We were on the rather mild ride, Splash Mountain, in Disneyland for the first time with our then, seven-year-old daughter Brooklyn. In the middle of the ride, as we weathered the minor bumps and, honestly, not-so-scary drops integral to the experience, Brooklyn threw back her head and demanded, “Get. Me. Off. This. Thing!” (She did this, not once, but several times.) We hadn’t even gotten to the big drop yet, the part of the ride where a camera captures the sheer delight (or in her case, sheer terror) on the vacationers’ faces. Getting her off the ride was not something I could do, so I told Brooklyn to just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
She did not. She screamed throughout the entire ride, and not the screams of a child on a Disney ride. They were the screams of someone whose leg is being sawed off. Long after we exited the ride, she scowled at me as though to say, “You say you love me, but you did nothing.” That perception was not helped by the fact that I could not stop laughing.
The Spokane market reminds me of that ride. It’s crazy! Many buyers make eight offers before they get one accepted. Sellers are getting 60K more than their list price. These sound like stories we used to hear from Seattle.
Why are there so many competing offers now? Many people are postulating about that, so I figured I might as well do the same.
These days, the average buyer is competing with:
- Out-of-state retirees.
- People who, over the past year, realized they can work remotely from a beautiful place.
- Renters who see what is happening and want to own a house.
- Millennials (whose numbers surpassed Baby Boomers in 2019) who are moving out of apartments.
A market like the one we are in elicits both excitement and fear — excitement for those of us who own a house and love to see our equity/wealth grow — and fear that if property taxes get too high, our eventual retirement could be more challenging. (Be sure you are talking to a financial planner to ensure you are investing and saving enough to pay your property taxes in the future.)
Fear and excitement are also factors for people who don’t yet own a house — excitement that Spokane is becoming a more cosmopolitan city with great restaurants, a more diverse population and a diversified economy able to attract the best talent, art, and entertainment — and fear that they might not be able to find a home within their budget.
I recently spoke to a young man in the market to buy his first house. He wore his fear on his sleeve, wondering aloud if he was doing something wrong since, a couple of years ago, his friend found it quite easy to buy a house here. I assured him that this is not the market of two years ago. My advice to him was to be persistent and consistent, and not give up. I explained that my husband Matt and I invested in real estate in our twenties, shortly after we married, and even though we experienced a few bumps in that road, in the long run, investing in real estate was and is a great decision. As Matt’s favorite Chinese proverb says, “The best day to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best day is today.”
Some people fear that as Spokane grows, it will lose its small-town feel — lose what they find to be special. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t predict the future of the Spokane market, but I do know this is the place we have chosen for our home.
So, as far as the real estate market is concerned, instead of throwing back our heads and yelling, “Get. Me. Off. This. Ride!” how about one more proverb? “All things change, and we change with them.” Spokane is certainly changing, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride.