Listing My Home – Frequently Asked Questions

I thought I would devote this blog to some of my most frequently asked questions.

“Steve, we are ready to move, but we never got around to updating the powder room downstairs. It has pink fixtures and pink floral wallpaper, circa 1982. Do you think I need to update the bathroom before I put the home on the market?”

Although this ultimately depends on the buyer, anything that shrinks the buyer pool ultimately can lessen demand for your home. A buyer might walk into that bathroom and say, “Whoa. That is too much work. I am out!” If enough buyers decide it is too much to take on, then you may not get an offer for your property OR an offer may be less than you expect. Or, you may just happen to get the right buyer to come along who is up to the task! As far as powder room updates go, removing wallpaper, replacing a sink, toilet, mirror, lighting, and a little storage shouldn’t cost too much and it is probably worth doing. But let’s talk about it! Continue reading

Seattle Inventory Creeps Up a Bit – What Sellers Need to Know

2016-08-seattle-inventoryAlthough Seattle is still faced with higher demand than we have listings for, things changed just a little bit last month. As you can see from the chart right which shows Seattle’s inventory of single family residences, the number of homes for sale exceeded July of 2015 by more than a marginal amount.

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What is the Best Season for Selling Your Home in Seattle?

If you have been thinking about selling your home, but wanted to wait until summer to do so, you may want to think twice! Although the summer in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely beautiful and many homes show very well during this time, it is possible that your home actually shows better in another season. So what time of year is best? It depends! Continue reading

The Next Big Thing

My clients ask me all the time, “Steve, what is the next big thing in remodeling so I can be prepared when I sell my home 10 years from now?”

Trying to determine the next big thing is hard because our technology is moving so quickly.  Who knew that the hot intercom systems of the 60s-80s would fall victim to cell phones? Or that office spaces that were so prevalent in the 90s would fall out of fashion due to laptops and the mobile office?

Below are some interesting technological advances to keep in mind that could affect how we live in our homes in the years to come:

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Home Staging Q&A with Steve Laevastu

Many sellers I have spoken with lately have a lot of questions when it comes to staging. Some sellers wonder if it is really worth it in today’s very hot sellers’ market. However, I feel it makes a HUGE difference with the properties I sell and that I see on the MLS today. I decided to field some of these questions and share my answers with you:

Steve, isn’t staging just decorating? I don’t need my home decorated!

Staging is not just decorating. Staging allows your home’s best features to shine and stand out and it allows buyers to more-easily see themselves living in your home. We focus on bringing in natural light (so important in Seattle) and defining spaces to help the buyers categorize the rooms in your home. We’ll make your house look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer and best of all, make home buyers want to buy it.

Steve, are we just moving my furniture around or will you bring in other furniture?

It depends on the situation. In instances where your furniture isn’t the right scale or style for what we are trying to achieve, it may be necessary to bring in other furniture. However, in other cases, a slipcover or rearranging how the furniture is laid out will give us the results we need.

Do I have to do this work or do you do it?

Think of me as your personal project manager.  From taking bids from good, inexpensive contractors to working with the interior designer on paint choices to hiring a professional to refinish the hardwood floors, I’ll handle all the details and coordinate the efforts of my team with you.

Will there be painting involved? My living room is purple and I suspect you want me to paint that.

We will review your home together with my interior designer and determine what needs to be done. Sometimes an accent wall is just what the home needs, but in other cases, we may need to have a much lighter feel for that room. Again, if you don’t want the hassle of painting, I can coordinate with a painting professional to have that handled.

Steve, does all this really make a difference in the end?

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Staging, 49% of agents who represent buyers indicated that most buyers are affected by home staging and 47% indicated that some buyers are affected by home staging. That means virtually all buyers are affected in some way by home staging. But how does that translate into dollars and market time?

The Real Estate Staging Association did a test by putting a number of identical homes on the market. The staged homes sold over 55% faster than non-staged homes. Furthermore, the National Association of REALTORS® indicates that staging can affect the final sales price between 8-10%. Wow!

Furthermore, with over 90% of buyers searching for homes online, staging coupled with my professional photography service makes your home stand out. When buyers see your home online, we want them to see quality and think, “move-in ready.” Staging and professional photography are key to getting buyers in the door.

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Check out the before and after photos below. In the first one, the clients were living comfortably in their living room, but the couches were too large for the space, the TV was awkwardly placed on the fireplace, the fireplace wasn’t a focal point and there was just too much going on:

Kruger living room

But what a difference in the after photo! The room is now light and bright, the furniture is the right scale for the space, the fireplace is a beautiful focal point, and this room invites you to sit down with a glass of iced tea and a good book.


