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First time home buyer advice to myself from my future Realtor self.

First time home buyer advice from me to me.

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious sh**!  - Doc, Back To The Future.

First time home buyer advice

I bought my own home in 2003, 5 years before I became a Seattle Realtor.

Was my home purchase flawless, perfect and stress free? Absolutely not!

Looking back, do I think that I could have done some things better? You betcha! I did some things well but could have done better on others.

When you do something for a living, day in day out, things become second nature. Things seem, well…obvious. Having said that, as a Realtor you are always learning and always need to be learning. But compared to when I was a first time home buyer I’m now a veritable professor of all things real estate.

When I look back with my current Realtor mindset at my home buying experience, there are definitely certain things that I could have done better. 

I love my home. It wasn’t perfect when I bought it, it’s not perfect now and probably never will be. I bought a 3 bedroom red brick Tudor home in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle. It was dated and had been on the market for about 5 weeks even though it was a strong, and getting stronger, sellers market. The minute I walked in the front door it was a case of "THIS IS THE ONE! Where do I sign?"

And so, if I had a time machine I could visit my younger self and give myself some first time home buyer advice.......

9 Critical Questions To Ask When Buying A Condo

Learn the questions that will protect you when buying a condo.

The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge  - Thomas Berger.

Condos are a popular option with many first time home buyers mainly because they are more affordable. They are also a good fit for home owners looking to downsize and have someone else take care of all the maintenance hassles.  Or if you want to be close to the hub of downtown life and stroll to bars, cafes an restaurants, then a condo is probably your only option.

Critical questions to ask when buying a condoThere are pros and cons to buying a condo versus a house. However, buying a condo is not the same as buying a house. There's a whole other set of questions you need to ask when buying a condominium.

The answers to these questions will help you decide whether you should even make an offer in the first place or bail on the sale once you get all the facts.

Ideally you want to get answers to as many of these questions BEFORE you make an offer. You want to avoid wasting  your time (and the seller's) getting into a contract when there's a good chance you will bail once you have all the answers.

When it comes to buying a condominium, the problem is that it is not usually possible to get all the answers up front. You might have to make an offer first to get all the nitty-gritty details. This applies in particular to the infamous Resale Certificate, but more on that later.

Here's a list of the most important questions to ask when buying...

Why many real estate market reports are meaningless.

Statistically speaking, many Realtor market updates should be recycled immediately!

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable - Mark Twain.

Many real estate market reports are meaningless

Probably the most common question Realtors get is "how's the market doing?" Home buyers and home owners are always interested in knowing what direction the market is headed in their particular neighborhood. A Realtor's personal experience in the trenches and good old gut feeling are good, but solid real estate statistics are better at conveying what the real estate market is really doing.

Real estate agents have access to lots of real estate statistics either through their Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or through real estate statistics software like TrendGraphix. However, it's how they select and use that data that matters. Some Realtors produce excellent market upates. However, just as some real estate advertising can be misleading, some real estate statistics are best avoided.

Real estate market reports are everywhere and are probably the most common type of blog post that real estate agents write. The great thing is that you can use the same template as the previous month and just copy and paste the whole thing, remove September's numbers and replace them with Octobers stat's. Then hit the publish button and you're done.

Statistically speaking however, many of those monthly reports that Realtors stick in the mail or mail out to their clients are at best "for amusement...

Ballard Seattle Real Estate Update for Ballard Houses November 2017

Ballard real estate market update for houses: May through November 2017

Ballard Seattle real estate market trends May to October 2017

Ballard Seattle is a popular choice for many home buyers and like much of Seattle, has seen a strong sellers market over the past few years. Obviously that's good news for sellers but it makes for a tough market for home buyers looking to get into the Ballard neighborhood.

If you are interetsed in Ballard Seattle homes for sale, or more specifically a Ballard house, here's an update on all the numbers you will need to give you a good idea idea of how the real esate market is doing in this Seattle neighborhood.

I looked at the sales of Ballard single family homes (houses only, excludes townhomes and condos) over the 6 month period covering May through October 2017. For reliable real estate statistics, it is always better to look at larger time periods rather than focusing in on any single month. All data was take form the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS). 

This update specifically looks at houses only. Separate updates for Ballard condos and townhomes will follow in sepatate posts.

What's the average sale price of houses in Ballard?

