7 Tips for Staging Your Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

7 Tips for Staging Your Home  + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process.

The first step to getting buyers to make an offer on your home is to impress them with its appearance so they begin to envision themselves living there. Here are seven tips for making your home look bigger, brighter, and more desirable.


1.  Start with a Clean Slate

Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nitpicky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

2.  Stow Away Your Clutter

It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface, suggests Barb Schwarz of Staged Homes in Concord, Pa. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

3.  Scale Back on Your Furniture

When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

4.  Rethink Your Furniture Placement

Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point, advises Schwarz. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

5.  Add Color to Brighten Your Rooms

Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

6.  Set the Scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home — such as a chess game in progress — to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

7.  Make the Entrance Grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Related:

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who occasionally rearranges her furniture to find the best placement—and keep her dog on his toes. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

 

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

TheMarketTalks.com

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

 Ask detailed questions about their experience and skills to help you find the right agent for your home sale.

Working with the right real estate agent can mean the difference between getting prompt, expert representation and feeling like you’re going it alone when selling your home. Here are 10 questions to ask when you’re interviewing agents.


1. How long have you been selling homes?

Mastering real estate requires on-the-job experience. The more experience agents have, the more likely they’ll be able to handle any curveballs thrown during your home sale.

2. What designations do you hold?

Designations like GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) and CRS® (Certified Residential Specialist), which require that agents complete additional real estate training, show they’re constantly learning. Ask if agents have designations and, if not, why not?

3. How many homes did you sell last year?

Agents may tout their company’s success. An equally important question is how many homes they’ve personally sold in the past year; it’s an indicator of how active and aggressive they are.

4. How many days on average did it take you to sell homes?

Ask agents to show you this data along with stats from their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so you can see how many days, on average, their listings were on the market compared to the average for all properties in the MLS.

5. How close were the asking and sales prices of the homes you sold?

Sometimes sellers choose their agent because the agent’s suggested listing price is higher than those suggested by other agents. A better factor is the difference between listing prices and the amount homes actually sold for. That can help you judge agents’ skill at accurately pricing homes and marketing to the right buyers. It can also help you weed out agents trying to dazzle you with a lofty sales price just to get your listing.

6. How will you market my home?

The days of agents putting a For Sale sign in the yard and hoping for the best are long gone. Look for an agent who does aggressive and innovative marketing, especially on the Internet.

7. Will you represent me exclusively?

In most states, agents can represent the seller, the buyer, or both in a home sale. If your agent will also represent buyers, understand and consent to that dual representation.

8. How will you keep me informed?

If you want weekly updates by email, don’t choose an agent who plans to contact you only if there’s an offer.

9. Can you provide references?

Ask to talk to the last three customers the agent assisted. Call and ask if they’d work with the agent again and if the agent did anything that didn’t sit well with them.

10. Are you a REALTOR®?

Ask whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR has been an advocate of agent professionalism and a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s worked with many real estate agents in the past 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

TheMarketTalks.com

View this week’s full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.


windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.


What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.

How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

More from HouseLogic

What You Must Know About Home Appraisals

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price


Carl Vogel, a freelance writer and former editor of The Neighborhood Works magazine, lives in a home in Chicago that is not typical of those nearby, so he appreciates a savvy comp.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by Carl Vogel. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

TheMarketTalks.com

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time…even in a red hot market.

Many buyers today want move-in-ready homes and will quickly eliminate an otherwise great home by focusing on a few visible flaws. Unless your home shines, you may endure showing after showing and open house after open house — and end up with a lower sales price. Before the first prospect walks through your door, consider some smart options for casting your home in its best light.


1.  Have a Home Inspection

Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.

2.  Get Replacement Estimates

If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.

3.  Make Minor Repairs

Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems — sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets — as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.

4.  Clear the Clutter

Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.

5.  Do a Thorough Cleaning

A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service.

If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.

Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.

