Are you ready for selling your house in Washington, the beautiful Evergreen State? Stay ahead of the game by understanding the current real estate landscape.
In March 2023, Washington’s housing market experienced a 7.0% decline in home prices compared to the previous year, with a median price of $586,100. Navigating the complexities of the Washington real estate market requires a strategic approach.
Whether you’re in Seattle, the Emerald City, or any other corner of this diverse state, understanding the current trends and leveraging them to your advantage is essential. Let’s explore how you can position your house effectively to attract the right buyers and achieve a successful sale.
📉 Washington State Housing Market Update
- Median Home Sale Price Drop YoY: The median home sale price dropped to $364,366, down by 2.3% YoY, the biggest decline in more than a decade.
- Fewer Buyers are Applying for Mortgages: Mortgage purchase applications were down by 31% YoY. Due to expensive financing, fewer buyers are applying for mortgages.
- iBuyers are No More a Viable Option: Several iBuyers have either shut down or are suffering massive losses. As per our research, most iBuyers are not offering more than 70% of a property’s Fair Market Value.
- Bottom Line: In 2023, more sellers in the Evergreen State are opting to sell their homes by owner. By listing on the MLS with the best FSBO sites in Washington State, your Washington State home gets maximum exposure, and you save thousands of dollars in commissions.
Step 1: Determine How You Want to Sell Your House in Washington State
How you choose to sell will determine all other aspects of selling your Washington State home. These include the cost of selling a house in Washington State, marketing strategy, the level of preparation you need, etc.
Home sellers in the Evergreen State are no longer required to work with only 3% commission realtors to list and sell their houses. You have options now – MLS listing services, discount brokers, FSBO sites, etc. – who work at lower rates. Weigh the pros and cons of each option before you choose one.
- Sell With a Discount Broker: A Washington discount real estate broker offers all the services similar to a traditional broker at discounted rates. Discount brokers in Washington State charge a 1.5%-2% commission or a $3,000-$5,000 flat rate. They will help you with everything, from listing to closing, and offer decent savings.
- Sell Your Property For Sale By Owner: You can sell your home without a Realtor, independently. You will save the entire 3% listing commission but won’t get MLS access. You can list your Washington State home on For Sale By Owner website. The best FSBO sites leverage technology to get you listed and connect you with potential buyers directly.
- Sell With a Traditional Realtor: We do not recommend working with a traditional Realtor. They charge a 5%-6% commission and control most aspects of the transaction. However, if you need guidance at every step, work with Washington Realtors in your area who have expertise in the Washington housing market.
- Offer Your Home to a Cash Buyer: You can sell your home “as is” in Washington to a cash buyer. Washington cash home buyers offer 30% to 50% of the Fair Market Value and offer flexible closing timelines.
✍️ Pro Tip: Offer your home to an iBuyer if your house is in good condition. iBuyers offer up to 70% of the Fair Market Value and make instant cash offers.
Step 2: Set a Realistic Listing Price
The listing or the asking price is the most important factor for a successful home sale. Typically, the real estate broker will run comps and help you arrive at an asking price. However, in an FSBO sale, you can use online tools like Zestimate to determine the asking price for your Washington State home.
Do not overprice your home. If you do, your home will spend more days on the market, and buyers may make negative assumptions about it.
On the other hand, underpricing can be a good strategy. Remember, the listing price is not equal to the sale price. The purpose of the listing price is to attract buyers for your home.
You can set the asking price at the lowest price acceptable to you. You might get multiple offers which may lead to a bidding war among buyers. Bidding wars can help you sell at a price higher than what you had in mind. Refer to this informative guide on how to price your home for sale for more such strategies.
Step 3: Market Your Home
A good marketing strategy will help you attract more potential buyers. You can work with a broker to market your home or do it yourself. Here are a few marketing tips that can increase your home sale value substantially:
- Stage Your Home: You can sell your home for up to $40,000 more by staging it. You can either DIY it or work with local Washington home staging companies. They will rearrange the interiors of your house to make it look spacious and presentable.
