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Max Rombakh

Featured Article

2023 Luxury Real Estate Trends

Our luxury real estate partners share their forecasts for this year's housing market

Article by Compiled by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Courtesy of featured partners

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

Ferrera Team - Catherine Ferrera and McKenna Ferrera

Compass

  • What are your thoughts on what the real estate market will do in 2023?

We think the real estate market has bottomed out or will have a little more to go. January 2023 has shown modest improvements as new buyers are out looking and the rates have stayed a bit more stable. We think we will have a modest uptick until May and then level off, but if the rates come down and land in the low to mid 5% range it could spark some more movement with both buyers and sellers. 

  • Any advice that you would offer a home buyer this year?

Start speaking with a lender to understand what you can afford and receive an initial pre-approval amount as soon as you can. Also, start looking sooner rather than later and find a qualified realtor to work with who has experience negotiating. Currently many of our deals have had the seller contributing toward closing costs instead of dropping the price. This credit can help bring down the buyer’s interest rate while keeping the seller’s desired sales price the same, which is a win/win situation for both buyers and sellers. 

  • Any advice that you would offer a home seller in 2023? 

Prep your home correctly! Make sure necessary maintenance is up to date, where you would feel confident if a buyer were to make an offer contingent on an inspection. Besides maintenance, make sure to visually prep your home. This includes a deep clean, possibly painting and getting carpets professionally cleaned or replaced. If painting, think of refreshing the colors to a more neutral color. These efforts go a long way in polishing a home for market. Staging is also very important and making sure to de-personalize your home before listing. You want to be sure that potential buyers walking through the home could imagine themselves living there. We have our Compass Concierge program that we have leveraged to help many of our home sellers properly prep their home.

Max Rombakh

Windermere

  • What are your thoughts on what the real estate market will do in 2023?

2023 will be an interesting year. Fundamentally, real estate in Bellevue and Kirkland is in good shape: Inventory is very low and there are many buyers in the marketplace - some that truly need to move, and some seeking deep discounts. Sellers aren’t reducing prices and buyers are waiting for price reductions, leading to a stalemate. The real estate market is staying neutral and should remain so through 2023 if rates continue to drop and inventory remains low. The median price of homes has adjusted 20-30% from the peak, which motivates buyers who understand that they can refinance in the future. 

Properties checking many boxes for buyers and offering unique characteristics such as views and waterfront, coupled with a great location and layouts, remain in high demand. Sellers with favorable interest rates and no life changes requiring a sale are not putting their homes on the market, putting pressure on inventory. 

  • Any advice that you would offer a home buyer this year?

Understand that prices are down because interest rates are higher than at the peak. They won’t stay high forever and if they continue to drop, demand will increase and if inventory remains low multiple offers and price escalations could happen again. Buyers are in a market that we haven’t seen in several years and unlike during the peak, you don’t have to guess how much over market you have to pay. You are buying a home at market value or below and can refinance the rate later. As long as you’re buying a home that you intend to be in for at least five years and you can afford it, you will be rewarded by appreciation. The Kirkland and Bellevue real estate markets are resilient and can bounce back quickly. 

  • Any advice that you would offer a home seller in 2023? 

 Sellers - Yes, you missed the peak, hindsight is 20/20, but your home has appreciated and is worth more than it was two years ago. Be careful with pricing - hire a broker who knows the local market. Different market dynamics today mean that buyers aren’t willing to compromise easily. Homes with drawbacks will be tougher to sell now. Pricing is key, presentation and local market knowledge is monumental today in handling buyer objections. If the home isn’t priced right, it could send the listing into a spiral chasing the price and days on market.

Team Foster  - Tere Foster and Moya Skillman

Compass

  • What are your thoughts on what the real estate market will do in 2023?

The 2022 market ended the year with confusion and pause. Buyers were concerned about rising interest rates. Sellers were reluctant to come on the market knowing that buyers had paused in making their purchase decisions. However, one thing is a constant in our area: we never have enough inventory to meet demand. The greater Puget Sound is bordered by water and mountains; there is a shortage of available buildable land. This limits the ability for homebuilders to meet the demands of the market. We expect to see neighborhoods with continued inventory shortages. Sellers should be encouraged by the buyer activity and have confidence this will be a good year to sell their home. At the same time, buyers are feeling relieved that the frantic pace of the market has cooled, giving them more time to make thoughtful decisions.

One thing we know for sure: real buyers are out there. At press time we just finished hosting an Open House on Clyde Hill and saw 31 groups through the home!

  • Any advice that you would offer a home buyer this year?

We see more sellers willing to negotiate. We recommend selecting an experienced Realtor who is well respected amongst their colleagues and will not simply hit “Send” with your offer. An agent with trusted relationships will begin a conversation with the listing agent and engage in savvy negotiation. 

  • Any advice that you would offer a home seller in 2023? 

Presentation and strategic pricing remain the two most important factors for sellers. The home needs staging, cleaning, and fresh paint. When in doubt, paint it out. Many of our buyers seek light palettes & airy spaces. In addition, buyers are looking for homes they can move right into. If they can envision simply moving right in, it will result in a faster sale at a higher price.

Pricing too high out of the gate may cause your property to stall; an experienced Realtor can review the local data and help with a pricing strategy in real time. The days of shooting for the stars with a high price are over. Overpricing can result in longer market time and a lower sales price.

Mark von der Burg and Erin Harper 

VDB Compass

  • What are your thoughts on what the real estate market will do in 2023?

Seattle’s ranking as one of the top 10 cities nationally, enhanced by natural beauty and active lifestyles, draws an influx of buyers to the area. Inventory is on the rise but numbers remain historically low overall. In the last few months, pricing has come under negative pressure, causing sold prices to level off or decline from 2020, 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. The 2023 market continues to present valuable opportunities for those looking for long-term ownership, new construction and investment properties.

  • Any advice that you would offer a home buyer this year?

Properly priced, well-prepared homes continue to outperform the market. That's why it is important to be prepared to move quickly when finding one you love. Selecting an experienced, connected broker who can educate you on value, help navigate the offer process, and negotiate on your behalf is key for optimum results. While interest rates are currently higher than in recent years, they are in line with rates years prior to the pandemic. It's a good time for buyers who were unable to compete in a highly competitive market to re-engage.

  • Any advice that you would offer a home seller in 2023? 

Buyers are still buying… because they are still starting families, getting married, upsizing, downsizing, and relocating for work. As a result, well-prepared, turnkey homes continue to sell in the Bellevue market. With increased inventory, buyers can be more selective, making proper presentation and price imperative for sellers. Be prepared to offer a perfectly polished, staged product to elevate your home’s presence and engage potential buyers. A skilled professional with attention to detail in the preparations, luxury marketing and successful negotiation will ensure the best return on your investment, especially as we return to a more balanced market. 


 

  • Mark von der Burg
  • Max Rombakh
  • Catherine and McKenna Ferrera
  • Tere Foster and Moya Skillman
  • Erin Harper