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Dec. 27, 2006 - First Time Home Seller

When I picked my cateogories for 2007, I don't know what I was thinking when I picked First Time Home Seller.  God, there is just so much to say there, and yet no one does. 

Google "First Time Home..." and you will get more advice than you can filter through your brain on "1st time home BUYER".  Some things on "1st time home OWNER.  But not nearly as much on "First time home Seller".

Honestly, this is dangerous territory, because agents lie more to sellers than anyone else.  Mostly because sellers create that "set up" by asking the wrong questions.  You end up answering all of the seller's questions instead of telling them what they really need to hear.  It's standard "modus operandi".

So let's start it off real simple.

Do NOT, do not, do not...tell the agent(s) you are interviewing, what you think your home is worth.  We will beg, plead, coerce and generally do everyting we can to get you to spit out a number, before we give YOU a number.  DO NOT DO IT!

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Nov. 19, 2006 - Test your Zesitmate. Is your Zillow Value correct?

Hi Jillayne,

In answer to your question on this post,  I had a lot of fun taking the publicly available site ride.  Thanks!

Instead of looking up the stats for your neighborhood in Edmonds, I went straight to "How can you value your own home using publicly available sources?"  That seemed more like a thing a homeowner might do for fun.  Another way to phrase that question might be, "How do I test my Zestimate for accuracy?"  or  " Is my Zillow value correct?"

That seemed more like what a homeowner might do for fun, than running stats.  Running stats is an "area" thing to do, not a "neighborhood" thing to do.  When looking at neighborhood, you are more doing an "online CMA" than a stat scenario like the one I did for Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

First I valued your house and came up with a list price of $399,999.  Then I tried to do it with Zillow, and as you probably know, it says $341,004.  Then I went to the John L. Scott site and couldn't find your "significant other" that sold in May/June.  I say May/June because it was a May decision as to price and a June close.  So "for fun" best answer is still to Zillow your neighborhood, but that could be $50,000 off, as it appears to be in your case.

Here's the deal.  You've got that house up the street from you, before you get to 80th Ave, asking $459,900 on market for over 100 days.  Then you've got that house in the next section off 80th Ave., on 187th place, that sold for $380,950 in May/June.  Both of those were tri-levels, like yours.  So these two are your "significant others".  Now Zillow both of those and yours and click on "See Home Details".  All three properties have a land assessed value of $137,000.  You can make adjustments if you want for "better" location, but they appear to be fairly equal and I'd treat them that way.  Now look at "assessed value of buildings".  Yours is $106,000, the one that sold is $101,200 and the one for sale is $113,400.  Now just do the math.

Sale price of $380,950 divided by $101,200 times $106,000 puts your home value at $399,018.  Now go to the house for sale and take $380,950 divided by $101,200 times $113,400 and it should sell for $426,874.80 or thereabouts.  Likely it should have been listed originally at no more than $449,950 and better yet at $439,950 or $429,950.  Looks like they used a comp in Seaview with a much higer land assessment of $170,000 plus as the comp to set that price.  Anyway, back to you.  If that house sells for $420,000 to $430,000, that verifies your "asking price" of $399,950.  It could bid up over $400,000 as the $380,950 bid up from $369,950, or it could sell at $390,000 or $395,000.

Of course I don't know you, and have only been to Edmond's once for a Christmas Party where I was pretty tipsy most of the night.  I've never seen the inside OR outside of your house, given you bought it in 2001 and the archives didn't retain even the curb appeal photo.  But I'd say Zillow is low by about $50,000 because they appear to be overweighting a sale near you from January of 2006.  Zillow should probably tighten up those dates and weightings, and not overweight sales in 1/2006 that are really 2005 season holdovers, and more heavily weight the sales from the 2006 season, at this point.  Maybe they can weight sales in the last 3 months at 50%, previous 3 months at 40% and the rest at 10%.  That might work.

So Zillow is your best vehicle to use as a consumer to value your house, if you make the following modifications.  Find the most recent sales and pick the 2-3 "Significant Others".  These are not necessarily the ones closest to you, but the ones that have equal land values when you click on the "see home details" and the ones that have the same style as your house.  Valuing a tri-level with a full two story, will not be as accurate as using other tri-levels as your comps.  You can use total assessed value and just divide the house that sold times it's total assessed value and then multiply that answer by your assessed value.  All of that is available on Zillow.  For you, using properties with the same land assessment, and dividing only by building assessment works better, as you can tell from the house not sold up the street.  It's as close as you can get and works really well.

What do you think?  Given what I've said above, am I right at an asking price of $399,999 for your house?  Or is Zillow right at their $341,004?  Depends somewhat on your kitchen and baths, and whether or not and when they were updated since the home was built in 1958.


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Jan. 21, 2006 - Real Stories - Real lessons

XXX calls and tells me she ran into a guy thinking about selling his property and gives me his contact info.


I call owner and make appointment to go see his property.


Great place, real estatewise, but a mess otherwise.  Stacks of books and stuff in stacks all over the floor everywhere.  All furniture smells like stale sweat because he bikes everywhere, comes home sweaty and hungry, sits on furniture and bed and eats.  Normal "guy" stuff, but 6 mos. old sweat smells really bad!  Lots of other small stuff like dishes stacked up, bottles and cans piling up for that once a year trip to the recycle bin downstairs.  An inch of grease on the stove.  Again, normal stuff.


I tell him what he can get for the place if WE do all the stuff on the list before anyone sees it.  That is 5% more than we can get if we don't do that stuff, and $10,000 more than he thought he could get regardless.




Don't let anyone SEE the place except YOUR agent when it looks that bad. 


If you "interview" every agent in town BEFORE you get it ready, you have wasted your entire "buyer pool" for the first 30-60 days! 


You can't erase what is in all of those agent's heads and you will never get top dollar if you "over expose" a property before it is ready to be seen. 


Let 1 agent see it if it is really bad, and only 1. 


3 is OK for so-so. 


I recently had a client who showed it to everyone while he was doing his "flip work" and then he couldn't sell it.  Had to rent it till next season.  Once everyone rules it out as an option, you can't get them back. 


By trying to "beat the commission" by showing it FSBO before it was "positioned to sell", you may win the battle and lose the war.  Save the commission, but get less than you saved, as a sale price. 


Let one person see it bad...never more than one.


Any questions?  Ask away.





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ARDELL DellaLoggia of Sound Realty on Seattle Real Estate process and market including Kirkland, Bellevue, Redmond, Green Lake and most areas around the top of Lake Washington North of Downtown Seattle. Phone: 206-910-1000 - Mailto:ARDELLd@gmail.com

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