Monday, September 22, 2008

Q: We have been trying to sell our house for a long time now.

We just don't know why it's not selling. We've lowered the price, and kept the place looking good. Our listing agent is advertising it like mad. What more can we do?

A:
In your case, the issue may be your limitations on showings. Restricting showings to certain times of day, or specific days, is a limitation. Also, requiring the listing agent to be present for all showings makes arranging showings cumbersome. With a larger than usual inventory of homes for sale, many agents won't bother with a property that is difficult to show.

Keep in mind that buyers will typically be coming to see several houses while they are here. It is rare that someone will make the time, and the trip over here, to view just one listing. Their agent must set up a number of appointments and work around the schedules and limitations of each property. If a house is difficult to show, it's a lot easier to leave that house out of the tour of homes.

My advice to any seller who is eager to sell their home is the same. Have that house ready to show with 15 to 30 minutes notice. Use the lock box provided by the Multiple Listing Service so agents can get in easily. If necessary, figure out a way to handle problem pets, day sleepers, and security issues. Remember that the lock box electronically records who has opened the box to get the key. Your agent can track all showings that way.

Most Island real estate professionals try to work around the schedules of sellers and will set up appointments at least a day ahead of time. However, real estate agents coming over with clients from Seattle or Tacoma may not do it that way.
If you have items of great value and are concerned about security, pack those things up and put them into secure storage. You're going to be moving anyway, so that gives you a head start on packing. Good luck.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Q: My wife and I just wanted to let you know how happy we are to be back looking at real estate on Vashon.

We know that we're in the lowest price range for the Island, and had just about given up on finding anything. Last year there were so few homes available in our price range that it was very disappointing to look. Also, we didn't really like any of the few places we saw. Now there are many nice homes we can afford and the loan rates are very good too! We look forward to finally finding the right home for us on the Island.
A:
Thanks for your note. I'm so delighted to finally see that some folks are catching on to the great market we have now. We have more than the usual selection of homes, plus great loan rates.
September and early October are a great time to buy. It's beautiful this time of year, so looking for a home is pleasant and comfortable. The summer rush is over and the tourists have gone home. That makes the pace slower and more laid back. This is the perfect time to get out and see everything on the market.
There are currently 30 homes on Vashon Island listed with the Multiple Listing Service under $400,000. That's remarkable. That is well under the average price for Vashon and even for King County. The average sale price of a home in all of King County was $478,000 as of the end of last month according to the Multiple Listing Service. The average figures for Vashon are even higher.
Of course some of those 30 homes are very small, and a few are fixers. However, many are very nice homes in excellent condition and in great locations. So, this is a good time to invest.
Be sure to get pre-approved for your loan and be prepared to move quickly once you find the right home. Even in our slower market this year there have been "bidding wars" over special places, and some home have sold in just a few days.