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Neighbors In Shoreline Capitalize On Rezoning, Sell Property Together

Justin Shearer

A group of neighbors near the future Shoreline light rail station is trying to capitalize on recent rezoning by banding together to sell their homes to a developer as one site.

They're doing it by using CityBldr, an online tool that uses market data and land-use information to help owners see what their property might be worth to developers. 

One of the homeowners was already using the software. The Seattle-based CityBldr team then spoke to developers, architects and engineers. They found that one person could make more money by selling with four other neighbors as an assemblage.

CityBldr CEO Bryan Copley said typically when a residential area has been rezoned, developers might go door to door trying to convince neighbors to sell to put together a site big enough for an apartment building.

While companies like Zillow and Redfin have made it easy for homeowners to find out how much their property is worth to home buyers, they often don't know how much it's worth to someone who is going to change what goes on that property.

"So some of these property owners are selling for quite a bit less than the developer can afford to pay," Copley said.

That's what makes the Shoreline case unique: Homeowners are approaching developers instead of the other way around. After CityBldr determined an assemblage could be more valuable, they sent notices by mail to the other homeowners.

"We figured that democratizing some of the information that we had would be valuable to consumers," Copley said. "And it would also help the market because it would bring more development sites to the market."

Copley said there are even more opportunities around King County for neighbors to sell together to make more money. The Shoreline group is asking for $3.2 million for nearly an acre of land.