The month of December reliably marks a low point in unsold inventory in the residential real estate market. When looking at the local market this year, there are fewer unsold listings in the more affordable and mid-price ranges on the Eastside than the year prior.
Tucker Petrzelka, assistant office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-Main office, said the market in Bellevue picked up in November compared to the past couple of months.
“Our office did well in November, closing more transactions than expected,” Petrzelka said. “We noticed more people signing up with a broker, preparing to put their home on the market – be it in December or in 2020.”
Petrzelka said while the winter market is a far cry from the pace of the spring and summer, decreased unsold inventory will have some buyers feeling the squeeze. He added that in a market with constrained inventory, many buyers will choose to work with a real estate broker so they can boost their chance of getting their offer accepted for the home of their choice.
The National Association of Realtors recently released its 2019 profile of home buyers and sellers, which found that a record 89 percent of buyers say they used a real estate agent to purchase a home. NAR noted that “While the home search process has shifted toward digital technology, the need for a trusted real estate agent to help sell a home is still paramount.”
Petrzelka said in today’s technology-heavy world, it’s easy for buyers to search and set up alerts for homes that meet their desired criteria through online tools. He added that while this is a great first step, it is just one part of the home buying process.
“While online tools can help educate buyers and sellers about the real estate process and market, there are some things that can’t be replaced by technology,” Petrzelka said. “Clients who choose to work with a qualified broker associate know they’ll be supported in the areas of negotiation, existing relationships with other agents, market knowledge, contracts, closing and more. For many, their home is one of the biggest investments they’ll make so there is a lot of value that comes with having a dedicated person who will go to bat for you and ensure this investment is maximized.”
NAR also found that the average length of a house hunt is 10 weeks (with a median of nine home tours). Asked if this estimate rings true in the local market, Petrzelka said a variety of factors, including available inventory, can heavily impact how long it takes for a client to find their dream home.
“The real estate market is truly hyperlocal, and in our local area the length of the home search and number of homes visited can vary widely on the area and the individual,” Petrzelka said. “The length of the search can be impacted greatly by the person who is looking – do they know what they’d like, and how motivated are they to make a move? Typically, in the winter, buyers who are in the market are motivated to find their home of choice and make an offer.”