Rates and inventory bring opportunities for buyers

A real estate snapshot by John L. Scott Real Estate.

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

There’s good news for buyers in today’s real estate market: Low interest rates and additional inventory translate to more opportunities. Karen Lindsay, managing broker and branch manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, said the market picked up quite a bit in the last part of May.

Locally, Lindsay noted that brokers in her office are seeing more listings priced correctly, and multiple offers in certain price points. In the hot market, she noted brokers are keeping an eye on price, and if a new listing isn’t sold within the first month, sellers are lowering the price point to get it sold. Looking for a home in the $750,000 to $1.1 million price range? Lindsay says you’ll face “plenty of competition.”

“Since interest rates went back to the 4-percent range, traffic in open houses has increased dramatically, with as many as 30 groups through a home in a single day,” Lindsay said. “Buyers have everything going for them right now with low interest rates and a good selection of homes to choose from. If a buyer is competing with other offers, a clean offer without a lot of contingencies makes their offer stand out.”

Lindsay added that it’s important that sellers make every effort to make an excellent impression from the first day their home goes on the market – it’s key that the home is clean, in good repair and expertly staged to show off its good features.

“The market is quite nuanced right now – price range, neighborhood, condition, direct competition, negotiation strategies – all dictate working with a professional local expert for guidance through the complexities of the current market,” Lindsay said.

Many consumers know that the lower interest rates go, the more buying power consumers have when entering the market. However, buyers are not the only group impacted by interest rates.

According to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics company, this unexpected and sharp drop in mortgage rates means there are now about 5.9 million borrowers who could see their rates drop by at least 75 basis points by refinancing their mortgages. This is an increase of 2 million in just the past month, making it the largest population of eligible candidates for refinancing in nearly three years.

Lindsay recommends that homeowners exploring the possibility of refinancing connect with a mortgage professional to determine if it is the right choice for them. She also recommends, that if looking to purchase a home in Issaquah or Sammamish before the next school year starts, working with a real estate professional who will help get all the pieces in place to succeed.

“If a family is looking to make a move before the school year starts, they can buy right up until the first week of August and still close on time,” Lindsay said. “The most important thing they can do is talk to a mortgage professional and get completely underwritten for their financing to remove uncertainties from the process. I also recommend doing a pre-inspection so the offer is clean and straightforward.”

Even for buyers who do not have children on their radar, it’s still important to put an emphasis on school district when weighing the pros and cons of homes, Lindsay said. John L. Scott’s school search function is one way to explore homes in the boundaries of top schools, and a GreatSchools ranking appears next to each listing, which is an easy way to note school quality at a glance.

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