Related:

  • 7 Tips for Staging Your Home
  • How to Keep Things Cleaner Longer

G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

TheMarketTalks.com

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Keep Your Home Purchase on Track + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Keep Your Home Purchase on Track + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

You’ve found your dream home. Make sure missteps don’t prevent a successful closing.


A home purchase isn’t complete until you make it to the closing. Until then, the transaction can fall apart for many reasons. Here are five tips for avoiding mistakes that cause a home sale to crater.

1.  Be truthful on your mortgage application.

You may think fudging your income a little or omitting debts when applying for a mortgage will go unnoticed. Not true. Lenders have become more diligent in verifying information on mortgage applications. If you fib, expect to be found out and denied the loan you need to fund your home purchase. Plus, intentionally lying on a mortgage application is a crime.

2.  Hold off on big purchases.

Lenders double-check buyers’ credit right before the closing to be sure their financial condition hasn’t weakened. If you’ve opened new credit cards, significantly increased the balance on existing cards, taken out new loans, or depleted your savings, your credit score may have dropped enough to make your lender change its mind on funding your home loan.

Although it’s tempting to purchase new furniture and other items for your new home, or even a new car, wait until after the closing.

3.  Keep your job.

The lender may refuse to fund your loan if you quit or change jobs before you close the purchase. The time to take either step is after a home closing, not before.

4.  Meet contingencies.

If your contract requires you to do something before the sale, do it. If you’re required to secure financing, promptly provide all the information the lender requires. If you must deposit additional funds into escrow, don’t stall. If you have 10 days to get a home inspection, call the inspector immediately.

5.  Consider deadlines immovable.

Get your funds together a week or so before the closing, so you don’t have to ask for a delay. If you’ll need to bring a certified check to closing, get it from the bank the day before, not the day of, your closing. Treat deadlines as sacrosanct.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

View this week’s full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Assess the Real Cost of a Fixer-Upper  + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

This will help you figure out how much to offer for a fixer-upper.


Trying to decide whether to buy a fixer-upper house? Follow these seven steps, and you’ll know how much you can afford, how much to offer, and whether a fixer-upper house is right for you.

#1 Decide What You Can DIY

TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don’t know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won’t increase the value of your fixer-upper house.

Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be dangerous when done by amateurs.

Do you really have the time and desire to do it? Can you take time off work to renovate your fixer-upper house? If not, will you be stressed out by living in a work zone for months while you complete projects on the weekends?

#2 Price the Cost of Renovations Before You Make an Offer

Get your contractor into the house to do a walk-through, so he can give you a written cost estimate on the tasks he’s going to do.

If you’re doing the work yourself, price the supplies.

Either way, tack on 10% to 20% to cover unforeseen problems that often arise with a fixer-upper house.

#3 Check Permit Costs

Ask local officials if the work you’re going to do requires a permit and how much that permit costs. Doing work without a permit may save money, but it’ll cause problems when you resell your home.

Decide if you want to get the permits yourself or have the contractor arrange for them. Getting permits can be time-consuming and frustrating. Inspectors may force you to do additional work, or change the way you want to do a project, before they give you the permit.

Factor the time and aggravation of permits into your plans.

#4 Double-Check Pricing on Structural Work

If your fixer-upper home needs major structural work, hire a structural engineer for $500 to $700 to inspect the home before you put in an offer so you can be confident you’ve uncovered and conservatively budgeted for the full extent of the problems.

Get written estimates for repairs before you commit to buying a home with structural issues.

Don’t purchase a home that needs major structural work unless:

  • You’re getting it at a steep discount
  • You’re sure you’ve uncovered the extent of the problem
  • You know the problem can be fixed
  • You have a binding written estimate for the repairs

#5 Check the Cost of Financing

Be sure you have enough money for a downpayment, closing costs, and repairs without draining your savings.

If you’re planning to fund the repairs with a home equity or home improvement loan, get yourself pre-approved for both loans before you make an offer.

Make the deal contingent on getting both the purchase money loan and the renovation money loan, so you’re not forced to close the sale when you have no loan to fix the house.

