An Executive Overview as April Begins:
Last month I spoke of the “Match Tick”, a unique Northwest Multiple report measurement I use to quickly discern if something is going on regarding home sales in Trilogy or the lack thereof. It shares with me there’s a reason to dig deeper. The number is a summary of all Trilogy sales activity including the number of available properties, those that are pending inspection or the close of escrow, and those that are either marked sold, cancelled or expired. I predicted sales and listings would multiply. That number was 20 when we corresponded last month; today it’s 51.
At March end the buyers were not really out yet. That’s changed. The buyers are out and members are getting out. Heraclitus, an ancient philosopher who lived about a 100 years before Plato said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” That philosophy is evident in Trilogy. Many celebrate their wonderful new and rare lifestyle of “New Homes, New Friends and New Beginnings”, a Shea Homes description of what “Trilogy” means. Others have experienced the depths of social interaction, health and well-being and learning new things and are ready to try something new; something in a warmer climate.
Three homes were sold in Trilogy during March. That compares with 13 a year earlier and five in February. Weather resulted in a 30 day delay of the typical annual amount of buyers and sellers having a meeting of the minds. Closed sales included:
Original Asking Price
Days on Market
*Home in bold; the Elephant’s work; the most expensive home sold year to date but it’s early and it was no walk in the park. Sadly, sometimes even Trilogy’s best members battle adversity. Many younger couples are still employed and the effects of the mortgage crisis are still evident with those who fought longer than most ever could. I studied hard and became a “Certified Foreclosure Expert” and a “Certified Short Sale Expert” to help those of the highest integrity who refuse to sacrifice their credit or even consider a bankruptcy to get out from under debt. We’re happy to have done that and the sellers are in a much happier state of mind and a much healthier financial situation. FYI, these “Non-Arm’s Length” transactions are not a comparable sale a home appraiser would use to justify the value of a traditional sale.
The Standout Number; New Homes under Contract!
17 homes are pending as of months end. That compares with four a month ago. Six of them are still going through the home inspection stage. One has since come “BOMK” or back on market. This is something the Elephant works to prevent; a home that sold, failed an inspection, and now suffers a stigma as it get put back upon the for sale shelf. Here they are the pending sales:
Days on Market
|Washington (Shea Homes)||$549,900||25|
*Home in bold; the Elephant’s work. Notice the higher price a well prepared and presented home can be presented for and the short days on market before a ready, willing and capable buyer snaps it up. Our Hemlock was on a greenbelt yet we asked the same price as an identical Hemlock on the Golf Course. Our Vashon listings and our Orchard, the highest price asked for a resale of the same floor plan in years. Our Bainbridge backs to another house and many similar scenarios have sold under $500K
19 homes are available for sale as of April fool’s Day. Four of them added by yours truly and eight more than the 11 available March 1st. The 19 includes the one lagging last spec home by Shea. Here’s what’s for sale:
Days on Market
|Chelan – ARCH Home||$318,691||32||Backs to tall wall|
|Chelan – ARCH Home*||$359,000||49||Expecting an Offer.|
|Orchard*||$429,500||31||Nice Upgrades, 3 Bed, A/C.|
|Whidbey||$530,000||13||Reduced from $540K|
|Vashon||$599,850||17||Seems to be priced like the larger Bainbridge.|
|Hemlock||$660,000||10||American Traditional Style|
|Hemlock||$729,000||1||Nicely presented greenbelt home.|
|Hemlock*||$750,000||31||One-of-a-Kind, Hallway w/2 Beds + Den w/closet + additional finished room/2nd office/Hobby/TV Room.|
*Homes in bold; the Elephant’s listings; all of them prepared and presented the same way, regardless of price; It’s a passion and a promise.
Regarding ARCH Homes
If you own one, things are looking up. Those upgrades you were afraid to invest in, might just be recoupable. Most ARCH homes (King County’s Regional Coalition for Affordable Homes) have zero to few upgrades because ARCH doesn’t give any credit for them when you go to sell and there’s a re-sale restriction that runs with the deed to your house. It says, because you qualified to buy at a lower price, you have to sell at a lower price. It’s simple when you’re ready. You simply call ARCH, they look you up and they tell you what the index maximum price is you can ask for your home. In the past, many were disappointed they could not recoup the expense of those new granite counter tops or hardwood floors. That’s not necessarily the case now. The Index ARCH uses to determine what you can sell your home for is based upon the median price of home sales in King County for the prior year. 2013 was a stellar year for the rise in home prices in King County. That means, as of January of 2014, a new cap has been put in place for every ARCH home in Trilogy; a higher cap. That means you can ask more for your home this year than you could have a quarter ago. If you need help, just let me know. I’ve sold many ARCH homes in Trilogy and the process is a seamless one.
