Our weather is still late-spring fickle but around Thurston County, the residential housing market is summertime hot. There are many multi-story apartment and condominium buildings popping up around town but for those in the market to buy their next—or forever—detached home, it’s an unusually tight race. Steve and Jessica Poulos and their team at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team know what to look for, when to take the plunge and what’s coming down the line.
Low inventory and high demand creates a seller’s market. “We have seen a lot of multiple offer situations,” Poulos explains. “Thurston County sale prices are up 13.4% since last year.” This means many folks are thinking of selling to take advantage of record prices without the typical reasons of growing family or downsizing an empty nest.
It also means that much of the prep-work typically required before selling is minimized or altogether optional. “Sellers are excited about this market and capitalizing on it,” says Poulos. “They are having to do very little staging and repairs prior to listing. Homes are averaging 10 offers in the Thurston County market and sellers are getting on average 6% higher than list price. Buyers are also waiving inspections, offering over asking price and offering to pay the difference if the home doesn’t appraise. We have even seen buyers allowing the seller to stay in the home for several weeks rent free after closing.”
In slower markets, selling your home often meant spending thousands on repairs, fresh paint and upkeep. Some of this improves the cosmetic appeal but others are part of the routine preventive maintenance that keeps systems and structures in working order. “I always think that it’s a good idea, no matter what market, to do a pre-inspection, have your furnace cleaned and serviced, clean the house top to bottom and have the roof and gutters cleaned,” suggests Poulos. “While in a sellers’ market you don’t have to, I still believe it eliminates issues that may arise down the road.”
But buyers shouldn’t allow themselves to become discouraged. Prices may be up, but interest rates are low. “Rates are so low and staying steady,” says Poulos, “that it offsets a higher purchase price. We offer a really competitive VIP Buyer Strategy for our buyers: We do a personalized game plan after our initial meeting. We find off market properties and also get our buyer fully underwritten and approved with our lender, not just preapproved. We also schedule pre-inspections for the buyers.”
Preapproval and a game plan are vital in this fast-moving market. Poulos says properties average seven days on the market, primarily so buyers can have time to view the site in-person. “A typical buyer for Thurston county is in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, so those homes go pretty fast. We also have a limited amount of beautiful waterfront in Thurston County, so lake and Sound front properties go fast.”
Not surprisingly, the last year of social distancing, remote-work or school, and ongoing quarantine have markedly changed people’s approach. “We noticed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, customers are wanting more out of their homes: home offices, large kitchens and large yards,” says Poulos. “Prior to COVID-19, we had a lot of buyers that liked to eat out and enjoyed going to parks, now people want to have more to do at home.”
Since their company merged in February 2021, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Northwest Home Team has become one big happy family. “We are loving the horsepower of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate,” admits Poulos. “We are a part of the worldwide relocation service that provides perks for buyers and sellers. We also are a part of List Globally, which advertises our listings in 60 countries and is such a huge benefit to our sellers and buyers. These are things we didn’t have prior to being a part of BHGRE.”
Such a fast-moving market can feel daunting to potential sellers and buyers. But a home is more than four walls, it’s perhaps a family’s biggest investment and roots them within their chosen community. When you’re ready to buy or sell—or want to start the preapproval process—reach out today through their online portal or by calling 360.529.0992. Read through their many glowing testimonials for the experiences of happy clients 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 process so you can relax and enjoy the summer sun.