Tag Archives: buyer

Low Inventory…What does that really mean?

You may have heard a lot lately about how low inventory is in the Seattle area.   But what metric is used to track inventory levels?    It is described a “Months of Inventory”.   A very short way to think of it would be if no more houses came on the market, how long would it take to sell everything?   Of course there’s a more detailed mathematical way to determine months of inventory, but that sums it up succinctly.

A “balanced market”, or one that’s equally split between buyers and sellers, is when months of inventory is roughly between 3 and 6 months.  Over 6 months and it’s considered a buyer’s market, less than 3 months and it’s a seller’s market.

The March inventory in the Seattle area is around a 1 month supply, sometimes less.  In West Seattle for instance, it’s about a 3 week supply.   This is an extreme seller’s market!   That’s great for sellers, but what about buyers?   That’s where having a creative real estate agent comes in handy! (I admit, that’s shameless plug!)   Give me a holler if you would like more info!

Changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle

Below is a summary of changes to Landlord/Tenant Ordinances in Seattle that affect both renters and owners of rental properties.   Some of these changes have been in the news, and others not covered as much by the media.

 

First-in Time or First-Come/First-Served:

Requires landlords to review applications and accept renters on a first-come, first-served basis.   Landlords will need to time and date stamp applications. The Landlord is required to screen applications in the order received against previously determined minimum standards and make offers to renters in that order.  The implementation date was January 1, 2017, however a legal challenge has delayed implementation to July 2017, depending on the outcome of the challenge.  Additional information may  be found here and here.

Source of Income Discrimination: 

Although it has been illegal to discriminate against income from Section 8, legislation has been adopted to add legal protection to include people who receive other alternate sources of income such as a pension, Social Security, unemployment, child support or any other governmental or non-profit subsidy.  The implementation Date was September 19, 2016.  Additional information may be found here and here.

Criminal Checks

The rules about denying a rental to someone with a criminal background are shifting. A Landlord can not summarily deny housing to an applicant based on having a criminal record.   The Landlord will need to understand the nature of the applicant’s criminal background by asking the applicant about the crime committed and/or do research and determine if the crime can be used to deny the rental.  More information may be found here.

If you are a renter and are thinking about buying a home, check out my “Services for Buyers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

If you are an owner of a rental property and are considering selling, check out my “Services for Sellers” section on my website, or just give me a holler.

Inspections – Yes? No? Pre? Post? Huh?

Your friends and family say that an offer stands a better chance at winning in a multiple offer situation if you waive an inspection.   But other friends and family (you have lots of friends and a big family) say you should never buy a house without an inspection.  What to do?

It’s great to have such friends and family that are trying to help you get the home you want.   The short answer is, I do not recommend waiving an inspection. I have seen too many issues hiding behind fresh paint to feel an inspection is superfluous – even with new construction.  But there are ways….keep reading, you house-buying warrior….

Having an inspection gives you the opportunity to get to know the bones of the home and discover the minor or major issues of the property – important information for any future homeowner.  Even if a home is being sold “as is”, it is worthwhile to have an inspection done so you can get an idea of what it would cost to do the needed renovations.

Ok, you’ve got the “why” for doing an inspection.  But in this hotter than hot market, how can you compete and still have an inspection?

One strategy that buyers can do is to get a pre-inspection. In this scenario, the buyer would pay to have an inspection done before making an offer on the property so they can know the possible fixes the property needs ahead of time and decide whether they want to move forward with an offer or not.

But (why is there always a “but”?)….

There are pros and cons to having a pre-inspection. First, not all sellers will agree to a pre-inspection (we’ll know because it will be in agent remarks or I’ll ask the Listing Broker). Second, the buyer pays for the inspection out-of-pocket and the seller may not even choose their offer to accept, causing the buyer to walk away empty-handed.   That’s not fun, and can get expensive.

However, a pro is that the inspection itself no longer is a contingency in the offer, making your offer more attractive to the Seller.   (Because after an offer is accepted, the inspection contingency is a way out of the deal for the Buyer and Sellers don’t want to have to sell their home again.)

Another situation is that Seller may have already had a professional inspection done of their property and therefore a buyer inspection is not necessary. It’s better than no inspection at all, however, I still advise buyers to have an independent inspection completed.  If something was missed on the inspection, the Buyer may have recourse with the Inspector if they paid for the inspection.

If you are thinking about buying and want to know more about inspections give me holler, as you can imagine, I love talking about real estate!   206-930-2922 (voice and text) – dales@windermere.com