I looked at the sale price of single family homes based on the number of bedrooms. Not unexpectedly, as the number of bedrooms increases, so does the average sale price. As shown below, prices averaged from $684,000 for 2-bedroom homes to $1,043,000 for Ballard houses with 4 or more bedrooms. Three bedroom single family homes sold for $816,000.

Price of Ballard Seattle houses based on number of bedrooms...

Beware Of These 5 Common Real Estate Ads

Beware of real estate advertizing with lots of astericks!

The first law of advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.  John Crosby.

5 common real estate ads to be wary ofAs with all advertising and advertisers' attempts to get you to buy their products and use their services, the real estate world is not immune to, let's say, over embellishing.  In an ocean of advertising, you have to do something to stand out I suppose. They need to hook your attention and hook it quickly before your short attention span, advertising-jaded mind, stumbles to the next exciting, act now offer.

Some embellishment is fine in general, but we're talking about real estate here, not a pair of striped socks for $4.99 on Amazon! This is your home and potentially involves thousands of your dollars, or worse, if you make a bad judgement call.

Here are some common types of real estate advertising targeted mainly at home owners that could potentially lead you down the garden path (and not in a good way).

Ad #1: Increadible low interest rates, refinance today!

The little brightly colored ad in the sidebar on your online newspaper, proclaims it can get you a 30 year fixed rate mortgage of 3.25%.

Amazing, you think to yourself. My bank just quoted me 4.0%. I should check these guys out.

You call the 1-800 number and someone in a state 2,000 miles away answers and then the sale pitch begins..... "Thank you for calling Too Good To Be True Mortgages, my name is Mark. Looks like you saw our great interest rate offer..... yada, yada yada!"

Mark now starts attempting to ingratiate himself to you. Eventually, after pulling teeth for 20 mins with Mark, you realize...

10 potential home buyer cold feet warning signs.

Home buyer cold feet symptoms that sellers need to watch out for.

Once I make up my mind, I'm full of indecision!" Oscar Levant.

10 warning signs a home buyer may get cold feetA seller puts their home on the market, gets an early offer and accepts it. A few days later, the home is back on the market. What went wrong?

I call the listing agent and they will say "the buyers got cold feet!"

The home goes back on the market and is now perceived differently by the home buying public. Even if the listing agent emphasizes that the buyer got cold feet and "didn't even do an inspection", it's human nature to suspect that maybe, just maybe, there's something wrong with the home. The home might be perfectly fine but try convincing everyone of that. The home has now lost a little of it's new listing luster. 

So for you home sellers, how do you try and weed out those buyers that are more likely to bail on the sale for a little or no good reason?

There is no foolproof way to tell whether a buyer is guaranteed to bolt or not. However, there are certain warning signs that you should keep an eye open for that potentially will help you identify those buyers that are prone to the condition. You want to try and identify those buyers that are more likely to get buyers remorse and exit stage left BEFORE you get into a contract with them.

Many buyers bail on a sale for legitimate reasons. For example, the inspection revealed a lot of unexpected issues or the appraisal came in well below the sale price and the sellers are unwilling to drop the price. However, you are trying to avoid hitching yourself to a ...

Put some FIZZ in your FSBO (for sale by owner)

Some people can rebuilt their car's engine and some of us wouldn’t know even how to replace a dead headlight bulb. For you go-getters out there, who like to go it alone without the middleman, good on ya and kudos for giving it a go… including trying to sell your home without an agent.

However, here’s the reality. According to statistics from the National Association of Realtors (yeah, those guys), your chances of successfully selling your home via the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) process is a mere 10%. Allegedly, for those FSBO homes that do sell, they sell for less than agent-assisted sales, however, you will save on agent commissions which will offset some of that diffeence. The odds are stacked against you and there are many reasons whys FSBOs fail to sell.

The focus of this post is not to get you all riled up telling you why you would be better off listing your home with a Realtor. I’ll leave that up to the 10 agents who will call your every day while your home is on the market, each jostling to convince you why you should list your home with them. Prepare to become very popular and screen your calls.

No, the focus of this post is to hopefully help you improve your odds of successfully going it alone and giving youself the opportunity to give us Realtors the proverbial middle finger. The vast majority of homes listed by agents do sell, while the vast majority of FSBOs don’t. So what’s the difference? Well, obviously, Realtors are doing something right and you just need to learn how to copy them.

Selling a home is not rocket science but a least try and do the basics properly so you improve the chances...

