Category Archives: Sellers

Zombie Apocalypse Survival House Walk Through Tour (VIDEO)

I don’t miss a beat at just past 9 minutes when my dog hurtles herself over the side of the hammered copper soaking tub in the master bath. Worth watching just for that!

I don’t do narrated tours much anymore, as they are not as professional as slide shows to music, but with out of state buyers interested in the property it seemed the right thing to do.

Seattle’s Zombie Apocalypse Survival house (VIDEO)

I like to have fun with my marketing. I just launched a new listing over the weekend, and this house is so very cool in its self-sustain-ability that naturally survival in the face of The Walking Dead (I am a recent fan of the show) came to mind.

This home is “green” although it is not an Environmentally Certified home from a local or regional green building program. However, the laundry list of upgrades and additions made to the property by the current owner of 22 years is extensive and noteworthy. See below the embedded video for more information.

4825 26th Avenue SW | Seattle, WA 98106
NWMLS #424753
2+ bedrooms, 1.75 bathroom, plus finished studio in converted garage
House is 1,360 square feet per King County Records, and the lot is 5,480 per the same source.

Offered by 22 year owner at $285,000

Eclectic and fun 1918 Arts and Crafts Movement home is located adjacent to the West Seattle golf course along the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail and
has a permanent greenbelt behind the property. It has stood the test of time and offers forward-thinking “green” upgrades.

What’s below the surface of chic and charm:
* New 40 year roof with warranty
* 200 amp electrical service (perfect for charging your electric car)
* Mitsubishi ductless heat pump for heating AND cooling, with remotes
* Pre-wired for backup generator, which is included
* Two newer EPA certified wood burning stoves with cooktops, clean and efficient burning
* Energy Star appliances, all appliances stay
* Two hot water heaters – a regular tank and also a point-of-use on demand hot water heater for the “off grid” spa master suite bathroom
* 300 gallon cistern as part of the gray water system for spa bath, use the water for the garden
* Sun-Mar composting toilet, top of the line (plus one regular toilet, too)
* Pesticide free property

The European-style master suite features a spa bath with gorgeous hammered copper soaking tub and sink from Mexico, Brazilian walnut flooring, exposed
beams, and romantic lighting, with a view of the garden. Totally private.

Floors are a mix of oak, cork, ceramic tile, white oak, and Brazilian walnut. Single slab granite hearts under both wood stoves.

Bring on the zombie apocalypse, survive in style here!

This property is listed by Mountain To Sound Realty and marketed by Wendy Hughes-Jelen, Green Real Estate Specialist, EcoBroker, and Realtor.
For more information, or to schedule a tour, contact or call/text 206.686.HOME (4663)

Video copyright 2012 by Wendy Hughes-Jelen
Music: Dead Island Theme by Thematic Pianos from Dead Walking: The Greatest Zombie Themes Ever

Westside Green Living with Wendy on Facebook

Why it is crucial your Listing Agent understands and specializes in the TYPE of property you are trying to sell

I have a stark example today, and a story with a positive ending and a very happy client, about why it is CRUCIAL that home sellers hire the right agent for the job.

Any real estate agent can sell what I call a “conventional” property. But if you are going to be short selling your house, you should seek out a short sale expert. If you are selling a condo, or vacant land, again you should seek out an expert in these niches. Vacation property or secondary home? Same thing. Professional agents who have been in the business a long time have developed their skill sets over the course of their careers and have narrowed down their business to what they are most passionate and knowledgeable about.

I chose to specialize in green homes over five years ago. In the Seattle area, served by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, they are referred to as “Environmentally Certified” homes. First I bought a Built Green Certified Home. And then I earned four different specialty designations all requiring education and testing in this area of expertise over the next five years. It is important that the agent you choose to hire shows they are staying up with technology, products, and laws pertaining to their area of expertise. If someone is an expert in something, they can really “sell” it.

