Real estate market goes over the top in September.

After taking a COVID induced break this spring, the local real estate market has heated up and in September it seems to have gone over the top. As reported in earlier market updates, buyers have come out in droves and sellers have hunkered down. This created the ‘perfect storm’ for both price appreciation and market time. Buyers came out looking for deals and were armed with more buying power due to low interest rates. Looking for more space, they are paying more and reducing contingencies. Those few sellers who dare to sell, are getting more for their home.

As shown below, all local areas have seen double digit 12 month price increases and continue to show low time on market. As I look at these stats weekly, I will report that a good share of the gain has come since the lows reached in April and May 2020 due to COVID uncertainty.

Don’t see your city or want a more specific area? Reach out!

What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but if you are a buyer, statistically, it will only get worse. Demographics show a wave of house hungry younger folks reaching the average first home purchase age and new home builders were just beginning to meet the annual demand before COVID. The shortfall that started in 2008 – 2009 will continue to move prices up. Sellers, on the other hand, have a bright future. Those fortunate enough to not need to buy a replacement home, or moving to more affordable digs, will benefit from sustained price increases for the near future.

Thinking of Buying or Selling?? Reach out and we can schedule a chat about your specific needs.

The Power of Negotiation

As a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), I often get asked exactly what that means and how much do agents really negotiate in a typical deal. It simply means that I have had extensive training in negotiation techniques and earned the CNE designation. It also includes many years of transactions, both for my own real estate and on behalf of others, where each time I put different strategies into play. And each time I learned something. I learned that negotiations start before I even list a house, in how I write my agent remarks and public description. I learned when representing a buyer, the negotiation starts before I write the offer and start when I call the agent asking questions. And, I learned (the hard way!) how to check each line, blank and box on an offer.

As an agent representing both buyers and sellers, I negotiate every step of the way, but truthfully, many agents do not. I get very upset and feel bad for clients on the other side when their agent drops the ball or fails to even try to negotiate.

For those of you still reading, a few examples: #1 – earlier this year I represented the buyer in a newer home purchase and knew that homes of that age in that county usually have an extra sewer assessment, paid over many years. So I checked the box that has seller pay it at closing, expecting it to be a negotiation point. My buyer would have accepted paying it, its only about $25 a month extra, but the agent did not know it existed till closing and they signed the offer as is. $5,000 + on my buyers side of the table. He also did not even try to counter my buyers offer of $565,000 on a house originally listed at $615,000, even though we’d have gone to $580,000 – another $15,000 still in buyers pocket ( and not in sellers pocket!)

Example #2 – My most recent closing (See previous Just Sold by Kurt post on this page) is another great example. As I mentioned in that post, we had multiple buyers. One needed to sell a house, my seller did not want to wait, so we used the two offers to move them both from the $650’s to $671,000. we accepted the offer that was closing sooner and agreed to pay some closing costs. Then Buyer 1’s earnest money bounced and the agent did not take it seriously (she said ‘it happens all the time!’). Not on my watch! She knew we had another offer, did not return my calls, so I negotiated a full price ($676,247) from Buyer 2, with no closing costs, & a few inspection items. A $13,000 swing into my buyers pocket, because I recognized the opportunity her fumble created. I later found out from Buyer #1’s new agent, that they actually were more qualified than I thought and would have paid full price once they realized the were in jeopardy. But the first agents lack of representation, inability to present her clients as strong and refusal to negotiate cost her clients a very nice, almost irreplaceable home. Sad!

If you’d like someone who negotiates every step of they way to negotiate your buying or selling, shoot me an email ( ) and we’ll schedule a Virtual meeting.

Just Sold by Kurt

Sold in Kent, WA. 1321 117th Pl SE $676,247

This unique 7 bedroom, 4 bath home in Kent received multiple offers and sold at full price! Because of its unique features including 2 kitchens, 3 car garage and the ability to separate it into two living spaces for multi-generational living, we thought it would take extra time to find the right buyer. But we were under contract in 20 days thanks to two eager buyers, with a few more in the waiting! If you are looking to sell and would like similar results, do not hesitate to call or email for a no obligation home value analysis and a marketing plan.

Looking to buy?? I work both sides of the deal and know how to prepare you and present your offer to compete in this time of limited inventory. Call for details!

Sellers add inventory – prices notch up

Sellers added the most inventory since May 2019 to the 23 county NWMLS system in July, but buyers continued to show up & buy. This pent up buyer demand has lead to continued tight inventory in most markets. Major population centers in King, Snohomish, Pierce & Kitsap counties have little more than 3 weeks supply. Prices on the other hand, are rising, with residential prices (single family & condo) prices up 12.8%. Median prices in King county continue to lead the way, up 7.2% YOY (Year over Year) to $670,000.

As one would expect, COVID-19 induced remote work practices are beginning to show, with median price increases in outlying counties such Lewis, Grays Harbor, Okanogan & Cowlitz being around 20% or more. Workers are no longer constrained to being close to work & coupled with more buying power due to record low interest rates, rural areas are expected to continue to be in demand.

