OOur weather is still unstable in late spring, but around Thurston County, the residential housing market is hot in the summer. There are numerous multi-story apartment and condominium buildings popping up in the city, but for those in the market to buy their next single-family home, or forever, it’s an unusually tight race. Steve and Jessica Poulos and their team Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate North West Home Team know what to look for, when to take the leap and what’s to come.
Low inventory and high demand create a seller’s market. “We’ve seen a lot of multiple offer situations,” Poulos says. “Thurston County selling prices are up 13.4% from last year.” This means that many people are considering selling to take advantage of record prices without the typical reasons of family expansion or the downsizing of an empty nest.
It also means that much of the preparation work usually required before the sale is minimized or completely optional. “Sellers are excited about this market and are taking advantage of it,” Poulos says. “They have to do very little staging and repairs before registration. Homes average 10 bids on the Thurston County market, and sellers average 6% above list price. Buyers are also waiving inspections, offering more asking price, and offering to pay the difference if the home is not appraised. We’ve even seen buyers allow the seller to stay in the house for several weeks rent-free after closing.
In slower markets, selling your home often meant spending thousands of dollars on repairs, fresh paint and maintenance. Some of them enhance the aesthetic appearance, but others are part of routine preventative maintenance that keeps systems and structures in good working order. “I always think it’s a good idea, regardless of the market, to do a pre-inspection, have your furnace cleaned and serviced, have the house cleaned from top to bottom, and have the roof and gutters cleaned” , suggests Poulos. “While you don’t have to do this in a seller’s market, I still think it eliminates issues that may arise later.”
But buyers should not be discouraged. Prices may be up, but interest rates are low. “The rates are so low and remain stable,” Poulos explains, “that they compensate for a higher purchase price. We offer a truly competitive VIP purchasing strategy for our buyers: we establish a personalized game plan after our We find properties off the market and also get our buyer fully underwritten and approved by our lender, not just pre-approved.We also schedule pre-inspections for buyers.
Pre-approval and a game plan are essential in this fast-paced market. According to Poulos, properties are on the market for an average of seven days, mainly so that buyers have time to view the site in person. “A typical Thurston County buyer is between $300,000 and $400,000, so these homes are going pretty fast. We also have a limited number of beautiful waterfronts in Thurston County, so lake and sound properties go fast.
Unsurprisingly, the past year of social distancing, remote work or school, and the ongoing quarantine have dramatically changed how people approach it. “We’ve noticed that after the COVID-19 pandemic, customers want more from their homes: home offices, big kitchens, and big yards,” Poulos says. “Before COVID-19 we had a lot of shoppers who liked to eat out and liked to go to parks, now people want to have more to do at home.”
Since merging their business in February 2021, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team has grown into one big happy family. “We love the power of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,” admits Poulos. “We are part of the global relocation service which provides benefits to buyers and sellers. We are also part of List globally, which publishes our ads in 60 countries and is a huge advantage for our sellers and buyers. These are things we didn’t have before becoming part of BHGRE.
Such a fast-paced market can seem intimidating to potential sellers and buyers. But a home is more than just four walls, it’s perhaps a family’s biggest investment and it roots them in the community of their choice. When you’re ready to buy or sell, or want to start the pre-approval process, contact their online portal or by calling 360.529.0992. Read through their many brilliants testimonials for the experiences of satisfied customers from near and far and follow them on Facebook for updates and information.
When it comes to finding a home, you don’t have to go it alone. Let Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team guide every step of the way so you can relax and enjoy the summer sun.