The Eight Edition of The Elephant’s Year in Review of Trilogy at Redmond Ridge
The Pachyderm Proudly Presents the Eighth Edition of The Elephant’s Year in Review of Trilogy at Redmond Ridge!
Welcome to 2019, Trilogy Members…
For those of you who are new to “The Hood”, welcome to YOUR new home, new friends and new beginnings. We trust you’ll enjoy “Social Interaction, Health and Well-Being and Learning New Things”, which is in the theme of Trilogy. You’re about to find out why so many say, “It’s just another day in Paradise.”
Who is “The Elephant”? I was given that name by a dear friend of mine, John Bennett, who taught me what little I know about writing and a lot about taking the higher road. He was a monthly reader, a former Head Hunter for the Associated Press and later became the head of Public Relations for ConocoPhillips. In retirement, he reviewed countless articles as a co-panelist for who would be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism. He liked my reporting and took me on. He helped me clean things up a bit and it got him out of housework. Sorry, Dolores and thank you, John. I love you and I miss you.
Why did I begin to produce and put in your mailbox, not only this Year in Review, and, with less than a handful of misses since 2010, the monthly market report? I did it so you got the facts and not some hungry Realtor or misguided neighbors’ point of view. I had heard a lot of crazy things about this process, how that wall was built, how those homes were connected or bad 411 about a particular sale, etc.. For Real Estate Brokers, Trilogy is a very different animal to show homes in. It was for me too, when I began my journey in 2003, as a Community Representative (Licensed Site Agent) for the developer. I was a top producer from Windermere when Shea Homes sought me out. Still, it took me a good 18 months just to have a solid base to work the neighborhood confidently and I was privileged 40+ hours per week with inside information and expertise. Eventually, I became a top producer among all Trilogy Communities.
When I parted with Shea Homes, Inc. in November of 2009, I held the responsibility of the Designated Broker licensed with the Washington State D.O.L. and all Trilogy sales fell under my Managing Broker’s license. Among other honors, I had been awarded the #1 Tour Guide for all Trilogy Communities, did some of the sales training and tour development, was a sales training MVP among all Trilogy Communities and became the Lead Community Representative here in Redmond. I was involved in the hiring of several employees, some of whom you may know, the development of the community and walked many of your home sites in the mud before the infrastructure was in, helping to establish the lot premiums.
This “Year in Review” is designed to give you a comprehensive recap of the sales activities of the entire year. Our goal is to enable you to quickly reference facts and figures for yourself at a glance and to be able to compare it to prior years. We hope you’ve kept those booklets we spent thousands of dollars and countless hours to bring you. Facts are facts and numbers don’t lie. They almost always provide an accurate picture of what exactly is going on and, better yet, what is, most likely, going to happen in the future. Over the last 15 years, I’ve visited many of these homes, so my gut is well-honed, and I recognize the differences or mistakes in marketing immediately. Trilogy is in my DNA. We hope you enjoy the read and find value in this report. If you have more questions or are, perhaps, thinking of selling soon or a year from now, I’d be honored to pay you a visit and get you headed in the right direction. In the meantime, enjoy!
2018 YEAR IN REVIEW
It was another banner year for Trilogy home sales, consistent with the previous five years. We hit 102 Sales, just two less than 2017. I credit it to a much more concentrated effort by Homeowners to prepare their homes way ahead of time and to more tenacious Realtors who had to work much harder this year to convince their Sellers what they wanted to do could be done.
It was, also, a tumultuous year, one where Realtors and Buyers were mostly starving for inventory. The first half of the year, when homes did come on the market, they were snapped up quickly and Brokers were competing for properties. Many Buyers missed out, some more than once. Seven homes entered escrow for each of the first three months of the year, not bad for Winter. Then came April with “Pending” homes more than doubling at 15 resulting in 17 closings for May. May was much of the same but those of us who are paying attention, experienced things slowing down. The recap chart below doesn’t really reflect an accurate average for days on market. Had we thrown out one or two of the longest market times, skewing the statistics, we’d have found beginning sales averaging under two weeks. That’s fast for January and February. Removing no sales, March revealed a 10-day average even with one sale at 31 days, and April produced a legitimate five clicks on the calendar.