- Hire a Real Estate Photographer: With professional real estate photography, you could sell your home in Washington State 32% faster. Professionally clicked pictures will make your property listing pop. It will also help you to market your home to 90% of buyers who search for properties online. Check out the top real estate photographers in Washington.
- List on MLS: With an MLS listing, you can sell faster and for up to 17% more. Your property listing will also get syndicated to 100+ real estate websites. But, only licensed real estate agents in Washington State have access to the MLS. They charge a 3% commission which can burn a hole in your pocket. You can list your house on MLS in Washington with Washington Flat Fee MLS companies. Houzeo will get you listed for $379, and that too within 48 hours.
- List on Free FSBO Websites: Several FSBO sites allow you to list your home on their website for free. Your Washington property can attract buyer traffic that visits a particular FSBO website. Some examples of free FSBO listing websites in Washington include Craigslist, Zillow, ForSaleByOwner.com, etc. However, you may attract unverified buyers or scammers as well.
- Post a Yard Sign: With a yard sign, you can attract unrepresented buyers and save the buyer agent commission. Ensure you get a yard sign with your phone number so that the buyers can contact you directly.
- Host Open Houses: In a hot market like Jacksonville or Miami, an open house can be a great way of showing your property to home buyers. Also, you can attract unrepresented buyers.
Step 4: Show Your Home to Potential Buyers
Showings are essential when selling a property in Washington or anywhere. The more the number of buyers touring your home, the greater the chances of you getting an offer. But this doesn’t mean showings should be inconvenient for you. You can use an online showings management tool like Houzeo Showings.
Houzeo Showings allows you to schedule slots for buyers to tour your Washington house. Home buyers can also request and reschedule or cancel showings.
Step 5: Negotiate Offers
Interested buyers will send written offers to your agent or directly to you, in case of an FSBO sale. In a seller’s market, buyers might make offers above the list price. But, experts predict 2023 to be a buyer’s market. So, be open to negotiations.
As a seller, you can accept, reject, or counter an offer. A counteroffer is a way of negotiating an offer for better terms or prices. It should be in written format and must have a set timeframe for the buyers to respond. In the counteroffer, you can offer seller concessions, repair credits, etc., in exchange for selling at the list price.
In case of multiple offers, weigh all of them across various merits and do not accept the highest bid right away. You may want to consider the following before accepting an offer amongst multiple offers:
- Mode of payment (cash vs financing)
- Home buyer’s mortgage approval status (pre-approval vs pre-qualified)
- Buyer’s willingness to cover the closing costs in Washington or some part of it
- Buyer’s willingness to bypass some contingencies like a home appraisal, home inspection in Washington, etc.
- Closing timeline
In a traditional home sale, a real estate professional will negotiate for you. However, as an FSBO seller in Washington, you are on your own. In such a situation, you can use digital offer management tools like Houzeo Offers. With Houzeo Offers, you can counter an offer, call for the highest and the best offer, and more.
Step 6: Close the Sale
After the seller accepts an offer, the MLS listing status is changed to “house under contract“. You and the buyer have to complete a lot of tasks from contract to closing. Here are the key milestones in the closing process in Washington:
Allow the Buyer to Complete the Due Diligence
After you accept an offer, your Washington property goes off the market, and the buyer can perform the necessary due diligence. The buyer inspects their to-be-home to proceed with the purchase.
Post due diligence, the buyer works on securing a mortgage, known as the underwriting period. During this period, the lender verifies the buyer’s finances and inspects and appraises the property. An amount equivalent to the property’s appraised value is sanctioned to the buyer.
Pay the Closing Costs
As a seller, you will pay 5%-6% in Washington real estate commissions, equally split between your and the buyer’s agent. Additional seller closing costs Washington State that you may have to incur include:
- The escrow or the title fee
- Taxes on selling a house in Washington such as the transfer tax, capital gains tax, etc.
- Outstanding HOA dues
- Real estate attorney fees
- Seller credits (if you have offered any).
» Seller Closing Costs Calculator Washington State: Estimate the exact cost to sell a house in Washington State.