Consider the Federal Housing Administration’s Section 203(k) program, which is designed to help home owners who are purchasing or refinancing a home that needs rehabilitation.

The program wraps the purchase/refinance and rehabilitation costs into a single mortgage. To qualify for the loan, the total value of the property must fall within the FHA mortgage limit for your area, as with other FHA loans.

A streamlined 203(k) program provides an additional amount for rehabilitation, up to $35,000, on top of an existing mortgage. It’s a simpler process than obtaining the standard 203(k).

#6 Calculate Your Fair Purchase Offer

Take the fair market value of the property (what it would be worth if it were in good condition and remodeled to current tastes) and subtract the upgrade and repair costs.

For example: Your target fixer-upper house has a 1960s kitchen, metallic wallpaper, shag carpet, and high levels of radon in the basement.

Your comparison house, in the same subdivision, sold last month for $200,000. That house had a newer kitchen, no wallpaper, was recently recarpeted, and has a radon mitigation system in its basement.

The cost to remodel the kitchen, remove the wallpaper, carpet the house, and put in a radon mitigation system is $40,000. Your bid for the house should be $160,000.

Ask your real estate agent if it’s a good idea to share your cost estimates with the sellers, to prove your offer is fair.

#7 Include Inspection Contingencies

Don’t rely on your friends or your contractor to eyeball your fixer-upper house. Hire pros to do common inspections like:

  • Home inspection. This is key in a fixer-upper assessment. The home inspector will uncover hidden issues in need of replacement or repair. You may know you want to replace those 1970s kitchen cabinets, but the home inspector has a meter that will detect the water leak behind them.
  • Radon, mold, lead-based paint
  • Septic and well
  • Pest

Most home inspection contingencies let you go back to the sellers and ask them to do the repairs, or give you cash at closing to pay for the repairs. The seller can also opt to simply back out of the deal, as can you, if the inspection turns up something you don’t want to deal with.

If that happens, this isn’t the right fixer-upper house for you. Go back to the top of this list and start again.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

8 Tips for Finding Your New Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

8 Tips for Finding Your New Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

A solid game plan can help you narrow your homebuying search to find the best home for you.


House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart homebuying process.

1.  Know thyself.

Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?

2.  Research before you look.

List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto realtor.com to get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.

3.  Get your finances in order.

Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.

Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.

4.  Set a moving timeline.

Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.

5.  Think long term.

Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.

6.  Work with a REALTOR®.

Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because homebuying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.

Also ask if the agent specializes in buyer representation. Unlike listing agents, whose first duty is to the seller, buyers’ reps work only for you even though they’re typically paid by the seller. Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

7.  Be realistic.

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

8.  Limit the opinions you solicit.

It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

7 Steps to Take Before You Buy a Home + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

By doing your homework before you buy, you’ll feel more content about your new home.


Most potential home buyers are a smidge daunted by the fact that they’re about to agree to a hefty mortgage that they’ll be paying for the next few decades. The best way to relieve that anxiety is to be confident you’re purchasing the best home at a price you can afford with the most favorable financing. These seven steps will help you make smart decisions about your biggest purchase.

1. Decide How Much Home You Can Afford

Generally, you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Remember to consider costs every homeowner must cover: property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and community association fees, if applicable, as well as costs specific to your family, such as day care if you plan to have children.

2. Develop Your Home Wish List

Be honest about which features you must have and which you’d like to have. Handicap accessibility for an aging parent or special needs child is a must. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are in the bonus category. Come up with your top five must-haves and top five wants to help you focus your search and make a logical, rather than emotional, choice when home shopping.

3. Select Where You Want to Live

Make a list of your top five community priorities, such as commute time, schools, and recreational facilities. Ask a REALTOR® to help you identify three to four target neighborhoods based on your priorities.

4. Start Saving

Have you saved enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment? Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price set aside for a down payment, but some lenders allow as little as 5% down. A small down payment preserves your savings for emergencies.

