Is Now a Good Time to Sell My Seattle Home?

An acquaintance who knows I am a Seattle Real Estate Agent, asked me this question the other day because she was thinking about selling her Seattle home.

My BRIO For Sale sign

Well…it depends.

It depends on the individual situation.  For some, selling now is the right course of action.  For others, waiting a few years might be the right course of action for them.

If you are relocating far away, if you no longer want to be a landlord, if you can no longer afford your mortgage, if you are experiencing some tragic life changes (job loss, illness, divorce or death), if you are experiencing joyous life changes (growing family, another new home, career advancement) or some other motivating reason to sell now.  Then, yes, selling your Seattle area home is (maybe) the right course of action for you.  People’s situations are very unique, so their answer is very unique.

If one of the above reasons in not one of yours, and you are just thinking of making a change to something new, downsizing to something smaller (without a pressing need), want to move closer to work,  want to test the market to see if you can get a particular price, and if you are not motivated to do what it takes to sell your house in a buyers market, then this is not the market for you.  You may want to wait (if you can) for a few years.  The Seattle area inventory is high right now and you may not get the best price for your house.  Of course, no one can say how the market will be in a few years, either up or down.

Here is a snapshot of the Seattle area real estate market for June 2008 compared to June 2007: 

ACTIVE listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 15,831 active listings, June 2007 was 12,282, UP 28.9%,  that means more houses competing for buyers this year. 

PENDING listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,549  pending listings, June 2007 was 3,766, DOWN 32.32%, that means a third fewer buyers making accepted offers on houses this year. 

SOLD listings (houses & condos) for the month of June, 2008, King County had 2,148 sold listings, June 2007 was 3,634, DOWN 40.89%, that means more than a third fewer buyers are buying homes.  

The absorption rate for June 2008 is 7.3 months of inventory to sell at the current rate of sales, and for June 2007, it was 3.3 months of iinventory.  A big change in the Seattle real estate market.  Those absorption numbers are just a snapshot for June 2008 and 2007, and they do not show how sales are trending.

0 to 3 months is a sellers market

4 to 6 months is a balanced market 

7 plus months is a buyers market 

The absorption rate can be very different depending on the city, or neighborhood.  That’s why “location, location, location” is an important consideration when buying and selling your Seattle area homeAbsorption rate can also be analyzed by criteria such as price range, or type.  

My answer to the person who asked me the question was “no”.  It is not a good time for her to sell her home since she was only thinking about making a change for change sake, and was not  a motivated seller.  I suggested that since she was looking for change, that she update the kitchen and/or baths.  She will get to enjoy the changes, and the updates will put her home in better shape to sell in a few years or so. 

So there really is no short, easy answer to the question:  Is Now a Good Time to Sell My Seattle Home?  The answer for you should be based on your unique situation.

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