Are you hearing stories of crazy escalating prices for homes in the Seattle area? Is the tax reform law scaring you from fulfilling your home-owning dreams? (See How Do the Tax Reforms Affect You? for more information).
I get it. Those are both things that would give me pause in jumping in the game too, but I also know that owning real estate as a long term investment is historically a good choice… Ugh! that is such a boring reason to buy a home. While true, it is still an unsexy reason.
I think buying allows you to decorate however pleases you and not have to worry if the landlord will allow it. Want an orange pantry door? You get to have an orange pantry door! (Hot hubby was not thrilled with that choice, but put up with it for a few years.)
Do you have pets? They LOVE yards! And if you buy a condo, no pet deposits needed because you are the boss, my friend.
So are you ready to find that house with the outdoor porch where you can picture yourself reading on warm, summer afternoons? Here are 3 things to help you be prepared for the competitive Seattle buying market.
- Get yourself pre-approved by a reputable lender– (Ask your real estate broker for referrals.) Do this before you start seriously looking. You need to know exactly what your budget is so you know what types of homes and where you can search. It is a bummer when you think you can afford the most rockin’ house ever and then find out later from a lender that it is not in the cards. Also, having an approval makes your offer stronger.
- Find a Real Estate agent you trust- Since you will be spending a lot of time with your agent, find one that you feel comfortable with and who will treat you like you are their favorite client ever. In the market we are having here in Seattle, you need someone who has a tool box full of ideas to help you win the house. Ask them how they guide their buying clients when it comes to multiple offers. They should have many ideas (not all financially comfortable for the buyer) that you can use to make the strongest offer.
- Know that this may take a while– With the low inventory, there are not enough houses to go around all at the same time. For some buyers, it may take a week and others a year (and others any amount of time in between there :)). If you are prepared that it could take a while, this process may not become frustrating when it does, and if you find your house right away- BONUS!
Don’t let your orange pantry door be an idea… make it a reality and go find your new home!
Click on the link to see the Gardner Report.
King County prices went up 14.9% in 2017 due to low inventory and an influx of people moving to the area for new jobs.
We have a holiday tradition in our house since the girls were very little: after traveling to visit family in another state one Christmas, my daughters asked if we could stay home for all future Christmases. They were exhausted and wanted to just relax for the holidays. I felt the same way so I enthusiastically said yes and since then, we have been home to enjoy Christmas morning just the four of us.
Now my girls are in their teens and they threw me for a loop this year when they asked if we could spend it at our lake house in Ocean Shores, WA (3 hours or so from our home). We all got excited about this new adventure especially since we have never needed to decorate at that house and now we get to go find all new trimmings for the tree! We consider this our “beach house” even though it sits 2 miles from the actual beach but is on the shores of Duck Lake.
Should we go traditional with the greens and reds? Add a beach theme with blues and whites? Be eclectic? I have been checking out Pinterest and I really do like the beachy look with white starfish and blue decorations.
Maybe I can mix a lighter look with a traditional look:
Or possibly the girls and hot hubby will want an old-school look:
We will be decorating this week so I better figure it out fast! I am just excited to do this with my family and start a plan B Christmas tradition!
As I write this I am preparing a townhome listing in the city. I rarely work in this area, but when I do, I love it! I am born and raised a suburb girl and still live in the suburbs, and that is where I am supposed to be, but when I come downtown, there is an energy that makes me smile.
I can walk down the streets among the throng of hustling people going to work or in for a day of shopping, and everything is so close. No need for cars. Public transportation is available, rent-a-bikes are haphazardly parked on every block, and walking, walking, walking. Oh how I love myself a good hill in Seattle. My previous life as a fitness professional kicks in and I may compete with the guy in front of me to see who gets to the top of the hill first.
The funkiest personalities are downtown in every coffee shop, along the sidewalks as they display their artistries, their clothes, their piercings. It feels exciting and fun and modern. It is not surprising the open house for the listing was very busy with people in their 20’s and 30’s, some with young families. Their excitement about this urban space is contagious and I consider moving to the city someday too.
Then I drive 30 minutes away to my neighborhood that is filled with large yards and SUVs. There is a slower pace and a cozier feeling here. I know most of the neighbors within 5 houses on either side and across the street. I know I can count on them for paper plates or some sugar when I run out. They are aware of strange cars in my driveway and text me when they know I am gone to let me know. The kids run amok in the middle of the street and through people’s yards on sunny days. I can go on walks with my dogs and not see one person in the middle of the day and it can be so quiet and relaxing.
In my hood, we have to drive everywhere- we are walking distance only to the local school; but in the city there little quiet. Depending on what is important to you, both housing styles are great places to live your life.
