The Home Seller’s Information Center has everything you need to find the quickest, safest route to selling your home. All the information you need, from advice on the preparation of your home to pricing and how to best show your house when it is on the market will be at your fingertips.

Why List With Us

South Lake Associates Inc. offers its clients a level of expertise, degree of professionalism, and experience in negotiations that is unmatched in King County and the Puget Sound Region.

Presently, a majority of our transactions are residential and multi-family with the balance distributed across commercial properties, land, and apartment complex management.

Our experienced real estate sales consultants and senior loan officers will assist you together in looking for mortgages or loans to finance the purchase of your new home or investment property.

Knowledge is said to open doors. This is literally true when it comes to buying or selling property. So whether you are looking to buy or sell your property, we guide you through all the intricacies involved and provide you outstanding and sterling service.

Organized and Efficient:
There is virtually always an experienced South Lake member in the office ready to respond to our clients’ needs and to get information to realtors, lenders, and escrow officers with quick turn around time.

Sales and Marketing

Internet Marketing:
South Lake Associates works with cutting edge technology partners to create an unmatched internet marketing presence to help give their clients a competitive advantage in today’s high-speed technology driven world.

For Sellers:
This commitment to state-of-the-art internet marketing and sales ensures that your property is presented to a far greater number of prospective buyers than other agents can offer. More buyers seeing your property translates to a faster sale of your property.

For Buyers:
We offer a variety of tools that allow you to get real time information on the latest property listings, upcoming open houses and price reductions on already listed properties. Furthermore, we offer an on-line HomeQuest clipboard service to help you organize your property search efforts. This search tool allows you to save and modify your property search results as well as flag and request to tour your favorite properties for consideration.

Marketing Tools:
We use every possible medium to broadcast the availability of properties and to advertise our services. Our marketing methods currently include the following;

  • Automated e-mail service through HomeQuest & Top Producer Online
  • Newspapers (Seattle Times, Craig’s List, Backpage)
  • MLS – Multiple Listing Service
  • Virtual Tours
  • Postcards
  • Signage on Properties Listed for Sale w/custom fliers
  • Lockbox to allow maximum exposure and access
  • Attendance at Brokers Meetings
  • Brokers’ tours of properties just listed
  • Open Homes on Sundays
  • Flier Distributions to area homeowners and/or real estate agents
  • Property packages which may include inspections, reports, maps, etc

If you would like to begin the listing process or just want some more information either (click here) to email us or call us at 206-234-7881

Please Review Our:

Selling Process Timeline

Other Useful Resources:

Selling With An Agent

The majority of home sellers take on the task with an ally: a Real Estate Agent. They feel that it is better to entrust the sale of their biggest investment to a professional, rather than attempting to learn about selling a house in a trial and error method. In addition, many people would rather use an Agent due to the complexities of modern Real Estate transactions since they usually incorporate legal and financial attributes, which takes them well beyond more simple transactions, such as the sale of an automobile.

Some of the other advantages of working with Agents that home sellers will list include: access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so that large numbers of buyers will have access to the seller’s property, the fact that the Agent absorbs all of the cost of advertising and marketing, and the screening that will be done of potential buyers by Agents. In addition, the Agent handles the lion’s share of the details of negotiation.

Deciding whether to use an Agent or not has a great deal to do with what you feel the level of your capabilities are. If you feel fully confident that you can handle all of the details, then you may well want to attempt selling your house on your own. If not, you most likely will want to use an Agent and leave the details to them.

So how do you choose an Agent who will be effective? What is important to know about an Agent to determine whether you feel they will do a good job? The following questions should be asked of any prospective Real Estate Agent in order to assess their capabilities and philosophies.

What to look for in an Agent –

  • A sense of professionalism.
  • A full time Agent who is committed to the profession (and who will be committed to getting your house sold!)
  • A familiarity with the area in which your home is located.
  • A familiarity with the price range in which your house will be listed.
  • Evidence of advertising and marketing ability.
  • References from previous sellers.

