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Q&A for Sellers

How do you know if a listing has a fair price?

I have sold or previewed hundreds of homes, and when I walk in a house’s front door, I can’t help but automatically estimate its value. After decades working in real estate, it’s become second nature.

Now, If my client has serious interest, I back up my opinion with a market analysis. I’ll sit down with my client and we’ll talk about the current price and, because Seattle has such a competitive market, we’ll talk about how high that price could escalate.

That usually leads to another question: What is the maximum I should pay?

To answer that one, I analyze the house in question as an investment, based on what I know about my client’s abilities, wants, needs, and the amount of time they expect to live in the property. It’s an important question, and I take the answer very seriously.


Can’t I just use price per square footage to determine value?

The answer is a resounding no.

Price per square footage is an aid. That’s all. Seattle varies far too much in location, condition, age, style, and layout—not to mention the degree of what I like to call “Seattle funk.” Also, many older homes have had modifications over the years. Others were built well and haven’t needed many upgrades. Still others were constructed with little thought to style or flow. It all matters.


Should we consider a short sale?

Short answer: Maybe.

Long answer: In a short sale, the property sells for less than the amount of the outstanding mortgage. Short sales typically have a 3-6 month closing timeline.

Pros: For the buyer, a short sale means “more house for the money,” which is a very good thing. Also, the long 3-6 month closing timeline isn’t an issue for buyers with flexible living situations, such as month-to-month leases, an option to move twice, or the ablity to live in their current home for an indefinite time,

Cons: The long closing time in a short sale deters for people. The uncertainty of when you’ll be able to move can be tough on those with kids, and the idea of possibly needing to move twice is even more unpalatable. Rising interest rates can make waiting several months unappealing, too.

Note: Some sellers simply list their property as a “short sale” without consulting their bank/lender, which is bad bad bad. A seller’s financial situation must meet the lender’s specific criteria for a short sale, and if the lender doesn’t give consent, the short sale can’t happen. Even if the buyer and seller settle on a price, without the bank’s permission, the deal stays dead in the water. So when a home is advertised as a short sale, ask if the lender has agreed to let the house sell for less than the outstanding mortgage amount.


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  • Sarah Donaldson
    Sarah Donaldson
    18:44 18 Jul 19
    Darcie was such a joy to work with. She felt like family during the sale of our house and the search for our new home. We may have found our forever home, but if we ever need a Realtor in future, Darcie from Real Estate Gals will be our first call.
    Brian Heagler
    Brian Heagler
    16:55 02 Jun 19
    I have worked with Johnine and her team for 19 years and have always received personal, knowledgeable and professional service and attention! There is never and pressure and they will guide you away from a property when appropriate, which is always appreciated when a market is hot and the tendency is to move quickly. I trust them and have never been let down!
    Anne Slater
    Anne Slater
    18:03 25 May 19
    Johnine Larsen is fabulous! She listened and came up with ways we could get what we wanted in a house and stay within our limited budget. When we found the house we wanted, she moved super fast to get the house inspected and implemented creative ideas to make our offer appealing. And out of 13 offers, we were selected and got our house. I recommend her to anyone buying a home.
    Amy Burdick
    Amy Burdick
    19:13 24 May 19
    Real Estate Gals made sure we found our perfect house! Then, when we were up against other bidders, Johnine worked tirelessly to ensure we were tops! Her extensive real estate experience combined with exceptional character and integrity provided peace of mind throughout the process. She also made sure we received the right value as a seller and got the transaction done quickly and efficiently. Simply stated: there is nobody better to help you find your dream home.
    Bill Hollman
    Bill Hollman
    22:21 19 May 19
    I'd give Real Estate Gals 6 stars if I could. We have used them multiple times, both in selling and buying homes in Seattle and the surrounding area. I can't say enough about the professionalism, knowledge, and patience they bring to the task of buying a new home, or selling your current residence. And they know the Seattle area so well, they'll offer valuable insights into the pros and cons of any location you may be to considering. Look no further, call Johnine at Real Estate Gals. You will be glad you did!
    Beth Guerra
    Beth Guerra
    01:14 18 May 19
    Johnine was a breath of fresh air in the real estate market. She listened intently to our wishes and goals, and was tireless in her search for our perfect house. She is well versed in both Seattle and the surrounding areas. She made sure all the details were taken care of after the inspection, and made the closing process seamless. She even gifted us with a housewarming present. Nearly 7 years later, we still receive holiday cards and well wishes. I highly recommend Real Estate Gals and will look no further in the future.
    Aidan Key
    Aidan Key
    15:44 17 May 19
    Johnine and the Real Estate Gals brilliantly took us through the home buying process two different times. Their willingness to educate (I was new), hear our home hopes, and support us through the process are a few of the reasons that I highly recommend this team. Speaking of a team, I love their collaborative business model - it meant that we--the home buyers--always had a returned phone call and an ability to look at a house on OUR schedule. Truly felt like they place the customer first!
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