By KC Brants
Redfin Real Estate Agent
It’s still a seller’s market in Redmond where low inventory has caused an influx of buyers competing for fewer homes. In September, 260 homes were for sale, down from 270 the same time last year and 541 in September 2011.
A number of factors have contributed to Redmond’s lack of inventory. When the real estate market turned in 2007, several would-be buyers decided to postpone purchasing a home. With the market regaining its strength now, these buyers have resumed their search. Many of them have solid credit and sizeable down payments, thanks to years of saving. It is not uncommon to see buyers put down $120,000 on a $700,000 home or even pay in all cash. And among Redmond buyers are Microsoft, Google and Amazon employees, whose desire to be near their jobs has only added to the influx of home seekers.
With this type of demand, there just aren’t enough homes to go around. Traumatized by the last real estate decline, many sellers are anxious about listing their homes. Some of them want to continue to wait for home prices to increase. And many of those underwater are relying on price increases so they can afford to sell their homes. Developers are nervous, too. After the real estate slump, new construction came to a screeching halt. Developers in Redmond now test the market by building and selling a handful of homes at a time rather than releasing all of the lots in a development.
This lack of inventory has lead to a steady rise in Redmond’s home prices. The current median home price is $599,000. And homes here are selling faster. On average, homes sold in September spent just nine days on the market, compared to 31 days the same time last year, and 47 days in September 2011.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Redmond, here are some tips on competing against multiple offers:
· Get pre-approved with a local lender and get underwriter approval. This is a must to prove your finances are solid when competing against multiple offers. Working with a local lender or one preferred by the listing agent can also gain you an advantage.
· Start the conversation early. When you tour a house you like, let your agent know so you can begin a conversation with the listing agent about which terms matter most.
· Write a letter and appeal to the seller. Often sellers have an emotional as well as financial investment in their home. It can really make a difference to write them a one-page letter explaining why you love the home and what it would mean to you to buy it.
· Know your limits. Determine your target price and calculate what each price increase means for your monthly payment.
For more information, visit Redfin.com