Questions to ask a prospective Agent –

  • Are you a full time Agent?
  • Are you an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) Member?
  • How familiar are you with the area where our home is located?
  • How did you arrive at the suggested listing price for our home?
  • What is your specific marketing plan for our house?
  • How do you plan on keeping us informed of the progress of the sale of our home?

Selling On Your Own

With the potential rewards that can be gained–saving $4000, $8,000, $12,000 or more (minus your expenses) by not having to pay a Brokerage commission, many people wonder why less than 20% of home sellers undertake the task of selling their houses on their own. Possibly it has something to do with expertise. Many home owners who consider a self sale of their house back off when they see the level of knowledge and commitment that is needed to do an effective job. If you decide, however, that self selling is the best option for you, you will find the vast majority of the information on this Web Site to be of value. Most of what you will find here will be geared to either doing the job yourself or monitoring the job that your Agent is doing. The most successful home sellers are those who take an active role in the process, whether it is as a sale by owner or a sale by agent. If you feel that the best route is to sell your home yourself, then having as much information at hand is crucial.

Advantages of selling on your own home –

  • There is no Brokerage Fee (commission) to be paid. You receive all of the proceeds (less marketing costs). This is, of course, the biggest benefit of selling your own house.
  • You are in total control of the transaction.
  • If mistakes are made, they are your own. There is no one else to make mistakes “for” you.
  • If your equity is low, you may be able to sell your house without having to write a check
  • You are always available at the home for showings, answering inquiries, etc.

Disadvantages of selling your own home –

  • You must rely on your own instincts.
  • All marketing and advertising costs are your own, which can be an expensive proposition.
  • Unless you pay to have your listing included, you will not have access to the MLS–the Multiple Listing Service. You must hunt for buyers one at a time.
  • Without all the tools in hand, you may underprice or overprice the house. For information on getting price comparisons for your neighborhood, visit the Property Valuation Form. Or, if you’re thinking about selling your home in the next 12 months, SLA Consultants can help you get an estimate of your home’s value. Knowing how much your home can be worth is one of the first steps in beginning to market the property.
  • If you are not skilled in negotiation, you may leave money on the table.
  • All of the paperwork, legal forms, etc. are your responsibility and must be handled by you
  • If you want to give maximum benefit to your efforts, your free time will be somewhat or severely limited.
  • Many buyers believe that if you are selling on your own and not paying a commission, it is they (the buyers) who should get the saving–not you.
  • As you approach negotiations, you must sever emotional ties with your house or you will place yourself at a disadvantage.
  • You must become knowledgeable of legal and financial issues to be most effective.

Hints on selling your own home!

  • Don’t scrimp on your house preparation. Remember, you will be in competition with house listed by Agents who will coach their sellers on all aspects of preparing their homes.
  • Be aware of all legal requirements for disclosures in your area. Not disclosing necessary information or not using the correct form could leave you open to legal action from a buyer.
  • Become an expert in Advertising and Marketing. Make your house stand out!
  • Familiarize yourself with offers and contracts now–don’t wait until you have one in your hand.
  • Get maximum exposure buy using listing services online.
  • Is selling quickly is the most important goal? You may want to consider contacting us.
  • Be aware of equal housing laws. Not only is discrimination stupid (you limit your potential market), it’s illegal!

Setting The Value Of Your Home

Along with location and condition, the pricing of a house is a major component of the reasons why a house will–or will not–sell quickly. Although the pricing should not be dealt with lightly, some sellers have a tendency to put too much emphasis on the price and not enough on the condition, ending up with a house that is overpriced for its current condition and the overall market. Even if you find an unaware buyer that appears willing to pay the high price, when the buyer applies for a mortgage, the chances are good that the lender’s appraisal will force the price back down to market value.

