Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Looking to Sell For Over Asking? List Your Home in the Winter!

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
broadview homewwDespite the long-held idea that winter is the slow season for residential real estate, new data based on a two-year study by Redfin shows that December through March could actually be the prime window for selling your home – and selling it quickly for more than your asking price. Surprisingly, Redfin says that February is the month to list if you’re looking to sell fast, as 66 percent of homes listed in February have historically sold in 90 days or fewer. Hoping for a multiple-offer situation that nets you more than your listing price? Try December. In 2012, the month of December saw the highest percentage of sales fetching prices over asking for the whole year. Redfin found that in many cities, including Seattle, sellers are most likely to sell their homes within 180 days if they list in the winter.
So, why, after years of preaching spring and summer as home-run months for sellers, has the tide turned toward winter? Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin, lists a couple of reasons why listing in the winter can work to your advantage. She stated in an article that while there may be fewer people overall shopping for homes in the winter, the ones who are out there looking are serious buyers. People who are casually searching for a home are most likely not going to brave the cold weather or disrupt busy holiday schedules to attend multiple open houses, so sellers are left with only the most motivated buyers.
Similarly, since summer has historically been considered the blockbuster season for selling, winter sellers generally have less competition. Those who are nervous about letting their home sit on the market all winter may pull it off the market, leaving one less home to compete with yours. So, if you’re planning on selling your home but were holding off on listing it until warmer months, it could be worth moving up your timeline to get it on the market sooner. If you are interested in selling your home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Insurance Tips For First Time Home Buyers

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Searching for a home can be a job in and of itself, and home insurance often gets lost in translation of the to-do list for first time home buyers. There are so many factors to consider in the home search,  such as choosing the right mortgage company, and real estate agent. Finding the right home insurance, and factoring it into your home buying budget should also be a top priority. Our friends over at Zillow have put together great guidelines and insider insurance tips for first time home buyers. Here are some of the key take-aways: 1910 NW 100th St-6
Do your research, and shop around for the best rate between insurance carriers. You might be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars just by comparing a few different companies.
Your credit score matters – not just for your mortgage rate, but also for your insurance. Insurance companies utilize your credit report to determine the level of risk you’d be as a new policyholder. If you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably already making moves to improve your credit, but its important to know that your credit is also important in achieving an affordable insurance rate.
Consult with your current auto insurance or boat insurance company to discuss bundling options. You can often save on your premium by utilizing the same company for home and auto insurance.
Invest in substantial coverage plans. While you don’t want to overspend, home owner’s insurance is also something you don’t want to hold back on.  Be sure your policy covers your home from weather risks common to your area, and be sure your dwellings coverage is substantial enough to cover the structure of your home incase of serious damage or destruction. If you’re looking for a new home, and would like some inside knowledge on the Seattle real estate scene, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

October Trends: Higher Appreciation, More Homes Sold

broadview homeww*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
After months of single-family home prices in the U.S. growing by smaller and smaller percentages on a yearly basis, the market finally looks to be back on the rise. Prices in October grew by 6.1 percent compared to the previous October, whereas year-over-year gains for September were 5.6 percent, according to new data released by CoreLogic. They report that all states in the U.S. saw some percentage of yearly appreciation in October.
But despite this recent uptick, Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, said in a statement that prices are only growing by half the pace they were in the spring of 2014, when the market was seeing double-digit growth. However, some markets such as Seattle and Denver are seeing higher appreciation than the rest of the country.
Nationally, the number of homes sold in October increased by 2.2 percent from October 2013. Redfin attributes the jump to low mortgage rates that are hovering below 4 percent, a drop in unemployment, slowing home-price growth, and higher median wages. They point out that median incomes increased in all but one (Orlando) of the markets that saw the biggest year-over-year jump in sales. Though Seattle was toward the bottom of the list, with only a 2.6 percent jump in number of homes sold (as a comparison, Tampa, Fla. saw a 19.7 percent increase) and only 1.9 percent more homes newly listed for sale, any increase is welcome in our market, which has seen extremely low inventory over the past year.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tis the Season: Top Reasons For Buying During the Holidays

812 W Galer*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Although sales are historically down during the last few months of every year, there are certainly some noteworthy perks to the home search during the holiday season. Here are a few reasons a new home should be on your wish list for Santa this year.
Did you know home prices are generally listed lower in December, than they are throughout the rest of the year? There are several reasons for home affordability increasing this month, and low mortgage rates is another factor in your favor. Mortgage rates are around or just under 4%, and according to Zillow estimates, are expected to jump to 5% by this time next year. If you wait just one more year to purchase the same home, your monthly mortgage payment could increase significantly. This isn’t to say that you should buy a home now if you’re not ready; buying a home is a huge commitment, and  knowing when you’re ready and able to purchase is essential. It is also worth noting that if Seller’s are listing their home during the holidays, they are usually very serious about selling their home. Maybe they recently received a new job and need to relocate before the end of the year. Their lack of time is your gain – and you can also lower your tax bill for the year if you close on your new home by Dec 31st. For more information on homes for sale in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Seattle-Area Home Prices Fell Slightly In September

Cap Hill housing*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate
Average single-family home prices in the Seattle area (King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties) remain up from a year ago, having grown 6 percent from September 2013, but have now fallen on a month-to-month basis for the seventh straight month, according to data released today from the S&P/Case-Shiller Seattle Home Price Index. Average prices dropped by 0.2 percent from August to September, whereas they saw no change from July to August.
Since the market’s peak in 2007, we’ve seen the highest highs followed by the lowest lows after the housing bubble burst, but now the market appears to be stabilizing. In an article in The Seattle Times, Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries was quoted saying, “The days of double-digit home value appreciation continue to rapidly fade away as more inventory comes on line, and the market is becoming more balanced between buyers and sellers.”
Nationally, both the 10- and 20-city indices saw no change in average prices from August to September, and the U.S. market as a whole saw only a slight increase of 0.1 percent. S&P Dow Jones Committee Chair David Blitzer also predicts stability for the market in the coming year, telling The Times, “With the economy looking better than a year ago, the housing outlook for 2015 is stable to slightly better.”
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Could the Holidays Actually Be a Good Time to Sell?

