2016 was a challenging, fast paced residential real estate market with multiple offers and sales over list prices the norm. So far 2017 is set to match or out pace last year, crushing any concerns about another real estate bubble. Downtown Bellevue continues to be a high demand destination for people working on either side of the lake. With Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and numerous other companies continuing to expand and hire, its unlikely the local demand for housing will decline. Last year when Expedia announced it would be moving its offices from Bellevue to Seattle there was concern downtown Bellevue might have an excess of available office space – that lasted just a few minutes. Amazon has leased the entire Centre 425 office tower, Salesforce and other companies occupy most of the 929 Tower, and there isn’t much space left at the Lincoln Square 2 office tower. Its likely the Expedia space will be leased before its even vacated.
New residential rental units have been built downtown but there’s been little in the way of new condo construction. A few condo and townhouse communities are under construction and in design review, but most are less than 20 units. One88, developed by Bosa Development, is the only condo community scheduled to start construction downtown in the next 60 days. As seen in Seattle, expect buyers to line up around the block when the 140 units are offered for sale. (one88bybosa.com)
What does the city’s robust economy and high demand for housing mean for existing condos in the 98004 zip code? Multiple offers will continue and buyers will stretch their budgets to secure an urban residence. Last year the median condo sales price in the 98004 zip code was $580,072. So far this year the median sales price is just over $700,000 – a 21% increase. Until inventory, resale or new construction, can satisfy demand, expect condo values to continue to increase in double digit numbers.
CONDO MARKET SPECIALIST
As an industry expert I keep track of the Eastside’s condo inventory, market trends and new projects under construction or in design review. Contact me if you need information about buying or selling or just want to know what projects are on the horizon.
Yes, its a seller’s market, but if you’re planning to sell your home, don’t think you can forego the typical prep work associated with getting your home ready to show to buyers. This is the time of year more homes are listed for sale, and more inventory brings more competition. With more to choose from buyers may not be willing to pay top dollar for a dirty, dated or poorly maintained home.
There are easy, inexpensive tasks a homeowner can complete in a weekend or two that make a big difference.
CLEAN (and clean again) – pay special attention to the kitchen and baths.
DE-CLUTTER – remove clutter in closets, cabinets, drawers and garages. “Martha Stewart” your house and show off the storage space.
PAINT – If a room or hallway is looking tired a fresh coat of paint is inexpensive and makes a big difference.
MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION – Curb appeal is huge. The saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” is true in any market. Paint the entry door (if the HOA permits), install a new kick plate, toss tired winter plants and put fresh flowers and mulch in entry pots or gardens.
LET THE SUN SHINE IN – open window treatments, remove or replace tired drapes or blinds. Clean the windows – maximize your home’s natural light.
Some work will require professional help but its worth the investment. Have the furnace and A/C serviced. If other systems, appliances or fixtures need repair get it scheduled.
Multiple offers are common and many homes are selling quickly and for more than list price, but that doesn’t mean a free pass for neglecting repairs or cleaning. A home should be delivered to the new owner in clean and good condition.
It takes considerable time and energy to get a home ready to sell, but the payoff (return on investment) is worth the effort. I specialize in condos. I know what’s been happening in your neighborhood and your home’s market value. When its time to sell let’s talk . . . I have information and referrals for cleaners, contractors, landscapers, resources for donating or disposal and can help you maximize your return on investment.
Like most people, I spend more time indoors and watch more TV in the winter. I enjoy the HGTV home remodeling shows (Beachfront Bargains is one of my favorites). There’s always something to learn about new design trends and construction and real estate around the country.
Unfortunately, the shows don’t tell you everything about the mistakes, cost overruns and amount of time and money required to complete a project. First, there’s the myth about the time it takes to find a home and complete a remodel project. In a 60 minute show buyers look at 3 houses, find the home of their dreams, and then complete a full remodel in 6-8 weeks. Seriously, it could take that long to hire a contractor and get permits. With few exceptions, remodeling takes longer than anticipated, costs more than expected and there are always surprises. The idea of completing a high end kitchen for $20,000 is unrealistic, and I love it when homeowners are shocked that it is going to be a problem (and expensive) when the HVAC and main waste lines run through the wall they plan to remove.
When clients ask about remodeling I tell them to start with their eyes wide open and remind them “this isn’t HGTV”. Be realistic, plan for a project to take longer than expected, be prepared for surprises and have contingency funds available for the unexpected.
So why do I watch these shows? Chip and JoJo have a great sense of humor, they’re entertaining and they really know their stuff. I love to see whether homeowners will “love it or list it” and the Property Brothers, also entertaining, are generally right on with remodel costs (even though they work wonders in just 6 weeks). And who knows – I may find the beachfront bargain of my dreams.
If there’s a remodel in your future give me a call. Over the years I’ve gathered resources for vendors and contractors who can help with minor update to major remodel projects. If your remodeling a condo, before you start you’ll need to know about working within the guidelines of the HOA and community rules and regulations.