What matters when you price your home for sale is What It Is Worth To Someone Else.

A great illustration of this concept comes from an episode of Million Dollar Listing New York where Realtor guru Frederik tells a client something close to “I paid $2,000 for this suit.  Are you going to buy it from me for $2000?”  And that is the bottom line of the issue.  A used suit, even a very nice one, might only be worth a couple hundred dollars tops.

Homeowners get off track because their own opinion of their home’s value, what they believe someone else will pay for it, is distorted by history that has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual market price of their home.  Those “things that don’t matter” include how much they paid for their home, how much they need to get from the sale of their home, and how much money they have spent upgrading and maintaining their home.  None of that matters.

Buyers are looking at a seller’s home, and lots of other homes, and comparing them.  They look at price, condition, location and scores of other things from style and layout to schools, views, etc.

To see what your home is worth, see what buyers are paying for homes that they could substitute for yours.  Buyers will always buy the home that offers the best combination of factors, primarily price, condition and location. 

Where your home “fits” in the market is the only fact that impacts its price.  You can forget about the other stuff.



The Snapshot Report from Pacific Appraisals is showing the trends for the year through September.

Both the average and median home prices are up this year.  For the third quarter of 2014, the average sales price is $259,113 and compares to $243,047 at the same time last year.  The median price is also up to $230,000 from $212,500 last year.  Some of that reflects that sales of homes in higher price ranges have ticked up a bit again.

Inventory wise, there are 608 homes available compared to 635 at the end of September last year.  That is enough of a drop to bring the months of supply down to 3 months currently from 4 months last year.  A balanced market is usually considered 6 months, so the current market favors sellers, and price increases.

Time on market is down too.  For September sales, the average time on market was 105 days, and the year-to-date average days on market is 110 days.  That compares to 126 day on market average for the first three quarters of 2013.


There are lots of people in Lake Chelan during the peak of the summer season, but that doesn’t make it the best time to sell your Lake Chelan home!  The classic approach is to put your home on the market it February, when everybody else does too, and hope it sells by the end of September or October, when it is stylish to take homes off the market.

But the question is, do you really want to sell your home?  Because if you do, you might not realize that just as many homes sell in January as sell in May or June!  Here, courtesy of Chris Millsap, are the percentages of 2011 annual sales that occurred each month:

January                 7.5%                                      July                        10.5%

February              5.5%                                      August                  14.0%

March                   11.0%                                    September         9.0%

April                       11.0%                                    October               6.5%

May                       7.5%                                      November          4.0%

June                      7.5%                                      December           6.0%

Home sales occur every month of the year.  During the winter months, the number of homes competing with yours will be 1/3 to 1/2 as many as it might have during the “busier” season.  The number of sales during the winter don’t drop by that much!  Plus, the buyers that are looking in the winter are usually much more serious than vacationers out kicking tires.

So, if you actually want to sell your home, it has to be on the market.  That buyer who really wants your home is about as likely to show up in the “off” season as during the rest of the year.  Additionally, you need a real estate agent to list your home who is here, and selling the whole year.  Lake Chelan has lots of agents who go south during the winter months or are otherwise out of the market for extended periods in the winter.  Their advise to take your home off the market could be to serve their interests, not about getting your home sold.

I am pretty much always here, selling homes at Lake Chelan.  I would be honored to apply for the job of selling your home.


The Puget Sound Business Journal looked at various rankings and noticed that the top performing high schools in Washington State are mostly not in the wealthiest neighborhoods.

They noticed that a Washington Post list of top performing schools in the state shows that the majority of the best high schools are not in the wealthiest neighborhoods.  Top schools were determined based on the number of students who take college level tests divided by the number of seniors who graduated in May or June.

You can see that quite a few eastern Washington schools, of all sizes, also are ranked near the top in the state.  To save you from looking it up, Manson is ranked 236th out of 333 and Chelan is not ranked.  Chelan is not ranked because “Only schools that have current EOC Math Year 1 and HSPE Reading scores are included.

It isn’t about the money.  Looking at the state rankings above, neither is it about the number of low income students nor the ethnic mix.

Something to think about.




While Fannie Mae is seeing a slight improvement in consumer optimism, Clear Capital is raising the possibility of a “triple-dip” in home prices in 2015.

Fannie Mae sees more people saying it is a good time to buy or sell a home in their September 2014 National Housing Survey.  At the same time, Alex Villacorta, Vice President of Research and Analytics at Clear Capital is saying the home values could actually go negative on a national level in the near future.

The quarterly home price gain from the second to the third quarter this year was only 1%, compared to 3% last year according to Clear Capital.  The concern is that housing markets may have actually gotten over-valued with such mild home appreciation after what should have been the most active buying season in any recent housing market.  If that trend continues, a small dip in housing price might occur.

Conversely, Fannie Mae’s survey found that 68% of consumers said now is a good time to buy a home in September, up 4% from August.  The share of consumers who would want to buy a home on their next move also increased, to 66% after it fell 3% the previous month.  The percentage who think it is a good time to sell rose to 39%.  The survey respondents were also upbeat that home prices would increase in the next 12 months, with the expectation of a 2.2% price gain on average.


RE/MAX topped all real estate companies on Franchise Times’ 2014 Top 200 list.  RE/MAX was the number 12 spot overall of all franchise businesses with 15.6% growth in sales for 2013.

RE/MAX also gained 4,220 agents and added 11 countries to its service area.  Revenue for RE/MAX was also up 11% over 2012.

Once again, RE/MAX is the best!nd added 11 countries to its business. The franchise also posted revenue increases of 11 percent over 2012, according to the rankings.


hydroplanes,lake,chelan,thriftwayThe big Thunderboats from the Vintage Hydroplane Museum ran this weekend at Mahogany and Merlot on Lake Chelan.  It was quite an event and included lots of vintage boats, cars, the hydros and events at the wineries.

One of my favorites from my youth, the Miss Bardahl, as well as a handful of thunder from yesteryear ran on the lake this weekend too.  But, I had to move on, the the vintage cruisers, cars and wineries!


Oberto in a Corner



News Flash: GoLakeChelan.com reports that the Three Fingers Fills in the City of Chelan must be removed.  Of course, it will likely be appealed to the state supreme court before anything actually happens.


Credit Suisse Securities surveyed real estate agents and found home-buyer traffic declined in September from August with high home prices taking most of the blame.  37 0f 40 markets surveyed reported lower than expected traffic, an increase from 31 in August.

The Credit Suisse analysts noted the many buyers have shifted to a willingness to sit on the sidelines and wait for lower prices.  That is particularly funny since I talk to many sellers in the Lake Chelan area who are waiting for higher prices!

I suppose that is what happens with the median price for houses up to $219,800 in August, up 25% in the last 5 years.  Sellers still want it to be 2007 while buyers still remember 2011.  That mentality could take many more years to go away!



This is a photo of a couple of the unlimited hydroplanes at Mahogany and Merlot in Chelan.  Yes, you can walk right up and get this close to classic boats.  And, with the proliferation of world-class wineries, you can enjoy the bounty of harvest going on right now and sample fantastic wine, in the sun, overlooking the greatest lake in the world!

The Miss Bardahl, one of my favorites as a kid, was here a few years back.  Who knows, it could be back this year!

Mahogany and Merlot is one of my favorite events of the year.  There is nothing better than great weather, exciting boats, fun people and wonderful food and wine with friends.

Hurry, it is starting now!