The story this month in real estate is the changeover from a seller’s market back to a buyer’s market. The Northwest Multiple Listing Service statistics show the median values fell substantially from the August value of $274,475 to $256,750 for the average home in Lake Stevens for the month of September. This is just slightly higher than it was at the start of the New Year when it was $250,000.
Inventory of homes for sale continues to increase in Lake Stevens. In July there were 144, followed by 161 in August to 172 the first week of September. The good news is that more non-distressed homes are for sale now than in recent years. Sold short-sales and bank owned home sales made up only fourteen of the 62 homes that sold last month in Lake Stevens.
New home sales continue to slow and inventory of new homes is starting to accumulate. Eight new homes sold last month, same as the month before, way less than the spring months with twenty to thirty sales per month. There are currently 10 completed new homes for sale, and another 18 under construction for sale.
A woman recently called me to inquire about a listing of mine in Lake Stevens. But to my surprise, she told me that there was a prowler trying to get into the home that had my sign in front. She told me someone was on the roof over the garage and trying to open an upstairs window. I told her to call the police and call me back. Getting impatient waiting for a call, I called the police department, they sent me to dispatch and an officer was sent to investigate.
The officer called and informed me that it was just the son of the owner who did not have a key with him, and that everything was fine. The neighbor who had called me most likely had figured out there was no threat and decided not to call the police.
It is a successful strategy to have buyers drive by and look at possible homes on their own to narrow down the homes to tour with me. This saves the seller from doing an extra-clean on their home for a buyer who isn’t interested enough to get out of the car to look at the home. I will still get out by myself and preview the home out of courtesy.
I also encourage my buyers to get out and walk around the homes that are vacant. I give them a stack of my cards so they can give one to someone that questions their activities at the home.
Dan Lorentzen, Chief of Police for the Lake Stevens Police Department offers some advice, “What we always try to educate homeowners on when it comes to calling the police about suspicious activity around homes for sale or in general is if you think it’s suspicious to you, it is suspicious to us.”
“If a neighbor sees someone walking around a house and trying doors and windows, but they are trying to avoid being seen we recommend they call and have it checked out”. Chief Lorentzen goes on, “We would rather come out and check on a false alarm and see it’s a potential buyer, than to come out because the house was burglarized.”
And if the police come out and find out it’s just a buyer? “If nothing else, it may let the potential buyers know that the neighbors look out for each other and this could be where they should buy their next home,” Chief Lorentzen concluded.
To find out more about real estate and the market, please visit my website at www.johnlscott.com/steves.