1742 181st Street E, Spanaway, WA 98387
Offered for $299,950
3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms
1,679 Square Feet
HOA $50 a Month
3 Pets Allowed (Dogs/Cats)
Nestled inside a lovely gated community, this home is bright and spacious! This home was built in 2009 and has only had one owner. My sellers planned to live here forever, but their family grew.
“We will miss how quiet this neighborhood is. There are so many conveniences, like the school bus stops being close by, right outside of the gated entrance. The parks and covered picnic area… You have multiple grocery stores close by – Walmart, Safeway, WinCo and Fred Meyer. There are many great restaurant choices such as tofu and pho, two thai restaurants, Sunny Teriyaki and more!”
This home and community have many benefits to boast of. Let’s start with the gated entry, with nighttime security patrol. After 6pm the gate closes and you need a code to open it.You have the affordable HOA fee taking care of the common areas and parks. All of the houses that line your street look well maintained!
The small, fenced side yard is super easy to maintain. Plus, you have quick access to these private parks and picnic spaces that are taken care of through the HOA, so it is the best of both worlds.
In addition to the parks and picnic area, there is a fenced basketball court located through one of the gated entrances that you have access to.
When you enter the home, you are greeted by tall ceilings, tons of natural light, and a functional, open floor plan.
All of the bedrooms and two of the bathrooms are located upstairs. The living room flows into the dining space, and then you enter the kitchen. The entrance to the 2 car garage is off of the kitchen.
There are many windows in this home, and tall ceilings, which makes the space feel light and bright.
The seller will be leaving all of the major appliances for the new owner(s)! This includes the refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and washer and dryer. The laundry room is right off of the kitchen.
One great thing about newer built homes – bathroom count! You have a bathroom conveniently located on the main floor, with the two full bathrooms upstairs, near the bedrooms. Guests can easily access a bathroom, without going into any of the private living spaces or bedrooms.
There is a proper staircase leading upstairs to the 3 bedrooms. The staircase has vaulted ceilings, and more natural light.
At the top of the stairs, to the left you have the large master suite.
There is a spacious bathroom, with double sinks, a tub, a shower stall, and a walk-in closet.
When you exit the master bedroom, you enter a hallway with a bonus space. The two other rooms are located on the opposite end of the hall.
The sellers used this bonus area as an extra bedroom and gaming area. You could use this as an office, play area, an extra lounge space, or have a space for your own little library.
Down the hall are the two additional rooms.
The two rooms at the opposite end of the hall from the master suit have their own bathroom.
Out back you have the large, two car garage. The sellers also used the pad to the right for extra parking.
If you have any further questions about this listing, feel free to pop me a text at (253) 691-0688 or email me at Keryn@windermere.com.
Buying a house is exciting, but it can be stressful! Especially for my fellow planners, and worst case scenario thinkers. The good thing is you can prepare and plan to a certain extent around your home purchase. The process will be much smoother if you gather some practical tools before you begin! Here are some tips to making the process as stress-free as possible!
Before you start your search
TALK TO A LENDER, STAT! Not only is it efficient, but you cannot make an offer on a home without one. Rather, no seller who is being properly advised will accept an offer without an approval attached. Especially in this market, where it is typical to see multiple offers. A seller wants to see that you can actually get a loan for the property and will be able to close. It’s more efficient to know your budget (what you’re approved for, and more importantly, what monthly payment you are comfortable paying).
During your search
- See as many houses as you can! This one is super important, especially in a competitive market. You don’t want buyers remorse, or to worry you “paid too much” for a house. Seeing as much inventory as you can (8-10 houses minimum) will help you get a sense of pricing, and what houses tend to go for. Even better if you start this research in advance of getting serious about your purchase.
- Start going to a few open houses here and there before you get rolling with your agent. Just don’t get emotionally attached to any houses- this is for research only! You don’t have to get approved before you start browsing homes, but I suggest calling a lender and getting a vague idea of what your range could be so you’re not starting your research too out of bounds of what you’ll actually be able to afford.
- Don’t get too invested into a home before you are under contract. You might want to know everything about the home before you put in an offer- What type of fruit tree is out back? How old is the sewer line? Is the roof new? Some of these questions will be answered in the seller disclosure form if provided upfront, or through the marketing materials. However, sometimes there isn’t enough time to do a lot of research before submitting an offer. NEGOTIATION WISE- if there are multiple offers on a home, we don’t want to set off alarm bells to a seller giving the impression that you are “pickier” than the other buyers. Let’s save some of the questions for the inspector(s) and sellers after we win the house! Obviously if something is a deal breaker, better to ask before we are under contract. Otherwise, let’s wait for the inspection and negotiate as needed.