However, as these contracts were piling up in Escrow, we noticed one thing. They weren’t closing as quickly. Buyers were asking for more time to close so they could prepare their own homes for sale or find a new home destination. It was a combination of not wanting to miss out on an opportunity and a worry of whether their prior home would sell before the sky fell. Most of these pending deals closed the end of May or beginning of June then, it came, a long pause. Brokers and Sellers experienced a few weeks of extreme slowing. Almost all of us were describing it as “dead.” Sellers were ready for showings daily, only finding themselves sitting by the phone. People seemed to be worried about everything from the Trade War with China to Mid-Term Elections, rising interest rates, a volatile Stock Market and more. Many wondered if we were in a bubble or even ready to experience another crash. This was, absolutely, not the case.
Remember, “Trilogy is a different animal” so the Recap below requires some explanation. I’ll review that later. Notwithstanding, most of us help Buyers and Sellers in many neighborhoods and the feeling was the same for all of us. Things were cooling down a bit.
As time on market began to extend, pricing began to level off and Buyers were discovering a newfound ability to negotiate. Small price concessions were beginning to occur and Brokers’ previous propensity to swing for the fences came to a halt. The sale of your floor plan could no-longer ride on the coattails of a recent comparable home that sold for off the chart money. It was not doom and gloom but rather the realization that we were trending toward a more balanced market. In December, the average home had spent 60 days before snagging a Buyer, well below the four or five months which, is considered to be a healthy market. I think people find relief in knowing that the craziness is over and we a back to a more amicable approach to Buying and Selling. It makes breathing in and out easier. If Sellers want to move faster, they’ll need a great pricing and marketing strategy, along with close attention from an experienced Broker.
Fairly quickly, things settled down. Plentiful Real Estate reporting entities like CoreLogic, Zillow, Trulia and various newscasts and newspapers were all saying the same thing, “Housing is not on the verge of a collapse. It’s quite the opposite.” Recently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced increased loan amounts for both conforming and non-conforming loans which helps high-cost areas like Trilogy. The new ceiling is $726,525.00, meaning Buyers don’t have to dip into their investment accounts if they don’t want to. With the job strength in our area, experts anticipate continued appreciation of at least 6% for 2019. We reached an average of nearly 8% last year. I’d continue with you plans, regardless of what they may be.
To revisit that “different animal”, much of what we read locally pertains to Real Estate in King County and the Eastside. Inventory and Sales have their high and low periods throughout these areas. However, our 975 acres is concentrated with a niche Homeowner and we seem to hold steady no matter how much turmoil there may or may not be.
Here’s the deal. Look at the “Yearly Sold Units Recap” below. You’ll find we’ve sold very close to 100 homes, give or take a few, each of the last six years. Earlier in the year, I forecasted we’d barely hit three figures in sales for 2018. We sold 102. The interesting thing about 2018 was all the ups and downs from week to week. It was emotional for Members and Realtors but, in the end, it was another upper end year for sales. The bottom line is that Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation come into Trilogy doing what they want to do, experience it all and then, move on. There are 1,522 homes in Trilogy, many of them experiencing 3rd generation Owners. Only so many of those homes are going to sell each year and it’s not hard to predict because of the age demographic. If we had no age limitations, my crystal ball would be less clear.
