy. I know an attorney in the Seattle area who just had a baby and he and his wife are both having to work full-time from home. They vacated their place in Seattle and are renting a house in Montana to be closer to his parents who can help take care of their newborn baby.

Financial Trouble and Job Loss

And others unfortunately, are going through difficult financial times. With children at home it is not always easy to get your job done. Many jobs are not able to be performed remotely, and some businesses have gone under or have less work to go around and the whole thing is creating a lot of hardship.

Nobody saw this coming and it’s certainly a difficult situation to be in for many people. For this reason you may be wondering if selling your house makes sense.

Low Inventory: Home Prices Remain Strong and Buyers Fight For Homes

There are actually very few homes for sale in the Seattle area relative to what we would expect at this time of year because of this unusual coronavirus situation. However buyers are out shopping and interest rates are at historic lows. This makes it an especially good time to sell your house because it is a sellers market and the buyers who are out looking don’t have very many homes to choose from.

If I Sell Now, Will I Be Able To Buy Somewhere Else?

The flipside of the situation is that after you sell your home and you become a buyer you may have a harder time when you are shopping for your next home. One option would be to sell your house, put your things in storage, and rent for a while until you are ready to buy. This could help you save on costs and get out of an area that is no longer desirable for you. If you were planning to move to a different location this could help you get to know the neighborhood before finalizing a purchase decision.

We had family friends in Lake Forest Park who sold their home their last year and ended up taking their family of four people and two dogs to an apartment building in Bothell for the summer. It worked out very well and when they were able to close on their new property they just got their things out of storage and the whole process was very smooth.

Have You Considered A Contingency Sale?

However, not everybody is so sanguine about the prospect of living in an apartment, especially when there is so much quarantining and sheltering in place making access to shared common areas more limited. For this reason another option would be to do a contingency sale which is where you say we will sell you our house when and if we are able to buy it.

What About Leasing Back Your Home From The New Buyer Until You’ve Found Your Next Property?

Another option would be to lease back your home after it’s sold, for example if the new buyers close on the purchase of your home in September but you will not be able to close on your purchase of your next home and till October you could ask for a 30 or 60 day period to lease back your current home before the buyers take possession. Many buyers will be flexible on this because they will be happy enough just to have gotten their offer excepted.

Flexibility Is The Name Of The Game

Clearly we are all having to change the way we do things whether it’s change the way we work change the way we educate our children or change the way we live. Many of us are taking the opportunities to make changes to her lifestyle that we can control and perhaps that means selling the house you’re living in now and moving into something that is more appropriate to your current lifestyle. Sometimes change can be uncomfortable and it takes an outside impetus to motivate us to make it happen.

Is It Safe To Come Out Yet?

If you have been thinking of selling your home or if you have been wondering whether it’s a good time to buy or sell, or if you have been wondering if business can be done during the coronavirus the answer is yes, it’s currently a sellers market in Seattle and thanks to technology, the real estate market is getting a boost into the 21st-century and we can do almost all parts of the transaction remotely.

Thanks to great photography and video tours and zoom meetings, clients can virtually-tour a property and get a great idea of what it’s like without having to step foot in your space. Some people are even putting in offers that indicates they will not even see the home until after the offer is excepted. I myself have bought out of state investment property this way and so far it’s been a great experience each time.

This way you can eliminate the hassles of open houses and cleaning or vacating the property while you are trying to stay away from germs keep things clean and get packed for your move.

In summary, this is a great time to think about doing something with your house. We do expect a lull as we get closer to the presidential election in November, as this is common in an election year. But at this point, I’d be surprised if it slowed us down too much. The spring seller’s market has been pushed out to be a strong summer seller’s market and due to lack of homes for sale the buyers who are in the market are very serious and are having to compete and often times sellers are enjoying a multiple offer scenario for their home. If your home is no longer suiting your needs in this post-coronavirus world I encourage you to get in touch with our office and let us see how we can help you.

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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