Offering on a home
- Offering on a home can be super stressful. There might be a waiting period, or there may be multiple offers. My advice to clients as we craft the best offer we can is, to create an offer that you will be excited if you get the house (and not sick to your stomach!), and an offer that you won’t regret if you don’t get the house. For more about the offering process, click here.
- The day you offer on a home, try and stay busy! Plan a night out. If there are any updates or decisions that need to be made, then I will contact you asap.
If your first offer isn’t accepted
- Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that there will be more homes! Don’t feel the need to lower your standards, or to jump on something else right away. I recommend taking a few days off from searching if you are not on a strict deadline, to practice some self-care and reflect.
If your offer is accepted
- Avoid scheduling contractors, movers, or other professionals until we are closed on the house (or at least until we are through the appraisal!). I know, I know, Planners. This is hard for you! If you want to schedule movers, I would suggest waiting until after we have the appraisal report back (usually a week or two before close). As far as contractors go, I know people get excited and want bids on flooring, paint projects, and other things, but it is hard to set up times for contractors to go to the house when it is still on the market (especially if it is owner occupied). We want to avoid asking for cooperation while still negotiating the inspection and appraisal value (if the appraisal comes in low, asking them to lower it so we don’t have to kill the deal). You would get your earnest money back in this case if you used a 22A Financing Contingency.
- Stay as flexible as possible. Yes, we will have a closing date, but think of that as a target, not set in stone. Anything can happen during the process that could extend that day out. Here are some examples of common things that delay closing-
- Repairs the seller agreed to do take longer due to contractor availability.
- There is a delay in the getting the appraisal report back.
- The seller or buyer has a health issue come up and they are not able to schedule their signing appointment until later
- Closing gets extended, and then someone is on a pre-scheduled trip
Some questions I get in regards to our closing date-
- Nothing is needed from you on closing day! You should be signing 2-3 days prior to closing. Rarely we will have you sign your closing documents at escrow and close the same day.
- We meet at the home to get the keys after the deed is officially recorded in your name! Usually this happens in the afternoon on our closing date.
- We cannot close on the weekend because escrow and the county are closed and they are the ones who do the final dance to closing.
- We don’t have to meet the day we close if you are out of town, or busy! I can hold onto the keys and give them to you whenever works best for you.
For more about the Real Estate buying process, check out more blogs on my site, here.
4929 32nd Street NE, Tacoma WA 98422
3 bedroom with bonus living space & large 4th room downstairs!
1,709 sq feet inside of the home, with an 8,480 sq foot lot
Fully fenced, with a balcony looking onto the private backyard from upstairs, and an entertaining deck out back
Offered for $350,000.00
There are a few great things I want to note right off the bat about this home! First off, the amount of space in the home, and in the backyard. You’ve got 1,709 square feet in the house, and you have a giant back yard- an 8,480 square foot lot! The home has such a fantastic layout. 2 bedrooms, a full bathroom, and open living space upstairs, and 2 rooms, and a full bathroom+bonus living space downstairs.
Location. The seller loved to walk her dog to the BPA trail (a 3.6 mile trail) located 5 minutes away. You are 8 minutes away from both Dashpoint Park, and Brownspoint Lighthouse Park. Dumas Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is 8 minutes away as well, and less known, if you want more peace and solitude on your outdoor adventure.
For groceries and coffee, the sellers frequently went to QFC and Starbucks. “We also did Grocery Outlet in Federal Way, or Freds in Federal Way.”
At the entrance of the home you can go up or down the stairs. The main living space is up the stairs…
Lighting can be a concern in the Pacific Northwest, however, not in this home! There are large windows located all around the home, which allow plenty of natural light in.
There are beautiful hardwood floors throughout the entire upstairs! The living room and kitchen feel open to one another, but still have some nice separation at the same time.
The dining space located off of the living room, next to the kitchen…
The sellers had a much larger dining set in that space when they lived here. You can fit a large table in that area!
There are doors off of the dining space lead onto the balcony, overlooking the large, private back yard.
