Low-Ballers and High Rollers

Redfin’s monthly Seattle real estate insider report draws from our proprietary database of information on homes for sale and that just sold, along with insight from our agents to get a sense of what’s going on in the market right now.

Greetings Redfinnians!

These days the Seattle real estate market is starting to feel like a high-class 1960′s Vegas casino. High Rollers are upping the stakes, Low-Ballers are trying to bluff their way into the game, and everyone is wearing a poker face. Lucky for you, Redfin is here to do a little card counting and give you a peek behind the scenes.

When you average out the score, King County is down, down, down. The number of homes for sale on the last day of the month dropped 2.7%, the number of homes sold for the month dropped 7.7%, and the average price of a home in our fair county did no better. Price per square foot was down by 3.5% and the median price took a turn for the worse at a tune of 2.5%.

High Rollers Still in the Game

Last month we put our bets on a 2 – 4% drop in the median price of a home and we were right. This month we let Tim Ellis, Redfin’s statistics and trends product manager, place a bet on where we will end up in October. “I think the market needs to drop to another 10% over the next 12 – 16 months to get us back to the equilibrium we experienced before the bubble. With that in mind I predict another 2-4% drop in the size-adjusted median as we head into October.”

If prices in King County keep heading down, why are so many of the cities on the table looking up month to month? Once again, it looks like a few high priced homes are skewing the data to the high side.

“I’ve shown several places recently to families looking in the one to three million range,” said Dan Mullins, a Redfin agent specializing in West Seattle. “Buyers know that now is the time to get the big home with a view at a price that is hundreds of thousands less than just a couple of years ago, and at an incredibly low interest rate.”

Low-Ballers Fold Fast, But Sellers Take Notice

The number of homes that actually sold in August took another dive this month. Offers seemed to be rolling in, but sellers simply are not accepting what is offered to them.

Our agents are reporting a steady stream of low-ball offers hitting sellers across the board. “Low-ball offers are rolling off the tongue of touring clients,” says Kenny Whiteside, a Redfin field agent, “When a home is priced less than $300,000 in areas like Renton or Kent, that’s when the joker card springs up, and buyers want to write up an offer $30,000-$50,000 off the list price.” He says, “In addition to the usual set of reasons that motivate low-balling –’It’s a buyer’s market & school is in so homes won’t move as fast’—there’s a brand new one: ‘I missed the tax break, and even though my offer is low, I would like to see that $8,000 somehow’.” Kenny is quick to point out that these offers were rarely if ever accepted by the seller.

By now, we’ve all heard (over & over & over) how insulting a low-ball offer is to a seller, but one thing we haven’t heard is how these low-ball offers are actually helping the seller. Lori Bakken, a Redfin Real Estate Agent in Tukwila, Kent and Auburn says, “Sellers aren’t desperate enough to accept these low-ball offers, but it is helping agents set realistic expectations in regards to pricing. It shows the seller that perhaps they priced their home too high straight out of the gate.” The trends of list prices falling faster than sale prices and sale-to-list ratios increasing slightly would seem to validate this observation. Check out the spreadsheet to see for yourself.

In a recent round of analyses we took a look at the importance of setting the correct price on a home the first time around. We found that pricing the home right for the debut was more impactful than lowering the price later since new listings see the most traffic in the first few days on the market. Check out the blog post for the details: You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression.

Eastsiders Know When to Hold ‘Em

Inventory, like all of the other numbers we’ve been looking at, also took a dive. The number of new homes coming on the market has definitely slowed down, but the real dearth of inventory is coming from sellers pulling their homes off the market. Here is an accurate, albeit tricky, explanation: The number of homes pulled off the market in August was twice the number of homes that sold. This means that around half of the inventory that came off the market last month did not sell. Half of the sellers are simply giving up.

The rare exception to this rule is over on the Eastside where a few listings have earned “Belle of the Ball” status by charming everyone with their debut.

“Things can be pretty crazy over here on the Eastside,” said Michelle Swierz, an agent specializing in Bellevue, Issaquah and Sammamish. “If a house is priced competitively it gets all sorts of attention. I have worked on six multiple offer situations over the past week. Three of these offers got beat out with escalation clauses, one beat out another buyer with an escalation clause just under asking, one went pending as we were writing the offer, and the last client pulled a low-ball offer when there was no chance of being accepted.”