Wreath*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Conventional wisdom has historically dictated that the holiday season is a bad time to sell a home. People are preoccupied with family gatherings, and bad weather can thwart showings. But since you’re likely already putting some extra effort into getting your home spruced up and ready for holiday visitors, why not run with that and put your home on display for prospective buyers?
Embrace the season by adding touches to your home to make it feel extra cozy for house tours. Light a fire in the fireplace, pile your couch with pillows in autumn-inspired hues, and light a candle or two (stick with unscented). Though the thought of sweeping your porch or front walk in the freezing weather isn’t the most inviting, putting effort into curb appeal is more important when you don’t have blue skies and the greenery of your landscaping doing some of the work for you. Get out the broom and make sure your walk and porch are clean, and consider adding a few winter-friendly potted plants to your front entry; Green Mountain Boxwood will stay lush and green all year long. Some tasteful, white twinkle lights never hurt, either, but do not go overboard with Christmas decorations.
So, if you want or need to sell your home during the off season, use the the holidays as your inspiration and you may be surprised with the response! If you are interested in selling or buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tips For Getting Your Home Prepared for Winter

broadview homeww*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
If this wet weather hasn’t already prompted you to do some preventative maintenance on your house before the long, cold months of winter set in, here are some reminders to make sure you don’t experience any rude awakenings in your house this season, courtesy of Redfin.
  • Now that you’re going to be using your heating system again, make sure everything has been moved clear of heating vents in your house, replace air filters in your furnace, and consider installing a programmable thermostat so you can control when your house is heated and save on energy costs.
  • Make sure your pipes are insulated. There can’t be many things worse than a burst pipe in freezing weather.
  • Seal cracks in your foundation so you don’t end up with water damage.
  • Install weather stripping around your windows and doors to eliminate drafts and heat your house more efficiently.
  • Clean out your gutters to prevent rotting and roof problems, and make sure your downspouts are diverting water away from your house and foundation.
  • If you have a chimney, get it cleaned and inspected before you have any cozy fires!
  • Have a professional trim trees around power lines and around your house to prevent any branches going through your roof or knocking out power.
Especially in our wet Pacific Northwest climate, it’s important to get these issues taken care of ahead of time, and a little work up front will save you a LOT of work and money down the line.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

First-Time Buyers’ Share Of Market Lowest In 30 Years


*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate
The National Association of Realtors recently published results from its annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey, and the association found that the percentage of purchases made by first-time home buyers is at its lowest point since 1987. First-time buyers made up 33 percent of the national market, down 5 percent from a year ago, whereas historically (based on surveys conducted since 1981) four of every 10 home purchases were made by first-time buyers.
Though interest in purchasing homes remains high for young adults, obstacles such as student loan debt, credit card debt, and car loan expenses were the most common deterrents to saving for a down payment among survey participants. Other factors include rising rents; wage growth slowing in relation to housing prices; and market conditions such as low inventory and tight credit restrictions. NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that lowering mortgage insurance premiums and looser credit standards could give first-time buyers the extra boost they need to jump into the housing market for the first time.
If you are interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Home Vallue Appreciation is Slowing Nationally and Locally

housing*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Zillow is reporting that markets across the country, including Seattle’s, are seeing a sustained slowdown in home price appreciation that will likely continue into 2015. At the end of the third quarter this year, annual appreciation for homes in Seattle stood at 6.9 percent, whereas the change in the third quarter of 2013 from the previous year was 12.9 percent. Zillow is forecasting that in the third quarter of 2015 appreciation in Seattle will be down to 5 percent.
Nationally, home values grew by 6.5 percent over the past year, which is down from the peak annual appreciation of 8.1 percent in April of this year. To give some context, U.S. home values are still 10.1 percent below their peak in April 2007 at the height of the bubble. In further evidence of a softening national market, there are 18.6 percent more homes on the market in the U.S. than there were a year ago, though Seattle is still seeing very low inventory.
If you are interested in real estate in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seattle Condo Prices Still Below Market Peak

pioneer square*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Seattle condo prices are taking their time to bounce back from the housing bubble in comparison to single family home prices. With condo prices down, the market has presented a unique opportunity for renters who haven’t been able to save for a down-payment to purchase a single family home. In some of the suburbs around Seattle, condo listing prices are still well below recovery prices, and low prices paired with low interest rates means more and more renters have the opportunity to be new homeowners.
According to the Seattle Times, out of the 30 suburbs throughout King County listed by the NWMLS, all but 3 (Bellevue, Kirkland, and downtown Seattle) have not seen the median home price surpass the 2007 market peak. In 19 of the 36 markets listed in King and Snohomish County, median home prices are still 20% below the market peak. Seattle has seen the cost in rent and single family homes continuously rise, while condo prices have stayed consistent, or even dropped in some areas. While there are a number of reasons that a condo market can suffer during a market recession, many singles, small families and people looking to downsize are turning to condos for an affordable option towards homeownership. If you’re interested in learning more about the Seattle condo market, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Downtown Seattle New Condo Prices Down 8% Since May

Downtown condo*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate
One look at the glut of new towers rising in downtown Seattle and one could think condos are having their heyday. But it turns out most of those cranes on the horizon are giving rise to office towers and apartment buildings, with only one condo tower, Insignia, currently under construction downtown. Among new (never before sold) condo units that are on the market, prices have also fallen 8 percent from their peak in May, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.
Prices did rise slightly from August to September (2 percent), and year over year (up 3 percent from September 2013), but are still falling short of the May peak, when the average price per square foot was $775. In September, the average sold price per square foot for a new condo was $716.
According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, condo construction is expected to pick up in 2015, in part due to the fact that 170 of the first 350 units at Insignia have already sold, giving condo developers confidence that the demand will keep up with supply. It remains to be seen what effect an increased number of units will have on prices.
If you are interested in purchasing a condo in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