Your home might be less of an asset than you're led to believe

Debt is one person's liability, but another person's asset -  Paul Krugman.

Is my home an asset or a liability?The US real estate market is currently booming and  Seattle real estate is top of the heap.  At the time of writing this, Seattle home prices are up close to 13% year-over-year and a whopping  47% above the previous highs of 2007.

If you own a home, you might be gleefully looking at those newspaper headlines detailing the latest market surges, dwindling inventories and desperate buyers fighting it out trying to buy a home while driving prices upward. While sipping your morning coffee, you'll be silently pondering "I wonder how much my home is worth now?'

Yes indeed, times are great and homeownership is a great investment!

Or is it?

No, this is not an article about whether we are in the midst of another real estate bubble, but rather a look at how the biggest purchase of your life can be an asset or a liability, or neither.  Also, even if you walk away with $200,000 in your checking account after the sale of your home, was your home really an asset / good investment in the strict sense of the word?

A home can be a potential asset or quickly spiral into a financial albatross around your neck. Alternatively, your "investment" can just sit there and do nothing. Some things, like sudden economic changes, are out of your control, but others like taking too much equity out of your home to buy a speedboat are within the realm of human stupidity.

Historically, home prices have gone up in value but it's not a smooth, linear upward trend. Here's the Case-Shiller US home price index, adjusted for inflation, starting way back in 1890. Note that the index measures the changes in the sale price of single family homes that have sold previously...

Should I go with a mortgage broker or a bank?

One of the most common questions I get from home buyers is; “what do you recommend, should I go with a mortgage broker or should I go with a bank for my home loan?”

"Also, is a mortgage broker the same as a loan officer?"

"Is one better than the other?"

All good questions!

Should I go with a broker or a bank for my home loan?Although yes, finding yourself a good Realtor is vital to ensuring a smooth home purchase, a great mortgage professional is equally important to ensuring a successful closing.

During the home purchase process, you will spend way more time with your Realtor, driving around, looking at homes and a good personality fit helps. For your lender, however, you might see them once or twice, or maybe even never, through the whole purchase. However, they will be busy in the background doing their due diligence to ensure your financing is being taken care of.

For this article, I teamed up with mortgage expert Luke Skar of Inlanta Mortgage and MadisonMortgageGuys.com to help explain the difference between the two main sources for mortgages. We will look at the differences between mortgage brokers and banks, the pros and cons of each and just as importantly, how to find a good lender.

I’ll cover things from the Realtor/home buyer perspective, while Luke will go over the different types of lenders and the pros and cons of each option. Both of us will give you our opinions on how to find a good lender.

From the Realtor's perspective.

The importance of a good mortgage professional:

When I purchased my own home back before I became...

Yes, strangers will pee in your toilet. A non-essential guide to home selling inconveniences

When you list your home for sale, the objective is to get buyers in the door, make them fall in love with the home and make a great offer for a smooth, hassle-free closing. Obviously, part of the aforementioned formula, is, well, letting people into your beloved home. People who you have never met before and probably never will, will be parading through your home and kicking tires. And yes, some of them will even pee in your pristine, spotless toilet!

Yes strangers will pee in your toilet when you sell your homeThis can be a stressful scenario for some home sellers, especially those who appreciate their privacy and those who keep their homes neater than a pin.

Very few people are willing to buy a home sight. Buyers will want to see your home in person before committing to making an offer and you need to make your home available to them.

Yes, it's your home and you are completely free to control buyer access to it. However, it is important, if at all possible, to make your home as accessible as possible for that first week after you hit the market to maximize your chances of a quick and successful sale. If you overly restrict access to you home, you are reducing your chances of getting the best possible price for it.

Will every buyer respect your home with the same level of respect you show it? To be brutally honest, probably not. It's best to be ready yourself for some minor, short-lived nuisances, but when you close it will be worth it all.

First of all, how do buyers get access to see your home?

The first way buyers come to see your home is by viewing the home with their agent. The Buyer will contact their Realtor and schedule a viewing...

Ballard Seattle real estate market update for February 2017


Leif Erikson status on Ballard SeattleTime to take a look at how the Ballard Seattle real estate market fared during the month of February 2017. February is usually a month where the market is starting to emerge from winter hibernation. Or at least that used to be the case. Because of the chronic low inventory of homes for sale, Ballard and other Seattle neighborhoods are staying competitive all year round now.  

