Disclaimer: This blog isn’t very funny. It’s for people looking to buy homes in King County. We usually try to laugh a little here but it’s a serious topic and deserves serious discussion. Next month I’ll talk about the importance of birdhouse maintenance or something. Just to even it out a little 😉

The King County Real Estate Market is in full swing. Homes are selling in record times and for record prices. We’ve eclipsed the heights of 2007 price-wise and buyer demand drastically exceeds available inventory. These facts have created a firestorm in the market and made buying a home as challenging as we’ve ever seen.

If you are looking to buy a home in King County, you’re going to need a lot of planning, a lot of cash and probably even a little luck.

Most well-maintained homes deemed “move-in ready” are receiving multiple offers in the first few days on the market. To obtain one yourself, you must move quickly to a decision and be prepared to forego the protections normally afforded to a buyer. Inspection, Title, Financing and Appraisal contingencies are frequently being waived in order to compete with other offers. Cash is more important than ever. Sellers are using their leverage to force buyers to closing regardless of the condition or appraised value of their home.

There can be serious consequences to making offers without these standard protections in place. You risk losing many thousands of dollars if there are “surprises” you haven’t accounted for. Before making decisions this important, I implore you to find a Realtor you trust and with whom you can work in synergy.

Now I’m going to tell you some things most Realtors won’t. I’m going to take the sizzle off the steak and prepare you for what’s ahead if you’re looking to purchase a home. I’m going to shoot straight with you and give you a glimpse into the realities of buying right now:

In this market, you will be spending a lot of time, energy and money to find your home. You will probably fall in love with a house that someone will overpay for and beat your offer. You will most likely own at least one inspection report on a house that you don’t get. You will have resentments towards sellers you’ve never met because they didn’t choose your offer. This is the hand that buyers have been dealt for the foreseeable future.

So, what should you do? Not buy a house? Of course not. Home ownership remains the greatest driver of personal wealth in this country and this surging Real Estate market is legitimate. It’s being fueled by a booming local economy with lots of high-paying jobs and a lack of homes for sale. This isn’t 2008 where all the money was fake… But I digress, the causes of the boom aren’t the point of this blog. Call me directly and I can go on about that with you.

Here’s what I hope you will take away from all of this:

Negotiations are virtually non-existent when sellers have this much leverage. The fact of the matter is that we’ve had to adapt to a “new world order” where it’s all about impressing the sellers with your offers. My Real Estate proficiency has been tested like never before over these past few months. I’ve needed every ounce of my education and experience to navigate these difficult waters.

Yet, I’ve had some of my best working relationships lately and we’ve been successful in getting houses. My clients and I have worked together as a team and we’ve gotten the job done despite very challenging situations. As a matter of fact, some of my most personally rewarding transactions have occurred in this Spring market.

So, how did we do it? I believe these results have been the consequences of proper education, communication, market knowledge and managing of expectations in a very unpredictable time. My approach is to be brutally honest and develop strategies based on facts and reality instead of salesmanship and fantasy. There is no point in pretending that this will be simple, I prefer to tell you the truth and try to offer options and solutions.

This market can seem overwhelming for buyers. There are many forces at work that are beyond your control, but there are still a few that aren’t. Like choosing the right Realtor. Now is not the time to take a chance on some salesman without the necessary qualifications and seasoning. I recommend you meet with a few Realtors and ask questions. Choose the one who’s most informed and you are the most comfortable with. Now more than ever, you need to partner with a trusted resource who will be honest with you and help you to make informed decisions. The repercussions can be severe if you don’t get this first step right.

More here: NWMLS May 2016

Thomas R. Foy