I am an expert in green homes, and I can really sell High Point because I live here, and literally walk the streets here 365 days a year with my dog. I know the good and the bad. And I am an honest agent, I will share what’s important with anyone considering moving here whether the law requires me to or not.

The marketing photo for the condominium discussed in this blog post. Redwood High Point in West Seattle.
In July I was contacted by a neighbor who I had never even met. They had purchased their Redwood High Point condominium in March of 2011 as a short sale. They unexpectedly found themselves needing to move out of state for employment. I advised them how to best prepare the home for market, which began with packing as much out of the closet contents as possible. I helped them find off-site storage so the home would look as big as it was (almost 1,000 sq ft). And I had trouble convincing them to list it for over $30,000 more than the agent who represented them as a buyer the year before told them to list it for.

The selling price in March 2011 as a short sale was $194,950. When it was new construction in 2007 the selling price was $306,000. I get sick to my stomach whenever I talk about prices in High Point because I too bought then, in July 2007, literally at the height of the market. (For an example, I paid $395 for my townhome, a year ago it was valued at $260k by the lender. A neighbor with the same floor plan has a pending short sale that went down to $209k before it got an offer. Final sales price we don’t know yet.)

When this neighbor contacted the agent who represented them when they bought it last year, the agent did a CMA (comparative market analysis) and recommended they list the property for $185,000. Yes, values are dragged down by all the bank owned and short sales around them. But it is not a distress sale. And maybe if this was just any old condo in West Seattle it would sell for $185k – but it’s not. This is an Environmentally Certified condo – and the entire neighborhood is also certified as Built Green. There are people who are looking for properties like this. If you market it right, it will sell for its true value.

I finally convinced them and we priced the property at $219,950 and received a full price offer within 24 hours. We went off market and went through the entire inspection process and were proceeding to closing when the buyer got cold feet and walked. The buyer gave up $3k earnest money to the seller. The seller loaded up their moving truck and drove away, trusting me that I would be able to do it again.

Two months went by. We finally started talking about a price reduction. Rather than a $5k drop, I suggested splitting it between the buyer and the buyer’s agent. We did a $3k price drop and a $2k commission bonus to the buyer’s agent if we received “an acceptable offer” (seller determines what is acceptable) within about 5 weeks.

Less than two weeks later we received another full price offer – at $216,950. And what was really hilarious about this was that the buyer was the same person who went to buy it in July. So three months later, tomorrow we close this sale. And I have a very happy client. And the buyer really did pay full price of $219,950, because she paid $3k of it two months ago when the first sale was closed.

In his own words, my client explained the financial side of this in a recent email.

“I went through our old docs from the purchase – I think once everything is included, we’ll end up $1,261.87 up from the money we put in 19 months ago. We got lucky! If we would have listened to our old Realtor and listed it at $185,000, we’d be down like $30,000!”

It’s not cheap to sell real estate. There are thousands upon thousands of dollars paid towards commissions, excise tax, and other closing costs, including title insurance and more. How would you feel if you got to live someplace FOR FREE for a year and a half?? If you bought low, it is possible to sell high – or at least today’s market rate adjusted “high”. But only if you hire the right real estate agent.

How often does this happen?

Weeks, nay months, of work are culminating in TWO closings tomorrow – one a few days early and the other a few days late. Both bring me new neighbors in my Built Green Certified condominium in High Point (the big tan section to the right of B on this map, which is Viewpoint Park). Like, I can shout at them down the driveway close. I don’t think ever in my life will I have two sales close on the same day again. I think I really need to celebrate!!

2840 SW Raymond #102 as seen from High Point Drive.
I represented the seller.
2830 SW Raymond #202, as seen from my home office.
I represented the buyer.

A Creative Two-Prong Approach To Getting a Property Sold

7705 11th Ave SW
7705 11th Ave SW (NWMLS 349459) just reduced the listing price $3k and offered a $2k bonus to the selling agent
It’s not always about a lower price, although it is nice. Sometimes it is about getting a real estate broker to even notice a property to get them to sell it. You can achieve this with a two-prong approach – a price reduction the benefits the buyer, and a commission bonus in addition to regular commission to the agent to ensure the property at least gets shown.