However, the lower your down payment, the higher the loan amount you’ll need to qualify for, and if you still qualify, the higher your monthly payment. Your down payment size can also influence your interest rate and the type of loan you can get.

Finally, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Depending on the size of your loan, PMI can add hundreds to your monthly payment. Check with your state and local government for mortgage and down payment assistance programs for first-time buyers.

5. Ask About All the Costs Before You Sign

A down payment is just one home buying cost. A REALTOR® can tell you what other costs buyers commonly pay in your area — including home inspections, attorneys’ fees, and transfer fees of 2% to 7% of the home price. Tally up the extras you’ll also want to buy after you move-in, such as window coverings and patio furniture for your new yard.

6. Get Your Credit in Order

A credit report details your borrowing history, including any late payments and bad debts, and typically includes a credit score. Lenders lean heavily on your credit report and credit score in determining whether, how much, and at what interest rate to lend for a home. The minimum credit score you can have to qualify for a loan depends on many factors, including the size of your down payment. Talk to a REALTOR® or lender about your particular circumstance.

You’re entitled to free copies of your credit reports annually from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Order and then pore over them to ensure the information is accurate, and try to correct any errors before you buy. If your credit score isn’t up to snuff, the easiest ways to improve it are to pay every bill on time and pay down high credit card debt.

7. Get Prequalified

Meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter that says how much house you’re qualified to buy. Start gathering the paperwork your lender says it needs. Most want to see W-2 forms verifying your employment and income, copies of pay stubs, and two to four months of banking statements.

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your current profit and loss statement, a current balance sheet, and personal and business income tax returns for the previous two years.

Consider your financing options. The longer the loan, the smaller your monthly payment. Fixed-rate mortgages offer payment certainty; an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a lower monthly payment. However, an adjustable-rate mortgage may adjust dramatically. Be sure to calculate your affordability at both the lowest and highest possible ARM rate.

REALTOR® Content Resource, by G. M. Filisko. Republished with permission of National Association of Realtors.

 

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

What Do the Weekly Numbers Tell You? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

What Do the Weekly Numbers Tell You? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Comparing one week to the next is the best way to see what is transpiring in the micro-market you are researching. Tracking weekly activity in this way captures trends that occur at the neighborhood and price point level before they reach mainstream data sources. Another relevant factoid is that some price points are where all of the attention is while others are much quieter. If you are frustrated with your search efforts and happen to be looking in a range that bridges two price points, you might have more success shifting into the more moderately-paced bracket.

While monthly data provides a nice historical look-back, its nearly two months’ old just prior to each release. If you’re a buyer or a seller in this frenzied market you know first-hand just how important real-time data is in giving you a competitive edge.

 

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

When to Use Average Price vs. Median Price + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

When to Use Average Price vs. Median Price + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

You often hear the terms Average Sale Price and Median Sale Price when stats are discussed. When it comes to real estate, what’s the difference between the two and how do you know when to use average price vs. median price to determine value?

Here’s a quick overview:

The Average Sale Price is calculated by adding all sale prices for homes sold and dividing that total by the number of properties sold. The Median Sale Price, on the other hand, is the 50% point in the data, regardless of the rest of the data. For example, if you have the following data:

$500,000, $500,000, $500,000, $500,000, $500,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, $1,000,000, $2,000,000

The median sale price is $500,000 since that is the middle number in the data set, while the average is $777,778.

The problem with the average sale price is that if one or more properties were sold at an extraordinarily high or low price, the average is skewed higher or lower as a result. In this case, the average becomes a somewhat unreliable metric.

Average is best to use when your price range falls in the upper segment of a bell curve (ie. within a mainstream price point for the area). But if your data is at one extreme or another with fewer sales for analysis, the median will often be a more helpful value in evaluating overall trends such as year-over-year appreciation.

 

Is the Median Sale Price or Average Sale Price a Better Reference Point?

Both the average sale price and median sale price can be valuable when analyzing the market. It’s important to remember either value may be skewed due to outliers in the data such as a price far higher or lower than typical for the area or if there are very few overall sales.