The seller is leaving all of the kitchen appliances, including a brand new fridge that just got installed and has never been used.
The two bedrooms on this level are located at the end of the hall.
The main bedroom on the upper level has a large window and closet.
The second bedroom gets great light as well, and has a decent sized closet.
Full bathroom on the main level, with another full bathroom downstairs.
This is the bonus living space downstairs! Large second living space, or if you have roommates, a living room of their own. Large windows, and doors that lead to the backyard. Washer and dryer are located in the closet on the right, along with the water heater.
There is a bedroom downstairs that has doors leading to the deck out back.
The second room downstairs is technically not a bedroom because currently there is no closet. Sellers used it as an office, but you could easily fit an exterior wardrobe, a bed, and other furniture in this large room!
Second full bathroom, located downstairs.
You can access the deck out back from both the bonus living space downstairs, and from the bedroom downstairs. Part of the deck is covered for the rainy season, and there is a privacy fence around that part of the deck.
This yard is HUGE! 8,480 square feet of outdoor living, in addition to the 1,709 square feet inside of the home.
To watch the video tour of the home and neighborhood, click here. If you have additional questions on this listing, feel free to pop me a text at (253) 691-0688, or email me at Keryn@windermere.com.
3006 N Bennett St, Tacoma, WA 98407
Offered for $275,000
2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom
714 Square Feet
6,300 Square Foot Lot
Updated North End starter home! This home was recently remodeled, and sits on a large lot in a wonderful location. Seriously, this location is amazing, and that is ultimately what attracted the seller when he purchased it-
“What attracted me most about the house was it’s location. I’ve always wanted to live in the North End since I was a child. I’ve always admired this area for it’s old trees and uniquely styled neighborhoods. Growing up in Tacoma, I grew to know the Northend for it’s good schools and nice neighborhoods, among other things.
…The other thing I love about living here is it’s close proximity to Point Defiance and the waterfront. Almost every night I would go to Ruston Way to read at the coffee shop, watch a movie, get some dinner, or simply just walk and admire the Puget Sound. Being only 5 minutes away, Point Defiance Park is another place I like to frequent just to walk or hangout by the beach. The house is also a ten minute drive from downtown. The fastest route is going down 30th and then across Schuster parkway. This is a very scenic route overlooking the water in the mornings. The University of Puget Sound is also really close, which made it convenient whenever I wanted to go to the library to study. Proctor District is also very close and I liked going to Metropolitan Market for grocery shopping.”
Like to go out to eat? You have so many options nearby for good food! Point Ruston has bars, restaurants, and the second location of Ice Cream Social! I like to go to Wildfin for happy hour, and to enjoy the view of the water. You can sit inside by the window, or enjoy their deck and outdoor patio seating. When you’re done grabbing a bite, you can walk along the water, (or rent a bike!), and see a movie at the cinema with comfortable seating.
Five minutes away, you have the Rosewood Cafe, which is a cute little neighborhood cafe. I like to order sandwiches and soups from there. For burritos and beer, check out Brewers Row! Fact- you can get a breakfast burritos at any time of the day. Cooks Tavern is a personal favorite brunch spot of mine.
What’s so great about this place is that you are close to many fun things to do, but you can come home to your quiet, cozy retreat. There’s a beautiful tree in-front of the house, and the home is pushed back from the street, making it feel that much more private.
This is a smaller home that is laid out well! Right when you enter the home, you are greeted with a nice, open floor-plan.
The home had remodeled when the seller purchased it in 2017! It has a modern feel.
There’s a little dining space off of the kitchen, that looks out to the private backyard.
The kitchen has a light, and clean feel. Deep, farm-styled sink in the kitchen!
The bathroom and both of the bedrooms are located down the hall.
Master bedroom to the left, at the end of the hall.
Second bedroom, down the hall to the right.
This yard is fantastic! Firstly, it is a much larger yard than you typically see. It’s landscaped, but still a clean slate for someone who wants to start a garden, build a greenhouse, or create more hang out space.
“I enjoyed having people over to watch the boxing fights, and other sport events. If it was summer, we would go to the backyard to make a fire and just talk. I found a lot of peace just being in the backyard, even if I was alone. I really enjoy gardening and this property has more than enough room to be creative with that.”
The backyard is fully fenced! There is a little patio space where you could set up a bistro table, and some outdoor seating.
Attached, one car garage. There are shelves attached to the wall for additional storage!