Agents have biases…and sometimes think they know everything. But if you sweeten the deal a bit, sometimes an agent can get out of their own way and show a property that is perfectly ideal for their buyer client if the agent would just stop thinking they always know best or know with 100% certainty if a property is going to work for their client or not.

Now, if the buyer says “NO TOWNHOMES” then fine, maybe don’t show them a townhome (although I always said no to condos and townhomes and then somehow bought a condominiumized townhome 5 years ago – which is why I have the attitude I do about this whole issue). But I actually had someone show one of my other listings yesterday that for the same price was a ground floor view condo with attached garage and the agent’s feedback was “They’re looking for a townhome…” You can bet that I sent her info and this video, stat!

So how does a two prong approach work? A price change is obvious – and the buyer saves money. But the additional strategy was to be sure to offer “Full Commission” (a % that many companies have an internal policy to sign listing agreements at), THEN offer even more if the agent could bring an acceptable offer by a certain date. This particular property? Currently the Selling Office Commission is $6,508.50. The typical agent is only getting a portion of that, depending on the company and what they negotiated when they joined the office. If it were I selling this home I would be getting a check close to $5,000 after the company’s portion plus some incidental expenses and insurance was deducted. The bonus? The property owner here has agreed to pay an additional $2,000 straight to the buyer’s agent at closing, and that’s not anything to shake a stick at. Suddenly my almost $5k went to almost $7k, and that’s going to pay my bills for a couple months.

If you have a tired listing, think about blending your approach and splitting the seller’s sacrifice between the buyer and the buyer’s agent. It’s a win-win-win, for the buyer, the seller, AND the agent. Who might not have ever looked at or shown the property if that $2,000 carrot wasn’t dangled out there in the first place.

Built Green High Point condo sells in one day at full price – why working with a Built Green Certified agent and EcoBroker matters

Well, I agreed to take a listing in my community in High Point in West Seattle. One of my neighbors noticed the fliers I have been posting for years on the bulletin board here and called me because he with his family was suddenly relocating for a job. I usually help people move INTO High Point, not leave it. I was looking forward to having a green home to show and educate people on Built Green and what it means. But we received a full price offer the first day!! It is a ground floor barrier free view condominium facing downtown Seattle and the Cascade Mountains. Highly desirable! And I proved it.

The seller had contacted the real estate agent who represented them when they bought the place and said she had recommended listing it for $185k. Of course it would sell for $185 because it is worth so much more. It would be a steal. As a Built Green Certified Professional Real Estate Agent I fully understand, and am able to convey to the buying public, what a Built Green Environmentally Certified home means, and its true value.

If you own an Environmentally Certified home or condo, or want to buy one, you NEED to work with a professional such as myself to fully understand what it is you are buying. Period. I will have been certified five years as of this fall. My name is Wendy Hughes-Jelen and I am a green real estate expert.

The personal responsibility that comes with living in a Built Green Certified community

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a “green” community?

I live in a Built Green Certified neighborhood which means we get occasional reminders about what that means, personal-responsibility wise. Although I don’t have a yard myself (being in a condo and there is a professional service that takes care of what is in front of my townhouse), I would say this effects 3/4 of the homeowners in the community as well as the tenants when it comes to caring for their personal fenced back yards. Currently this would be about 12oo residents on 120 acres, which makes up 10% of the total land that is part of the Longfellow Creek watershed.

This email reminder came today:

Good afternoon High Point Residents!

Hasn’t the gorgeous weather of the last few days been a treat?! It’s wonderful to see blue sky, and all of the trees and daffodils in bloom really brings home the fact that Spring has arrived.

Many of you probably know that an extensive natural drainage system (NDS) underlies the entire High Point community. This NDS is designed to capture storm water run off from each roof, street and impermeable surface in the community and filter it into the bioswales. What isn’t absorbed into the ground eventually makes its way to the pond along Juneau/High Point Drive. The water is filtered further in the pond, and eventually is released downstream to Longfellow Creek.