Which home would you prefer to see in-person?

That is the power of staging. Want to learn more and see more photos? Check out my staging page or give me a call: (206) 226-5300. I would love to share more information with you!





The median price of a Seattle home is now $572,000.  This is the 2nd highest of all time.

The record was set last month (November 2015) at $576,000.

The median price of a Seattle home is up 18% vs December 2014.


There were 355 pending sales in December, which is down 13% from twelve months ago when 402 pending sales were reported.  The reason pending sales were down is because there is no inventory out there to sell.



In December there were 361 ACTIVE listings in the Seattle real estate market.

In December 355 homes went PENDING.

Which means that 1 out of every 1.02 homes on the market went pending in December.

This 1.02 ratio implies a 1.02 month supply of inventory.

The 1.02 ratio is a strong SELLER’S MARKET INDICATOR.



Any ratio under 3.0 is a seller’s market indicator.

Any ratio between 3.0 and 6.0 is a neutral market indicator.

Any ratio over 6.0 is a buyer’s market indicator.


The story remains LACK OF INVENTORY.



In December there were 361 ACTIVE listings in Seattle.


The previous record low was 487 which was recorded in last month (November 2015)

The 361 ACTIVE listings is 74% under our 10 year average for December inventory.

Another way of looking at it is that we are only at 26% of our average inventory for this time of year.

The December ten year moving average for inventory is 1,373 ACTIVE listings.

Also if we compare December 2015 to December 2014 we will note that even though inventory was low in December 2014 (627) it was even lower in December 2015 (361). Inventory is down 43% vs 2014.

In the month of December the AVERAGE list price vs sales price for Seattle was 101%.

So the average home sold for 1% over the asking price.

This is the 11th month in a row that the AVERAGE list price vs AVERAGE sales price has been over 100%

The AVERAGE days on market for a Seattle home was 28 days before they accepted an offer.

And real estate is always LOCALIZED.  What I mean is that CERTAIN areas are moving better than other areas.  Let’s take a look at list price vs sales prices for some different neighborhoods in Seattle for the month of December


  • Wedgwood 106%
  • Wallingford 104%
  • Ballard 104%
  • Maple Leaf 103%
  • Magnolia 103%
  • Ravenna 102%
  • Queen Anne 102%
  • Capitol Hill 102%
  • Madrona 102%
  • View Ridge & Hawthorne Hills 101%
  • Bryant 101%
  • Seward Park 101%
  • West Seattle 101%
  • Laurelhurst 100%
  • Green Lake 100%
  • Montlake 99%
  • Lake City 99%









If you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance please contact me.



Thank you,


Steve Laevastu

cell 206-226-5300



Market Price Often Determines Market Time

These days it is unusual to see a home lingering on the market three weeks after it is listed. However, even with the 299 residential listings that have sold since August 15, several of them were on the market for well over 30 days. As we take a closer look, many of these properties started out at much higher prices than they wind up selling for. In most cases, this is because the homes were not priced right in the first place, although sometimes it can be an indication of a short sale.

For the purposes of my analysis, I looked at homes between $500,000-$1,000,000  as there were many fixers below $500,000 and anything above $1,000,000 tends to be a longer market time anyway. There were 151 sales sold between $500,000-$1,000,000 between August 15-25, 2015. 17 of those homes were on the market 30 days or longer.

The days on market average for this group was 73 days with an original list price to sales price ratio of 92.8%. That means that if we look at the average, if a home had been originally listed for $700,000 and it sold for the average original list to sales price ratio, it would have sold for $649,600. Imagine you were this seller. How would you feel if you were now walking away with $50,000 less?

Here are a few of the more-challenging listings on the list of solds:

  • There was one home on the market for 226 days. It wound up only selling for 77.2% of original list price.
  • One home sold in 94 days. It wound up selling for 81.1% of original list price
  • There was also one that sold in 83 days for 88.9% of original list price.

For this same time period, evaluating the same price point and area, the average market time was 16 days.

In this market especially, it is critical to price your property right as soon as it hits the market. You are much better off to not price the home too optimistically. Instead, pricing it at or even slightly under market in a market like ours encourages more buyers to take a look and possibly multiple offers which will drive the price up. Don’t be tempted to overprice and if you interview an agent who says otherwise, I encourage you to get a second opinion.

I would love to share more information with you. Please give me a call at (206) 226-5300 or send an email to