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Luxury Rentals? Moira Holley Shares Rent Vs. Sell Tips

By Alyssa Morrison |

Western Washington’s Real Estate market is healthy, and as Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) has reported quarterly over the last year, it is prime for sellers. That doesn’t mean, however, that every home is snatched up in a bidding war. For luxury home sellers, finding the right buyer could take more time on the market, which can feel frustrating.

For a recent piece in Mansion Global, RSIR Co-Founder/Senior Global Real Estate Advisor Moira Holley shared her thoughts on when and why a home seller should turn a luxury home into a rental when it doesn’t sell as quickly as clients might expect, as well as its pitfalls. Pointing to Seattle’s “hot market” in 2016, she said many sellers expect an average sales price that’s much higher with more buyers waiting in the wings, instead of a realistic look at what the market is doing today.

“Our job as realtors in the luxury market is to help them come to terms with the market that we’re in and what the value of selling (in this current market) truly is,” Moira told Mansion Global. In 2016, she says buyers camped outside overnight to be the first in line to purchase new condo units in Seattle. Since then, luxury home prices have declined overall and while the market remains positive for sellers, the same fervor among buyers isn’t there. Many sellers remember those highs, and even though the market has started to soften, they want to hold out for those prices—and if they’re not living in the home, rent it out.

A seller may think, as Moira explained, “’Well, I’m not living in the unit currently, it’s vacant, and I’m seeing those (sales price numbers) that I once saw, so I’d like to think about renting it out.’”

That’s why it’s important to consult a professional in the market, like Moira, to understand the pros and cons of renting. She said, with many new buildings in the Seattle area coming on with high-tech and luxury amenities in 2020 and 2021, the sellers’ market will likely get even more competitive. It would likely make sense for someone to sell now, then to wait and see if home prices start to climb again.

She also urges her clients to consider the cost of furniture, whether it be renting furniture that a short-term rental tenant would use in the condo, or the cost of re-staging the home if it was taken off the market while being rented out and it needs to be staged before going back on the market.

Moira’s wisdom comes from years spent in the Seattle Real Estate market, brokering deals from Puget Sound waterfront to heights of the city’s most luxurious condos. She recommends that those who may be straddling the fence between renting and selling consult with a real estate professional who guides them to the right decision for their specific situation.

Mansion Global also spoke with real estate agents about the markets in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York for selling versus renting, and each market presents its own set of pros and cons. Learn more here >>