Check out the video tour, here. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about this listing! Text at (253) 691-0688, or pop me an email at Keryn@windermere.com.
4311 S 7th Street, Tacoma WA 98405
Offered for $279,950
2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom
828 Square Feet, 6,000 Square Foot Lot
Welcome to this lovely oasis located near it all! This location is perfect for folks who want the quiet peaceful street, but want to be close to all of the happenings in Tacoma. This home is located just 2 blocks from the best coffee in Tacoma, Valhalla. Beer lovers, Beer Star is a two min stroll down the alley! Sushi Tama is a great place to grab sushi, and it is super close! It has a relaxed vibe, and the dishes they serve have a more traditional feel.
You’ve got quick access to all of the small businesses, restaurants, bars, and coffee spots that 6th Avenue has to offer. You’ve also got Jefferson Park nearby, where the seller liked to walk her dog, Otis-
“This neighborhood is incredible. It’s peaceful & walkable. Valhalla is just a couple blocks, a perfect stroll for coffee with Otis on the way to the park. I developed friendships with several people on our block, they’re available and they care about the people in the community. It’s a 20min walk to the Proctor Farmers Market on Saturdays & just as close to all the 6th ave businesses but you don’t get all the noise. Easy to hop a bus downtown for dates with my friends, access to connecting busses to take me into Seattle for shows, I was fine without a car. Tacoma Boys is an 18 minute walk, yep. I timed it. But the bus goes right by as well.”
Mature landscaping makes the home private and peaceful. “I am going to miss the wisteria. There’s nothing like the perfume of those flowers freshly blooming. If the wind is just right it flows into the house, lightly and very delicate.”
The house has such a nice flow to it! You can see the kitchen from the living room, and there are tons of windows which make it feel light, bright, and open.
Master bedroom is to the right when you enter the home, next to the bathroom.
The master bedroom has a lovely sun nook, which looks out to the private backyard. This room gets so much natural light! The seller used it as her art studio because of this. It was a space she was able to feel creative, produce and market her pieces which she showcases on her site for her business, Ravel and Unravel.
The second bedroom is located across from the bathroom, and looks out onto the front yard.
There is a nice big window in the living room, which allows you to look out into the front yard. When I asked what the seller would miss, one of the things she mentioned was, “The light! This house has such incredible natural light throughout the entire day.”
Concrete kitchen counters, checkered flooring, tile backsplash, and built-ins make this a super cute kitchen.
Sunny dining area, which gives you a view onto the deck, and private backyard.
There are plants everywhere, including fruit trees; italian plums, two fig trees in the back yard and one cherry tree.”The sun pours in during Spring/Summer, I’d open all the windows to let the breeze in & watch the birds eat the cherries on the tree outside the side window.”
If you go down the path, it will lead to the stairs which go down to the alley and detached garage.
For more information on this listing, feel free to text me (253-691-0688), or email me at Keryn@windermere.com.
If you chat with agents who have been in the Real Estate Industry for 20+ years, you will likely hear them talk about how much the business has changed. The internet and technology have made information on homes easier for buyers and sellers to access without the help of their agent and marketing techniques have come a long way. For the most part, buyers are searching for homes online. Not in newspapers, magazines, or printed paper pamphlets like the olden days.
What does this mean for sellers? There is a lot of room for creativity with the marketing for your home! There are paper options (“just listed” post card campaigns are a common paper option nowadays), online blog posts, and then all of the elements that help your home shine online, such as professional photography and listing videos.
If your agent provides a listing video as part of their services, being intentional about how the videographer films the home is important. Sometimes you see the same pan shots over and over again, or music that is bland or that doesn’t match the vibe of the property. It can leave you wondering how much the video really adds to the listing.
Are you trying to show the layout? How much natural light the interior gets? The old charm? The amazing location? These details are important when being intentional with what you are trying to showcase about the property.
I approach every listing differently. I don’t think a “one style fits all” approach is most effective when attempting to appeal to potential buyers. I think of listing videos as a story-telling medium. While evaluating a home, I ask the seller(s) a series of questions:
- What first attracted you to this home when you decided to come see it as a buyer?
- What are some of the qualities you found desirable about this home when you purchased it?
- What will you miss the most about living here?
- What are some good memories you have in this home?
- Which places were your favorite to visit nearby (parks, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc.)?
I have listed homes that have been occupied by sellers, rental properties that had been previously occupied by tenants, and homes that we previously occupied by the homeowners, but were later rented out. I take all of these factors into account while developing the marketing plan and vision and creating a list of prep work needed to maximize the marketability of the home.
No matter what your specific situation is, there is room for creativity when marketing your home. Depending on the level of involvement you want, there are a few options I use:
- Seller interview. This is where we use footage of the home with you talking over the video about what you love most about it. There is the option of my voice being laid over the footage, instead, if you are not comfortable or local when we record the video! Example of seller interview style here.
- Focusing on elements of the home, no actors or voice overs. Being intentional with the shots, music, and making sure the home is prepped prior to filming (clean, staged, etc.). Example here and here.
- Lifestyle. Focusing heavily on what’s around the home, such as restaurants, parks, theaters, local businesses, or easy access to transit, in addition to sharing the house itself. Example here.
- Before and after. Showing off the improvements made to the home by the current seller(s) since they took ownership. Examples here and here.
Sometimes we end up blending all of these elements, other times we stick mainly with one theme. I don’t think a video is absolutely necessary to sell your home. However, I do think that it helps present your home as a premium product and can appeal to a potential buyers’ emotions. Many like to think that they are making an analytical decision when they purchase a home, but it usually ends up being an emotional choice, especially for first-time home buyers. Appealing to a buyer’s emotions, as well as being savvy and listing at a price that is strategic, makes for a solid list-to-sold equation.
For more on the list-to-sold equation, check out my blog post about determining a savvy list price, here.
Spring and summer are approaching! Traditionally this means we will be seeing an increase in inventory, and more buyers on the hunt for their home! You’ll likely be competing with other buyers when you do find a house that you want to offer on.
There are tools at your disposal to help you bring your A game when you submit an offer. These addendums add competitive layers to the contract, giving yourself more of an edge to help you knock out the competition.
- 35E- Escalation Addendum. This addendum is used when you are ready to offer over list price, but you only want to do that if others are willing to do so. Basically, you’ll offer more to win the house, but you don’t want to offer your top amount right out the gate. Instead of offering 10-15k over list price flat out, you’d rather offer list, or slightly over, and say you will beat any other offer by x amount, not to exceed y amount. For example, a home is listed at 350k. You are willing to pay up to 365k for this house, but you don’t want to offer that right away. You include a 35E and say that you will beat any competing offer by 3k, not to exceed 365k. So if the seller has an offer for 360, your offer becomes 363. You can put any number you’d like for the escalation amount, and the cap amount (the highest you are willing to offer for that particular home). If the escalation addendum is triggered, the sellers agent must provide us with the competing offer, proving that it was activated. Pro Tip: I recommend using odd numbers with the 35E, since it is less common. For example, instead of escalating by 3k, escalate by 3,550, and cap at 365,550.
- 22AD-Appraisal Gap Addendum. This one is baller, and I am seeing it make a comeback after disappearing for the winter. The 22AD is basically you pre-negotiating how much extra cash you are willing to bring if the appraisal comes in lower than the amount you offered for the home. Let’s say you attach a 22AD to your offer for 5k. If you offered 365k, and the appraised value comes in at 360k, that means you have agreed per the 22AD to bring that 5k loss to closing, in addition to your downpayment. This looks great to the seller because they are not losing that 5k in profit that they could have, if you hadn’t already agreed to bring it. If you didn’t attach a 22AD to your offer, you could just back out when the appraisal came in lower than your offer. A seller can ask you later in the process to bring extra cash if it doesn’t appraise for your offer amount, but a 22AD provides assurance to the seller that you’re willing to bring some extra cash if it doesn’t appraise. You are only agreeing to the amount that you put on the 22AD, so if the gap is wider than that amount you committed to, you are not obligated to bring more, even if the seller asks.
- 65B-Rent Back: This one is for when you are offering on a home with a seller who for whatever reason, wants to stay in the home post you closing on it for a period of time. Maybe the seller is trying to coordinate a move into their new home, and wants some buffer time to close on the sale of their home you are buying, and then close on the purchase of their new home. In this circumstance, maybe they’d like 3-5 days to clean and move their stuff out. Whatever their reason, a rent back could set you apart from the other offers if the seller has the desire to stay in the home for a period of time post close.