When you’re pricing a home it’s a good idea to use both average sales price and median sales price as a comparison to help you see the full picture.

When an outlier is present, you can decide to use the median sale price as your benchmark.

Still have questions? Contact one of our knowledgeable brokers for assistance with how to determine your best sale price based on both the average and median price trends, as well as other factors that might apply be happening in your neighborhood’s micro market right now.

 

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

How to avoid overpaying for a home in an ultra-competitive market + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

How to avoid overpaying for a home in an ultra-competitive market + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Here are four attributes, beyond the number of bedrooms and baths, that you should have your eye on.

Home (building) quality: Very well-built homes are a rare find and typically worth every penny of their price. Don’t confuse them with so-so homes that just measure up to the city inspector’s threshold. Lesser quality homes will cost you more in upkeep and replacement as systems and components wear out. If you purchase a lesser quality home for less, the differential might just cover the added maintenance expense. But, if you purchase a fair quality home at the going rate of higher quality homes, you might likely be overpaying.

Deferred maintenance: Different than home quality, deferred maintenance includes the to-do list of items that need to be done to maintain a home’s integrity. A home that has been well maintained over its life typically is a better investment than one that hasn’t. The true cost of deferred maintenance often adds up to more than the cost of the repairs themselves. Don’t forget to factor in the reduced life span of other components—like replacement of damaged wood beneath peeling paint or mold remediation in a damp basement caused by a clogged foundation drain.

Setting: The saying “location, location, location” didn’t get its fame from out of nowhere. A home with an ideal setting on its lot and in the neighborhood—away from busy roads and utility poles/boxes, with adequate privacy, good topography, best positioned to capture views if available, and not adjacent to undesirable elements (poorly maintained homes, water towers or other unsightly public structures, high traffic facilities, etc.) will have more value than a less-ideally sited home. When deciding what to pay for a property it is critical that you evaluate these aspects and any others relevant to a specific neighborhood to determine the +/- effect on value.

Floor plan: How a home lives—flow from room to room, size of rooms, open/closed-off spaces, and below ground vs. above ground living are every bit as important as the total home square footage. You can change a lot of things about a home but it is very difficult to change a bad floor plan. When you are deciding how high to make that multiple offer bid, consider factoring in the added value or take-away of the floor plan.

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Finding Homes in a Listing Deprived Market + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Finding Homes in a Listing Deprived Market  + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Seven out of the box ideas that might help you find your next home

  1. Consider posting a “home wanted” story on social media. Share your buyer bio online with your connections. you never know who might know someone who will be selling. Your broker can still help you see and submit an offer to an off-market home to take the awkwardness out of negotiating directly with the homeowner.
  2. Attend estate sales and garage sales to see if the owner might be preparing for a sale. If so, find out if you can arrange to have your broker show you the home and structure an offer that best protects your interests.
  3. Walk or drive through your A-list neighborhoods (neighborhoods that have the style, amenities and location that you most want) and take note of homes that are quickly being spruced-up—possibly indicating they might be coming up for sale.
  4. Check out Zillow and identify “Make Me Move” homes that might be of interest.
  5. Let co-workers and acquaintances (especially hairdressers, handymen and home services providers) know that you are looking for a home. They often hear the scoop before anyone.
  6. Contact owners of homes for rent in your A-list neighborhoods to see if they would consider selling.
  7. Set up a Google keyword search for New Listing + (your a-list neighborhood name). Often photographers and home stagers share photos of listings they are helping prepare for market.

 

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Peak Seattle Real Estate Market + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Peak Seattle Real Estate Market  + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Seattle’s real estate peak season market typically begins the week after mid-winter school break

If you’re one of the many buyers out there looking at the dismal 1-2 homes that come on the market in your price range each week, you may be in for some good news. Sellers who have been preparing their homes for sale since January are finally just beginning to put their homes up for sale. Next week will kick off our market’s peak season with seasonally more homes for sale (now through June) than any other time of year. There will be more competition too as buyers come out of the woodwork to circle around the most desirable homes.

