Good schools driving real estate boom in Bellevue

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by Heather Graf / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on May 17, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Updated Friday, May 17 at 11:26 PM

All over Western Washington, realtors are seeing bidding wars, buyer frenzies, and homes being snatched up in a matter of days.  We found one neighborhood in particular where the competition is even more fierce.

The Somerset area of Bellevue is known for its scenic views, but that's not what's driving buyer interest.

Instead, Redfin broker Michael Fleming says it's the school district those homes are designated for.

He showed KING 5 one home that was listed for $500,000.  Despite the fact that it needed a lot of work, he says it brought in dozens of offers in less than a week.

The buyer that won out the bidding war agreed to waive appraisal and inspection, and will also be shelling out at least a hundred thousand dollars more than the asking price.

"We knew there would be significant interest," he said.  "The day it went on the market, the whole culdesac was full with agents, there was a waiting list of up to 45 minutes to an hour just to get into the house."

Homes that feed into Newport High School are in extremely high demand.

Just last week, the school made Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools, along with four others in the Bellevue District.

A spokesperson for the Bellevue School District tells KING 5 their schools are consistently ranked nationally.  District officials say it's a good position to be in, and they are well aware it's a selling point when it comes to real estate.

When facing so much competition, Fleming says there's a few things buyers can do to sweeten their offer.

"In these situations where there are 15 or 20 offers, if you have an inspection contingency, you really have no chance," he said.  "And if you can afford to waive an appraisal in a competitive situation like this, I'm trying to advise my clients to do so."

Oftentimes, a heartfelt, personal letter to the seller can make a difference as well.

KING 5 asked neighbors in the Somerset area if the high demand makes it more tempting to sell their homes.

"Wow, is all I can say," said homeowner Peter Chien.  "If the right offer comes along, money talks."

Chien and his family moved to the neighborhood just last year.  As for why they wanted to live in Somerset, he says it's a simple answer.

"Newport High School," he said.  "My wife specifically targeted this area."

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