Here’s a Monthly Recap of 2018 Sales:
Days on Market (D.O.M.) Watch!
|Average $old D.O.M.||38||19||10||17||17||21||15||25||16||30||26||60||
The Monaco, a newer addition floor plan, experienced its first ever sale and closed on October 19th. It was listed “The Elephant Way” and became only the 11th Trilogy home ever to sell over $480.00 per square foot. Four “Nice” plans sold this year, two for the second time and one shattered the all-time-record for dollars per square foot at $577.50. There wasn’t much builder-grade about the interior and the grounds were exquisite. Only four homes have ever hit the $500.00 or more mark. The first was a customized Vashon in 2017 at exactly $500.00. In 2018, we had a highly upgraded, corner greenbelt “Union” plan for $505.30, another custom “Nice” for $516.00 by yours truly, and a Golf Course Hemlock for $529.85. Typically, the smaller the home, the more dollars per square foot it will bring, and upgrades and location come into play.
The last “Pending” home of 2018, the former Madison Model Home, became the first closing of 2019. Coincidentally, the first two homes in Escrow last year were also, the Madison plan. The Elephant was honored to help Buyers secure both, especially lovely homes.
Uncle Sam was unable to collect a cent of excise tax on the Angeles, Sammamish or Maryhill plans during 2018. There were no sales of these models. To no surprise, there were no foreclosures and to little surprise, one ARCH Home sale (A Regional Coalition for Affordable Housing in King County). Two homes were sold without being listed on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service and therefore did not get exposed to the over 23,000 Washington Agents.
Of the 102 Sales, of course, there are 204 sides to the transactions. Each sale is represented by a Selling Broker, who represents the Buyer, and a Listing Broker, serving the Seller. There were 111 different Agents involved in last year’s business transactions. However, me and one other long-time, well-known Broker, along with a pretty new-comer duo made up for 68 or exactly one third of those sides. Two other experienced Trilogy Brokers have taken on partners, as well, and are doing much less business in our community than in prior years. Notwithstanding, it would be fair to put them in the mix. In doing so, myself, the other top producing independent and all three duos made up for 84 or over 41% of the overall business. When considering “the different animal” genuineness, it’s not hard to see why pricing was all over the place. More on that later. In the meantime, here’s the very comforting year over year recap.
Yearly Sold Units Recap
Final Year End Total
How did the different floor plans measure up?
Here’s the rundown for all of 2018:
Here’s the Breakdown by Plan
2 Chelan, 11 Union, 1 Sammamish, Washington = (14 Lakes Collection), 0 Angeles, 3 Townsend, 14 Discovery, 6 Orchard, 6 Madison= (29 Port Collection), 4 Vashon, 8 Whidbey, 1 Monaco, 5 Bainbridge, 4 Vancouver, 4 Nice = (29 Island Collection), 15 Hemlock, 5 Cedar, 4 Maple, 1 Alder = (25 Forest Collection), 3 Monticello, 3 Oakwood, 1 Redford and 0 Maryhill = (7 Estate Collection).
Year in Review – 2018 vs. Prior Years Snapshot
|2016 to 2017||2018||2017 to 2018|
A Light Examination….
In the famous words of Bob Dylan, “The Times, They Are A-Changin’”….
First, let’s re-visit that “111 Agents” thing. We’re seeing new brokers all the time. The developer has been gone for a while, so the homes listed for sale and visible by the Broker community, have become just part of the everyday inventory. Buyers’ Brokers don’t understand one neighborhood from the next. They’re just looking for the right house. I answer a lot of phone calls and many aren’t even aware we’re a 55+ community, let alone understand the concept of Resort Living. Granting, aside from the handful of us well-known Community Brokers, we are seeing a few repeat representations of talented Brokers who have dabbled in and out of Trilogy long enough to have a decent grasp on things. I’ve enjoyed working with them. Still, albeit performing well, none of them had anymore than two transactions during the year. It’s hard to develop strong armor to protect your clients with little practice.