Did these tidbits of data make you hungry for more? Sit down to an all-you-can-eat buffet of data in this neighborhood-rich spreadsheet and peruse our methodology as a digestive. If you have a bet you’d like to place, a question you’d like answered, or a bluff you’d like called, be sure to post in the comment section below.

Best,
Michelle Broderick, Redfin’s Analytics Department

  • Guest

    Is there a reason why there is no information for the city of Redmond?

  • Erlethompson

    how can we get pierce county data? Tacoma, specifically.

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  • guest

    I guess I am one of those joker “low-ballers” you are poking fun at in your jovial article. . .

    “When a home is priced less than $300,000 in areas like Renton or Kent, that’s when the joker card springs up, and buyers want to write up an offer $30,000-$50,000 off the list price.” He says, “In addition to the usual set of reasons that motivate low-balling –’It’s a buyer’s market & school is in so homes won’t move as fast’—there’s a brand new one: ‘I missed the tax break, and even though my offer is low, I would like to see that $8,000 somehow’.” Kenny is quick to point out that these offers were rarely if ever accepted by the seller.”

    May I offer you a different perspective.

    I spent my family’s life savings to pay down a mortgage to the point where I could sell our last home at a break-even point. . . I lost $95,000 on the sale of my last home – all our equity, nearly all of our savings. Dealing with this crisis stressed my family almost to the breaking point. For two years we have scrimped and saved to have enough for a down payment on another home in a decent neighborhood.

    Based on your smirking, glib and condescending attitude toward us, the “low-ballers” who are contributing to your ability to feed your own family (unless you volunteer for Redfin, I assume you need the money your job brings you), I will conclude that you lack the maturity, dignity, courage and grace my family has shown (and humbled me with) for the last two years while they cheerfully gave up everything, crammed themselves into a small rental apartment and put their lives on hold.

    Real estate companies and their employees are one part of the reason prices went up so high and we all got sucked into the greed machine. I struggled through my first offer placed through Redfin just a few days ago – and failed to connect with the realtor and the process quickly enough. I had enough money – I was qualified – but getting through the static, the jockeying and delays was excruciating, and ultimately we were shut out of the club.

    Debate is currently raging in our household about whether or not to continue with Redfin – or to engage a dedicated realtor and forfeit any potential rebate. We are uninterested in dickering – in competing for a home – in paying too much –in causing a seller the same kind of distress we caused ourselves when selling our home. Maybe you could offer some real suggestions for people like us.

    P.S. I didn’t qualify for the tax rebate, never asked for it, never wanted it.

    Your turn.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Thank you for the measured feedback and your personal perspective on low-ball offers. I am truly empathetic for what your family is going through right now, and understand that many families have gone through similar grueling experiences in the past few years.

      Please understand that the quote was not meant to be glib or condescending. It was in reference to the current inequity in the market. Sellers who have priced their homes fairly are receiving offers so far below their asking prices that they are being forced into unfortunate financial situations – such as you have described.

      Hopefully this helps clear up the intent and tone of the quote. Feel free to email me directly or post a response if you would like to continue the conversation.

      Best wishes to you and your family during these next few steps of settling into a new home.

      • guest

        If I may tag onto this and offer a slightly different view of “low-ballers” – and no, I don't mind being called one, it is what it is:).
        My husband and I recently sold a home in the Bothell area. While we weren't completely hosed, we were definitely burned. After much time, work and $ invested – we saw very little of it returned. THAT being said.

        For someone that rarely dickers on pricing, in the house market you bet I'm going to. And my reasoning is quite simple…Why on earth would I buy a house now for even close to asking price when it will, because it will, go down in value? House prices are still falling and will continue to do so. So if I buy now and yes, we're in the market to, you can bet I'm going to negotiated “strongly” on pricing. OR I wait until 6+ months down the road until the house is the price I'm willing to buy it for, because I know the pricing will go down. Unlike most buyers out there, time is on my side and I'm in no rush to make another buying “blunder”.

        • Sitting on my down payment…

          To the first Guest who responded: I am sorry your family has been challenged so severely by this greed-driven and stupidity-fueled housing market. I hope you are able to find a property that meets your family's needs and is at a sane market value for you to get your offer accepted without having to lose any more money or jump through any other lame hoops.

