If you are in the Spokane area real estate market right now, you may notice that it's behaving VERY different than national trends. Why is that? Before I get into the meat of this article, I want to address this question first.
There are a few things at play here that make our market very different than the national trends. First, Spokane is BOOMING. It's the eastern hub of the state, has an international airport, and is making waves with its growing culture and food presence. So naturally, growth brings more growth. Companies like Amazon are building massive warehouses here, more industries are popping up here, and all of that keeps the housing market going strong.
Second, people from the Seattle area, the Portland area, and all over California are moving into Spokane. The cost of living is significantly cheaper - the same money you can spend on a rundown fixer upper in Seattle, in a lesser desirable area, is the same amount of money you can spend on a well-maintained 4,000 square foot home on 10 acres in Spokane. Not to mention, a lot of these folks are able to work remotely, or their employers are creating satellite offices in the Spokane area. So of course, this continues to keep the housing market going strong.
This third point somewhat relates to the second point - Spokane's overall desirability. Washington is one of the top states in the nation that has an influx of people, and given that Spokane's cost of living is great, many people are flocking to the area. Along with cost of living, Spokane has a beautiful balance of mountains, lakes, all four seasons, tons of fun activities to do... you name it. In fact recently, Spokane was named in the top ten cities in the county for livability, as well as places to retire, at the top of the list for most affordable, outdoorsy city, and so on. As a transplant from the east coast, it has been a very desirable place for me to live!
Now, back to my original purpose of the article - what exactly is the best way to behave in a market that's strongly in favor of Sellers? Depends on if you're a Buyer or a Seller in this market. So I'll address both...
Being A Buyer In A Seller's Market
As a Buyer, it can seem daunting and overwhelming and super frustrating to be buying a home in a market where you feel like you're dealing with competition at every angle. So here are a few tips to give you the upper hand, and they may not be exactly what you're anticipating:
1) Find a great agent - and here are the specific things you should be asking about: how do they handle negotiations? Do they call the Seller's agent and have a conversation or do they text and email back and forth? A lot of communication and a lot of success happens during those actual phone conversations, where some of those things get lost in electronic messaging.
2) Be open to different types of advice. As a human being, you, just like the rest of us, have certain basic needs that we need met. In the heat of negotiations, tensions can run high, which often means our basic needs feel threatened. Well, what can happen when your needs feel threatened is that you may start thinking or acting in ways that are uncharacteristic for you. So how does this impact your advice taking? When your brain feels threatened, it's easy to narrow in your focus, which means your brain starts to focus inwardly for what it thinks is best. Now before I get all neurological and psychological on you, I tell you all of this to say - heightened emotions often leads to ignoring your agent's advice, not out of malicious intent or because you don't trust him or her, but it happens because your brain isn't sure how to handle all those emotions and perceived threats. So prepare yourself mentally - be ready to look for when you're in that super emotional state, and tell your brain to be open to advice your agent is giving you that you may not want to initially accept.
3) Be ready to put your best foot forward. A strong Seller's market typically isn't the time to try to negotiate a price down, or ask for everything but the kitchen sink to be fixed (unless your agent advises you otherwise). So be prepared to compromise a little - maybe not asking for every single minor inspection item to be fixed, and being willing to make the strongest offer possible (with the guidance and advice of your agent).
Being A Seller In A Seller's Market
As a Seller, you benefit from having the upper hand in a lot of the negotiations. But do you always have the upper hand in a Seller's market? Here's things to consider when being a Seller in a market that's in your favor.
1) Keep this thought in mind: your home may not be as amazing and as special as you think it is. I know I just ripped the bandaid off for a few of you, maybe even caused a big upset where you are. And I say this because I would expect and WANT someone to be straight and honest with me if rolls were reversed. Now, what do I mean by this? Your home should be incredibly special and amazing to you; it is part of your identity, it's like a piece of your soul. So it's only natural that you would view your home in very high regard. Just remember that you want to work with an agent who is going to look at your home through the eyes of all Buyers, so they can give you the best advice and feedback as possible.
2) Pay attention to how you price your home. Buyers are incredibly savvy, now more than ever. Sometimes, I meet a new Buyer and I'm so impressed by how much history of the home they already know! So they are very aware if a home is even the slightest bit overpriced. When you're pricing your home, you want to be looking at homes that have recently sold, as well as homes currently on the market, to determine price. Find out from your agent what aspects of the home carry more weight than others when determining market value.
3) Don't be afraid to negotiate. Now when I say this, always keep the big picture in mind. What is your end goal, and is it worth being a stickler on every single miniscule thing throughout the process? It may not be worth it, and still don't be afraid to negotiate. Let your agent guide you on how strong to be in your negotiations, and you don't want to give away equity in your home if it isn't necessary.
To any of you who are in the thick of a strong Seller's market, I applaud you! This market is NOT for the faint of heart, so keep sticking with it. You'll be proud of yourself in the end!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you need anything with real estate, reach out to me at 509-844-5843.