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Summary of the 2020 Economic Summit

2020 Economic Summit Summary

2020 Economic Summit Summary

The strength of Seattle’s pricing is really starting to show its effects in neighboring submarkets.  This is great news for seller’s in those neighboring communities.  Of the strongest submarket, Amazon is pushing Seattle’s Eastside markets into overdrive.  The technology industry is bringing more and more jobs to the eastside.  With more jobs, come more families and they all need housing.  In fact, the Puget Sound Region is setting new records for high employment. 

Historically, we’ve seen King County as the leader in prices in Washington State, followed by Snohomish and Pierce County.  Generally, the other counties trail far behind.  However, 2019 showed significant increases in all surrounding counties (not just Snohomish and Pierce) including Kitsap, Skagit and Thurston. 

Overall, the Puget Sound Region real estate market looks to remain strong through 2020.  According to James Young, of the Runstad Department of Real Estate, the statewide median home price in 2019 was $406,000.  King county’s median price came in at $626,700 and Snohomish County’s median price was $489,000. 

A red and white umbrella

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Imagine a closed umbrella as a representation of real estate values.  When you hold it upright, Seattle is at the top of the peak for prices in the Puget Sound region.  It has been this way for years and will continue in 2020.  Imagine the outlying areas values as along the edges of the umbrella, that’s a pretty steep decline in value outside of Seattle.  Not to mention, the further away you get, the lower the values.  Now imagine that umbrella opened.  Seattle remains the highest peak.  However, the values of those outer areas is much closer to that of Seattle’s.  The further out you go, the less drop off in values you will likely see in 2020. 

As projected, the number of jobs in Seattle’s metro area, are likely to slow down.  With that said, from 2020-2024 it is expected that Seattle will add 30,000 more jobs.  There are currently just over 20,000 apartments in construction in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  On the eastside, Amazon’s Bellevue campus is 80% of the size of the new HQ2 in Virginia.  Additionally, Bellevue is expected to add 18,000 jobs from 2020-2024.  It looks like there will be more commuters on our highways! 

Seattle is clearly the strongest market in the state.  Snohomish county has a firm grasp on second place and there are several developing submarkets throughout the south Puget sound region expected to make significant gains in 2020.

-Christen Cripe, Thompson Carol Real Estate

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Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Unless you’ve been on a TV/media blackout, you’ve seen the recent Real Estate commercials offering “Ratings” and “Report Cards” on Real Estate Agent’s client satisfaction, productivity and knowledge.  Some of them even offer to refer you to an agent who “Does the most business in your neighborhood”; you know which ones I am talking about; they rate local real estate agents and show you how agents “compare” to other local agents based on negotiation skills, local knowledge; etc.

Have you ever stopped and considered how those companies find the Agents to rate?  It seems simple, and needed, right? A grading system which pre-screens Real Estate Agents; perfect! You would think so; but things are not always as they seem.

As the consumer (looking for a great agent), you diligently enter all the information about your home, your needs and (of course) your contact information.  The ‘names withheld to protect the guilty’ website shows local agents and each respective agent’s ‘Report Card’.  Presto – Bango!  A list of the “best” agents shows up.

Here’s what you don’t think about: where did the agents on that list come from? What is the actual rating scale? How many agents did they compare? Is this even real? Or are those agents paying for that report card?

The fact is, every agent who subscribes to those services, are paying to be there.  They are paying up to 40% of the commission (commission from selling your house) to the website for being listed on the site as “qualified”.  Yes, I said that right. Disguising as providing a customer service, these companies are just lead generation sources in which agents pay to play. The main criteria for being listed as “Qualified” is to pay them.

In fact, such websites have inserted themselves into the process of consumers locating brokers simply to be able to charge a middleman markup fee.  You, the consumer, don’t see it; but it is there…paid by the endorsed agent.  I once heard a wise and thought-provoking statement: “If you are not paying for the service; it’s because you are the product.”  Perfect description in this situation.