When my hot hubby and I were looking for our first house, we didn’t have a lot of money so we were willing to take on a house that had some work to be done on it. That first house in Kenmore, WA (at the time known as Bothell) needed new windows, a foundation straightening, paint (to cover Barney purple) and it didn’t have a garage. There was also an empty space connected to the master that we turned into a master bathroom and I, personally, tiled the shower myself!
At the end of our three-year stint there, our home was beautiful and we felt proud of the sweat equity we put into it. The next home also was remodeled similarly by our own two hands, although, the Pergo we put into it to save money from hardwoods was probably a mistake.
Currently, I have listed the coolest house that I truly would love to buy myself, and I am so surprised it hasn’t sold right away. It has been remodeled beautifully but there are some areas that probably could be addressed if you really wanted it to be perfect; it could be lived in for years as-is. The fact that it has a pool can be daunting for some, but the Sellers have put $25k into upgrades for it, so much of the maintenance on that is easy. The feedback we are getting is not that it is over-priced, in fact, other brokers can’t understand why it hasn’t sold at this price. People are gushing over the uniqueness and all the extra living areas for out-of-town guests. They love the privacy and the large yard.
What is the main reason people are passing on it? Too much work. Huh. I didn’t see that coming. Is it the yard? Does it need upgrades? No idea. People are not specifying so my mind wonders if buyers these days just want a house that is perfect. Are people too busy to put sweat equity into a home? Working long hours, raising kids and their activities, walking the dogs all fill up a schedule with no time to work on a house on the weekends.
I find that unfortunate because when you put your time into your home, you not only learn to do a handy skill, I find you enjoy the home more than if someone did it for you. And the bragging rights (as long as it ended up nicely) are fun to dole out.
Did you know that jobs like tile setters, sheet rock installers, plumbers, electricians, etc. are in short demand? If you do well with your remodel, maybe you will have found a new career!
If you are a buyer, please consider a home that you may feel needs a lot of work. In that situation, you can put your own style in the home, save some money, and be proud of your home!
Ever since I was in college I have owned a dog. First came Fogarty from a pet store (can you believe it?) and he is the reason why I have never lived in an apartment since then. I chose my housing based on if there was a yard. Two years later I married my hot hubby and we moved from Sacramento to Seattle for fun. I had secured my first after-college job as a 6th grade teacher, but guess what?, I got paid very little. I think I started at $21,000 a year in 1994.
Due to Fogarty, we only were able to look at houses with yards since he was a large German Shepard/Husky mix. We found a super cute cottage in a sketchy neighborhood that was smaller than my classroom, but the yard was huge. The rent was $525/month for this 620 sf home and we lived there for 2 1/2 years (because we was poor!). During that time we acquired, Happy, an American Staffordshire mix and now we had sealed our fate to forever renting, and eventually, owning houses with yards.
I now have two kids who have grown up for the most part with two dogs as part of our family. We have had Sidnie, Rusty, Logan, and Molly since Fogarty’s and Happy’s tenure with us. Recently, both Logan and Molly passed away within 2 months of each other and we literally lasted five days without another pooch. The house was so empty without a furry friend to snuggle and love. We now have Nina, the most gorgeous pure bred American Staffordshire, and she had us wrapped around her paw within minutes.
These furry family members have shaped where and how we live. My hubby is happy with a smaller yard, but we have rented or bought houses with big yards so the dogs can run and play. Logan, the smartest, yet craziest, of all our pups, forced us to put up a fence in our predominantly fence-less neighborhood to keep him from taking off and surprising walkers down the road. That cost some change. Molly had kidney disease and needed access outside to pee often, so we installed a dog door that isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but definitely functional.
Our family has been blessed with all of our dogs who filled our homes with love and fun, and I certainly don’t feel like we missed out on living in an apartment or some other home with a small yard. Yes, we have paid much money and put in much time into our yards because of them, but it was definitely worth it. Now we have a yard Nina can go out to anytime she wants due to the dog door and the fence and she is able to sprint around with her other canine friends.
Are you ready to increase your wealth? I know I am. Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate 3.24% per year on average and to grow by 21.4% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.
So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?
As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. If we look at only the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?
Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 4.0% this year alone, the young homeowners will have gained over $10,000 in equity in just one year. Holy COW!
Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by over $43,000! Holy FREAKING COW! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.
If you already own a home, you have started on a great path to future wealth, so think about an investment property to help increase stability in your financial future. This is what my husband and I are going to do this year, finally, how can we not? I know it means we may not get to remodel the house this year, but it is the financially smart thing to do. Being financially smart may not fulfill my instant gratification needs, but in five years I will be very happy!
Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey; you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.
The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened, due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to pick up steam.
1. What do you do with all this paperwork?
Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.
2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?
According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions are, to make sure that you acquire your dream?
3. Are you a good negotiator?
So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.
4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?
It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $185,000 compared to $245,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”
Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.
5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?
There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?
Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:
“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”
Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.
You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?