SELLING • DECEMBER 8, 2021

You’ve Decided to Sell Your Home—Now What? 

by Meaghan McGlynn

Happy couple ready to sign their closing documents with their real estate agent.

Deciding to sell your home is one of the biggest steps you can make in your journey as a homeowner. You’ve likely gone through every scenario in your head and are eager to make sure that the next step for yourself and your loved ones is the right one. The shift from homeowner to seller can feel like a roller coaster, but with the right preparation, it will go smoothly. Here are a few ways to make this transitional period a little easier.

Rely on Your Support System

It’s common to experience waves of emotion when selling your home. Leaning on your support system—your Windermere agent included—can provide some stability.

Selling a home is an exciting endeavor to be shared with the people around you. Reach out to your friends and family to share the great news and start the conversation about how, where, and when they can help you. Whether it’s helping you pack, getting you out of the house during open houses, lending a hand on moving day, helping you get settled into your new home, or simply offering words of encouragement, involving your community will help make it all feel a little less overwhelming for both you and them. If you’re looking for a place to stay while you sell your home, someone in your network may have the perfect solution.

Ask Questions 

There is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when selling your home. Whether you’ve sold your home before or this is your first time, each transaction in unique. Your Windermere Real Estate agent will be equipped to address your every question, so don’t be afraid to pause the conversation to ask a clarifying question if something doesn’t make sense.

For information on every aspect of what it takes to sell your home, visit the Selling page on the Windermere blog.

Create a Timeline of Selling Your Home

From prep work to closing, there are many steps to selling your home. It may be helpful to create a timeline or schedule of events, so you know both what you’ve accomplished and what’s coming next. Here’s an example of what it could look like:

  • Prepare to Sell
    • Move out & clean
    • Stage the home
    • Marketing Photos
    • List the house
    • Open House Weekend
  • Accepting the Offer
    • Review Offers
    • Accept an offer
    • Negotiate with buyer
    • Buyer’s Inspection
  • Moving
    • Pack up
    • Move
    • Update all addresses and bills

Expect the Unexpected When Selling Your Home

There’s a fair amount of unpredictability in a transaction as intricate as selling a home, so it’s best to be prepared. A pre-listing inspection will let you know of any major issues with your property that might impact the price of your home and the eventual negotiations your agent will pursue with the buyer’s agent. This lets you make necessary repairs before you go on market, providing you with one last chance to increase your return on investment.

Keep your home secure with a few precautions while you sell. While your house is on the market, you’ll have a lot of foot traffic during open houses and private tours. You can protect your home by adding cameras in and around your home, hiding valuables in a safe, and talking to your agent about taking the appropriate safety precautions.

For more on what you can expect when selling your home, read our blog post on the 10 Costs Associated with Selling Your Home.

Q4 2021 Western Washington Real Estate Market Update 

by Matthew Gardner

The following analysis of the Western Washington real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information about the housing market in your area, please don’t hesitate to contact your Windermere Real Estate agent.

REGIONAL ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

Just when we thought COVID was starting to pull back, the Omicron variant made its presence known. It is still too early to suggest that this has affected the region’s economic recovery—we won’t likely know for certain until we get more job data. I remain hopeful that this latest spike in infections will not have too much of an impact, but only time will tell. To date, the region has recovered all but 51,000 of the 297,000 jobs that were lost due to the pandemic. Some of the region’s smaller counties, including Grays Harbor, Cowlitz, Thurston, San Juan, and Clallam, have seen a full job recovery. The most recent data (November) shows the regional unemployment rate at a very respectable 3.3%, which is below the pre-pandemic low of 3.7%. The lowest unemployment rates were in King and San Juan Counties, where 2.9% of the labor force was out of work. The highest rate was in Grays Harbor County, which registered 5.1%. I still expect to see a full job recovery by this summer. However, there is a growing labor shortage holding the area back. Hopefully, this will change, but some industry sectors—especially hospitality—continue to find it hard to attract workers.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME SALES

❱ In the final quarter of the year, 22,161 homes sold, representing a drop of 5.2% compared to the same period in 2020 and down 18.8% from the third quarter.

❱ The reason there were lower year-over-year sales is simply because the number of homes for sale was down more than 30%. The drop between third and fourth quarters is likely due to seasonality changes in the market.

❱ Although home sales were lower in most markets, there was a significant uptick in Grays Harbor and Thurston counties. The number of homes sold dropped across the board compared to the third quarter.

❱ The ratio of pending sales (demand) to active listings (supply) showed sales outpacing listings by a factor of 5.2. The market is supply starved and unfortunately, it’s unlikely enough homes will be listed this spring to satisfy demand.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sales for various counties in Western Washington during the fourth quarter of 2021.

WESTERN WASHINGTON HOME PRICES

A map showing the real estate market percentage changes in various counties in Western Washington during the fourth quarter of 2021.

❱ Home prices rose 15.1% compared to a year ago, with an average sale price of $711,008. This was 2.1% lower than in the third quarter of 2021.

❱ When compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was strongest in San Juan and Jefferson counties. All but two markets saw prices rise more than 10% from a year ago.

❱ Relative to the third quarter, every county except Island (-8.6%), Mason (-5.2%), Lewis (-2.9%), King (-2.1%), Cowlitz (-1.7%), and Kitsap (-0.9%) saw sale prices rise.

❱ Mortgage rates rose more than .2% between the third and fourth quarters, which may have impacted prices. Affordability constraints continue to grow, which is also likely to have played a part in slowing gains.

A bar graph showing the annual change in home sale prices for various counties in Western Washington during the fourth quarter of 2021.

DAYS ON MARKET

❱ It took an average of 23 days for homes to sell in the final quarter of 2021. This was 8 fewer days than in the same quarter of 2020, but 6 more days than in the third quarter of last year.

❱ Snohomish, Thurston, King, and Kitsap counties were the tightest markets in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of between 13 and 16 days to sell. The greatest drop in market time compared to a year ago was in San Juan County, where it took 33 fewer days for a seller to find a buyer.

❱ All counties contained in this report saw the average time on market drop from the same period a year ago. Every county except Whatcom saw market time rise compared to the third quarter.

❱ Longer days on market might suggest that things are starting to slow, but I don’t actually think this is the case. I believe buyers are being a little more selective before making offers, and many may be waiting in the hope that supply levels will improve in the spring.

A bar graph showing the average days on market for homes in various counties in Western Washington during the fourth quarter of 2021.

CONCLUSIONS

A speedometer graph indicating a seller's market in Western Washington during the fourth quarter of 2021.

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.

The housing market remains in a state of imbalance, but, as I look at the data, I believe the frenetic pace of sales and price appreciation may start to soften in 2022.

This will likely be due to financing costs and affordability acting as headwinds to price growth. Mortgage rates have started to rise again, and I have forecasted them to reach 3.7% by fourth quarter. This alone will slow price growth as affordability in many areas declines.

One thing that remains unknown that could have a significant impact on the market is long-term work-from-home policies. Many businesses have not yet determined their plans for remote working, but once they do, potential home buyers who have been waiting to see how frequently they have to commute to work could immediately start their search. In addition to boosting sales, this could add inventory to the market as well.

All things considered, I am moving the needle just a notch toward buyers. However, as you can see, we are still in a market that heavily favors home sellers.

ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER

As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.

In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.