This week would be a great time to get your ducks in a row. Get your loan pre-approval or underwriting squared away. Get your inspector short-list lined up. Re-review your must-have and nice-to-have home feature lists. Make sure your broker is at-the-ready and available. Write a buyer bio about yourself and why you would be a great buyer for any seller’s home. Get clarity about where you want to live and zero in on that neighborhood. Consider walking/driving through your A-list neighborhoods weekly. You’ll notice which homes are getting an exterior spruce-up—possibly indicating they might be coming up for sale. Lastly, let family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who will listen know that you are looking for a home. You never know who will know someone who will be selling. The more homes you have to consider, the better your odds of finding the one that is just right for you.

 

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Historical Interest Rate Chart + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Historical Interest Rate Chart + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

How Today Compares to Historical Interest Rates

With mortgage interest rates rising many home buyers are asking the question of how today’s rates compare with historical rates of the past. This chart shows the average annual mortgage interest rate as tracked by Freddie Mac for the past 46 years.

The current 30-year fixed rate mortgage is right around 4.32%. Compare that with the historical 46-year average of 8.17% and rates still look phenomenal. Yes, they are up from a low of 3.65% in 2016…but nowhere near the high of 16.63% in 1981.

Often its hard to picture just how that pencils out. So, let’s compare the monthly principal and interest payment (not including taxes and insurance) on a $750,000 mortgage at each of these rates to see just how big of a factor the interest rate is.

@ the current rate of 4.32% – $3,720

@ the 46-year low of 3.65% – $3,431

@ the 46-year average of 8.17% – $5,592

@ the 46-year high of 16.63% – $10,478

Historical Mortgage Interest Rate Chart

View the full residential market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Advice for First Time Buyers + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Advice for First Time Buyers + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

COMPETING AS A FIRST TIME BUYER IN A WILD AND CRAZY SELLER’S MARKET

First off, this adventure isn’t for the faint of heart. Being a first-time buyer in the Seattle area will test your patience, your sanity, and maybe even your will to be a homeowner. That said, there are a few things you can do to better your position.

1 – Get pre-underwritten (not just pre-qualified or even pre-approved) by a local lender who sellers will trust. This means your loan application goes to the underwriter and is approved subject only to a clean appraisal. Most sellers want the assurance that your sale above most anything else. We’ve all heard the horror stories of financing falling through at the eleventh hour. Sellers have heard them too. Getting pre-underwritten is the best guarantee you can offer a seller that you are a sure bet.

2 – Save as much as you can. Putting 20% or more down is the ideal, but in today’s bidding war arena, you might even have to agree to make up the difference for a low appraisal.

3 – Consider shelling out money for a pre-inspection on the right home. As a first-time buyer especially, you need to know about a home’s deficiencies. Sellers aren’t likely to allow an inspection contingency today, so often your only opportunity to inspect is before you write an offer. At an average of $500 an inspection that can add up to a lot of dough. Consider setting personal guidelines for which homes you’ll pre-inspect and which ones you won’t. For example, you might choose to pre-inspect a home that is an 8 or better out of 10 on your criteria scale, is very comfortably in your price range (with room to spare for escalation) and has fewer than 2 other pre-inspections being conducted.

4 – If the home is occupied, consider giving the seller a free rent-back period to make their move out less stressful (and your offer more enticing). Typical rent-back periods are 3-60 days depending on how aggressive you need to be. Yes, it costs money…but it just might make the difference between your offer and a better offer with no rent-back. Sometimes peace-of-mind (and sanity) at move-out are more important to a seller than getting more money.

5 – Assuming you have done all the above, consider waiving typical contingencies and releasing a part or all your earnest money to the seller on mutual acceptance to sweeten the pot. While there is a degree of risk in doing this, if you’ve done your due diligence ahead of time, this can be a compelling approach that doesn’t cost you any more at the closing table.