Final Thoughts and tid-bits:
The numbers don’t lie and that’s exactly why we take the time to present these statistics each and every month, so you’ll know the truth about what the market is, for not only your particular location and lot features, but for Trilogy in general. Examine the numbers; examine the results. Proper preparation, presentation and pricing are key and that cannot be accomplished properly without a broom and a checkbook; yours and your brokers.
There’s no room for ego. No one particular broker or team of brokers, nor any one home seller can control the market. Asking way too much for a home just to test the market is expensive to sellers and, ultimately, those sell for much less than they could have or not at all. Ballyhoo, a term the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as a noisy attention-getting demonstration or talk, a flamboyant, exaggerated, or sensational promotion or publicity or excited commotion. The real estate industry calls this “puffing” and the DOL even allows for a little of it in real estate broker advertising. However, I think brokers who think they can control the market display such symptoms of ballyhoo and do sellers damage. I suggest sticking with the numbers; the facts, not emotion.
A better approach is to prepare, present and price the home properly without having to apologize for what you’re asking. You’ll be happier and doing it that way is why the Elephant, barring one “Short Sale”, has averaged a sale price of 99.66% of asking price for every Trilogy home sold this year. If you’ve already listed your home with another broker, this certainly is not intended as a solicitation of your listing. Most brokers are of high integrity.
We’ve mentioned in many prior articles that Trilogy peaked early, even faster than the Seattle area in general. It’s hard to imagine when we look at the tremendous growth in Seattle alone shown by the following graph provided by Standard & Poor’s Case Shiller Home Price Index who states, “Home Prices End 2013 in a Dip.” You may not always like what you hear from us but you will get the straight scoop. The market is strong but don’t expect Trilogy values to keep climbing like they did before the crash. Take a look at the facts on this graph from the nation’s largest real estate statistics company. They back what we’ve been saying for months. You might enjoy playing with different cities and comparing at this link: http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2014/02/25/case-shiller-home-prices-end-2013-on-a-dip/.
Prognostications for April
Last April there were eight homes sold (closed escrow). That number should double. The large number of homes pending escrow should record with the county as sales tax will be collected and deeds conveyed. Expect to see moving trucks throughout the neighborhoods. Pent up demand will help the well-presented homes to come on the market, sell quickly and some of those sold early in the month will close before month’s end.
Where is everyone going?
There seems to be an exodus in Trilogy; one larger in size than the normal turnover. In the opening paragraphs I spoke of change. It’s the normal evolution of things, people getting older or bored and moving on, others newly intrigued and ready to experience the resort lifestyle. That’s all it is.
Trilogy residents are more intelligent than the average home owner, they’re more educated, experienced, just plain smarter. They know the math and the numbers say, “If we’re going to sell at the peak and buy on the rise, the time is now.” Besides, it’s a whole lot warmer in California, Florida and Arizona and that’s where many of my customers are going; to warmer weather. It just feels better on more experienced bones and, in many cases, is doctor recommended.
On the flip side, Baby Boomers who are coming of age are retiring at a faster pace than ever before. There are more buyers over 55 years old than below. They are coming and years from now, they will have “been there; done that” and they’ll move too. It’s a circle, one with no sharp edges but rewards at every curve and we don’t want to miss a thing. New homes, new friends and new beginnings start again, for some it’s Trilogy at Redmond Ridge. For those who have been here for years, it’s true retirement and not so much the Active Adult lifestyle to the nth degree.
Whether coming or going, we have the staff to help you make your move with minimal friction and I’ll be overseeing every step of every transaction to ensure a smooth transition. Yes, we help buyers too and I hold the certification as “An Accredited Buyer’s Representative”, a result of a 30 hour course, intense class participation and a tough test; one worth the efforts to better serve our customers’ needs. Thanks to all of you who have subscribed on our website to receive this E-Market Report. We may not continue the hard copy coming to your mailbox for long so, if you’ve enjoyed these reports and would like to continue to be in the know, feel free to sign up at www.DevinSanfordHomes.com. We’ll be happy to add you to the list and that’s all you’ll hear from us from month to month. We’re here if you have any questions at all or are in need of our service. Thanks for reading and again, your comments are always strongly welcome.
That’s a wrap for March! We’ll see you next month.