Are Seller-Provided Inspections a Sign of Market Weakness?

Aug 1, 2017

After hosting a Ballard open house and scoping out several others over the past couple of weeks, I wondered if the neighborhood might be losing some of its luster.

Back when my old house was on the market last July, open houses seemed to packed with super eager out of towners and recent transplants. Almost all of my visitors last Sunday were nearby apartment and condo dwellers who didn’t emanate that sense of “must buy now” urgency.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick comparison of existing single family homes near my old house that were put on the market between June 1 and July 31 of 2016, versus 2017. I excluded off-market sales as well as new construction homes and focused on the area bounded by 85th Street, 15th Avenue, 65th Street and 24th Avenue NW.

At first glance, market conditions seem similar:

  • Of the 21 homes listed between 6/1 and 7/31 last year, 7 stayed on the market for 10 or more days. Of the 22 listed during the same time period this year, 5 stayed on the market for 10 or more days.
  • 12 of last year’s 21 listings sold above asking price. Only of this year’s listings, only 7 have closed as of this morning. 3 were over asking.

One interesting thing I noticed was, more sellers have been paying for pre-inspections and offering the information to potential buyers: 8 this year, versus 4 last year.  As a result, 8 buyers demanded inspection contingencies in their purchase and sale agreements last year, versus only 1 this year.

That’s huge! Inspection contingencies give buyers the option to bail out and often lead to negotiations for sellers to perform or pay for various repairs. Removing this contingency lifts a huge cloud of uncertainty for sellers, especially in cases where there is only one interested buyer.

The question is, have seller-provided inspections become more prevalent because it’s a smart practice? Or are sellers compelled to take this extra step because they are feeling less confident about buyer interest? We may have a clearer picture once more of this summer’s sales close. I’ll keep you posted!

Ballard Tudor in 3D

Jul 29, 2017

In preparation for hosting this lovely Ballard home’s open house tomorrow, I made a 3D tour for visitors to pass along to friends and family who aren’t able to stop by.

I’ve made about a dozen Matterport 3D tours by now.  The process seems tedious: scan, move camera, repeat. But after spending an hour or two seeing the home from dozens of vantage points, I always feel like I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the lives that have been lived – and will be lived – within (and just beyond) its walls.

What I love most about this home is its backyard, which you can access through the kitchen door. Matterport cameras aren’t designed for outdoor use, so the path out there might feel strange and trippy. But once you’re standing on the patio, how can  you not imagine sizzling steaks on the grill, chilled wine on the table, children playing on the fort…

I’ll be there from 11am-2pm. Come check it out!

My New Tree

Jul 25, 2017

My neighbor Bart gave me this tiny plum tree. Not only that, he brought over peat moss, fertilizer and his rototiller and spent half the morning planting it for me.

Bart has also mowed my lawn since the day I moved in.

My old neighbors in Ballard were just as kind. For 7 years, Ed shared his home cooking with me several times a week. Barbara taught me how to knit. Sharon and Chris have taken me out for every birthday since we met, even after I moved away.

You’ve no doubt heard of the dreaded “Seattle Freeze”. But you know, most of these fabulous folks have lived in the area for decades. And all I did to get these friendships started was smile across the driveway.

So if you’re a newcomer who doesn’t feel like Seattle has given you the warmest welcome, try smiling at the neighbors. (If they don’t smile back, give me a call and let’s find you some new ones.) You might end up with a baby plum tree! And when it starts growing buckets of plums, bring them to my old neighbor Kristina. She’ll bring you back the best plum preserve you’ve ever had.

Isabel Wang, Broker

Windermere Mount Baker

4919 S Genesee St

Seattle, WA 98118