6 – Of course, it is essential to have a competent real estate broker who can help you navigate these waters, determine the value (as compared to similar properties), history (permits, prior sales, etc.), and activity (other offers, pre-inspections, expressions of interest) of potential properties you are interested in. This helps you go in armed with the information to make sound decisions with a clear offer strategy that will help you win far more effectively than the typical guesswork that goes in too many offers written without this guidance. A reputable broker also makes for a more reputable offer. It goes back to that assurance that the sale will close. Most sellers feel more comfortable accepting an offer when there is a solid realtor, lender and buyer behind it. It’s a package deal and everyone plays a role in making it all happen.

Lastly, be prepared for the adventure. There will be joy, surprise, heartbreak, anger, frustration and bliss along the way (hopefully not all in one day). If you go in knowing it will be a challenge, you’ll be much better prepared for the task at hand.

View the full market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Are We in a Bubble? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Are We in a Bubble? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

ARE WE IN A BUBBLE?

The short answer is no, or at least not yet. While Seattle prices have been escalating at breathtaking rates, demand remains strong, employment growth stable and climbing, and mortgage credit is still very strict.

The average FICO score required to obtain the best conventional financing is 750, while the lowest scores qualifying for standard conventional financing are around 701 and require substantially more down.

Today’s purchasers are very well-qualified and typically put 10-20% down on a home purchase. This is vastly different from the years before the loan crisis when nearly anyone (working or not) could obtain a mortgage loan with little or no down payment.

In fact, today’s homeowners have a have a higher equity position-an average of 40% home equity-than anytime in recent history.

What could cause a bubble in our region? Substantial easing of FICO scores and other qualifying loan criteria, significant increases in unemployment, or a sudden lack of buyer demand caused by rapidly rising interest rates.

Next week we’ll explore how to best protect yourself when buyer in a peak market. In the meantime, here are a few great articles we found interesting.

Washington State Housing Insights by Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell

Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner’s 2018 Forecast

Zillow Research: What We Learned About Housing Over the Past Year

 

View the full market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

3 Reasons There is So Little Inventory + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

3 Reasons There is So Little Inventory + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Three Reasons There is So Little Inventory for Sale

  1. People are staying in their homes nearly twice as long as during the previous peak market cycle. The current average home tenure is 8.2 years.
  2. Boomers aren’t selling. Most are working far longer than previous generations and want the benefits of living close to work and play.
  3. New construction isn’t meeting demand. The shortage of skilled labor, and the high cost on both land and materials puts new construction out of reach for many buyers.

View the full market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

A Shortage of Condos + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

A Shortage of Condos + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

As Seattle-Eastside homes become less and less affordable, buyers are turning to condominiums in droves. Convenience is a huge part of this equation too. From easier commute options from more centralized locations to their low maintenance living, condos have a lot to offer today’s buyer.

While there are many aspects to condo ownership, the pros may just outweigh the cons in many scenarios. What we do know is that solid research and soul searching are a requirement of any successful lifestyle change.

Looking at this week’s snapshot, Downtown Bellevue condos are in very short supply while Downtown Seattle offers more to choose from.

View the full market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

What Does Months Supply of Inventory Mean? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

What Does Months Supply of Inventory Mean? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

An alternate method to analyze the market is by looking at the Month’s Supply of Inventory. The reverse of Absorption Rate, this number represents how many months it would take for all the homes currently for sale, to sell at the current pace. You can calculate the Month’s Supply of Inventory by dividing the total number of homes for sale by the number of homes sold each month.

For example, if there were 15 homes for sale in December, but only 6 sold (15/6), there is 2.5 month’s supply on the market for sale. Three to six months of supply is average: if the number is smaller, it indicates a seller’s market. If the number is greater, a buyer’s market is likely. The more extreme the mark on the continuum, the stronger the market polarity.

Hint: we do the calculation for you each week in this report and indicate whether the market is balanced, favors one segment, or strongly favors one segment. Easy peasy!