Some of these addendums make more sense in certain situations. It is the job of your agent to look at every house as a unique situation, and help you strategize to create the best offer for that particular house and seller. If you don’t fully understand an addendum, ask your agent to explain it until you do, or don’t use it at all.
These addendums can set you apart, but I only recommend you use them if you are 100% comfortable. I tell clients to think of it this way- make the best offer possible so that if you don’t win it, you don’t have any regrets, but if you do get it, you are not sick to your stomach. Sometimes you lose a house, but with that comes experience and practice with the process. Stay strong and positive as you continue with your search!
The majority of time I have been in Real Estate, the market has been in favor of sellers. I remember summers where every time a buyer would send me a listing they were excited about, I’d hold my breath and search recently sold homes nearby wondering, how much will this go for? Is there a review date? How fast can we get in there? We had to move FAST.
Although things have mellowed out a tad, I still have clients bidding over list price, submitting savvy offers and still not coming out on top. There are many components to crafting the offer itself that go beyond just how much money you are willing to offer. In addition, your agent should strategize the way in which they submit your offer. There are pieces to the puzzle of strategically submitting an offer that I don’t hear talked about much. Some details may not throw as big of a punch as others, but all of these things can help you and your agent paint your offer in the best possible light and increase the odds the seller picks your offer over any other offers.
When a buyer finds a home, the first thing I do is scroll down to see what the agent listed as far as financing options. Are any of them viable options for my client? If its a cash or conventional only house and my buyer is FHA, that is something I bring to their attention, ASAP. Different loan types have varying degrees of requirements as far as condition of the home goes, and sometimes it is obvious that a home won’t pass appraisal for a certain loan type.
Next, I look to see if there is an offer review date. Offer review dates have become much more common. This means that even if you submit an offer right away, the agent has a planned date to sit down with the sellers and go over all offers they received between the list date and review date. If the MLS includes an offer review date, I reach out to the agent to verify they plan to stick to it and ask them to let me know if anything changes. (Sometimes it does!)
After I make contact with the seller’s agent, I ask if there are any unique terms that the seller(s) are looking for. Sometimes, sellers may want a sooner or later close date or the option to rent the home for a period of time post-close (called a “rent back”), for example. Once I have that information, I make suggestions to my clients on offer terms and send them recently sold homes nearby that are similar.
When strategizing a winning offer, there are layers of considerations. I start with the technical aspects of the offer:
- How much are you wanting to offer? Do you want to include an escalation clause? Appraisal Gap Addendum?
- What type of financing are you using and how much is your down payment?
- How much earnest money are you able/willing/comfortable offering?
- How fast can your lender close on your loan?
- Are you okay reducing the inspection timeframe?
There are components of the submission itself that I think are underplayed. Here are some aspects that I consider:
- Is your lender willing to reach out to the listing agent, assuring them that your financing is dialed-in and that you are qualified for the home purchase?
- Is your agent reaching out to the listing agent and letting them know an offer is headed their way and asking if there are any ways to make your offer stand out? This shows the listing agent that your agent is professional and cares about doing a good job.
- Does your agent write a cover email, explaining why you are qualified for this home purchase, assuring the agent that you are motivated and committed to the home? In my emails, I also like to introduce the buyer’s lender and urge the agent to reach out to myself or the lender with any questions. I always attach the offer as a .pdf, not an electronic signing link, and include an approval letter from the lender. I write a summary of the offer in the body of the email, outlining our offer terms and noting any additional facts that make the offer look stronger that may not be conveyed in the contract itself, for example, an inspection date that may already be secured.
- Staying in touch with the sellers agent, and following up is important. However, I would not recommend your agent blow up their phone. When you are on the listing side, you have agents texting and calling all day. If there is a buyers agent constantly asking how many offers you have, it can make your agent seem overbearing. If there are two offers exactly alike, but your agent is friendly, professional, and efficient, that could tip the odds over in your favor.
My suggestions for technical aspects of an offer vary depending on how the home is priced (high or low end of the estimated market value range), where it is located (more or less competitive area), and how long it has been on the market (has it been on longer than a week). The second list of aspects of submitting an offer to me are crucial, always. It matters that your agent is professional, writes and submits an organized, well laid-out offer, despite what the terms of the offer are! For more about being fierce in the Tacoma market as a buyer, read my blog post here. If you’re curious about ways to beef up your offer contractually, check out my blog post about different kick ass addendums that can add complexity and strength to your offer.
