Several hundred homes currently offered for sale around King County will be open for previewing on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 as part of a REALTOR® Nationwide Open House event. House hunters – including first-time buyers and investors -- will be able to learn more about home ownership from experts who are hosting the open houses.
Members of SEATTLE KingCounty REALTORS® (SKCR) are inviting prospective home buyers to arrange their own customized tours (with or without an accompanying Realtor) as part of the Open House showcase. Online tools are available for identifying listings of single family homes and condominiums, and for mapping tour routes.
“An improving housing market, record low interest rates, and the best affordability in years make this year’s Open House Weekend especially timely,” said Realtor president Wolf Puls, a broker at Windermere Real Estate in Kirkland. “Consumers will be able to connect with Realtors to get insight on local market conditions and the buying and selling process,” he added.
Dwindling inventory is causing some anxiety, Puls reported, noting the number of active listings in King County is down about 34 percent from a year ago. “Shoppers need to be ‘buyer ready’ in today’s fast-changing market.,” Puls said, noting lower inventory is prompting multiple offers on well-priced properties in desirable neighborhoods.
Russell Hokanson, CEO of the Seattle King County Realtors, said members hope to double or triple the number of open houses available for previewing on a typical weekend. Featured homes will be flagged with blue balloons with the Realtor logo.
Many SKCR members are inviting loan representatives, title company officials, inspectors or other affiliates to be on hand during the event, according to Hokanson. The open house hosts will have details on various home-buying programs and incentives that are available, whether buying a first home, planning to move to a different sized home, or looking to invest.
Most Realtor associations around the state are participating in the Nationwide Open House event. The Washington Association of REALTORS estimates 7,000 homes will be open for tours during the April 28-29 event.
Prospective home buyers can plan self-directed tours and organize their own itinerary using online tools, or they may be accompanied by a Realtor. Most Realtor-owned brokerages participate in the “Public Open House Service” of the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, Hokanson explained. When visiting a participating brokerage’s website, consumers can click on an open house symbol, and then specify certain criteria such as price range, number of bedrooms, and geographic preferences. A list of open houses that match the criteria, regardless of which brokerage has the listing, is produced so house-hunters can plan their itinerary and routes.
The Nationwide Open House began in 2007 as an event in Snohomish County. It grew to become a statewide event in 2009, with more than 5,000 listings showcased.
The statewide event resulted in REALTOR® organizations from across the country joining together for a nationwide effort in 2010. Last year, with support from the National Association of Realtors, it evolved into an international event with more than a dozen countries taking part, including Canada, Denmark, France, Israel, Mexico, Norway, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
More information on the upcoming Nationwide Open House event is on:
SKCR’s website, www.nwrealtor.com and www.tinyurl.com/realtors-12openhouse and by scanning the QR code. Additional resources for finding a home or Realtor, financing and moving are on NAR’s website,www.realtor.com.