          Michelle, you can add my voice to the chorus of jolly low-ball “jokers” who are simply trying to make reasonable, realistic offers on properties that are frequently priced ridiculously above market value. If that makes us the butt of a joke, so be it.

          It's kinda hard to ignore hard sales data about a place when it's staring you straight in the face, and from several different sources. We've done our homework and are coming in with eyes wide open. Many of us sat out of the happy, three-ring circus that was the 2002-2007 Housing Bubble, and we're not feeling any urgency to join the Lunacy 2.0 that currently seems to be gripping the Seattle housing market.

        • SirLowballer

          Definitely bigger savings are worth the wait.
          This market – in the greater Seattle area – is still way overpriced, and aside some “delusional” articles that appeared in the media over the past couple of years (probably for other – misleading reasons – not getting into those now) main indicators are clearly showing that we're going to see prices still falling considerably. The pool of potential buyers will decrease as long as the economy provides no improvement in the jobs market..And those who need to sell no matter what will do so for whatever best price they can get = low ball offers…
          It's finally “low-ballers” time..

      • Guest

        If a seller has in fact priced their property fairly and they are receiving so many of these “low ball” offers then I would have to argue that 1- it is not priced fairly or 2- the bones of the home are good enough to substantiate the price but the cosmetics of the home leave a buyer needing to budget rehab dollars to clean the place up. On the homes I made offers on that required rehab work, I worked with a contractor for the major tasks to be properly evaluated for cost to be bugeted and having done an entire remodel on my last home I knew what the diy projects would cost before I finished my walk throughs. Those dollars were calculated against “fair market value” before making my “low ball” offers. Happily I can say that I have now found the home, and the strange thing is that This One that is THE ONE is the only turn key property I have viewed and got one heck of a price reduction off list price, mostly because I know what I am looking at and working in sales myself I can honestly say that my offer is based on fact not fantasy that I had pointed out to the listing agent on my behalf.

    • lujuan1

      It seems YOU lack the maturity, grace, dignity etc.. to imagine that other homeowners trying to sell or forced to sell their homes might be going through the same things you mention if not worse with their families suffering also. No you're to consumed with someones terminology that apparently really affects you. A lot of sellers have already priced their homes at the lowest possible price they can knowing they are loosing money too just to get out of the home it really goes both ways. It sounds like quite a few of these comments have the “it was done to me so I'm gonna do it to you too!” attitude. It helps to do your research before putting an offer in

    • Guest

      When people get involved in the real estate market, it is important that they know what they get themselves into. It's important that they consider everything from the terms of the loan to what kind of market they buy in. As the economy plays a balancing act, home prices rise and fall. What we saw was prices rise, rise, and rise some more. If you bought during the height of the market and thought you were playing it safe you are just simply not understanding what it takes to make money in real estate. The realtors aren't to blame, it's the banks and corrupt lenders that you should be pointing your fingers at. The realtors have to go by certain guidelines, and follow sale trends when negotiating offers and guiding their buyers. There's nothing wrong with a low offer, and a little negotiating. You might hurt someone's ego but if they are selling in this market they can't manage their assets well to begin with and they deserve the offer they get.

  • guest

    MEANT to say: unlike most SELLERS:).

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Thanks for the alternate viewpoint. You make a very good point about market conditions. If you don't have to move. Why make a bad move?

  • None

    Another potential home buyer here who just loves nothing more than to run all over town “pulling” low-ball offers on unsuspecting sellers.

    Well, you know what? You're all going to have to get used to it. Just because you fell for the Ponzi scheme, doesn't mean that we have to. And trust me, us low-ballers are paying a whole heck of a lot more to clean up this mess than the the greedy flippers and gamblers that have been borrowing more money they could ever afford these past several years in their attempt to strike it rich.

    Cheers!

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      Tempering greed is something we can all get behind.

  • Guest

    Sellers need to detach, it's only business. I've experienced the emotional reaction of a seller to a low ball offer so it does happen, owners get insulted and don't counter offer, freeze up, and lose any chance to find a deal. When that happened to me years ago I just moved on to another house and eventually found something that fit my budget. As a seller when I got a low ball offer I just countered with a price I though would fit the market. If the buyer walked away then I waited for another offer. Now, I'm a buyer again and it's a buyers market so I'll make low ball offers until I find an owner who will negotiate and IF I can negotiate a price I like then make the change from buyer to owner. Lighten up, it's not personal, just the market. For these reasons I like dealing with bank owned property, professionals don't usually get mad.

