The three-bedroom home at 2502 166th Place S.E. in Bothell needs at least $100,000 in repairs – “easily,” according to listing agent Sam Forselius, of Compass.

There’s water damage. And the home is filled with trash, left by the owner.

The home is so hazardous that no showings were allowed, and the $330,000 listing included only one photo.

Whoever wanted the house would have to bid on it virtually sight-unseen.

Yet in another sign of just how competitive low-end property has become, even on the outskirts of Seattle, the house attracted 17 offers in just five days.

“I wouldn’t have anticipated this number of offers on this home at this time of year,” Forselius said. But, he added, the sale was somewhat of an anomaly: The property is in the process of foreclosure, and the owner’s guardian was motivated to move quickly on the sale.


After years of rapid appreciation, the Seattle-area market has experienced a dearth of homes priced below $600,000, crimping first-time homebuyers and people who don’t take home software-programmer salaries.

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In the under-$400,000 range, “there are no homes that I know of,” said John L. Scott agent Nelya Calev. She represented a client making an ultimately unsuccessful offer on the Bothell home. Despite offering $10,000 over the asking price, their offer was ranked eighth.

More broadly, she said, historically tight inventory is driving up prices and generating multiple-offer scenarios across price ranges. She wrote seven different offers last week, she said, for homes in a variety of markets. Six were rejected.

“Straight out of the gate the first week of January, it was like someone opened the faucet and everyone started buying,” she said. “I think sellers are in for an exciting ride.”

Despite the fierce pace of offers on the Bothell home, the sale pales in comparison to the all-out bidding war that ensued in 2016 after a derelict West Seattle home was listed for $200,000.

That home, with five feet of standing water and toxic air not safe to breathe, ultimately sold in 10 days for $427,000, more than double the asking price, after receiving a jaw-dropping 41 offers. It was razed and redeveloped, then sold for $1.19 million in 2017.


The successful buyer of the Bothell home also bid well over the asking price. The sale is still pending, so the buyer’s identity and the final pricing are yet to be disclosed.

The offers were almost entirely from investors and home flippers, according to agents familiar with the sale.

Other homes in the same zip code sell for a median $620,700, up nearly 50% since 2015, according to Zillow.

“A whole lot of potential awaits,” the listing promised.