King Co. Home Prices Showed Best September In At Least 10 Years

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog

After a sluggish summer for home price gains in King County, the median price for a single-family home rose to $460,000 in September, almost 10 percent higher than a year ago and 5.3 percent higher than August’s median price, according to an article in Tuesday’s Seattle Times. The Times says that those numbers, pulled from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, point to the best September for home prices in at least 10 years.
The city of Seattle performed the best of all the sub-markets in King County in September, with the median price having risen to $517,000, 12 percent higher than September 2013. While the median price on the Eastside was higher than Seattle’s at $605,000, yearly appreciation was slower at only 6.3 percent. Southwest King County, which includes Burien, Tukwila, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Federal Way, and West Kent, continues to be the most affordable sub-market with a median price of $267,250, though that is still up 6.7 percent from September 2013.
Despite the price increase over the past year, the number of closed sales has actually decreased in every sub-market in King County except Seattle, which still only saw one more sale in September 2014 (643) than in September 2013 (642). North King County saw the biggest decrease in closed sales, having dropped 17 percent from September 2013. Agents quoted in the article say this could be the result of buyers’ fatigue after months of low inventory sparking bidding wars and extreme price increases.
For more information on Seattle-area real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seattle Home Price Growth Slowdown Continues

housing*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Home prices in the Seattle area (King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties) rose by 0.6 percent from June to July, but for the fifth straight month year-over-year appreciation slowed, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Index released yesterday.
Annual appreciation of existing single-family homes in July was 7.1 percent (its lowest since October 2012), down from 8 percent from June. The Case-Shiller report called this part of a “broad-based easing of home price gains” nationally, as 19 of the 20 cities in the index recorded slower gains than they recorded in June. As a comparison, between June 2013 and July  2013 prices grew by almost 2 percent, and annual appreciation was at 12.5 percent. Despite this slowdown, MyNorthwest is reporting that data from housing tracker RealtyTrac shows that Seattle was ranked fifth in the nation for home appreciation in August, behind only Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, and Pittsburgh.
If you would like more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seattle Among Country’s Best Sellers’ Markets

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog

We’ve seen the Seattle residential real estate market explode over the past several months, with bidding wars galore and homes selling for thousands over their asking prices. While price gains began to slow toward the end of summer, Zillow is reporting that the Seattle-area market remains one of the best sellers’ markets in the country, in large part due to low housing inventory.
Inventory of single-family homes in King County is up slightly from a year ago, rising from 1.91 months of inventory in July 2013 to 2.08 months’ worth in August 2014. Inventory in Seattle alone was actually down from a year ago, dropping from 1.47 months to 1.36 months, which is far below the six months’ worth of supply that generally constitutes a healthy market.
Zillow says that rising prices are not the only indicator of a market favoring sellers. They also factor in how long homes stay on the market, how many price cuts occur, and how close the final selling price is to the last asking price. The top five sellers’ markets in the Seattle area are Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline, Seattle proper, Issaquah, and Snoqualmie.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Preparing for Homeownership Expenses

broadview homeww*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
With bidding wars, and low inventory causing housing prices to continually rise in the Seattle marketplace, unexpected financial burdens can arise. Purchasing a home is an exciting time, especially for first time home buyers, so to avoid any unplanned surprises, it is wise to prepare and save for the unexpected. There are expenses you know to prepare for such as standard mortgage, tax and insurance calculations that come with closing, but other costs build up after it is all said and done such as decorating, seasonal updates to the home, roofing expenses, and landscaping. While it may be easy enough to come up with a budget for weekly or monthly expenses, looking at the bigger picture and figuring out the larger projects to spread out throughout the year will help you get a better idea for an estimated budget for home improvement expenses. Ongoing expenses like utilities, and garbage/recycling can also be more expensive when you own a home, so be prepared for a significant increase when comparing to what you’d paid previously as a renter.
Renters do not typically have to pay for services such as hiring a plumber, fixing a garbage disposal, or updating a patio deck. These expenses add up quickly, so make sure you have saved enough to provide a nice cushion for first year homeowner expenses. We suggest you continue to save and put money aside every month for ongoing expenses that may arise with owning a new home, that way you’ll always be somewhat prepared for the unexpected. If you’re interested in Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate expert today!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Seattle's Sleepless in Seattle Houseboat Sells for Over $2 Million

*Synced from Lake Union in Seattle Blog

If you had your heart set on buying a piece of Hollywood real estate history, your choices just narrowed by one. The houseboat that was featured in “Sleepless in Seattle” has been sold to a local tech executive for a sum that reportedly tops $2 million, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The houseboat, which sits at the end of a dock off Westlake Avenue North, has unobstructed views of Lake Union and is surprisingly large at 2,200 square feet. The buyer, who has chosen to remain anonymous and whose main residence is also in Seattle, reportedly bought the iconic houseboat as a convenient summer house for his family.
According to the PSBJ article, the previous owners of 21 years listed the home in 2008, only to take it off the market after hoards of photo seekers flocked to the dock where the house is moored. The recent sale happened mostly under the radar, as the home was never listed on the Multiple Listing Service.
So, if you’ve been waiting patiently to own Seattle’s most famous houseboat, looks like you’ll have to wait and see if it hits the market again some day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

30 -Year Fixed Mortgage Rate in Washington State Below National Rate

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Borrowers were quoted just below 4% last week for 30-year fixed mortgage rates Nationally, which is down from 4.08%, where the rate had been previously hanging for weeks. According to Zillow, mortgage rates in Washington State stayed at 3.99% last week, but have since increased to 4.05% this week after the long weekend. Today other state mortgage rates have ranged from a low of 3.94% in South Dakota, to a high of 4.17% in Wyoming and West Virginia.
Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage
Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage
While the rate has risen, Zillow experts predict the rates will remain low this short work week, as breaks in our domestic economic data will be overshadowed by concerns over the European economy. News of a plausible European Central Bank plan to instill a stimulus program similar to the Federal Reserve’s is one reason the rates in the US remained low last week, and are predicted to remain in this range for weeks to come. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monthly Housing Price Growth Continues To Slow, Still Rising Annually

*Synced from the Seattle and Real Estate Blog

Though housing prices in the Seattle area continue to rise on a yearly basis (up 8.6 percent over this time last year), the market saw a continued slowdown in monthly price gains for single-family homes in June, similar to the trend in May. Prices in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties rose by just 1.1 percent in June, a slightly lower rate than the 1.4 percent price growth in May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. The Seattle market is still outperforming the 20-city Index by a small margin, with those prices having grown by 1 percent in June, and 8 percent over the year.