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      The business of real estate and the emotions of home ownership will always be tied together. It is definitely a good idea to try to detach, but it might be easier said than done.

  • Margaux

    Entertaining and insightful. What a great article, thank you Redfin!

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      So glad you enjoyed the mix!

  • chris

    What about snohomish county data?

    Thanks!

  • Peggy

    Value is in the eye of the beholder. I love to get clothes and groceries on sale if I think they are worth more to me than to the store.

    One big difference between that kind of bargain and putting up my house at a bargain rate is the amount of time and effort I spent improving and maintaining my house. “Ridiculously high priced” might mean they plan on negotiating or it means they put a much higher value on it than the person putting that value judgment on it.

    Unfortunately bargain-seeking buyers don't know if the buyer is in a Goodwill or a garage sale mentality until he makes an “insulting” offer. Surprisingly enough the county assessor now has priced the building on our lot at what the kitchen and bathroom remodels totaled. Any wonder that sellers aren't accepting offers being made?

    • http://twitter.com/MichelleBee Michelle Broderick

      True, it's a very confusing situation all around and it's very difficult to know the correct etiquette in this environment.

    • SirLowballer

      The vast majority of sellers who actually need/have/want to sell, are accepting much lower prices that they hoped for. If some people improved their homes and expect premium pricing they are in for some rude awakening..so stay put for a long time if you don;t have to sell…but if you do, take a look at the low-ball offer..it may be the only one you'll get for a long time to come..

  • Seattlehouses

    I've lost four homes now, (yes four), in some pretty nice neigborhoods in Seattle (some were rentals), comprising all of our assets, along with my personal residence in this current “crisis”. We worked hard to remodel every house. We recently had to move into an apartment for the first time in over 25 years. I played by the rules, but the rules changed. None of that compares to having my wife of 32 years sticking with me through it all and knowing that someday I will meet my maker knowing I accepted Him as Lord and Savior and I am “right” with Him. (not perfect, just “right” with Him”. What an opportunity to recalibrate our priorities and blessings. Would I do it all over again, of course. But, thank God, I don't live in Haiti with all they've gone through.

    I wouldn't bother with a “short sale” because the seller ends up having to pay taxes he can ill afford on the forgiven debt and banks are very slow in deciding anyway. I would though look for “bargains”, that is, someone who is a “don't wanter” for the right reasons. ie: as in “owning is too much stress” for them and they can rent for the same amount as their mortgage. My favorite real estate quote is “A house is worth what a buyer is willing to offer and what a seller is willing to accept”. Other than that, just walk away from the deal. Especially in this market with so much available inventory.

  • Paydirt68

    RE professionals and those in the market need to change their vernacular. There is no such thing as a Low-Ball offer. Buyers set the pricing at market value, not Low-Ball.

    SELLERS ARE LISTING AT HIGH-BALL PRICES! Buyers can offer nothing more than market value and that may be above or below list.

    Loose the term Low-Ball Offer and get the term HIGH-BALL LISTING into the program.

  • rational2

    Sellers as confused about the whole thing as Buyers are. There is anxiety on both ends as Sellers worry they might be selling at the bottom while Buyers worry the prices will drop another 10% the day they close. This is how markets work and if we had this healthy anxiety before 2007 we would have had a much better real estate market.

    Anyway, we are where we are today. If you are a Seller name the price you are willing to accept. If you are a Buyer name the price you are willing to pay. No need for name calling or taking offense. If Buyers believe they will get a better price 6 months down the road, they should wait for those lower prices. Take a seller's list price at face value and if you don't like it, don't bid on it. Not getting an offer sends as strong a message to a seller as a price offer 10% below list price.

  • sold!

    I had a few low-ball offers in the early days of selling my home. I rejected them. I later regretted it when I had to accept an even lower offer. My advice to sellers is to seriously consider all offers (within reason). There's no harm in countering a low-ball offer.

    Remember, if your looking for the high-ball there's always the liquor cabinet.

