In part 1 and part 2 of this series, we talked about a couple of different home buyer scenarios that we’ve seen in our recent, more balanced Seattle real estate market. Buyers have more power in our slower market right now, which means you have more bargaining power and can negotiate for the things you want!
With this particular buyer scenario, we had a friend call us up on behalf of their brother and sister-in-law who were trying to buy a house. Things weren’t going smoothly for them, so we got to work ASAP.
The buyers had already found a home they loved, so we helped them get completely pre-approved within a day. We went to look at the home on the Eastside, and the seller had done a LOT of work to it, which included a new kitchen and new bathrooms.
The problem was that the home hadn’t sold in 3-4 months, and it had an unfinished basement with water intrusion issues.
Now, in Seattle, we’re used to older homes that have wet basements. But on the Eastside, most homes are mid-century or later, and their basements should not be having water issues. Even if the buyers don’t mind, this becomes a big resale issue for the home. We knew we needed to solve this issue if we were going to let them buy the house in good conscience.
If this same situation had happened a year ago when the market was busy, none of what we were able to do in this scenario would have been possible. But in a slower market, you have time to properly and thoroughly deal with these types of things. So we called our inspector (as we had advised our clients to get their own inspection), and our inspector found several more issues than the sellers inspector did. (Matt had even noticed a bunch of stuff that the first inspector had missed. We could write a whole other blog about this but you should always get your own inspector!)
Lo and behold, there ended up being other issues, including some dry rot, a drainage system that wasn’t correct, the water heater and furnace were at the end of their lives, etc. After the inspection was done we called our go-to drainage specialists team so we could get an idea of how much it would cost to rectify the basement situation. In total, it was going to cost $20k-$25k to dry out the basement and fix the other issues that popped up.
At this point, we had the seller to deal with, who we felt was not being very logical about the situation. As a last step, we called our a structural engineer just to make sure the house was solid. It turned out the house was just fine in that regard. With this peace of mind, we got to work negotiating with the seller.
In the end, our buyers ended up getting the home for $645k. The asking price was $685k, we tried to get it for $640k, and the sellers initially said they would only be willing to go down to $650k. Plus, the sellers spent about $100k in total fixing up the house (including the kitchen and bath remodels). Our buyers ended up getting exactly what they needed fixed AND we got money off of the listing price.
All of this would NEVER have been possible in a heightened market! Buyers, your chance to get a deal on a home in Seattle is now and your window is closing as the spring market approaches.