Case-Shiller is calling the numbers part of a “widespread slowdown” in home-price growth nationwide that began last fall. They say that despite the slowdown in growth, other positive factors such as builders’ sentiment and existing home sales point to a normalizing housing market. If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Supply of Single-Family Homes Declines In Many Neighborhoods

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
The single-family house is still at the top of many home buyers’ lists when searching for a property to buy, but the influx of condominiums and townhouses in many of Seattle’s most popular neighborhoods is further decreasing the supply of stand-alone homes in a market where inventory is already tight.
According to a Seattle Times analysis of census data from 2000-2012, the number of single-family homes has decreased most significantly in North Seattle neighborhoods such as Wallingford, Green Lake, Maple Leaf, and Northgate, as well as in the area surrounding Dexter Avenue North on the east side of Queen Anne above South Lake Union. However, South End neighborhoods such as Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, and South Park all saw increases in single-family homes in the same time span.
In a market that has seen prices soaring and bidding wars erupting over the small supply of single-family homes that are available, this is not encouraging news for buyers looking to live in neighborhoods where many multifamily developments are in the works. The city has added 5,000 net single-family homes since 2000, but with 80,000 new residents having moved to Seattle since then, that barely makes a dent in terms of demand. To see the Times’ detailed map of single-family home inventory, click here.
If you would like more information about buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Median Home Price In Seattle Surpasses 2007 Peak

housing marketIt has finally happened – Seattle’s median home price has officially topped its 2007 peak, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service is reporting. The median price now stands at $543,500, significantly more than the $501,000 peak of 2007, and nearly $80,000 higher than the median in July 2013 of $465,000.
Seattle’s market appears to be recovering by leaps and bounds compared to the national market, where the median price for homes in the top 20 markets is still 18 percent below the the peak set in 2006. J. Lennox Scott, the CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate told The Seattle Times that the major factors boosting our housing market are jobs – Seattle’s unemployment rate is down to 5.8 percent – and interest rates, which are historically low.
Another factor likely playing a part is that inventory remains very limited, and prices are responding in classic supply-and-demand fashion. Bidding wars are erupting for the few homes that are available, pushing prices upward. According to The Seattle Times article, some neighborhoods in Seattle such as Ballard and Green Lake only have a one-month supply of homes listed for sale, in a market where a 4-6-month supply is considered “balanced.” According to data from Redfin, 39 percent of homes in the Seattle Metro area sold for more than the listing price in the second quarter of 2014.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Is A Condo The Right Home For You?

downtown condo1*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
For first time home buyers, saving up for a down payment and getting pre-qualified for a loan can be terrifying, and often stressful. There is a great option for the first time buyer who wants to build equity without the weight of a heavy mortgage, and that is condo ownership. Condo homeownership comes with many of the same perks as single family home ownership, such as benefiting from the tax incentive, and building equity. Condo living is not for everyone, but here are some things you should consider when deciding if buying a condo is the right option for you. There will be noise restrictions in nearly every condo building – first time home buyers are within reach of their party days, and quiet hours will generally be enforced from the hours of 10pm-8am. This should excite buyers who enjoy their quiet time, or are used to living privately.
There are also often pet restrictions, so if you have a large dog, be prepared that your pooch might not be welcome to live in a condo you’ve fallen in love with. Check the building policy prior to viewing a unit so you don’t get your hopes up on a space you won’t be able to bring your whole family. Many condo owners see an opportunity to earn extra income by renting out their condo unit. While this is certainly a great option for many, there are restrictions on the number of rentals that are allowed in many condo buildings, and they may already be at capacity when you close on your condo. Having a higher percentage of rentals than owners in the building can actually make it difficult for new buyers to secure a loan, and some owners believe owners living in their units have a stronger interest in keeping their property nice in comparison to renters who do not have as much invested in building. Check with the building owners before looking into renting out your unit to determine if you’re legally allowed to rent it out. For more information on buying a condo in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why You Should Consider Getting A Loan PreQualification

beacon hill homeIf you’re toying with the idea of buying a home, it is generally in your best interest to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Working with a lender to see if you qualify for a mortgage can be an excellent first step to estimate the amount of money you can borrow, and what price range you can afford in a home. Getting an estimate from a lender is not binding, and does not mean you must use them for representation. If you are not satisfied with the quote you receive, you’re encouraged to move on to another bank and shop around until you have an understanding of the best options for you. Getting an estimate is often free of charge, and will help your real estate agent and lender get a better understanding of a good starting point for your home search.
What is used to determine your mortgage pre-qualification? Your finances, including your assets, income credit report, etc, will all be used to assess your rates. Having your pre-qualification in order before you embark on the home search is great in a hot market like Seattle’s, as this will give you a head start from other applicants, and proves to the seller that you are a serious buyer. If you are interested in search for a Seattle area home, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pacific Place Sold For $271 Million

pac place*Synced from the Seattle and Real Estate Blog
1998 was a big year for downtown Seattle. Nordstrom completed its move across Pine Street to its shiny new flagship, and just down the street the Pacific Place shopping center opened, finally giving shoppers an alternative to the then-dingy Westlake Center. Can anyone even remember what occupied that block before Pacific Place rose five stories above Pine and Olive?
It appears that the shopping center still has plenty of earning potential, as it was just sold to D.C.-based real estate management company Madison Marquette (along with other unnamed investors) for $271 million, which is believed to be a record for this type of property in Seattle. Additionally, investors are donating $14 million from the sale to the United Way of King County.
According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, Pacific Place sees 6 million visitors annually and it is 90 percent leased. Many tenants have come and gone over the years, and it now houses such upscale retailers as Barney’s New York, Michael Kors, and Tiffany & Co, along with original tenants Williams Sonoma, Helly Hansen, Il Fornaio and what is now the AMC movie theater.
For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SDOT Program To Address Construction ‘Hubs’

construction*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
These days in Seattle it seems like there’s a construction project on every other block, and it’s not far from the truth. In June alone, there were 100 projects either under construction, permitted or recently completed in downtown Seattle, and the city has identified seven other hubs in Ballard, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, South Lake Union, the central Waterfront, Denny Triangle, and the north end of the Alaskan Way viaduct where there are large concentrations of construction projects in the works.
With construction come the inevitable road and sidewalk closures, and without adequate coordination among projects these areas can become a nightmare to navigate for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The Seattle Department of Transportation has formed the Construction Hub Coordination Program in order to do just that – act as the coordinator between these projects and everyone who is affected by them. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, SDOT will be identifying scheduling conflicts between projects, creating a mapping system, responding to complaints and other issues in real time, providing on-site enforcement, and generally opening lines of communication between all parties involved.
The goal of the program is to proactively address problems related to this high rate of growth and to lessen impact on commuters and businesses in these hubs. If you would like more information on real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Low Inventory In King Co. Continues To Push Home Prices Up