One of the most anxiety producing processes in Real Estate is the inspection negotiations. It is stressful for both parties of the transaction. Buyers are worried that they may discover that the house needs more work than they can afford (money, time, resources). The question of how much work a home needs is especially worrisome for first-time home buyers, who are typically shelling out a lot of cash between their earnest money, closing costs, down payment, moving costs, and paying for the home inspection(s).
A seller is usually stressed about the inspection, as well. They, too, worry that issues will come up they were not aware of, and they won’t have the cash on hand to take care of the repairs requested by the buyers. There is the concern that the buyer will insist the sellers make repairs the sellers don’t see as necessary, making the sale fail and starting the selling process all over again. The assumption usually made by a buyer or buyer’s agent is that the seller is making money from the sale of the home, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes a seller is barely breaking even or using the profits to pay off other debts or purchase a new home. Seeing their profit slowly decrease can be stressful and sometimes make selling not feasible.
No matter which side of the equation you are on, there are different strategies you can take when diving into an inspection negotiation.
As a seller, you could go as far as getting a pre-inspection done on your home, so that you are aware of everything before you go onto the market. This turns some sellers off because if they discover material defects, they then must disclose them to potential buyers right when they list the home or they are faced with repairs right away.
Sellers ask me often if they should take care of minor or major repairs before they list their home or if they should just wait for them to come up after the buyer inspects. Both are viable options, and there isn’t a clear cut answer. Here are some pros and cons I think sellers should consider to help decide which strategy speaks more to their mindset and which feels more comfortable to them.
Sellers taking care of repairs before you list.
- Depending on the scale of necessary repairs, if done prior to going on market, we could use them in the marketing (video, blog post, MLS listing remarks). Some examples of repairs that could be marketed to attract buyers are installing a new roof, servicing or replacing a furnace, installing new flooring, or painting the interior or exterior. The sewer lines in Tacoma are generally super old, so providing proof that the line is functioning well can eliminate a huge concern for buyers right away! Doing these repairs and providing these assurances before we list makes the house look more attractive to buyers who want a house that is dialed in!
- Doing work like replacing a roof or touching up chipped exterior paint could make the home more appealing to a wider range of buyers, which could get you more offers and put us in a better position to receive offers in the upper market range. That in turn will strengthen our inspection negotiation power since we will have less time on market. The winning buyer can be reminded that there is a ton of interest and not to be too picky on repair requests.
- If you get work done on the home prior to listing, I suggest attaching the paid invoices to the MLS listing so that agents can pass those onto the buyers. It shows that you were committed to prepping the house before putting it up for sale – making buyers more confident in offering top dollar for the house. It also sets the tone that you have already done work and likely won’t want to negotiate petty items.
- It gives sellers peace of mind knowing that you made the house as dialed-in and appealing as you could from the start. If things don’t go as you’d hoped, you won’t have that agonizing thought, “What if the roof was turning buyers off… What if I had just replaced that gross carpet in the living room…”
- Completing some work prior to listing your home could make it available to more buyers with varying loan types. If your home needs exterior paint, or has a failing roof, it could fail appraisal for certain loan types. An experienced buyers agent will point out potential issues while showing your home to buyers with stricter financing. There are a handful of things you can do ahead of time to avoid appraisal concerns.
- If you get a pre-inspection done on your home to see what is needed, it can be burdensome. If you discover material defects, you must disclose them on a seller disclosure form when we first go on market. However, unless folks are waiving their inspection, for a person who likes to plan and anticipate as much as possible, it can provide relief to know there likely won’t be any surprises when a buyer performs their own inspection(s).
- You might repair items that a buyer who chooses your home may have never tried asking for.
- Market value isn’t a mathematical equation – we can’t say with 100% certainty that a new roof will get you X amount more on offers. However, I can say with confidence that the more move-in ready a home is, the more buyers you will appeal to.
- Depending on your situation, you don’t want to spend all of the money you have on hand before we list. There are many ways you can use your current cash to make your home appealing (paint, flooring, staging, hiring a company to deep clean), and we need to look at your house and what will be the most useful within your resources. Every buyer is different, so you don’t want to spend money on something that one buyer might not care about, deplete your resources, then have a buyer press hard about a totally different issue that we didn’t address.