The market remains very strong and for the past few months, Seattle has been either occupying the top spot or near the top as the hottest real estate market in the country. The low number of homes for sale remains the main factor driving prices upward. 

The major difference between different times of year is the variation in the number of homes for sales that naturally cycles through the lowest number in winter and then builds up to peak activity in the spring and early summer months.

The graphic below shows how homes for sale in Ballard Seattle compared in February 2017 versus 12 months earlier in February 2016.

Ballard Seattle real estate market update for February 2017

Data summary:

  • In February 2017, there was a total of 76 new listings (single family and condos combined) which was 11% lower than a year earlier.
  • There was a big drop of 57% in the number of homes that sold.
  • The average number of days that a Ballard home took to get...

The 3 critical P's when selling your home. Everything else is just cherries on top

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with information and advice from all directions as to the things you need to do when selling your home.  You read an article that details the 27 must-do items.  They couldn't come up with a nice round list of 30?

Selling your home is not rocket science. Do the fundamentals and do them well and your home should do really well too. 

In my personal opinion, these are the 3 critical, non-negotiable action items you need to focus on when selling your home. If you don’t do these 3 properly, then you are just leaving money sitting on the table or your home might not sell (even in a hot market). What you add in blood, sweat and hard cash will come back to you in shovelfuls at closing. 

Critical-P #1: Preparation

Stage your home inside AND out. By staging, I don’t mean just The 3 critical Ps when selling your homerearranging your furniture or hiring a staging company who bring in a few sticks of furniture and “voila, it looks simply daaaaarling darlings!”

By staging I mean, you make every square inch of your home and property (both inside and outside) look its very best. Yes, it’s a lot of work and is something you should start planning at last 6 months, or even better, a whole year before you intend to put your home on the market. Plan ahead and avoid stress overload later. Procrastination is over rated!

Here are some home preparation items to focus on. Preserve your sanity and hire some help rather than trying to do it all yourself. 

Declutter and start getting rid of stuff you haven't used on years. One word: Goodwill!

Make sure to focus on ...

Your home is market-ready, but are YOU market-ready?

Your home is market-ready but are you market-ready?Your home is about to hit the market. You did your homework and chose a really good Realtor who knows their stuff. Your home is looking the best it has looked in years. It looks so good now, you joke with your Realtor that you’ve changed your mind about selling.

You’ve decluttered, you’ve scrubbed and cleaned until the inside is Q-tip clean, you serviced the furnace and cleaned the roof and gutters. You've focused on the most important things to fix before listing a home. Fido and his GI issues are safely sequestered at Aunt Ellie’s. Your home is priced perfectly and those photos, in your humble opinion, are worthy of the front cover of Architectural Digest!

Your home is most certainly ready for prime time and the heaving masses of eager buyers.

The question is: are YOU PERSONALLY ready?

Obviously, getting your home ready is critical. However, you, yourself must also be prepared for the market and what is about to happen over the next few days, weeks and months.

Are you sure you really want to sell your home?

Yes, it’s getting a little late in the game but are you 100% committed to selling your home? What’s the real reason you want to sell?

People sell their homes for many reasons. Some have to sell because they are relocating for a new job and some have to sell because they lost a job. Some sell because the home has grown too small for their growing family and some sell because they have become empty-nesters and the home is now too big.

When the reason for selling is clear-cut,...

What percentage of homes in Ballard, Seattle are purchased with cash?

The Ballard neighborhood Seattle is a great place to live and is a sought after area by many Seattle home buyers. Currently, the Seattle real estate market is ranked as the hottest in the country, overtaking Portland, Oregon late 2016. Seattle home prices went up up 12.7% over 2016.

Many buyers looking to buy a Ballard home and who may have lost out on a home already, are probably wondering what percentage of the homes for sale in Ballard are likely to be purchased by an all-cash offer. Also how do Ballard condos and single family homes compare. Finally, how does the Ballard neighborhood compare with other areas.

To answer this question, I looked at statistics for the following:

  • The 100 most recent sales for each of Ballard and Capitol Hill (Seattle neighborhoods) and Bellevue (city on the other side of Lake Washington, for those of you who are newer to the area).
  • Looked at both condos and single family homes (houses and townhomes) of all sizes and prices.
  • Data was taken from the NWMLS on February 2nd 2017.