*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
A short supply of housing inventory in King County is continuing to push the median home price upward, and it now stands at $453,500, six percent higher than the median price for June 2013. In Seattle alone, the median price has risen 8.9 percent from June 2013 to $499,000. Though the number of home sales has risen 2 percent from a year ago, there is still less than two months’ supply of homes on the market, far lower than the six months’ supply that constitutes a healthy market. This shortage is sparking bidding wars, especially in highly desirable neighborhoods in Seattle such as Ballard, Queen Anne, and Capitol Hill.
According to an article in The Seattle Times, the homes that are available are selling like hotcakes, often within the first 30 days of being on the market. An impressive 68 percent of homes on the market in Seattle sold in the first 30 days, and 57 percent of homes on the Eastside sold within the first month. Northwest Multiple Listing Service Director John Deely told the Puget Sound Business Journal that even homes in the $1 million+ price range are selling at a higher volume than they have since 2007. So, if you’re looking to sell, it looks like this could be the ideal time. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hawk Program Aims to Expand First Time Buyer’s Access to Mortgages

*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
laurenhurstAs they say, knowledge is power, and in the case of the Federal Housing Authority’s new HAWK pilot program, it could also mean a big savings on your mortgage. HAWK, which stands for “Homeowners Armed With Knowledge”, would grant discounts on mortgage insurance for FHA loans if home buyers sign up for housing counseling.
Under the program, buyers who sign up for counseling both before signing a contract to buy a home and before closing will earn a 50-basis-point reduction in their upfront mortgage insurance premium, and 10 points off of their yearly premium. When every percentage point matters, this could be the difference in someone buying a home or not, especially if their credit is less than stellar. The FHA is hoping that the more buyers know about the mortgage process the less likely they will be to default on their loan, and the potential savings gives home buyers a big incentive to sign up – they estimate owners could save as much as $9,800 on a loan of $180,000.
The four-year HAWK pilot program is projected to begin this fall after the public comment period ends in August, and buyers may be able to sign up for the program by the end of the year. HAWK is just one element in the FHA’s “Blueprint For Access” plan, which aims to find ways to give more people, especially those with credit scores lower than 680, access to mortgages and home ownership. To learn more about real estate in Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Should You Buy in the City or the Suburbs?

rnton * Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
It is the question many first time home buyers find themselves asking: Do I want to live in close proximity to the city, or do I want to live in a quiet neighborhood? Many first time buyers are taking into account their needs for the present, weighing their options of buying a residential home or a condo, choosing a location close to the light rail to ride to work, etc, but many of them don’t realize they could very well be living in that 2 bedroom condo 5 years from now with 2 additional children, dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Maybe city life is for you right now, but what happens down the road when your family grows and you aren’t satisfied with the school district in your neighborhood?
According to our friends over at Zillow, over 50% of the participants in a recent poll regretted something about their home purchase, particularly the size and layout. First time home buyers don’t necessarily know to consider areas just outside their neighborhoods of choice, which could result in an overall better home purchase for the future. Some new homeowners were concerned with their yards; maybe the maintenance is much greater than expected, or the space isn’t large enough for their Bernese Mountatin dog to jaunt around in. Whatever the case, it is important to consider options that might not be necessary for you at present, but could be beneficial to you down the road. It is also important to choose an agent who will have your best interests at heart. If you’re interested in Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Utilize Your Garage Storage Space

garage*Synced From Seattle Pi
Have you ever watched an episode of Hoarders, and noticed that your garage has some similarities? Garages are commonly used as an area to stash items you don’t want to deal with, but this space can really be utilized as a functional work room. Installing a functional garage storage system can really help utilize and organize the space, and can also add value to your home. Organizing your belongings for storage is a good start, and grouping your tools and items by use and size will help you get an idea of the storage unit that will best fit your needs.
If you have several larger items, installing a unit with tall cabinets might be the right direction for you, but make sure the unit has some adjustable shelving to really utilize all of the space. If you store chemicals or other hazardous items that need to be kept out of reach of children or pets, invest in a storage space that can be locked. Add a pegboard and some drawers and you may have yourself an affordable workshop. To maximize space and avoid uncleanliness, try to keep as much storage off the ground as possible. This is more visually appealing, and also makes the garage appear larger. When choosing shelving/storage material, be sure to choose metals, wood or plastic materials meant for garage use. Also remember not to buy too big for your space – creating a storage unit large enough for your items is ideal, but remember you also need to fit your car in the same space. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Washington Park Modern Home: $2,595,000

This beautiful Washington modern residence with commanding views is now available! The home had a superb 2007 Geoff Prentiss remodel, and showcases a modern sensibility while incorporating several Eco-friendly features. Features of the home include an open concept floor plan, stone fireplace, peaceful gardens, vaulted ceilings, a sweeping Pennsylvania Bluestone staircase and kitchen-family room with Nanawall to a grand Ipe deck. This home is sublimely designed, and if you’re interested in this or other Washington Park homes please contact your local real estate agent today!
Status: For Sale
Bed/Bath: 3/3.25
Price: $2,595,000

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Free Greenlake House - If You Can Move It!

*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Build Urban is in the process of getting a lot prepared for new townhomes in Green Lake, and, they have a unique offering for anyone who can move it – a  2,190 sf 1914 built 5 bedroom home for FREE. That’s right- the Seattle Developer is offering a home, located at 6529 4th Ave NE absolutely free of charge to anyone who is able to move it, in hopes of saving it from demolition. greelake home
The new townhome project, Radius will feature 8 homes that have a contemporary edge, and each home will face the interior courtyard that winds through the site. This project is going to be designed for a Built Green 5 Star rating, and features could include in-floor radiant heating, fabricated metal railings, and a livable rooftop terrace equipped with sink and BBQ hookups. But if you’re interested in the home that is sitting on that lot now, contact Build Urban today to learn more details. If you're interested in Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Seattle City Council Limits Building Heights On Small Lots