Because of this natural drainage system, and in order to help protect the salmon and other wildlife downstream, High Point is a 100% organic community.

Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are prohibited, both in common areas and on private lots. That means chemicals like Round-Up may not be used to kill weeds, and “weed and feed” products may not be used on lawns. Instead, owners are encouraged to use natural or slow release fertilizers. Hand pulling is still a tried and true way to eliminate weeds, but vinegar and boiling water can be used as well. If you’re planning to use vinegar do some research online first, and use the same cautions you would when applying chemicals (dilution, gloves, eye cover, mask, etc.). Dandelions almost always need to be dug out (to get those pesky taproots so they don’t come back a few weeks later in the same spot).

Washing cars on streets and driveways is also very strongly discouraged. The chemicals and surfactants in soaps have the potential to be harmful to fish and marine wildlife. There are a number of environmentally friendly automatic car washes around the Seattle area, and a do-it-yourself car wash just across 35th near Graham.

Interested in Organic Vegetables? High Point has two “p-patches” where you can get a garden plot. If you’re interested, please contact Bunly Yun, Community Garden Coordinator with the Seattle P-Patch Progran for more information. His phone number is 206.684.8495 and his email address is:

There also is a Market Garden in High Point at Juneau and 32nd. During the summer you can buy organic vegetables at the farm stand, or you can sign up to have veggies delivered each week via Seattle Market Gardens:

Thanks, and have a great rest of the week,

High Point real estate sobering – no rainbow yet

Where is the rainbow in High Point real estate?

I’ve just pulled a report for my neighborhood, which has been a perfect micro-climate to observe the dark side of the recession and collapse in real estate in the Seattle area. We personally closed July 27, 2007 on our townhome on Raymond – the month and year considered the peak of the bubble.

I’ve been on the ground here for five years (we wrote up the contract in April 2007), literally since I am walking my dog twice a day (or often three times). High Point’s Built Green Certification has cushioned home values somewhat, but at this point there are too many people who have been hanging on too long. There is a plethora of short sale listings now, many of them in my condo association of Redwood High Point.

Out of 16 active listings on the NWMLS in High Point proper (the redeveloped area), 7 are short sales, 2 are bank owned (both Fannie Mae, already foreclosed on), 5 are Polygon Phase 2 listings, (which have been selling like hot cakes in our new reality – almost 80 homes sold in less than a year, they are at really good prices and are attractive since so many people want “new”, they are rated 300 point Built Green Certified), and 2 are Seller occupied and considered Market Rate listings (at $460k and $530k, but both have been on the market for months). 7 of the 16 listings are in Redwood High Point and all of them are distressed pricing.

I look around me and just get depressed. I have not seen this many listings,all at once, ever. Owners are dropping like flies. We’ve been trying to negotiate with our own lender for over three years and only recently engaged an attorney who is looking into the robo-signing issue (among others) that was prevalent at the time everyone in Phase 1 purchased. I only hope we don’t end up moving like so many others have.

As someone who has been in this community for so long, and watched it change and grow from one day to the next, I don’t want to leave. But a lot of people have been in extended financial distress and just need it to be over. Way over. A couple of my neighbors moved on two years ago and my porch-mate tried to sell for a year before giving up. We’re just stubborn fools, I guess, committed to our community and lifestyle here (my husband and I). We watched our home be built, we customized every square inch of it, and I feel safe walking my dog here most of the time. I might gripe about being sick of walking in circles in the rain for 6 months, but when I think of where else I could be living, from a safety standard High Point beats anywhere I have lived in 20 years.

My heart aches for those who moved here with such great dreams and high expectations, only to be disappointed by job loss or transfers, a bad turn in finances, and the gradual slipping away of the American Dream. Many criticize, saying people who are in trouble with their home now didn’t deserve to own that home in the first place. I try to not take it personally. Our household just happened to be comprised of careers in two industries really hit hard by this recession – and I have fought hard to stay in this business since I am passionate about solving people’s real estate problems. It’s not like there were a lot of jobs out there for me to go to even though I have extensive professional experience outside of real estate.

