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Competition Alive and Well in Seattle Market
August 31, 2011 · Written by Becki French · Filed under Real Estate

As previously reported, the real estate market has received a lot of negative press in recent years. However, the negativity is focused on the market as whole, when the reality is much of the trouble is regional rather than all over. While many other cities are seeing homes that are undervalued, Seattle homes are still overvalued by 14 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This information is interesting in light of a recent Seattle Pi article. The article suggests that there is a lot of competition for reasonably priced homes in Seattle neighborhoods. Homes that reflect the overvalued number are seeing a low number of offers, but houses that are in good condition, move-in ready, and priced to sell are, in fact, selling in within reasonable time frames.

The trend started as spring came to a head and has only continued. More and more buyers have the aforementioned parameters. But because of the doom and gloom reports, this has left many buyers confused by the competition: they have been hearing about the down-and-out market, and are expecting a great deal. But for houses with those parameters, this isn’t the case anymore. It is still a buyer’s market, but those in a position to buy are looking for the same deals and quality.

This means those who are looking to buy need to be prepared, especially if they are interested in areas like Northeast Seattle, Capitol Hill, Ballard, and Greenlake. They could very well end up in a multiple-offer situation.

As David Billings, Redfin’s Seattle market manager, said to the Seattle Pi, “When the ideal, cute, turn-key starter home comes on market at a price that a buyer feels is a decent value, they’re shocked to find that there are lots (three, four, maybe six) of other buyers that feel just like they do … After having patiently waited out the market and read every article about how terrible Seattle real estate is, they can’t believe they’ll need to pay full list price, let alone the possibility of paying more in order to beat out others. It takes some time for them to come to grips with this reality and get competitive with their offers, or adjust their search to a home that needs some work, or is in a slightly less prime location.”

What is the take home point, then? Be prepared to up your offer if the house is The One, as there is likely to be other interested parties. If the house isn’t the be-all, end-all, keep looking at other properties. You may find one that is a little farther out but gives you room to negotiate an offer, opposed to stretching your budget for one in a more prime location, which may have a several offers. Relax your parameters and see if you can find something that still works for you.

This article was co-authored by Rachel Pinter and Becki French.

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