*Synced From Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Five of nine Seattle City Council members voted yesterday to set limits on building heights for homes built on small lots in single-family zones, an issue that has come to the forefront after an uptick in developers building tall (30 feet plus) narrow homes on lots that have been carved from back and side yards of stand-alone houses. The Seattle Times reports that the council vote set the height limit at 18 feet plus a five-foot pitched roof, or the average height of the surrounding homes, whichever is taller.
Residents have complained that homes built on these small lots sacrifice lawns, open space and trees in the name of density and are often out of scale with the more traditional homes in the neighborhood. Along with the building height limit, regulations will now prohibit development on lots smaller than 2,500 square feet, and neighbors will have the right to appeal proposed development on lots smaller than 3,200 square feet, according to the Times article. Council members also voted down what was called the “100 percent rule”, which would have allowed building on smaller lots if the lot was the average size of others on the same block.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UW Planning 50 Story Tower Downtown Seattle

rainier tower*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
The Columbia Center tower could have some competition as the dominating presence in Seattle’s skyline in near future, as the University of Washington’s Board of Regents has approved plans for a 50-story office/apartment/retail/hotel complex that would share a block with the iconic Rainier Tower on the UW-owned Metropolitan Tract of land downtown, according to The Seattle Times.
UW is working with developer Wright Runstad & Co. to develop the complex, which would rise to 795 feet, making it the second tallest tower in the city behind the Columbia Center tower at 937 feet. The tower will house 30,000 square feet of street-level retail, 750,000 square feet of office space and at least 182 apartments, while a 15-story luxury hotel will sit beside it in a separate building. The unique shape of the tower, which consists of a wide base of 33,000 square feet and tapers to just 15,000 square feet at the top, was conceived so it wouldn’t block views of and from the Rainier Tower, which has occupied its precarious-looking pedestal since 1978. The complex will replace the Rainier Square retail mall.
The university has owned the 10.7-acre Metropolitan Tract, which comprises most of the blocks bordered by Union and Seneca streets and 3rd and 5th avenues (where its original campus was located before moving to its current location in 1895) for more than a century, and is hoping a new 80-year ground lease will increase its earnings from the tract to about $4 million per year, up from the $1.5 million it making from the current lease on the Rainier Square property.
While the university’s deadline for beginning construction on the complex is 2021, Wright Runstad is hoping to begin as soon as the second half of 2015. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Eastside Neighbors Sue PSE Over Power Lines

powerlines*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
People who own property between Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton and Newcastle Beach Park near Bellevue have filed suit against Puget Sound Energy over the placement of a stretch of the proposed 18-mile long high-capacity power lines between Renton and Redmond that are part of PSE’s Energize Eastside project, according to an article in The Seattle Times.
Their lawsuit stems from PSE’s suggested plan of installing power lines on parcels of land on Lake Washington that were originally intended for BNSF Railway use, and later sold to the Port of Seattle after the railroad plan was abandoned. The 74 property owners filing suit contend that the Port only had rights to the corridor’s ground surface, but sold the aerial and subsurface rights to PSE as well. The land owners, along with many other Eastside residents, are hoping to preserve the land as a pedestrian and bike trail, and say installing the power lines would require clearing vegetation and would obstruct shoreline views from the trail.
PSE is considering several alternative routes for the power lines, which are being installed to service the Eastside’s growing population, and the property owner group is encouraging the utility to choose one that doesn’t disrupt plans for the lakeside pedestrian park. PSE will not be applying for permits for the power lines until early 2015, and have said they are dedicating 2014 to gathering public input on the project. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Housing Market Experiences First Growth in 4 Months

housing market
* Synced from the Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Bucking the national trend that saw home prices stay relatively flat from January to February, The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle-area market saw prices rise ever so slightly in February, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Index. In the biggest monthly gain since July 2013, the average price of a home in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties rose by a whopping, wait for it…0.6 percent. While that may seem like a small number, annual gains tell a different story, showing prices rising 12.8 percent over the previous 12 months. However, we have 17.3 more percentage points to go to catch up with the market’s peak in July 2007.
Along with Seattle, Portland and San Diego round out the top three cities with the strongest price gains in February. Surprisingly, San Francisco appeared to show slowing monthly price growth, though its prices were up 23 percent from same time last year.
Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow, stated in the article that although the national housing market is showing signs of slowing in recent months, it is just a snapshot of a market that is slowly returning to normal. Nationally, prices rose by 12.9 percent from February 2013 to February 2014. The National Association of Realtors also reported that the number of pending home sales rose in March for the first time in nine months.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mark Your Calendar: Northwest Green Home Tour This Weekend

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
Hydronic heating, solar panels, and rain catchment systems are just the tip of the sustainable iceberg for the 35 homes and 12 “sustainability stops” featured in this year’s Northwest Green Homes Tour. If you’re curious about sustainable building practices, or just want to get a close-up look at some of Seattle’s most innovative green homes, print out a site map, jump in the car (or on a bike – we are talking sustainability, after all) and spend Saturday learning from builders, suppliers and homeowners about this growing industry.
The self-guided tour is completely free to the public and includes homes and stops all over Seattle, with a few as far north as Mountlake Terrace and North Creek. A sampling of the sustainability stops includes the newly remodeled Taproot Theater in Greenwood that is targeting LEED Gold certification; and RainWise, a South Park organization that is working on green approaches to storm water control. A wristband that you’ll receive at your first stop on the tour also gets you some great perks at two more sustainability stops that will be essential on your daylong tour- a free coffee drink at Equal Exchange Espresso Bar in Ballard and discounts on food and drinks at Hale’s Ales.
The tour runs from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Feel free to start at any home or stop you’d like, or meet at Hale’s at 11:00 a.m. for a 5.1-mile walking tour around North Seattle guided by Dave Ramsay of Feet First, an organization that promotes walkable communities in Washington.This is a great chance to see some stunning green homes around the city and connect with people in the industry, including the sponsors, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild and Built Green. Visit the website for more info and a complete map of sites.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Great Tips For Spring Sellers

laurelhurst11*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate
The flowers are starting to bud, and the sun is peaking through the clouds; Spring is in the air and For Sale signs are emerging around Seattle like crazy. How do you stay ahead of the game? As the housing market begins to heat up, sellers can take these extra steps to help stand out among the rest. At first glance, potential buyers are scrutinizing your property before they even step foot in the door, and having a clean entrance and yard can make a big difference for first impressions.  Adding a beautiful potted plant to the front porch, or staining the front deck could be relatively small projects that could add generous appeal to your home.
Staging your home is another great way to entice buyers to choose your home. Hiring professionals to arrange your home to appeal to a broad array of buyers could be the difference between a buyer choosing your home, or choosing one just down the street. Removing personal belongings helps buyers envision themselves living on the property- not you. Also remember to give your home a good cleaning before showings; a clean home feels bigger and more inviting. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tips For First Time Home Buyers