The bottom line is this: Don’t believe everything you see on TV, sometimes there is way more under the surface; and not necessarily in your best interest.

When you need a real estate broker, do your due diligence.  Ask your friends or colleagues for referrals, read actual client reviews, and meet an agent in person. The next time you see an ad for “the most qualified Agent” think to yourself, “I wonder how they are getting paid?”.

Here is a link to my reviews, written by actual clients who wanted to share their experience with me as their agent:  Call me anytime if you have questions or would like to chat.

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The #1 thing that sellers can do to sell their house!

The #1 thing that sellers can do to sell their house!

I am asked many questions during listing appointments and I always answer questions with direct honesty. Sometimes my honesty is surprising.  During one recent listing appointment, the seller asked me, “What is the most effective way to get an offer on a listing?”  He was not expecting the answer I gave him.  Point blank, without hesitation, my answer was; “Get a second buyer who wants it more than the first.”  His mouth dropped open; he’d never thought of selling a house in that way.

As a seller, if you are reading this, you’ve probably already read one of the many articles on what you must do to sell your house.  As a seller you should have only one objective:  MAKE MORE THAN ONE BUYER WANT IT!

The fastest and easiest way to attract more than one buyer is through pricing.  Some sellers (and maybe you are one of them) can’t complete all those ‘Must-Do’s’.  Maybe you don’t have available funds for a new roof.  Perhaps you’re selling a house as-is because you inherited it.  There are many reasons for not checking everything off the list.  Luckily, there is one factor of the listing that you absolutely control; the price.  If the house hasn’t been updated, and still has 1970’s shag carpet; adjust the price.  Adjust it so that more than one buyer wants it.

I am not advocating for throwing the ‘Must-Do’ list out of the freshly cleaned window.  Look at the list and complete as many as you possibly can; those things will make your house more desirable.  If you can’t do them all, don’t beat yourself up.  Call me so we can prioritize what you can do and discuss a price which would be compelling in the current market.

After you’ve done what you can, and we’ve determined the price of the house; put the house on the market.  Those compelled buyers will come…with offers.  Two compelled buyers may even bid the price up higher than you expect.  Let this process happen naturally and you will reap the benefits in both time and money.

Buyers move faster with a compelling price.  The Puget Sound real estate market is cooling and simply being competitive in the market isn’t enough right now.

What are you doing to compel them?

-Christen Cripe

The #1 thing sellers can do to sell their house.

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Are Zestimates Accurate? Finally an answer from Zillow.

When I read this story, I have to admit, I secretly giggled to myself.  Clients ask me all the time, “Are Zestimates accurate?”  My typical response over the years has been along the lines of; “you know that they calculate values using an algorithm based on population density, radius distance, and lots of additional data points, right?” (wink wink)

Zillow is both a Realtor’s best friend and worst enemy all at the same time.

When I am preparing for a listing presentation, I always look at the Zestimate.  While I give the Zestimate zero consideration in my pricing recommendations, it is a great way to prepare a seller for what the buyers are looking at.  I love when the Zestimate is way too high.  Why?  When my listing comes to the market with an accurate list price, it will look like a ‘Hot Home’ to all the buyers perusing Zillow’s site.  However, when the Zestimate is way too low, listing appears significantly overpriced (although accurate).

Within the Real Estate industry, the fact Zestimates are not accurate is common knowledge.  In this article “Zillow admitted in 2017 that it’s Zestimates are generally off by $40,000 when considering the ‘typical single-family home sold in Seattle’.”  What?  $40,000?  I can’t imagine going into a listing appointment and telling a seller I could be $40,000 off “give or take”.  Sellers would never trust me with another listing.

After reading this article, I’ve decided that I will update my response when clients ask me about Zillow’s accuracy.  From now on, my answer will be, “according to Zillow, they are generally off by $40,000”.  This is a much more succinct answer. Zillow themselves answered my question.