But this plethora of short sales is just one problem I can’t solve. I just hope I don’t end up as one myself.

To those who have given up, moved on and started over somewhere else – my thoughts are with you and your family. I hope there will come a time that you can look at your place in High Point in a positive way and not just some big black period in your life. And your contribution to our neighborhood will be sorely missed.

Regardless of my personal situation, I continue to be an Ambassador for High Point and I bring all of my buyer clients through my neighborhood to educate them. I am a believer in the community, the natural surroundings, the storm water management and watershed interface, and the Built Green Certification process. And I am an optimist. Things will get better. It is always a good time to buy – or sell – a home, depending on your personal circumstances. And as long as I am a resident of High Point you can always call on me for information about this unique, green community and the larger West Seattle area. We have lived in West Seattle almost 15 years and it is in our blood. They will have to drag me kicking and screaming out the door to get rid of me.

Don’t forget to LIKE the High Point Real Estate page on Facebook.

“Buyer Ready” Home Shoppers Have Edge as Brokers Report Rise in Multiple Offers

The following includes information and statistics compiled and reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

KIRKLAND, Wash. (April 5, 2012) –The housing market in the Puget Sound region is pointing toward a sustainable recovery, according to several brokers who commented on the March activity report from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

MLS Members reported 9,126 pending sales during March, a year-over-year increase of nearly 21 percent. That total surpassed the previous month by 1,503 transactions (up 19.7 percent). Coupled with shrinking inventory, attractive financing, and rising consumer confidence, the market is becoming more balanced, and even being described by some brokers as “frenzied.” Other brokers commented on the “remarkable opportunities for investing in the residential rental market.”

Brokers added 8,170 new listings last month — nearly 1,000 fewer than the number of pending sales, and about 1,100 fewer new listings than the same month a year ago. With those additions, the number of active listings at month end totaled 24,883 across the 21 counties in the Northwest MLS service area. Compared to a year ago, inventory is down 25.6 percent.

“Buyers are screaming for more inventory and they’re being more aggressive with presenting offers on homes,” reported MLS director George Moorhead, branch manager at Bentley Properties in Bothell. Home shoppers perceive the bottom is nearing, he noted, “and both buyers and sellers want to catch the historically low interest rates.” Area-wide, he said bank-owned home sales are increasing. “The lagging inventory is actually helping prices stabilize, which we hope will have a positive impact on the real estate market as the year progresses,” he added.

“Close to the job centers, 45 percent of new listings are selling within a single month. We are seeing a frenzied market in the Puget Sound region, especially in the more affordable and mid-price ranges, with an increase in sales activity in the high end,” remarked J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. “Because of the shortage of homes for sale, combined with the sales surge being driven by job growth and historically low interest rates, if you are not ‘buyer ready’ you may not get a house in today’s market,” he added.

Northwest MLS brokers reported 5,044 closed sales last month, improving on the year-ago total by nearly 10 percent. The overall median price on last month’s completed transactions was $225,000, which reflects a decrease of 7.4 percent from the year-ago median sales price of $242,925.

Noting stabilizing prices are “forcing buyers to make offers that reflect a more balanced market,” Northwest MLS director Darin Stenvers said house-hunters have taken note of rising rents, fewer choices and increasing fuel costs. The trends are not universal, he acknowledged, but certainly reflect a higher buying confidence level and even a small uptick in new construction. “I’m seeing new home starts in areas that had been at a standstill for years,” reported Stenvers, the office managing broker at John L. Scott in Bellingham.

Multiple offers are occurring with regularity in some neighborhoods according to Northwest MLS directors. “The housing market in Seattle’s close-in neighborhoods began to show signs of buyer panic in February but reached a breaking point in March,” reported Mike Skahen, owner and designated broker of Lake & Co. Real Estate in Seattle. “I haven’t seen buyers this motivated since 2006 and in my opinion, prices on good houses have recovered at least 10 percent of their value since the low point a year ago,” he added.