When you compare the percentage of cash buyers for each of these 3 areas, you see the following:

What percentage of homes in Ballard Seattle sell for cash

For Ballard, about one in ten single family homes sell for cash and about 1 in 5 condos (11 and 19% respectively). For the Capital Hill neighborhood in Seattle, twice as many houses sell for cash compared to Ballard but slightly fewer condos (22 and 15% respectively).

When you pop over to Bellevue, it jumps up again with about one third of Bellevue homes selling for cash and 39%...

5 types of people who probably should not buy a home

Buying a home probably won't save your marriageBe it through your own natural, inherent tendencies or through parental coercion, the usual human progression is go to school, get a job, get married, have kids..... and buy a home (actual order may vary).

The urge to buy a home can be pretty strong. People get tired of renting, putting up with thin walls and noisy neighbors and feel like they are throwing money down the toilet. Potential buyers can feel like they are getting left behind by the market and if they don't buy NOW, they will be priced out forever. And some people want to buy just because that's what you're supposed to do.

However, for some people, buying a home might not be a good idea for the particular time they are in in their lives. There's more to owning a home and there's nothing wrong with renting. At certain times, buying a home and taking on all the commitments associated with home ownership are best deferred to when you are really ready to make the leap.... both emotionally and financially.

NOW might not be the right time and later just might be perfect. And sometimes, maybe you shouldn't by at all unless you are willing to look at the concept of home ownership differently?

If you fit one of the following categories, then maybe step back and reconsider your situation.

All you see are dollar signs and a quick profit

In a hot real estate market, home prices go up and up. You think that if you buy a home now, it will automatically go up in value and you will make a tidy little profit in a couple of years.

NOBODY but nobody knows with certainty what the real estate market will do....

How to read between the lines of online real estate listings

We almost take it for granted now, but it’s incredible that someone can now sit in a Starbucks, open an app and search for online real estate listings to their heart's content. They get to see a detailed description and photos of the home, schools ratings, a street and aerial view and lots of more details in the palm of their hand. As the much touted statistic goes, 90% of buyers  now look for homes through the internet. The Sunday edition of your local newspaper doesn’t stand a chance anymore.

How to interpret online real estate listingsHow buyers find homes for sale has changed a lot over the years. Not so long ago, buyers were completely reliant on their agents to find out what homes were for sale. Now the masses are truly empowered and can be notified of a new listing just as quickly as their agent. The other day I was texting a listing to a buyer who at the same time he was sending me the very same listing. I beat him by a whole 5 seconds.

Having all this unfettered access to information on homes is great for buyers and sellers. However, do you know based on what you see online whether a particular home is worth speed dialing your Realtor about or gulping down your coffee and dashing out to the door to do a drive-by?

Obviously nothing beats going to see a home in person, but you can tell a lot from reading between the lines of online listings as to whether a home is a gem or an over-hyped dud.  Conversely, some homes can be a lot better than the online listing portrays because the listing agent skimped on a professional photographer or advised the seller that staging was a waste of time.

Tips for...

Should I buy a home on a steep hillside?

Buyer #1: Wow! Look at those expansive, unobstructed ocean views!

Buyer #2: Wow! Looks like that thing is ready to slide into the ocean.

Different buyers will view homes on a steep hill with different perspectives. To some, a home sitting on a steep hillside is a thing of beauty and will love how the land drops below them.  To others, it’s a disaster waiting to happen although the home might have been sitting there for the past 100 years and survived the occasional earthquake.

Homes on steep slopes comes in all shapes, sizes and locations. From packed-in tight San Francisco condo buildings, to new houses on man made terraces bulldozed into steep terrain to  million dollar Seattle homes overlooking the Puget Sound clinging to a forested hill trying to eke out every last inch of that spectacular view.

As with all styles of homes and the types of land they are located on, there are both pros and cons. But when it comes to homes on steep hillsides, a buyer has to take into consideration some additional elements when weighing up if a particular home is right for them or whether they should keep looking.

So, is buying a home on a steep slope a good idea or should you buy a home on something a bit more terra firma-ish?

Note: If you live in Florida, this article will be of no use to you whatsoever unless you are relocating soon.

The advantages of owing a home on a steep hill

Potentially, but not always, you will have unobstructed and expansive views of sunrises or sunsets, cityscapes or rural isolation as far as the eye can see. Since the land drops below you, there will not be a home right in front of you, blocking your coveted view. You might be looking at someone else's roof top but you can still see the mountains beyond

Potentially, you will have more...

