Lowest total of listed homes in years is increasing prices and competition for buyers

Lowest total of listed homes are increasing prices and competition for buyers.

YAKIMA, Wash.- Location. Location. Location. It’s a common expression to justify the cost of certain properties, but realtors say Yakima County is a hot location right now for those trying to sell their homes.

“Excellent time to put a home on the market and expect to get the most value for it,” Greg Bemis said.

Bemis is the managing broker at John L. Scott Yakima West and said Yakima County has the lowest amount of homes on the market in years.

As of Friday morning, there are about 300 homes listed through an agency and, not just in Yakima, that covers the entire county.

When you only count homes that are $200,000 or less, that number drops down to around 100.

That doesn't mean those houses are just sitting on the market, Bemis said houses are selling as quickly as they are being listed.

That keeps the number of listed homes to a minimum, which increases competition and jacks up the price as well.

“Fully expect multiple offers,” Bemis said. “Be prepared to offer maybe even more than what they're asking.”

Mandi and Kevin Sprenger were looking to move from Virginia to the Yakima area after 30 years of being away from the valley.

When they finally got the chance to do some house hunting, they quickly realized it was going to be more expensive than they expected.

“We looked at each other and said, well we might want to up our budget because what we are looking at now is going to take a lot of money,” Kevin said.

They ended up falling in love with a house in Selah, but felt some pressure from back home to make a decision.

“Our home was in escrow,” Mandi said. “We knew it was going to have to be a really quick turnaround.”

The Sprengers ended up spending $100,000 more than they initially planned on it.

They were the first ones to visit the new home and wanted to make sure they landed it.

Bemis said experiences like that are common because you not only have to compete against people in the Yakima Valley, but people from the west side of Washington as well.

“They can sell a home for $800,000 come over here and buy a fairly similar or equal home for substantially less. Maybe $400,00 to $500,000 a year,” he said.

He recommends that you get pre-approved for a loan before you start looking at homes to save a couple days’ worth of paperwork.

That way you can put an offer on a house that you want before you have to compete with other offers.

“If it's a home you love, the area you love, the price range that works for you. Move quickly,” Bemis said.

Bemis said the market was supposed to bottom out last year, but instead they saw a nine-percent increase in home values.

He said if you're looking to get listing price or even more than that for your house, then now is the best time to sell.

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