Skahen said a small Ballard home listed for around $370,000 recently drew five offers and sold for considerably more than the list price. “It’s becoming common for multiple offers on most houses, especially those priced under $400,000 where the selection is very limited,” he observed.

“Now that buyers can track new listings online they are aware of how quickly most listings are selling and fear they’ve missed catching the bottom of the market. They realize continuing to wait would be a mistake,” Skahen commented.

Diedre Haines, another Northwest MLS director, said pending sales in Snohomish County, which jumped 21 percent, would have been “considerably greater were it not for the buyer competition due to the magnitude of multiple offer situations.” She said they are seeing the return of price escalator forms, pre- inspections, set dates for sellers to review offers and properties selling above list price,” according to Haines, the regional managing broker at Coldwell Banker Bain in Lynnwood. “Prices are not increasing dramatically but those properties that are listed and priced correctly, especially in the $300,000 and below range, are selling within days of coming on market,” she noted.

Haines also said they are seeing multiple offer situations in the higher priced market “but not as many over list price sales.” She reported the demand ratio in Snohomish County, based on a recent analysis, “is at the highest levels we have experienced since 2006.” She also noted the report showed there are two buyers for every current home on market in Snohomish County.

A similar scenario exists in Kitsap County. “Inventory is down by 11 percent, buyers making offers are up almost 34 percent, multiple offer situations are on the rise, and more people are coming by our open houses,” reported Frank Wilson, branch managing director at John L. Scott’s office in Poulsbo. “While the median price in Kitsap is down by 5 percent it is only a matter of time before prices stabilize,” he believes.

The optimism comes with a cautionary note. “It is still extremely important for sellers to price their property correctly,” Haines emphasized. Even with high demand, homes that are priced above comparable properties are not receiving offers, she explained, adding, “We are seeing very positive signs of a continuing recovery but buyers are well educated regarding values and pricing. Sellers should not expect huge increases in values and need to price their properties accordingly and realistically.”

The uptick in activity is attracting not only first-time and move-up buyers, but also investors, according to industry experts.

“Rental demand is surging, interest rates are at historic lows, and recent economic activity has erased nearly a decade of appreciation,” reported MLS director OB Jacobi, president of Windermere Real Estate.. He believes the combination of these three factors has created “remarkable opportunities for investing in the residential rental market,” explain “The long-term financial benefits can be significant, but the first step is to closely analyze the details with your real estate agent.”

Another MLS director was equally upbeat. “The market in the Puget Sound region is showing optimistic signs of not only stabilization, but turning point towards a sustainable recovery,” said Joe Spencer, area director for Keller Williams Northwest Region. He suggested the cause is “simply the growing imbalance of supply and demand, which has resulted in the lowest inventory levels since 2006. This doesn’t mean that we’re out of the dark yet,” he acknowledged, adding, “However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see modest appreciation, especially close to job centers, in the latter half of 2012 or early 2013.”

Northwest Multiple Listing Service, owned by its member real estate firms, is the largest full-service MLS in the Northwest. Its membership includes more than 22,000 real estate brokers. The organization, based in Kirkland, Wash., currently serves 21 counties in Washington state.

See Statistical Summary by Counties: Market Activity Summary – March 2012. Click through to NWMLS YTD March 2012 Stats. This report is comprised of information and statistics compiled and reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Spring has sprung in housing – looking to feather a new nest?

Spring housing rush has buyers flocking to search out new home possibilities

April arrives any minute and the spring real estate market, despite all the news you hear, is alive and well in Seattle. I’ve been touring property for three months solid and the first time home buyers I am working with are surprised by the multiple offer situations on many properties – even unapproved short sales – that happens over and over again. The house just needs to be in a half-way decent neighborhood for it to be drawing a lot of buyers (and many investors at the below $150k range). We have a low inventory situation for homes falling below a certain price point and some buyers are getting frustrated.