View the full market report


ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Can Timing the Market Right Make that Big of a Difference? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Can Timing the Market Right Make that Big of a Difference? + Seattle Area Real Estate Report

Can timing the market right really make that big of a difference when buying a home? Yes! Yes! And Yes! Consider this. If the Median Sale Price in North Seattle is $798,000, and you make an offer during a typical week (where there are far more buyers than sellers) you’ll likely pay at least 4% above the listed price, or a $32,000 premium.

Compare that to an off-week (holiday, school break, or other anomaly), where you might pay close to the listed price, and you’ve got a nice furniture budget to play with. Of course, the best properties will always command the best prices, but even they are subject to market fluctuations from week to week.

Pay attention and “cha-ching” could be part of your vocabulary soon.

View the full market report

 

ABOUT WINDERMERE MERCER ISLAND

We earn the trust and loyalty of our brokers and clients by doing real estate exceptionally well. The leader in our market, we deliver client-focused service in an authentic, collaborative and transparent manner and with the unmatched knowledge and expertise that comes from decades of experience.

windermeremercerisland.com | (206) 232-0446 | mercerisland@windermere.com
2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040.

© Copyright 2018. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

TheMarketTalks.com December 15th Seattle Area Housing Report

TheMarketTalks.com December 15th Seattle Area Housing Report

Ever wonder how the ratio of for sale signs to sold strips affects the real estate market? We call this ratio the Absorption Rate—the rate at which homes sell in a given area and price point. The higher the absorption rate, the faster homes are selling. Absorption rate is calculated by taking the number of homes that sell each month divided by the total number of homes for sale.

For example, if 6 homes sell in December in Central Seattle between $800,000 and $1.2 million, and 15 homes were for sale, the absorption rate is 6/15 or 40%. If 1 home of 15 sells, the absorption rate is 1/15th or 6%. An absorption rate above 30% indicates a seller’s market in which homes are selling fast. Absorption rates below 15% show a buyer’s market, which means homes are selling relatively slowly. Everything in between is deemed a balanced market.

View the full market report

 

© Copyright 2017, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island |  (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com | 2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. 

Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

TheMarketTalks.com December 8th Seattle Area Housing Report

TheMarketTalks.com December 8th Seattle Area Housing Report

Can the real estate market really turn on a dime? The short answer is yes. Supply and demand dictate real estate just like any other market. Turn on the spigot of homes for sale or tamper down the demand and you’ll see a marked reaction. Do both at the same time and you’ll see that dime spinning.

One more note, this typically happens at the micro-level long before market-wide trends occur. So, for example, the red hot East Bellevue market might shift in only one or two price brackets and that shift could be short-term (1 or 2 weeks) or long term.

Blink and you might miss it. But keep your eye on the ball and you can take advantage of temporary slowing in an otherwise hot market.

View the full market report

 

© Copyright 2017, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island |  (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com | 2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

TheMarketTalks.com December 1st Seattle Area Housing Report

TheMarketTalks.com December 1st Seattle Area Housing Report

Can you predict the future of the real estate market? We think yes. By looking at weekly pending sale vs. active listing data vs. month-old stats pushed out through the media, you can see emerging trends in real-time…long before the headline grubbing competition.

Does that give you a leg up? We think so!

View the full market report

 

© Copyright 2017, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island |  (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com | 2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

TheMarketTalks.com November 24th Seattle Area Housing Report

TheMarketTalks.com November 24th Seattle Area Housing Report

While most buyers are still pondering 7 different ways to use leftover stuffing, we think now is a great time to talk turkey. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years are some of the most advantageous for diligent buyers to buy when the market favors them more than any other time of the year.

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out the real-time data in the report below. Then contact one of our amazing brokers to evaluate the true value of potential homes and ensure that you don’t leave money on the table.

View the full market report

 

© Copyright 2017, Windermere Real Estate/Mercer Island |  (206) 232-0446 mercerisland@windermere.com | 2737 77th Ave SE, Mercer Island, WA 98040. Information and statistics derived from Northwest Multiple Listing Service.