Local inventory up; buyers, sellers prep for spring

By Erin Flemming

Special to the Reporter

If you’re looking to purchase a home this winter or spring, you’ll likely benefit from the uptick in inventory at all price levels in the Bellevue area. Julia Nordby, office leader and business coach of John L. Scott’s Bellevue-main office, said many buyers in February appreciated the options and the less hurried pace in the local market.

In Bellevue, there were 326 homes for sale in February 2019, which is up from the 184 homes for sale in February 2018. When looking at months of inventory in Bellevue, the city had 1 month of inventory in February 2018, and a year later we are at 1.9 months of inventory.

Nordby said these numbers are encouraging and a move toward a balanced market, though multiple offer situations are still a possibility for well-priced homes in certain areas.

“When we’re looking at months of inventory in Bellevue, we’ve essentially gone from one month to two months,” Nordby said. “We’re still in a seller’s market, though pressure has eased off a bit. The Bellevue market went in like a lamb but out like a lion in February – capped off with several multiple-offer situations reported by our brokers the last weekend of the month.”

Bellevue was hit with multiple inches of snow in February, which led to school and business closures affecting many residents. Though snow did slow things down a bit, Nordby said the local real estate market wasn’t brought to a complete standstill due to the weather.

“Not a lot of new listings went on the market during the snowy days in February,” Nordby said. “However, people were looking online and motivated buyers were out and about – our brokers with four-wheel drive vehicles heard from buyers who still wanted to look at houses. Once the snow started to melt, the second half of the month took off, with extremely busy open houses and multiple offers on homes in some cases.”

As the snow has melted and temperatures increase, many homeowners are looking to do a bit of spring cleaning and home improvement. Some spring cleaning and repairs can translate to a higher return on investment when homeowners do decide to sell. A recent report from ATTOM Data Solutions detailing year-end sales numbers for 2018 noted that the highest profits from home sales are in the west, with an average return on investment in Seattle of 70.7 percent.

Regular home maintenance, like a regular car tune-up, is crucial for ensuring your home stays in good shape and needed repairs don’t become daunting. Though many homeowners may not have the time (or cash) to complete all of the repairs and upgrades they’d like to do to their house, prioritizing certain upgrades can pay off in the long run.

“When you’re looking to sell your home, carpet and paint investments are great to focus on first,” Nordby said. “Kitchens, bathrooms and landscaping are also good areas to update and improve. Properties that are seen as turnkey will be highly valued by many buyers. We recommend thinking about the upgrades that fit within your budget and will truly make your house stand out in the marketplace.”

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