It is anticipated that the Joint State-Federal National Mortgage Settlement (read the FAQ sheet) recently made with major lenders will now expedite hundreds of thousands of homes INTO the foreclosure process now that major issues have been ironed out. (Bank of America Corp. (including EDNY FHA origination settlement), Citigroup, Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co.) Lenders put a lot of homeowners into a holding pattern over the last year while the lawsuit was examined. Lenders didn’t want to risk more illegal/improper foreclosures. If you read the FAQ, you will see that each lender not only pays into a restitution fund for homeowners that were improperly or illegally foreclosed on, but the bulk of the money will go towards programs to help borrowers keep their homes – those that are delinquent AND current (different programs).

Now that the logjam has been broken, it is expected a lot of homeowners will not be able to come to an agreement with their lenders and more foreclosure filings will happen in the next few weeks and months. Even though you will read sellers can’t sell and buyers can’t buy (see The ‘Shadow Inventory’ Darkening Housing), it is a fact that a lot of sellers are selling and a lot of buyers are buying. I was on a webinar just today called “RoboSigning Settlement-REO Agent Acceptance Workshop” that was an effort to get more real estate brokers signed up as REO listing agents (Real Estate Owned by a lender) in order to meet demand (full time agents only need apply).

Although March statistics are expected out late next week, just reviewing February 2012 NWMLS Statistics for King County is very enlightening. (This report is comprised of “Information and statistics compiled and reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.”) In King County pending units went from 6,714 to 8,333 and closed sales 3,783 to 4,197 January to February respectively. I expect March’s numbers to be even higher. Of course, average price is down year over year as prices keep dropping, but this is really good news for a lot of buyers who have been saving their money the past few years and are venturing into the market for the first time.

I think the one piece of advice I have to give to any first time home buyer is, and you hear this all the time, get pre-qualified before you start shopping. This is not the same thing as pre-approved and it can be done in short order by a qualified lender. The house you fall in love with will also be desired by many others and if you aren’t ready to jump – and then potentially wait for a long time if you are going after an unapproved short sale listing – you are just wasting your time touring. There’s nothing wrong with touring to get a feel for what you want, but after a few hours of that you should have a good idea of what you like and don’t like. There is nothing worse than being at the wrong end of a frustrated buyer who isn’t ready to move quickly on the right house due to lack of pre-qualification or being unsure if “this is the one”. (In this example, a house that the seller had not even submitted documents to their lender for yet received 6 offers – and in this case the highest offer is going to win. And the house wasn’t even that special, in my opinion, or in a highly desired area, although the area is perfectly reputable.)

I also learned…again…to not show unapproved short sales to someone who isn’t willing to be tied into a deal for a couple of months waiting for lender approval, sitting out the rest of the spring buying season. (In this situation, the seller needed to find out if they can even do a short sale, which takes up to 30 days from a completed seller package; and then up to 30 more days for the actual purchase contract to be accepted or rejected by the lender. Suddenly your are in June and who knows what rates and sales will be doing by then. To give you an example of unapproved short sale listings versus more “available” listings (either seller owned, pre-approved short sale, lender owned outright, or bankruptcy sale) out of 46 listings I scanned today I culled the list down to just 16 that were something other than an unapproved short sale. There are a lot of people going after these “easier” listings. Be prepared!


If you are a motivated buyer looking for housing in the following geographic areas, Wendy has either lived in or performed relocation research and comparison studies in all of the following areas. Call or text Wendy at 206.686.HOME (4663), or email (see button in the right sidebar). Wendy also is an EcoBroker® and is Built Green® Certified, so if owning a healthy home is important to you she is the one to call. Wendy is also able to help people find a home or condo FOR RENT.
West Seattle
Seattle Metro
Mercer Island
Lake Forest Park
Snoqualmie Ridge
North Bend
Monroe, Snohomish, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, and Everett areas will also be considered.