Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for May 2019

Northwest MLS figures show last month’s 12,006 pending sales across its 23 county service area nearly matched the year-ago total of 12,168 mutually accepted offers. Nine counties notched increases.

Two other indicators of activity – the volume of new listings, and the number of closed sales – both showed slight gains from a year ago. MLS member brokers added 14,689 new listings to inventory during May, up 165 units from twelve months ago. Year-over-year (YOY) closed sales rose about 1.6 percent (from 9,011 in May 2018 to last month’s total of 9,153).

Inventory improved 24.5 percent from a year ago, with brokers adding 14,689 new listings to outpace the 12,006 pending sales. The MLS report for May shows 16,133 active listings at month end, up from the year-ago total of 12,956. King County recorded the largest gain in total inventory, at more than 62 percent, but supply remained below 2 months in that and several other counties.

System-wide there was 1.76 months of supply at the end of May, well below the 4-to-6 months that experts say indicate a balanced market.

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$1,599,000

3 bedrooms + den; 2.5 bathrooms; 3220 square foot basement rambler

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How a Home Office Can Increase Appeal for Homebuyers

With housing inventory remaining tight in recent years, RE/MAX agents are diligent about keeping up with the trends to help clients buy and sell properties in this competitive market.

“Remote-friendly” workplaces are one of those rising trends. In fact, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census, nearly 8 million people worked at home in 2017.

“In my experience, the home office is an integral part of the millennial homebuying criteria,” says Chris Krzemien with RE/MAX Experience in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

If you think it might be time to get to work (pun intended) on sprucing up – or creating – that home-office space, here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Designate a Dedicated Office Space

One of the pitfalls to working from home is distraction. It’s crucial to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to professionalism and creativity. If your home is big enough to accommodate an entire room dedicated solely to work, an office might be a draw for millennials envisioning their productive and comfortable work-from-home days. If not, it’s a great idea to establish a semi-private area in your home where a buyer could picture themselves using a computer, talking on the phone and keeping important documents stored.

  1. Seek the Sunshine

Employees working from home are saying “sayonara” to the cubicle! Rather than putting a home office desk in a corner, try moving it close to a window – a buyer might appreciate the chance to take in the scene during the workday (pro tip: Make sure your view and garden are in tip-top shape for prospective buyers!). And don’t forget lamps in case the shades need to be closed for glare.

  1. Get Comfortable – Stay Awhile!

Many office environments provide a creative space away from desks for employees to think and brainstorm. A home office should provide the same comfy area. Add a chair, coffee table and colorful throw, and the buyer might just choose to brainstorm the next big app there. Voila!

  1. Plant Your Next Move

Houseplants convey a happy and healthy home. When you’re in seller’s mode, you know that a good first impression is key for success. If your office has empty space, add a floor plant. If the space lacks color, pair the plant with a colorful container. You get the idea.

  1. Don’t Make It Personal

This one’s easy. You already know that buyers want to envision themselves in your home, so removing anything overly personal, like photos and kids’ artwork, goes a long way. The same advice applies to the home office. Keeping this carved-out space for work only, when possible, boosts productivity and limits distractions. If you’re preparing a home office before you sell, box up those photos now so you can take them with you to your next home.

“You have to remember, there’s a reason why employees choose to work from home. It’s a feel-good space for them. Make it as bright and pleasant as possible,” added Krzemien.

Staging Your Home for Selling Season

If you own a home, it is likely one of your largest investments. When the time comes to move up or downsize, you want to do everything in your power to protect your equity and get your asking price – or more. One way to ensure your home is listed, and purchased, at the right price point is to work with a real estate agent to boost your home’s buyer appeal. Check out these home-staging tips from experts across the country.

  1. Depersonalize and Neutralize

A home filled with someone else’s personal belongings and clutter can make potential buyers feel as though they are invading private space.

“Neutralizing the atmosphere encourages buyers to envision themselves living there,” says Leslie Cain with RE/MAX Realty Affiliates in Carson City, Nevada. “Think of staging your home as an investment – it typically costs less than a first price reduction [if the home doesn’t sell].”

  1. Focus on Feature Rooms

Your real estate agent can help you see your home from the buyer’s eyes. Focus on the dining and living areas as well as the master bedroom.

“A common mistake is relocating clutter to closets – buyers will look there, too,” said Kathy Henne with RE/MAX Finest in Piqua, Ohio. “It’s best to move all unnecessary belongings out of the house and keep the space as sparsely furnished as possible. Once you have a cleared space, make sure to give it a deep cleaning.”