Madrona Home KL
*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate
The process of buying your first home can be extremely daunting, and although buyers may feel overwhelmed with information, in a market where first-timers are often outbid by buyers with cash on hand, doing your research and being as prepared as possible are key.
First of all, figure out how much you can afford. Meet with a lender to review your finances and establish a realistic price range. You don’t want to begin looking at homes and fall in love with one only to realize the monthly payment is too high.
Shop around for a mortgage. If you would compare prices on groceries, it only makes sense to do the same for a purchase as significant as a home. Look up who has the lowest mortgage rates online first, then call lenders and ask for a written list of their fees so you make sure to get both the lowest rate and the lowest fees.
See if you quality for down-payment assistance. There are several of these programs offering services in King County. See here for more info.
Get preapproved for a loan. This will make your offer more attractive to sellers, as there is less likelihood your loan won’t be approved while you’re in escrow. Find out from your mortgage lender what kind of paperwork you need to submit to get preapproved. These often include W-2s, pay stubs, bank statements and tax returns. Get your credit report and make sure there aren’t any abnormalities that need to be addressed.
Get referrals from your family and friends to find a great real estate agent. Interview them to make sure you feel comfortable with them and to assess how knowledgeable they are. Don’t forget that if a particular agent isn’t meeting your needs, you don’t have an obligation to continue using them.
When do you find a home that you’re ready to make an offer on, take the market into account – if it’s a sellers’ market and the home is priced well, you’ll probably want to make an offer either at the asking price or possibly even a little above. If the seller knows they will get multiple offers, you want yours to stand out.
Just like everyone else who you employ in your home search, you are free to use a home inspector of your choice. Get recommendations from friends and family to make sure you’re getting a trustworthy inspector, not just one who is working to help the agent close the deal.
If you are interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Useful Tips to Get Multiple Offers on Your Home

*Synced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog In regions with booming real estate markets, sellers may think getting multiple offers on their home is inevitable, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. The three must-haves for attracting multiple offers, according to Zillow, are location, price and presentation.
Broadmoor home
You’ve heard it time and again: location, location, location. Buyers often consider location before other factors such as price, number of bedrooms or home size, so a well-located home is a huge advantage. Homes on busy streets, near freeway on/off ramps, or in less-than-stellar school districts may not attract as much interest. Work with a real estate agent to price your home very carefully if it’s not in a prime location.
That brings us to the next factor: price. Zillow reports that homes priced 10 percent over their market value will not get noticed, so it’s important to be smart and realistic with your listing price. While you won’t truly know the market value of your home until a buyer closes on the sale, real estate agents can help you establish a value range based on factors such as whether you are in a buyers’ or sellers’ market, location, and how well your home shows. If you price your home at the lower end of that range, you can be pretty confident you’ll generate lots of interest.
While you can’t change your home’s location and prices can fluctuate based on any number of factors, presentation of your home is something you have more control over. In today’s online-focused market, photos are key, so make sure you put your home’s best foot forward before you have it photographed. Buyers want to make an emotional connection with a home, so removing your personal items, making cosmetic upgrades (if you can afford it), and staging will make a good first impression online and drive buyers to look at the home in person.
These factors, supplemented by the expertise of a local real estate agent who knows the other homes in the area and can help you make yours stand out, will give you an increased chance of getting what all sellers want – multiple offers. If you are interested in selling or buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tips for Buyers in a Seller's Market

wash park colonialSynced from Seattle and Real Estate Blog
We’ve been saying it for the past year and a half, but we’ll say it again; Seattle is definitely a Seller’s market at present. There is nothing more frustrating for a buyer than having everything in order for the home purchase, and not being able to make the purchase due to no fault of their own. There are more buyers than sellers in today’s marketplace, and homes are moving quicker than ever in many neighborhoods. The home buying process has evolved, and if you want to close on the home of your dreams, you’ll need to think outside the box, act fast, and be prepared to work hard at the home sale. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind on your quest for the perfect home.
With low inventory, many buyers tend to be looking for the same thing, and the buyers who come out on top aren’t using your typical search methods. You can work with your agent to check out homes without “For Sale” signs in front, expired listings from years past, or pre-market homes that aren’t necessarily listed on the mls. If you’re interested in a home in the neighborhood, don’t be afraid to reach out to them inquiring if they plan to sell, because chances are you’re not the first buyer to inquire. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you buy is another great way to stay one step ahead of the game. Buyers who are well organized and ready to move when they find the right home are generally the ones who get the listing, and it’s important to deal with any issues you might have on your credit report before moving forward in this competitive market.
Are you interested in a particular neighborhood in Seattle? Find an agent who specializes in the area. A good local agent will know when to submit the offer, and is usually the difference between getting your offer accepted and making several offers with no success. A local agent might know the selling agent, and might have made a deal with them previously in the neighborhood, and that might be enough for the seller to suggest they accept your offer over another inquiry.  If you’re interested in buying a home in and around Seattle, remember the early bird gets the worm. Contact your local real estate agent today to start the home buying process.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Home Sales And Prices Dip For Second Straight Month

371 Prospect
Synced from Seattle and Real Estate blog.
The Seattle area saw median home prices and number of home sales fall for the second consecutive month in February, according to new data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The price of single-family homes in King County fell from $410,000 to $405,400 in February, and that there was little growth in the number of homes for sale. The number of pending home sales is also down about 13% from the same month last year. However, the median price of single-family homes in King County is still 11% higher than it was in February 2013.