Among the rest, I’ve begun to see exacerbated poor performances regarding home presentations, clean-up, staging , photography and especially, pricing. That didn’t used to be. I’ve viewed hired relatives and new Brokers pricing $175,000 too high, only to drop price and eventually go unsold, poor cell phone photos with the agent in the mirrors of dark images, snapshots of incredibly cluttered homes , green decks and driveways, tree-branches all over the yards, and on and on. I’ve observed several homes go into escrow only to not pass the home inspection phase and then the Seller is forced to put the home back on the market with a stain. The morale of the story is, don’t hire a friend or a relative or even a discount broker. It will bite you in the long run. Hire someone who’s not seeking a quick commission, an expert in the community, with a long-term track record in the neighborhood. Hire someone who, is not only good, but cares about your results and their longevity.
Times are changing in other ways. Even though most Trilogy Members have taken care of just about anything one could imagine, to keep their homes in tip top shape , many dwellings are experiencing their second, third and even fourth group of inhabitants. Some are beginning to show some interior wear and tear, a fair amount are 15 or 16 years old and might need to start thinking about a new roof before too long.
On a more positive note, a good number of Owners have had exterior structural changes approved by the Design Review Committee. I love that part. It makes the neighborhoods more interesting to everyone, less cookie-cutter, and home values go up. I’ve seen everything from Sunroom additions, to Lodge-style, covered outdoor areas with fireplaces and even an entire second story. So, for those of you who have shied away from presenting your ideas, remember, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” As early investors move onto the next stage of their journey, I’m expecting much more to happen with the metamorphosis of our community as new generations of patrons join this wonderful experience we call Trilogy.
Prognostication for 2019?
We should expect more of the same, a consistent number of sales year-over-year with peaks and valleys in the sales activity. I’d expect a similar number of closings for each month compared to the prior year and a steady growth in appreciation, around the six percent range. We’re a much more sustainable market than outside the imaginary Trilogy gates. Time for sale will stretch out a bit, how far will depend upon the number of homes listed with unfamiliar Brokers vs. the Trilogy professionals. I’m not intending to be stilted. We sell more homes for more money and in less time. It’s just the way it is. It’s hard to guess days on market but I wouldn’t be surprised to see 60 to 90 become the norm.
Successful Listing Agents will have to keep an acute eye on our unique market trends and have a good grasp of how to prepare and present our uncommon product. Listing Brokers should have deep negotiation skills, patience, cunning and most of all, a plethora of knowledge, bullets in their gun, if you will, when negotiating with tough Buyers’ Agents and their Clients. They’ll have much more time to think about things and much more time to choose. They won’t skipping home inspections anymore or being forced to pay cash to beat out multiple offers. Sure , there can and will be exceptions, but I wouldn’t count on it.
That’s a wrap for 2018. We hope this research and commentary has been helpful and we hope that 2019 is a momentous year for every one of you. Whether you’d like to somehow get into the home you really wanted, are looking to get closer to family or are looking to maximize your net proceeds for any reason at all, this Pachyderm is here to provide you with the best representation available for your Trilogy home and I’d be delighted to serve you.
Thank you so much for reading and, if you’d like to be ahead of the curve at the Bridge table, don’t forget to visit our website and sign up to receive our Monthly E-Market Report. We only hit you once a month and we hit you with the facts.
A special thanks to my immediate Team Members, Kari & Thomas, who handles the production of this Year in Review Report, our Monthly Market Reports, Social Media and so many, many other tasks. Also, a huge thank you to Realtor, Lucy Stephens, who has helped with so many Open Houses, has taken the reigns with numerous Buyers and Sellers and has been so unselfish in serving me and those we serve together. Thank you, also, to out many vendors who help prepare our Sellers for a smooth sale and a smooth move. They are Leon, Morgan, Both Scotts, Debra, Trish, Jennifer, Cathye, Luis & the Twinkle Cleaning Team, and the amazing Jason Griffin of Griffin Handyman Services. You guys are the best!
|Floor Plan||MLS#||Sq. Ft.||Orig. Price||List Price||Sold Price||$ Per Sq. FT.||Date Sold||D.O.M.|
|Totals:||Resale||Short Sale||REO||Unlisted||FSBO||ARCH||Total Resale|
Homes in Bold & Green Represent Precedent Setting Dollars Per Square Foot