Real estate snapshot: Buyers, sellers prep for spring market

Housing inventory is up

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

If you’re looking to purchase a home this winter or spring, you’ll likely benefit from the uptick in inventory at all price levels in the Issaquah and Sammamish areas. Martin Weiss, sales manager of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Issaquah office, said many buyers in February appreciated the options and less hurried pace in the local market.

In Issaquah, there were 79 homes for sale in January 2019, which is more than double the number of homes for sale in January the year prior. When looking at months of inventory in Issaquah in the more affordable and mid-price ranges, January 2019 brought 2.5 months, versus 0.8 months the year prior.

Weiss said these numbers are encouraging and a move in the right direction toward a balanced market, though multiple offer situations are still a possibility for well-priced homes in certain areas.

“Overall, there is more inventory at all price levels leaving more options for buyers,” Weiss said. “We are still seeing multiple offers in desirable neighborhoods on homes that are priced appropriately for their condition and are also presented well to the market.”

Issaquah and Sammamish were both hit with multiple inches of snow in February, which led to school and business closures affecting many residents. Though snow did slow things down a bit, Weiss said the local real estate market wasn’t brought to a standstill due to the weather.

“Brokers in our office adjusted well,” Weiss said. “We didn’t see a drop in pending transactions during the snow. Though open house traffic was down, our brokers noted that serious buyers were braving the elements and making offers. The biggest impact to the local market was a lull in new listings coming on, as the snow slowed down listing and marketing preparation.”

As the snow has melted and temperatures increase, many homeowners are looking to do a bit of spring-cleaning and home improvement. Some spring-cleaning and repairs can translate to a higher return on investment when homeowners do decide to sell. A recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions detailing year-end sales numbers for 2018 noted that the highest profits from home sales are in the west, with an average return on investment in Seattle of 70.7 percent.

Regular home maintenance, like a regular car tune-up, is crucial for ensuring your home stays in good shape and needed repairs don’t become daunting. Though many homeowners may not have the time (or cash) to complete all of the repairs and upgrades they’d like to do to their house, prioritizing certain upgrades can pay off in the long run.

“When you’re looking to sell your home, your best investments will be in curb appeal, paint and carpet,” Weiss said. “We tell our clients selling a home is like getting your car ready to sell. Homes that are actively prepared for market sell faster and for more money than homes that don’t. Our best advice for homeowners it to take care of your home on an ongoing basis — don’t let the deferred maintenance list get too long.”

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