Take a 'Seahawks' approach to buying a house

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

KENMORE, Wash. - The process for buying a house in the Seattle area has become so competitive over the past year, home buyers are trying to find times when the competition is distracted. Real estate agents have recommended home-shopping during the holidays and now during Seahawks games as well.

Kellee Bradley said she and her broker from John L. Scott saw a Kenmore house come onto the market on a Friday.

Bradley said they thought, “Wow, it’s going to be a nice weekend, there’s a Husky game on Saturday, there’s a Seahawk game on Sunday.”

She said it helped that there was beautiful weather, kids were back in school, and the Huskies played a game the day before. She said all these factors may have helped lure other home buyers away.

She said she had previously seen about 40 houses before making an offer on one in September. She was outbid by $50,000.

Then she found this one.

“We love the Seahawks. But you know what? I was to the point where I was so dedicated I was willing to miss a game,” Bradley said.

Competition has been fierce for houses, especially those hitting in the median price range, like hers. While inventory has decreased compared to this time last year, there have been more home sales.

The Northwest Multiple Listing Service shared data last week that shows King County home listings are down more than 31 percent since October of 2014, yet more sales closed.

The following table shows housing sales data by region within King County:

Area

Total Active Listings Oct. 2015

Total Active Listings Oct. 2014

% Change in Total Active Listings

Median Home Price Oct. 2015

Median Home Price Oct.2014

% Change in Median Home Price

Southwest King County

557

803

-30.64%

$285,000

$243,400

+17.09%

Southeast King County

956

1347

-29.03%

$325,000

$295,000

+10.17%

Seattle

933

1312

-28.89%

$493,000

$458,725

+7.47%

North King County

84

207

-59.42%

$425,000

$373,250

+13.86%

Eastside

1277

1893

-32.54%

$560,000

$530,000

+5.66%

ALL King County

3851

5614

-31.40%

$432,750

$399,950

+8.2%

Laura Horetski, Bradley’s broker with John L. Scott, said buyers should go with their agents to see houses outside of normal open house hours.

Horetski finds it useful to go when other people won’t: rainy days, weekdays, holidays and game days.

Even, for example, on Thanksgiving. She said “if the homes are vacant, absolutely. Or, say, if the owners are still occupying the home, but they’re out of town, absolutely.”

In Bradley’s case, Horetski also gave the owners 24 hours to accept the offer. That prevented competition from multiple offers.

“We tightened up that timeline, some of the contingencies as well, to make the offer very attractive to the seller,” Horetski said.

That turned out to be the right move as they later found out there were three back-up offers after Bradley’s.

Now, Bradley has a home she loves, complete with a yard for her new puppy and a studio to practice her music. 

 

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