Sign the Escrow and Title Documents
This is the final step in the process of selling a home in Washington State. Here, you sign the escrow and title documents needed to sell a house in Washington. Additionally, you sign the deed and closing disclosure. Ensure you bring two valid ID proofs at the signing.
After the close of the escrow, the new homeowner’s details are registered in the public records. You receive a wire transfer or a check for the final home sale price, and the sale is complete.
When it comes to selling your house in Washington, understanding the current real estate market is crucial. With a 7.0% decline in home prices in March 2023 compared to the previous year, sellers need to be strategic to attract buyers and achieve a successful sale.
With the median days on the market increasing by 16 to reach 25 days, it’s important to position your property effectively to capture buyers’ attention. Consider working with a seasoned real estate agent who can provide valuable insights and guide you through the selling process.
By pricing your home competitively and showcasing its unique features, you can increase its appeal to potential buyers. With careful planning and strategic marketing, you can maximize your chances of a successful sale in the Washington real estate market.
Get on the MLS with a Flat Fee Realtor or a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. With Houzeo, your home will be listed for $379 within 48 hours. Read Houzeo reviews to know what home sellers across Washington State say about Houzeo.
1. What are typical closing costs for a seller in Washington State?
Typically, closing costs for sellers in Washington State are around 8% to 10% of the home sale value. Washington closing costs consist of real estate commissions, the title fee, owner's title insurance, recording fee, and other closing expenses. The real estate commission of around 6% forms the biggest chunk of the Washington closing costs. You can save thousands of dollars in the listing agent commission by selling your house by owner in Washington. You can work with a Washington Flat Fee MLS company to get listed on the MLS and manage the other aspects of the home selling journey on your own.
2. What disclosures are required when selling a house in Washington?
You need to furnish the following disclosure while selling a house in Washington:
1. Standard Property Condition Disclosure Statement
2. Lead Paint Disclosure
3. Condominium Disclosure Statement Washington
4. Home Owner’s Association Disclosure Statement
5. Washington Radon Gas Disclosure
6. Coastal Properties Disclosure Statement
7. Property Tax Disclosure
8. Seller Non-Occupancy Disclosure Washington
Read this guide on Washington real estate disclosures to know your disclosure obligations in Washington.
3. Do you need an attorney to sell a house in Washington?
It is not mandatory to hire a real estate attorney in Washington. However, it is highly recommended to work with an attorney to review the drafts and contracts. This will protect you from unforeseen legal problems and the expensive penalties that come along.
4. Should I sell my house in Washington now?
Yes, now is the perfect time to sell your house in Washington. As of March 2023, the median sale price in Washington has increased by 3.2% YoY. However, expensive financing and rising mortgage rates can turn the tables anytime, and you may have to settle for a lower sale price in the future. So, if you are ready, now is the best time to sell a house in Washington State.
5. Can you sell a house while in probate in Washington?
The state laws allow home sellers to sell an inherited property in Washington while it is in probate. The home seller needs to provide certain documents in court. These include a petition for an order authorizing the property sale, a copy of the sales contract, a broker letter, etc. The court approves the sale of the property after verifying all the submitted documents.
6. Do you have to pay taxes when you sell your house in Washington?
Yes, you need to pay the federal capital gains tax, transfer tax, and property tax when selling a property in Washington.
7. Can you sell your house in Washington without a realtor?
Yes, you can sell your house without a Realtor in Washington. List your Washington home with a Flat Fee MLS company like Houzeo. Flat Fee MLS companies usually get you listed within 48 hours, or in most cases, even faster. You can manage other aspects of selling real estate in Washington using Houzeo tools like Houzeo Showings, Houzeo Offers, and more. With a Flat Fee MLS listing, you will sell fast and save thousands in real estate commissions. Check out our rankings for the top Flat Fee MLS companies in Washington.
8. What is the commission for selling a house in Washington?
A home seller pays 5.5% to 6% in real estate commissions when selling a house in Washington. This 6% commission is split equally between the listing agent and the buyer agent. Check out this detailed guide on how real estate commissions work in Washington.
Selling a House in Washington State Near Me
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