Sellers are cautioned to not overprice, todays buyers are armed with too much information & are too savy to over pay. I still see numerous price reductions, sometimes from over pricing, sometimes from poor presentation, that ultimately hurt the seller. Buyers on the other hand, are urged to act quickly if they see something they like. Todays buyer, now accustomed to virtual tours & remote signings, are actin quicker than ever.

Adapted from North West Multiple Listing Service August 2020 press release. See the full press release and 23 county report here:

The Power of Numbers

The Power of Numbers

I read a white paper several years back that described the fact that there was a measurable difference in the sale prices of homes that had fewer zeros in the list price: as in $699,999 as opposed to $700,000. The basis was that the mind plays subtle tricks and the mind would think that the $699,999 was a more accurate number and not receive as large a counter offer as $700,000 would. That statistically, the final selling price of the $699,999 list price would be larger than the final selling price of the $700,00 list price. It was a small %, but still measurable and money in the bank.

Since then I have employed it in both buying and selling, setting list and offer prices with no zero’s. My faith based clients have used bible verses for ending numbers such as $XXX,316. One buyer, faced with multiple offers, used the date of the offer. In all cases, it seems to have worked, rarely have we lost a bid or not sold near asking when clients accepted my theory. My current listing (1321 117th Pl SE Kent) is listed at $676, 247 because it has 2 kitchens, 4 bathrooms & 7 bedrooms. We’ll see how that goes, but over a dozen shows in 2 days is a good sign!. Update -It is now Pending at Full Price.!!

What are your lucky number’s??

June ends with 2nd lowest inventory in last 10 years.

Historically low interest rates and changing lifestyles are contributing to the lowest number of homes for sale in the 23 counties that the NWMLS covers. With only 1.16 months supply of homes to buy at the end of June, buyers are once again faced with bidding wars and other market conditions that are generally in the sellers favor. As always, properly priced and properly presented homes are selling quick.

As one would expect, this imbalance in supply & demand is leading to rising prices. Pierce County lead the way in the Central Puget Sound region with a 8.2% year over year increase, with Snohomish County registering 6.7% & King County coming in at 5.9%. This is as expected as buyers are being pushed out to more affordable areas. Also trends which were emerging Pre COVID, like buyers seeking more space & / or less urban areas, seem to be accelerating in pace as workers & employers are finding that ‘work from home’ solutions, put in place for COVID, work long term as well.

The silver lining for buyers is record low interest rates, at an all time low of 3.07% (FreddieMac 30year fixed), has increased their purchasing power. For sellers, this translates into buyers paying more for their home, making this ‘a particularily good time to think about selling’.

Webinar Scheduled for Thursday 5/7 at 6:30pm (PST)

“Buying and Selling Real Estate in a COVID-19 World” WEBINAR has been scheduled for Thursday, May 7th at 6:30pm (PST). Whether you are thinking of buying or selling one home or creating a legacy portfolio, tune in to hear Kurt explain what has changed, and what has not. A must watch for all homeowners and investors.

Buying and Selling in a COVID-19 World

Thursday 05/07/2020 @ 6:30pm (PST)

Coldwell Banker Danforth is open & thriving!

Click on the Video below to hear Dave Danforth disuss oiur COVID-19 response and how we are here to serve you.

Click on the video to view Dave Danforth discuss our COVID-19 response

We are open for business and have the tools & best practices to serve you, now and in the future. Contact Kurt Kreager to discuss how we may help you buy or sell your home. Click here for a free Home value estimate with a monthly update compliments of Kurt.

Real estate activity holds steady in a COVID-19 world.

As expected, the results from March were varied as the full impact of COVID-19 was yet to be determined. March 2020activity was on pace to mirror March 2019 and ended just slightly down by -1.5%.

(Click link to see graph):

Brokers were temporarily on the sidelines due to the Stay at Home order allowing only those brokers with contracts pending able to work to satisfy buyers and sellers obligations. This was later revised to allow showings, inspections, etc, with strict restrictions in place. Only two persons in a home (including broker), No Open Houses, work remote if possible, to name a few. The result of this was some sellers pulling homes off market, particularly occupied homes. Other sellers rushed to market. Buyers thought they had hit the jackpot and came out in droves, looking for bargains. The result is a continued strong market, for sellers and a continued frustrating market for buyers. Cash deals, over asking offers and short market times are still occurring, particularly in strong markets like Bellevue. Although the full extent of this will not be determined until Aprils numbers are in, but I expect volumes down slightly but those deals that do happen will be at or near asking with short Days on Market.

Going forward, as restrictions relax and people return to work, expect a flood of both houses and buyers to occur. Sellers will need to be extra sharp going forward and use brokers who use 3-D virtual tours, high quality pictures and are prepared to go the extra mile in service. Buyers need to be extra prepared, have financing pre-underwritten and use a broker who is adept at buying in a virtual world. My experience at buying homeS sight unseen during the foreclosure crisis has given me this skill.

Call or email to schedule a virtual meeting with Kurt Kreager by clicking these links : 425-829-4270