  • Jrich6

    I have read that many people are not qualifying for jumbo loans (over $417k). I get the impression that homes that would take a jumbo loan or lots of cash lying around (that most of us don't have) are sitting on the market a while. However, homes in decent condition priced at or below a non-conforming loan in Seattle are moving and moving fast. I’ve seen four houses saved to my favorites list go into pending in less than 5 days after being listed. Are there any stats that show how homes in different price brackets are selling?

    • guest

      I've also seen plenty of homes in my favorites go pending – but WAY more often than not, I see them back on the market. Some pending for at least 6 months. While pending used to mean sold home, that's no longer the case. Watch and see…

  • Want a Home!

    We placed a good, solid offer on a short sale home. Although it was less than what the seller wanted to sell it for, he accepted it anyways. We thought we had a good chance. But the bank was quick to reject us, as they wanted about 6% more than what we were offering. I guess we'll wait for the home to sit a bit longer and try again?

  • guest 2010

    Seller agent did a secret deal. :(

    We have been sitting on our down pay; we saw a short sale house we love about 2 weeks ago, we made full price offer with 20%, everything they asked for and nothing more, no contingency — absolute no weird requirements.
    They said they had multiple offers, reject. Fine, we up the price for 10K and tries again to at least become the backup offer.

    Still refuses…was told our offer price is actually higher than what they sent to the bank. Obviously the seller agent did a secret deal somewhere somehow.

    Is that even legal?

  • Seattlehouses

    What do you mean you made a “full price offer” on a short sale? Did you offer only the amount of the asking price for a short sale or did you offer the amount that would pay off the underlying mortgage?

    Who told you that your offer price was higher than what they sent to the bank? If it was a short sale, then the bank and ultimately the investors or the govenment (you and me as tax payers) are taking a financinal “hit”. No, that wouldn't be legal or ethical. IF the amount ACCEPTED is less than your WRITTEN offer, then something is amiss and your agent should talk to their broker. You give too few details for anyone to know if anything “funny” happened.

    It may be that you waited too long to “up” your offer and they had already sent the other offer to the bank.

    It may just be that you were given incomplete or incorrect information as usually happens when there are multiple offers.

    I'd move on to another property. Short sales are rarely quick or painless, anyway.

  • GuestLowballer

    I guess we “low-balled” on a bank owned house in the early summer. We researched the area and put in an offer we thought was reasonable 70K less than asking price. Redfin gave us the comparable and recommended 25K off the asking price. We didn't think it was worth that much because it was in a different school district than the comparable and in less than desirable condition. The bank didn't even give us the time of day on our offer. The house is still on the market priced at what we originally offer. My husband really likes the house, but I don't know if it's even worth that much anymore.

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  • Guest1916

    Sellers in this area need a serious reality check and take a look at two things; what housing prices are like around the country for similar houses and what it costs to just build your dream home.

    On the first point, I've looked around here and I've looked elsewhere around the country. On average you can get a lot more house for a lot less money in many very desirable places. Example, a friend of mine just moved to a new 4700 sf mansion just outside Austin, TX (a very nice place) for $600k (the house was priced at $850k). This is lake front property with a boat dock, media room, gym, gourmet kitchen, 5 bedrooms/4 baths. A similar property here on Lake Washington is usually between $1.5 – $3 million. Sure the property taxes are higher there, but the savings more than make up for it. The same is true for much more modest homes. I've looked around and found that to be consistent in more than a few wonderful places around the country to live. I'm a native here and love this city, but I'm seriously considering moving somewhere where the people have a clue as to what a house is actually worth. Many of the sellers around here seem to still think it's 4 years ago. I put a very reasonable offer on a house a year ago that was $100k under what the seller wanted, but still $10k over what anyone (private appraisers, internet appraisers, county tax records, ect.) said the house was worth. The offer wasn't taken. I offered $40k more and it still wasn't taken. The house is still on the market. I have heard from the seller that he regrets not taking my offer now. Yeah, I bet he is. That house is worth less now. I have learned lately that one could build the same house for half of what he wants.