Not everyone can afford to prep their home 100% before listing. These ideas are for folks who are in a wonderful position to sell and ask me what is the way to get top dollar for their home. There is a list of items I provide sellers prior to listing, which ranges from the must-do’s to the more expensive, optional tasks. At minimum, you want to clean, de-clutter, and make sure the door locks work properly, light-bulbs are not burnt out, and there are no beeping smoke detectors. For more information on keeping your house from turning buyers off, check out my post – Sellers, Let’s Not Creep Buyers or Their Agents Out!
No matter whether the market is favoring buyers or sellers, pricing a home is one of the hardest things to do. There are many factors to consider when determining a realistic and savvy list price. Real Estate is not just an analytical endeavor. While people are complex and choose a home based on a variety of factors, list price plays a huge role in it! You and your agent want to be strategic when pricing your home, to leverage your power when you first launch it onto the market.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on list price:
When do you want or need your sale finalized? Are you hoping to get an offer right away? Knowing your preferred timeline helps when deciding on list price strategy. In the current market, if you want to get your house from active to pending as fast as possible, it makes sense to list towards the bottom end of the anticipated market value range (what you believe buyers are willing to pay for it, given the current market conditions and recently sold houses nearby).
Also, doing it this way tends to get more buyers in the door right away, and usually kicks off a situation where buyers are competing with one another, creating a multiple offer situation. It is similar to the “sale” mentality. When buyers see a home that is listed competitively, many tend to want it more, and decide that they have a better chance of competing with others, versus going for the other house that is listed 10-15k higher than yours. Sometimes when you list in the top end of the anticipated market value range, it can turn buyers off – even ones who are willing to offer that same, higher amount to beat competing offers!
“But, Keryn, what if people don’t offer over list price, and we listed at the bottom end of the range?” I would never recommend listing your home at a price you didn’t want to sell it for. I firmly believe if you list towards the bottom of what you anticipate getting, that the offers will come in at true market value. If you go this route, it is wise to have an offer review date so that the home can get enough exposure and give agents enough time to craft and submit an offer. Worst case scenario, if no offers are received by your review date (sometimes these things happen!), make sure your agent removes the review date from the listing to avoid making the home look unappealing, like no one wanted it!
Other benefits to this strategy include:
- Possibly gaining a back up offer. A backup offer is a second buyer who automatically gets the house if the winning buyer backs out. Having a backup means you don’t have to go back on market, which means you don’t sit longer and risk having to drop the price to get new buyers back through or have someone try and negotiate the price down.
- More inspection negotiation leverage. A back up offer increases your power in inspection negotiations with your winning buyer as well. If a buyer gets too picky on inspection repair requests, it is nice to be able to remind the buyer’s agent that there were multiple offers and that there is a back up offer pending. They know if they back out it isn’t as big of a hassle for you – there’s another eager buyer waiting to get the house!
- It is less likely to receive a less-than-list offer. Buyers know it will likely go at or over list with other buyers competing against them, especially since this is designed to get offers in the first week on market.
If you have more time, you might rather list towards or at the tip-top of the range we think we can get. This strategy also has its pros. It can be overwhelming to sift through many offers and hard to let down the buyers who lose the house. It also tends to filter out buyers who aren’t serious enough to see the transaction all the way through. If you go this route, I recommend having a price reduction plan in place so that the house doesn’t sit too long if you don’t get an offer. You don’t want the listing to go stale, and you don’t want to turn buyers off by seeming unmotivated. Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes. Is your home valued much higher than the average sales price, appealing to a smaller amount of buyers? Is your home a unique property, that will sing to a particular buyer who might not be looking at the time we list? These are things to consider while coming up with a listing strategy!
Coming up with list price is one of the most challenging parts of listing, in my opinion. You don’t want to come on too low, but you don’t want to turn buyers off by coming on too high. Coming up with a list price is part art and part science. There are things we do to make sure we are making our best estimate of what people will be willing to offer for your home. We look at specifics of the home (size, condition, location), and we compare it to homes sold recently nearby (as an appraiser will do later in the process). We also look at the current market conditions. Are there a lot of buyers? How many homes are we competing with nearby?
Coming up with list price can be challenging, but it can also be fun! I just urge people to be intentional with how and why they list their home for the price that they do. I love presenting my clients with a variety of options and empowering them to decide which route works best for them.
To read more about making your home as appealing as possible, check out my blog post “Ten Details That Create An Amazing Showing Experience!”