6 Reasons Why Rain Is Your Friend When Buying a Home

"It was a dark and stormy night!"

Excellent!

Call your Realtor now and tell him to grab his gumboots because you want to go see some homes in the morning.

Sure, summer is a great time to go see homes when the sun is shining, everything is in bloom and homes look their best. However, personally I think the best time for a buyer to purchase a home is during the dark and dreary, miserable and wet months of the year. A good continuous dose of rain can help reveal a whole host of issues that might remain hidden, or at least a lot harder to find, during the drier spring and summer months. Plus there's a lot less competition for homes during those times of year.

Rain will help both the buyer and their agent when they are out looking at homes and considering making an offer.  Also helps your home inspector look really competent.

6 reasons why rain saves you from buying a bad homeFor non-Seattleites, it's probably hard to believe that from about mid June through mid September, we usually get next to no rain and have one of the best rated summers in the US (we like to keep that quiet).

We don't get the heavy lightening storms and downpours or hurricane rains some other parts of the US enjoy during the summer months. But come fall and winter...hold onto your Seahawks hats...you'll have the urge to build an ark in the backyard just to be on the safe side.  While writing this piece, we had THE wettest October on record. And to think I moved from Ireland for this!

On the upside, all that rain, wind and moisture is a great little helper when looking to buy a home. If you can time it for when a Pineapple Express is barreling in from Hawaii all the better. But regardless of which part of the US you live (including desert monsoons) rain and his buddy Mr. Wind, will help reveal all.

Rain and moisture...

Buying and selling a home and the joys of waiting. How to stay sane.

Estragon: “I can’t go on like this.”

Vladimir: “that’s what you think.”

      - Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

 Whatever side of the home sale transaction you are on, either as the buyer or the seller, the whole process is undeniably a bit stressful. Even the Dalai Lama probably gets a little stressed out buying a home, and you know how relaxed he looks all the time.

The most excruciating aspect of the whole process can be the WAITING! Waiting for this to happen, waiting for that to happen. HURRY UP already!

It will seem like the laws of quantum physics and the space / time continuum are being violated.  Just ask Stephen Hawking about when he bought his first home! There are periods of rush, rush, go, go…rush to go see a new listing, rush to make a decision whether to make an offer, rush to get an offer submitted, followed by....periods of deafening silence which feel like they drag on forever. Whoever said patience is a virtue obviously never bought or sold a home before.

When it comes to buying or selling a home there are several periods of waiting, some longer than others and some potentially more excruciating than others. Allegedly, all good things come to those who wait, but first you have to, um, wait!

Real estate waiting periods: The Classics!

The wait between submitting your offer and waiting to hear back if it has been accepted. This is probably the most stressful wait of all. You finally find THE HOME, it meets all your criteria and you really, really want that home! Unfortunately, so do four other buyers. You put your best foot forward and submit your best offer.

This is usually the...

Let home buyers discover the market for themselves or pop their dream bubble?

Recently I listed a home which received multiple offers on the offer review deadline. Two of the 8 offers were actually below asking price and with the full spectrum of buyer contingencies. After the sellers had picked the winning offer, I then set upon one of the less appealing aspects of real estate... calling the agents whose buyers didn't get the home. Yes, text or email would be easier but since the agent and their buyers went to the trouble of making an offer they deserved a phone call. 

When I asked the agents for the low ball offers…”Why did your buyers make below list price offers knowing that there were already a bunch of other offers?"

The agents replied: “I wanted the buyers to discover for themselves how strong a sellers’ market we are in right now, plus we got to practice writing up an offer”.

Some home buyers have an HGTV inspired impression of finding and purchasing a home. “Let’s go see 3 homes and then we can decide which one we want to buy”.

Ah yes, fantasy real estate land where everything is staged and not just the homes.

Buying a home is not like purchasing a TV…get to check out multiple models, then go home for a week and think about it, sleep soundly knowing that the same TV will be there in a week if you decide you want to buy it. In a strong sellers’ market or even a balanced real estate market, luxuries such as time are not always available.

As a Realtor, you have to decide whether to let home buyers discover for themselves what the real estate market is really like or, do you give it to them straight on day zero and risk never seeing them again as they run screaming into the horizon?

Note that this piece is written from the perspective of Seattle real estate,...