    Which comes to the second point. Most of the people I know are contractors who work on all sorts of houses big and small. I take them out to inspect houses that I've considered buying and fixing up. In almost all cases the verdict is that it would be cheaper to raze the house and rebuild, than to repair and keep that “charming” or “cozy”, 1910 Craftsmen or Tudor piece of junk that some flipper slapped a coat of paint on, planted a few trees in the yard, and is trying in vane to make a profit on. Don't mind that the foundation is unsafe and it floods with water every winter, the wiring and plumbing are questionable, the roof might (no, does) “need a little work”, and look at those charming, cozy original, single pane windows. The point is that your house isn't worth saving. If I buy your 2 br/1 bath house for $350k that you've “updated” with paint, a new stove, and a nice pear tree, and it's going to cost me another $150k to get it up to code and truly be livable, then what is my motivation for buying it? It's really only worth the land it's sitting on (about $150k). I lived in Ballard for 16 years and was as disgusted as most people were about the condo building boom there, but the reality is the houses that they destroyed to build those monstrosities were mostly not worth saving. If I can build a brand new house (my dream house, even) at approximately $100k (give or take) per floor, what is suppose to be my motivation for buying that $650k, overpriced by nearly double, “Oops, the foundation is leaking”, house in a nice area?

    It's not “Low balling”. It's reality folks. Sorry many of you lived past your means and paid too much a while back for what has become an albatross. Let someone help you to get at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the way out of debt before you sink further into the abyss.

  • Intellectual "LOWBALLER"

    “lowballers” well isnt that special (tongue in cheek) actually it is quite insulting. We moved here, the Seattle area, from across the country and we are quite fortunate to have lived in many other states. Let me make this clear, THE SEATTLE AREA MARKET IS UTTERLY UNREALISTIC. Dont start with 1. We have limited usable land 2. Everyone wants to live here blah blah blah blah. Here are a couple of facts for you and the banks and sellers in general.
    1. Tax credit gone
    2. Winter is almost here
    3. Unemployment is outrageous and there is not expectation that is going to improve much in the near future
    4. The tax situation here is up in the air, ironically the lack of state taxes is one of the reasons we chose the transfer here, and once the government gets hold of income taxes the threshold always gets lower and lower and lower. Just experience speaking.
    5. If you dont like the offer, wait around a lower one will come along
    6. Get a clue, we have seen houses that have not been updated since I Love Lucy was premiering you CAN NOT expect top dollar for something that has original 1960's carpet, paint, cabinets ect its not ORIGINAL its OLD AND OUT DATED and has to be replaced to be livable.
    7. If your not willing to make it livable dont put it up for sale, auction it instead. Your doing an enormous disservice to the neighborhoods and buyers that are out there with this “we are not going to fix anything” mentality. If your not willing to bring a house up to simply passing an inspection dont bother or at least put the pictures up and show why. Dont hide it that is blatant dishonesty on the part of the listing agents.
    8. Seattle is NOT insulated from the real estate down turn the agents and bank reps are simply still in denial. Go through the listings for South King County and you will see pending pending pending pending……let me translate that from my months of house hunting pending=never to close or maybe that should be…short sale=never to close. we wont even look at them anymore.
    9. Compare the type of house you get here for 200-250k and what you can get in the rest of the country for 200-250k OH MY GOSH WHAT A DIFFERENCE! The houses here are shantys and shacks by comparison.
    There is so much more but this entire process has exhausted and frustrated us and now because of our use of common sense and math to determine fair offers, YOU have added insult on top of exhaustion and frustration.
    You want to call us “lowballers” when you and your agent co-horts price houses in the stratosphere, I am done. I am going to rent at about 3/4 of what owning would cost and wait and see if any sanity suddenly invades the real estate market here if not my family will take our pre-approval and go elsewhere. As much as we LOVE IT HERE and as much and we wanted this to be our home it is beginning to look like that is simply not a possibility, at least not without name calling from arrogant, self righteous, in denial agent. Glad you have not been my agent.

    • Jillano

      Sounds like you should live somewhere with cheaper housing. My sister lives in Arkansas, I hear there are screaming deals to be had there.