Members of the NWMLS believe the dip in sales is not due to a shortage of buyers, but a severe shortage of housing inventory. King and Snohomish Counties both have less than a four-month supply of homes available. According to the NWMLS report, bidding wars are common in markets with less than four months of inventory. Some sellers are also delaying selling their homes because they’re underwater on their mortgages and are holding out for a continued rise in home-price appreciation. Zillow reports that one in five homes in the Seattle metro area has a mortgage with an outstanding balance higher than the home’s value.
For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bellevue Real Estate Recap: February 2014

Syndicated from the Seattle and Real Estate Blog
The Real Estate market in Bellevue has continued to improve at a striking rate.  Although the number of homes closed in February 2014 was nearly identical to February 2013, the median selling price rose 10.1% to $670,000.  The average single family home sold for $909,494, and the average selling price for a condominium was $302,694 in Feb 2014.  In February 2013 the average selling price for a single family home was $677,773 and for a Condominium was $399,002.  The ratio for the listing price versus the selling price in 2013 was 99.6% and in 2014 it was 100.09% (according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service).
bellevue homeThe average days on the market for a single family home in February 2013 was 40 and for Condominiums was 71.  In February 2014 the average for a single family home to be on the market was also 40 days and for Condominiums it was 55.  For single family residences, homes containing 3 or 4 bedrooms sold in about 25 days, versus 37 days in February 2013 and homes having 5+ bedrooms taking around 3 months to sell versus 61 days in February 2013.  Bellevue’s most expensive home sold in February was an Italian Style Villa that sold for a vast $4.8 million.  The home rested on a half acre of Lake Washington Waterfront and was 7,606 square feet and built in 2003 and took 226 days to sell.
Bellevue continues to be extremely desirable right now which is highlighted by the increase in sales prices and the amount of home selling for above their asking price.  The numbers discussed clearly demonstrate that it is a great time to sell in the Bellevue and King County areas. If you would like more information about the current value of your home in this strong real estate market, please contact me for a free market analysis and discussion about your home.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sales of New Homes on the Rise Nationally

west seattle homev
In some surprising and encouraging news for the national residential housing market, sales of new homes in January rose by 9.6 percent, the highest rate since July 2008, and it is predicted that the rate for both new and existing home sales will continue to rise in 2014.
Economists had predicted a drop in the rate for January, mostly due to winter storms across much of the country, but only the Midwestern market posted a decline in new-home sales for January, dropping 17 percent. Sales in the northeast rose by 74 percent, followed by the west at 11 percent, and the south by 10 percent. The median new-home price also rose 3.4 percent from a year ago to $260,100.
Despite the 30-year mortgage rate having just risen to 4.33 percent, signs are pointing to a healthy residential market in 2014 as a result of growing household incomes, and double-digit growth in residential construction over the past two years, which contributed to the nation’s overall economic growth.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Queen Anne Real Estate Recap: January 2014

The hot Queen Anne market shows no signs of slowing down, especially given how few homes are being brought to market in the neighborhood. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, January, 2014 saw 15 single family home transactions close as opposed to 17 a year earlier.  The median sales price in 2014 was $704,000, which represents a slight improvement from 2013 ($685,000).  Low inventory was a recurring problem for Queen Anne home buyers in 2013.  Hopefully, the early signs are not indicative of a year long trend as only 18 new single family home listings hit the market in the first month of 2014, as opposed to 26 units in 2013.
Queen Anne condo inventory showed signs of improvement with 38 new listings in January, 2014 compared to 33 new listings a year earlier.  19 condo units sold last month as opposed to 21 units the year prior.

The Queen Anne real estate market is strong with properties selling faster, and for more money.  If you are curious about the Queen Anne real estate market, ask Jason Roach about it when you see him in the neighborhood or feel free to contact him sooner.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Breaking It Down: How Much Are Real Estate Transaction Fees?

bellevue homeWhile beginning the home search, many prospective buyers believe that real estate transaction costs are only the 3-6% commission, but the actual cost of selling a home are much higher. To avoid recurring transaction costs, here is a comprehensive estimate of this breakdown:
If you bought a home for $200,000 five years ago, let’s say you put 10% ($20,000) down, and you’re left with a $180,000 mortgage. Now you plan on selling the property for $235,000. Agent commission will likely be 5-6% and cost about $13,000, Escrow costs will be roughly $1,000, title insurance will run $600, and you might want to allot $2,500 for repairs to the home before putting it on the market. The total transaction cost will likely be around 10% of the sale price, and it’s also important to consider the current equity you have on your home which is the difference between $235,000 and your mortgage balance of $180,000. If you take into account what you’re paying in transaction fees, you are eliminating nearly 30% of the equity you had accumulated, which is why ideally it makes sense to hold onto real estate for longer periods of time. If you are interested in selling your Seattle home, contact your local real estate agent for more information today.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tech Cities See Rise in Rent and Residential Costs

Madison park rental
If you rent in Seattle, your pockets have certainly felt the rise in rental rates over the past few years. According to a report by Trulia, so have renters in other large tech cities. After dissecting housing reports Trulia found that prices were generally 82% higher in big tech hubs compared to other large metro cities. While engineers and and highly paid coders are well paid in the industry, the cost of living increase is still making it difficult to afford to live in these cities and bridge the affordability gap. According to the report, 48% of homes listed in these tech cities were affordable to the middle class based on the median household income, compared to 63% listed in other metro areas.
There are also huge variances even in affordability among the big tech hub cities: 14% of homes in San Francisco compared to over 60% in Washington DC and Raleigh. The big year over year increases in asking price were up in the top 10 tech cities, with a high rise of 24.4% in Oakland, and a low of 6.5% in Raleigh. Seattle’s asking price was up 16.6%, which was above that is San Francisco and San Jose. The rise in rent has also been prevalent in these tech hubs, with a standard 2 bedroom renting for over 37% more than in metro cities, and a year over year rise in Seattle has seen a 9.2% increase. If you’re looking for affordable housing in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seattle Public Utility Bills to See an Increase in Rates

faucetSeattle Public Utilities has issued a statement indicating they will need to raise rates nearly 30% over the next 6 years for residential garbage, sewer, water, and storm water collection to keep up with current service demands. According to the Seattle Times, the average bimonthly bill will increase $16 each year, and SPU wants to hear from the public on the issue, and will be holding public meetings beginning next month to seek feedback.
They’re inquiring if the general public is most interested in cutting back on certain operations or planned projects, and recommend lower rates or smaller increases. Over the past ten years the city’s utility rates have risen 96%, and inflation in the area has gone up 25.6%. Seattle has higher rates than several of the neighboring cities with an estimated combined monthly bill averaging $139, compared to $126 in Tacoma and Portland, and $127 in Bellevue. If you’re interested in attending one of the public forums to learn more about Seattle Public Utilities plans for the future, see the lists of dates and locations here.