  1. Go Virtual

You want your home to be clean and decluttered, of course, but not having enough furniture can also be a problem, says Cynthia Fazzini with the Fazzini Group at RE/MAX Realtec Group in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Since most potential homebuyers begin their home searches online, we often recommend digital staging to our clients with vacant homes,” said Fazzini. “Adding in furniture, artwork and rugs gives the home warmth and helps the buyer envision how the space can look with their belongings and decorations. We recently took on a new construction home that was vacant and had been on the market for six months with multiple price reductions. After digital staging, the house was under contract in seven days.”

4 Easy Gardening Tips

Keeping up with landscaping can take a lot of time and energy. Between weekly mowing, picking weeds, and tending to all of the plants it can be a lot of work for those who are busy. Check out these easy gardening tips for those who simply don’t have a lot of extra time for a jungle inspired garden.

  1. Plant a Xeriscape

If you live near a metro area surrounded by a natural flush of trees, or if you simply like the look of plants but don’t want the hassle of watering them, consider planting a xeriscape. This kind of landscaping is composed of plants that require little to no irrigation and are easy to take care of. Plants that do well in a xeriscape include lavender, ornamental grasses, and coneflowers. If you don’t live in a drought prone region, consider planting those native plants that already do well in your area. Native plants will need less attention as they are used to the conditions of your area and grow abundantly everywhere.

  1. Add a Timer

Take advantage of technology by setting up the watering on an automatic timer. Simply plug in the timer at the hose connection to the spigot and allow the timer to water your plants on a regular schedule. This will work well for those extra thirsty plants that need more water throughout the summer and you won’t forget to water since it will already be taken care of. Setting up a drip system for your plants is another easy way to make sure that they get watered without having to have added hoses or sprinklers constantly in the flower beds as well.

  1. Use Evergreens

There are many different evergreens that can be planted to add depth, height, and appeal to a yard. Evergreens are easy to maintain as they require little to no pruning and will stay green all year long. Plant a row of evergreen shrubs to add privacy to a yard as well as a constant wall of beautiful green color throughout every season. Evergreens may need a little extra watering during the hotter months as well as some pinecones that need to be picked up once a year. However, they are a great option for those homeowners who don’t want to have to mess with a lot of leaf raking or careful pruning like other trees.

  1. Renew Mulch Coloring

Mulch looks great when you just put it down but a few years later it can easily fade and become an eyesore. Although a little unconventional, you can paint the mulch to renew the coloring and overall look of landscaping. Simply use a paint sprayer along with a nice brown paint to paint the top of the mulch in order to get an updated look. Make sure that the mulch is where you want it before you paint as only the top will get painted when you spray it.

Yard maintenance can take a lot of time so help yourself by planting a xeriscape garden or using evergreens in your yard for yearlong beauty. Set up your watering on a timer or even consider painting the mulch in order to give a quick makeover for a dull looking yard. Doing all of these things will help those of us who are lazy landscapers have a beautiful yard as well as time to enjoy it!

RE/MAX National Housing Report for April 2019

Spring Home Sales Back on Pace as Price Increases Moderate

April home sales finished just 1.1% below a year ago as selling times shortened and tight inventory held steady, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. Meanwhile, April’s median home price of $251,000 in the report’s 54 markets was up a mere 2.1% – the smallest year-over-year April increase in eight years.

April’s year-over-year sales decline of 1.1% marked the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases, but April’s sales dip was the smallest during that time. At the same time, inventory increased 4.8% and marked the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year growth in number of homes for sale.

Compared to March, home sales in April sped up by a full week, taking an average of 52 days instead of 59. The average in April 2018 was 51 days. The Months Supply of Inventory in April decreased year-over-year from 3.0 to 2.6.

While the March-over-February increase in home sales of 28.8% was the smallest in five years, the April-over-March increase of 11.2% was an April-over-March record for the 10-year history of the report.

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Washington State NWMLS Market Snapshot for April 2019

Housing activity during April signaled good news for buyers in Western Washington as inventory continued to grow, the rate of price increases was slowing in many areas (and even decreasing in a few counties), and mortgage rates remained low.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service statistics for last month show a 28.5 percent overall increase in active listings compared to the same month a year ago, a 5.8 percent gain in pending sales, and a 2.4 percent rise in median prices for sales of single family homes and condos that closed during April. The volume of closings dipped slightly (down 1.9 percent).

Seven counties had double-digit growth in inventory from a year ago, led by King County (up 78.5 percent) and Snohomish County (up nearly 57 percent). The number of active listings declined in 10 counties, with Jefferson County reporting the biggest drop at 24.8 percent. System-wide inventory at the end of April totaled 12,955 active listings, which represents a 7.8 gain from March.

Eight counties had double-digit increases in pending sales versus a year ago. In the four-county Puget Sound region, only King County had a double-digit gain, with a 15.1 percent jump in mutually accepted offers. Pierce County, with a 6.6 percent decrease, was one of seven counties reporting drops in pending sales. Even with mixed sales activity, supply remains tight.