Thank you Zillow!

Read the article in full here: Zillow Overestimates Seattle Home By 700% 

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A Booming Market without the Bubble?

Are we in an ominous real estate bubble?

As a professional real estate broker, I am continuously asked questions by both sellers and buyers.  The question coming up most recently is this: “Are we in a real estate bubble and is it going to burst again?”.  For the last two years, the Real Estate market within the Puget Sound has been on a streak and homeowners as a whole want to know where they stand.

So, are we in a bubble within the Puget Sound?  Nationally?  The Mortgage Professional of America (MPA) doesn’t think so.   Here is a link to a recent article published on their website:—-but-without-the-bubble-84804.aspx

Home selling and buying will always exist.  Housing (shelter) is a fundamental need for humanity.  As long as babies are born, people get married, people get divorced and people pass away; the need for real estate to be purchased and sold will continue.  If you are expecting a baby, does it matter if a bubble bursts?  Probably not.  It’s likely more important to have security and a home for your new bundle of joy.  If you own that home long enough, it will appreciate; it did yesterday, it will tomorrow. In the long term, Real Estate is a safe investment no matter what it’s short term ups and downs.

If you are worried about the need to strategically make a move based on the potential of a future bubble (or it’s potential burst), you might rethink that strategy.  If you need to sell your home; sell it.  If you need to buy a home because your needs have changed; buy one.  If you are waiting for the market conditions to be perfect either way, you may be waiting a long time; there really is never a “perfect”.

If you are considering making a change; make a clear decision about your direction, take a deep breath; and move to action.

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Seattle area real estate market expected to remain HOT in 2018

Seattle ranked as 2018’s top real estate market by ULI’s Emerging Trends report

By Marc Stiles
– Staff Writer, Puget Sound Business Journal
Oct 25, 2017, 9:01pm PDT

As if real estate professionals in Puget Sound region need something more to crow about.
The Seattle-Bellevue market is expected to be the nation’s top performer in 2018, according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report that the Urban Land Institute and PwC issued this week.

It’s the first time since 2009 Seattle has ranked No. 1 on the annual report, which is one of the industry’s premier bellwethers.

Seattle landed on the top spot due to its job opportunities, diverse economy and young, educated workforce, according to ULI, a nonprofit education and research institute. The rankings are based on interviews and surveys with more than 1,600 investors, developers and other real estate professionals. The surveys and interviews were conducted before announced its search for a second North American headquarters.

ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate Senior Vice President Anita Kramer said Amazon’s plan shouldn’t be a factor given the Seattle-area’s diverse mix of industries, including growing tech, life science and gaming companies. Boeing and the expansion of international trade also are fueling the economy.

Rounding out the top 10 on the Emerging Trends list are Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Dallas/Fort Worth; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles; San Jose, California; Nashville, Tennessee; and Boston. Of those, ULI considers only Boston and Los Angeles major markets. The growing interest in smaller cities by real estate investors is influenced by their relative affordability, PwC Partner Mitch Roschelle said in a news release.

One interesting note in the new report is that Tacoma is ranked higher (No. 9) than Seattle (No. 14) for multifamily investment. Tacoma is seeing significant apartment development.
Among the new trends are:
• The Gen Z Effect: Brick-and-mortar stores must meet the needs of the “gadgeteria” ethos of the post-millennial generation, which craves “omni-channel, social media worthy shopping experiences,” the report said. Workplace design also will be affected with Gen Z wanting more structure, suggesting a return to personal offices.
• Housing shortage: Millennials and Generation Z number more than 150 million, and baby boomers are remaining in their homes longer. This is an opportunity for homebuilders willing to build smaller houses, townhouses and condos.
• Senior housing: A demand for more senior housing tops the list of all residential segments as present inventory does not meet the needs of this group, which is projected to grow by 25 million in the next 15 years.

The Emerging Trends report will be presented in Seattle on Nov. 15 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.