It’s important to get it right the first time-
Care and time should be taken when establishing the original listing price for several reasons:

  • If the house is overpriced, it won’t sell. If it doesn’t sell and sits on the market the listing quickly becomes stale.
  • If you overprice the house with the intention of reducing the price later just to “see what the market will bear”, when the price of the house is lowered, it signals to buyers that it was (and still may be) overpriced.
  • If the house is underpriced, it most likely will sell quickly–to the detriment of your net proceeds.

Some factors that affect the price of a home-

  • Location: You can’t get away from this one. If your house is located in a desirable area that is in demand, you will be able to get a higher price than you can for the same house in a less desirable area.
  • Condition: A house that has been better maintained and shows better will always sell for more than one that has had deferred (neglected) maintenance and needs work.
  • Desirable amenities: If a house has amenities that are currently popular in the marketplace, it will bring a higher price.

Methods of setting the price-

CMA (Comparable Market Analysis):
A comparison of similar properties in the same general area that compares actual sold prices. A Real Estate Agent can generate a CMA, or in many cases you can do it on your own.

Traditional Appraisal:
A estimated valuation is placed specifically on your house by a professional appraiser. An appraisal will take into account location, condition and sale prices of comparable properties in the neighborhood.

Preparing To Sell Quickly

What makes one house go on the market, have a number of showings in the first week and have a contract in place shortly thereafter, while an apparently similar house sits on the market for months? Of course, luck may have a little to do with it, but there is a good chance that the quick selling house (and its owner) was prepared to sell while the other house and owner were not. Although pricing is a very important factor, there are other issues that will have a great deal of effect on whether or not you have a quick sale.

A few steps to selling quickly-

  • Prepare yourself to sell your house. Do your best to see the house, no longer as your home, but as a product to be marketed. This takes some work, especially if you have been in the home for a number of years and have many memories there, but it is necessary if you want to maximize your potential.
  • Consider a pre house inspection. An inspection will most likely uncover any major defects before they can cause trouble with a potential buyer. It also is a signal to buyers that you are a responsible seller.
  • Prepare your House. Stand back and look at your house as objectively as possible. Would you buy this home? Ask friends and neighbors to do the same, asking them to be totally honest. Overlooking flaws could cost you money! Get them fixed before you put the house on the market.
  • Do what is necessary to make your house stand out from the competition. Make certain that your house is fresher, cleaner, and better maintained. Familiarize yourself with effective marketing and advertising techniques.
  • Remove most of the “imprint” that you have made on the house. Having a few family pictures around is fine, but if your house is a “shrine” to your family–walls full of personal pictures–you should take some steps to depersonalize it. Buyers must be able to envision themselves in the house, which is nearly impossible if everywhere they turn they stare at you!

Showing Your House

  • Give all family members assigned jobs in advance that will go into action when a short-notice showing is scheduled. Everyone must know their duties and carry them out, so that you don’t end up banging into one another trying to get everything done quickly.
  • Open every window covering. All drapes, curtains and blinds should be positioned to let in maximum light. Buyers like a house to be “light and bright,” so accommodate them! Turn on as many lights as possible.
  • Make sure the house smells good. Baking cookies, often recommended, may be overdoing it, but pet odors, smoke, or greasy cooking odors definitely will not work! Air out the house just before the scheduled showing, but close the windows (unless it is a perfect day) before they arrive.
  • Six very important words: no clutter, no clutter, no clutter!
  • Make sure that everything is spotless. Pay particular attention to the bathrooms and the kitchen. In the bathrooms, towels should be fresh and clean, sinks and baths scrubbed, and the floor freshly cleaned. In the kitchen, make sure all dishes are put away and countertops and sinks cleaned.
  • Check the thermostat to make sure that the house is at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove pets from the house, or at least, keep them outside. Pets under foot will quickly put a damper on an otherwise positive showing.
  • Make sure fact sheets are available and easily accessible. (The dining room table is an ideal place for them).
  • If you are using an Agent, leave! If this is not possible, make yourself as inconspicuous as possible. If it is comfortable outside, go there until the buyers leave. If you are selling on your own, of course, you don’t have this luxury. If this is the case, be as helpful as you can but don’t crowd the buyers.