      • Intellectual "LOWBALLER"

        I am sorry your sister lives in Arkansas. No way could we live there it reminds us too much of a movie called Idiocracy. I compared some South King Country homes to equivilant listings in Arkansas and guess what? You can get zip for the same house in Arkansas and I do mean zip that they want 190k for here. From your comment it almost seems as if arrogance is fueling outlandish asking prices.
        Buy a clue….instead here is one for free.
        There is quite a bit of land available here unfortunately the problem is the developers get hold of a parcel and build a 3/4 million dollar McMansion on it instead of a livable home.
        here is another clue……….
        No where else in this country (except New York & San Fran) can you sell a house for such outrageous sq ft asking prices that has orange carpet, orange counter tops and appliances, cabinets and fixtures that date to the 60's.
        Washington is special I will grant you that, but it aint that special.
        here is another clue…………..
        Most of these houses would not be in the shape they are in had real estate prices been anywhere near realistic if they had been people would have been able to afford a trip to home depot instead of having to save pennies to buy light bulbs.
        here is another clue……………..
        Buyers are not buying, people are sitting on their money because of pricing arrogance/stupidity in this market
        I saw a house recently go from active to pending at 170k and you know what it needed every bit of 50k spent on it to bring it current, but it will probably be back on the market soon. If it were to close at that the buyers would in effect be paying 220k for the house because they not only must pay their new mortgage with ever increasing taxes and utilities but they must also update the house for their own comfort not to mention future saleability.
        Tell what will make you happy, we are walking away, but if we are so are others. That is not an idle statement after discussing this with our HR dept. (which is located in another state) we discovered the last 3 managers that have relocated out of Seattle have done so BECAUSE OF THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. HR told us it is what is specifically written on the request forms. You might also consider our walking away is taking away 2 incomes and the spending of a family from local businesses. There will now be 4 management positions here that will not be filled the positions are now going to be slated to go away and our company is moving as much as possible out of Seattle. No this is not a fly by night company either. By my calculations that is 4 homes that will not be bought that is approx 700k in annual spending that is not going to take place here, in my opinion where it should be taking place, that is approx 12k in annual real estate taxes that will not be paid by people but rather by banks as houses sit empty and deteriorating.
        Arrogance has a very steep price tag.

  • Anonymous

    Great thread. I suspect Michelle, the author of this post, was bracing herself for the controversy since at the end of the day, that's probably the corporate goal. Redfin is an agency and when Reality along with undeniable math and market conditions are squarely on the side of us “low-ballers”, Redfin needs to encourage active listings which ultimately translates into an unholy alliance with sellers' hopes and fears.

    Hey all ye “lowball” buyers and “anxious sellers eager to sell before paying another weighty mortgage payment” — be part of CHANGING the system. This is a clarion call for all us BUYERS to CONTINUE putting lowball bids, CONTINUE to be educated– read the http://www.seattlebubble.com, Tim's blog; research on the King County parcel viewer; ceaselessly evaluate financing options and for an agency that I am working with that seems to have a better reputation for being on the buyer's side, check out cascaderealtyinc.com along with Iphone apps, Zillow, Redfin, Google, and even Craigslist.

    For SELLERS, you know, my first purchase in Seattle was FSBO. FOR SALE BY OWNER. Seriously, Redfin and any Agency are so afraid of this democratization of information… it's really not that hard. Get yourself a real estate lawyer, a good relationship with your mortgage broker/officer, and some forms on the Internet, and do the work that your listing agent claims to do for you and bonus, keep the commisison! Then, you're in a MUCH better position to negotiate on price and guess what, you can choose the buyer you want. Don't like the “garage-sale” mentality of a buyer, don't sell to them! I look at craigslist ALL THE TIME, and I know other educated, “lowballer” buyers prob do the same.

    And you know what, a good chunk of “lowball buyers” are actually sellers too! That doesn't mean we are all evil investors– but rather, we choose not to lock in our loss. You can set your “make me move”' price on Zillow for free! so DO THAT before you even get a listing agent! The more educated we are, the more we force online agencies to continue innovating cool, and really useful features.

    Don't be a slave to the Matrix… pretty much everything is on the Internet, so no excuses for ignorance!

  • GuestLowballer

    The bank (seller) didn't give us the time of day with our 'low ball offer' 10% off the asking price. The house is still on the market 108 days with a price that is lower than our 'low-ball' offer. Husband still likes it. I am thinking another 10% off the current asking price, but I don't like the property anymore. I guess, I should thank you bank for not letting me have buyer's remorse.

  • iRidiculous

    Low-ball offers insult sellers? Well in my opinion listing a home with an unrealistic price is insulting. Everyone knows the entire market is headed down for the foreseeable future, why should sellers expect to pass off an over-priced home to some sucker willing to overpay? When sellers finally learn to temper their expectations and price their home to sell, then maybe they won't receive “insulting” offers. Sellers should be thankful for any offer in these trying times.

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