Offers and Contracts

All the decisions have been made. The house has been prepared like a model. Advertising and marketing has begun. The listing is in the MLS and the showings are in full swing. Now it is time for the reason that all the work has been done: an offer.

An offer in Real Estate is a bit different than it is in many businesses. If a buyer asks a shopkeeper “could I buy this for $10?” and the shopkeeper accepts the offer, the buyer can still change their mind and walk away. Not so when you are dealing in Real Estate. When a buyer makes an offer, it is in the form of a legal contract. If you, as the seller, accept the offer, the house is sold. If you counter-offer, negotiations may continue. It is important to understand that all of the offer and counter-offer activity that you will engage in is framed legally.

This is why it is so important that a seller never gets involved in oral offers and negotiation. If you have a house listed at $380,000 and the buyer asks “would you sell the house for $365,000?” almost any response you make–short of “put it in writing”–can cause problems. If you verbally accept the offer, not only does the buyer have no obligation to actually buy the house, many will say to themselves, “gee, that was easy….I wonder if $350,000 would work?” This is why an Agent will never deal in verbal offers. If you are selling on your own, it is very good advice!

Some important points regarding purchase offers

  • If you intend to accept an offer (or make a counter-offer), do it as soon as possible. At any time prior to your acceptance or counter-offer, a buyer can withdraw their offer.
  • Any changes made on the contract require written approval of all parties for the contract to be enforceable. Even seemingly minor changes open the door for either the seller or buyer to change their mind.

What about low offers?
No matter how well you have prepared your house and how certain you are that it is priced at fair market value, there is always the possibility of receiving a low offer. It could be simply a shot in the dark, or it could be due to a limit in the buyer’s mortgage qualification ability. No matter what the case is, though, the most important thing to remember is do not take it personally. Many home negotiations, if they had just been allowed to run their course, very well may have come together acceptably for all concerned if the negotiations hadn’t fallen into a “grudge match”. Yes, it is your home, and yes, you have put a great deal of love and effort into it, but taking a low offer as a personal affront solves no purpose. Reject the offer or counter-offer it and move on.

If you do get a low offer, it is far more important to try to get as much information as you can relative to the offer. Why was it at the price that it was? What was the motivation of the offer? (Be aware, though, that if the offer has come from a Buyer’s Agent, the information you receive will only be as much as the Buyer’s Agent wants you to know. They owe their loyalty to the buyer and cannot disclose any information that may put their client at a disadvantage.) There still may be information that will be revealed to you, which will help you as you structure a counter-offer.

P & S Contracts
Becoming familiar with the components of a contract before you have one presented to you puts you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate one.

What are the Components of a Real Estate Contract?
Although there will be some variance based on the location of your residence, most Real Estate contracts contain most or all of the following items:

  • What: A legal description of the property as well as the street address.
  • How Much: The selling price.
  • Mortgage Contingency: Subject to obtaining a mortgage (if applicable) and the specifics of the mortgage–amount, rate and term. Application to be made in X number of days.
  • Deposit: How much money accompanies the contract and who will hold it.
  • Closing: When and where
  • Inclusions & Exclusions: What is and is not included in the sale of the property.
  • Home Inspection: Contingency for and to be done in X number of days.
  • Warranties: Any that are included with the house and description of the warranty.
  • Condominium: If the property is a condo, other provisions will apply.
  • Well & Septic: If applicable, they must be tested (and pass).
  • Termite & Pest Inspection: Who will pay and if there is infestation or damage, who will repair.
  • Possession Date: When the buyers take possession of the house–before, at or after closing.
  • Acceptance: How long the sellers have to respond to the offer with either acceptance or a counter-offer.
  • Arbitration: Any provisions for arbitration of disputes.
  • Insurance: Whose insurance covers the property up until the closing date.
  • Property Disclosures: Notices of any property disclosures concerning the house