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Monday, March 31, 2014

Sophisticated Newer Home Near Briggs Village Just Listed For Sale $365,000

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The Plight of First-Time Buyers



It’s not a $64,000 question, but rather a $41,000 one. “Where are the first-time buyers?” It’s important because $41,000 is the amount renters have missed out on by not buying three years ago when prices were at a low point. The annual median home price was $166,100 in 2011 and $197,100 in 2013. The median national home price this year is expected to hit $207,000. Money left on the table.
Unfortunately, our most recent data show first-time buyers are a shrinking share of the market, only about 27 percent of buyers, compared to 40 percent in a more normal market. It’s not that young households don’t want to buy. It’s that desire is not matching up with their ability. Many young households are saddled with student loan debt while job creation and wages have been heading up only slowly. And the qualified mortgage rule that took effect this year to ensure lenders don’t make bad loans won’t help, since it tightens how much student loan and other debt loan applicants can carry.
This situation is worrisome, because all of the recent growth in household formation has been among renters. Unless a healthy portion of today’s 40 million renter households become home owners, the housing market cannot grow much.
There are two fronts to be tackled if first-time buyers are to get back to more normal levels. First, we must monitor the impact of the QM rule on otherwise qualified buyers to see if lenders are being too risk averse. There’s reason to think they are, because mortgage default rates have been at historic lows in the last few years. That suggests lenders have restricted underwriting too much in anticipation of QM. Second, builders need to step up home building, bringing construction  levels closer to historical norms. More inventory helps tame price growth, and it gives buyers something they don’t have much of now: selection.
The bottom line: Housing is under performing. In 2000, when the market was boring, with no bubble and no crash, there were 5.2 million existing-home sales and 1.6 million housing starts. Today, home sales are struggling to reach 5 million annually and new starts total only about 1 million, yet the country has 34 million more people and mortgage rates remain historically low. Those on the sidelines are missing out.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Whether Your Listing For Sale or Not

Spring is in the air in the Pacific Northwest.  Our plants are blooming, the air is fresh and while we also have a bit of rain this time of year, this season is just one step away from one of the most beautiful times of year.  This is the time of year when thoughts turn to spring cleaning; whether or not you’re selling your home. Of course, if you are listing anytime soon, you’ll want to be even more meticulous.

The busy spring market is here, so below are some tips for getting the exterior of your home shipshape:
1. Remove glass from light fixtures and take out any little critters that may have found a home over the winter.  Be sure to use glass cleaner on the panes before replacing them in your fixtures.
2. Clean your mailbox.  If it hasn’t weathered well over the winter, it’s probably time to replace it.
3. Clean and polish, if necessary, your front door’s hardware. Replace it as well if necessary.
4. Check your house numbers.  Are they still in good shape and visible from the street?  If not, replace them.
5. Wash down your front door and garage door.  If you find that the previous summer’s sun has faded the paint, consider repainting.  (Your garage door should be painted a color that blends in with the brick or siding on your home.) Before painting, check with the paint manufacturer to see what the optimal outdoor temperature should be. You don’t want to paint when it’s still too cold outside.
6. Wash the windows.  If this isn’t your strong suit, hire a professional.
7. Hose down the porch and driveway to remove any excess salt left over from de-icing or better yet, break out the pressure-washer.
8. Sweep the porch, driveway and patio to get rid of any rogue leaves etc. left over from the fall.
9. Check your porch, driveway, and patio for any cracking or lifting of patio stones that may have taken place during a deep freeze.
10. Check your roof to make sure no shingles are missing or were damaged during the winter.
11. Remove debris from your gutters and drain spouts.  De-moss the roof while you're up there.
12. Rake the lawn.  However, before doing that it’s very important to check with your local garden center first to be sure it’s not too early.  If raked too soon before the ground thoroughly dries, you could potentially damage your lawn.
13. Remove winter displays from your urns.  For a burst of color, plant spring flowers as soon as weather permits.
14. Tidy up your gardens in preparation for planting season.
15. Organize the garage. Put away shovels, snow blowers, toboggans, and any other items that made their way into your garage over the winter.
16. If you don’t use your barbeque year round, it’s time to bring it out.  If it’s a built-in unit that will be staying with the house, be sure to clean the grills and wash down the lid.  If you have a cover for it, replace it if it’s worn.
17. Bring out your patio furniture and set it up.  Although it may be too cold to sit outside just yet, you want potential buyers to see your outdoor living space’s potential.
These are some suggestions to get your started.  What else am I missing?  I'm happy to add any items if you see some, just let me know.  And if you'd like to get your home on the market, call me today!

Monday, March 10, 2014

10 Cities Where Luxury Homes Sell the Most

Where do luxury homes tend to sell the most? Coldwell Banker’s Luxury Market Report recently revealed the top U.S. cities with the highest number of luxury home sales in the $1 million-plus category. The cities in the top 10, along with the number of sales in the $1 million-plus tier for 2012 : 

  • New York City (Manhattan): 2,382
  • Los Angeles: 1,533
  • San Francisco: 1,507
  • Hamptons, N.Y.: 963
  • Miami: 790
  • Chicago: 713
  • Naples, Fla.: 651
  • Washington, D.C.: 646
  • San Jose, Calif.: 589
  • Newport Beach, Calif.: 561

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New RE/MAX Widget Changes the Game in Global Property Search

Ever wondered how much home you could afford in your native currency anywhere in the world? Now, there’s a new tool on global.remax.com that lets you find out! The “Global Property Search” (GPS) widget puts some fun into buyers’ home search, and it takes it to the next level all together.

The aptly named GPS widget is located in the top dropdown menu of the “Property Search” tab, as well as at the bottom of the global.remax.com home page. It takes just seconds to use, and gives consumers an instant look at RE/MAX listings for sale or rent around the world that match their desired price range.
 
So whether it’s Australia or Spain, Singapore or Costa Rica, buyers can find properties anywhere in the world that meet their specific budget and needs. How cool is that?
 
Listing data on global.remax.com is accessible in nearly 40 languages and 45 currencies – and on every inhabitable continent. It continues to set the standard for connecting consumers to global real estate by making it easy to give and receive referrals, appeal to a worldwide market, and keep RE/MAX one of the most recognized real estate brands around the world.
 
Nearly 3,500 leads are emailed directly to listing agents at the request of global.remax.com visitors each month. And with page views topping 137 million in 2013 – and the number of unique visitors totaling more than 4 million last year alone – that lead volume shows no sign of shrinking.
 
Check out global.remax.com, and give the new GPS widget a try!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sell Yourself as a For Sale By Owner to Save Some Money? In Theory, Maybe

Some people groan at the thought of a REALTOR telling you not to sell your OWN HOME. Some Realtors have a reputation of being as classy as the stereotypical used car salesman- and many believe that Realtors are paid thousands of dollars just to stick a sign in your yard.

Consider this...do you cut your own hair? Do you diagnose your own illnesses? Do you cook your own gourmet meals? Do you defend yourself in a court of law? All of these things you can do without professional assistance. However, you get what you pay for. Most of the time, trouble is all you get in the end- and it always seems to cost twice as much as if you had done it right in the first place!

Well, selling your own home is no different. In fact, it can be much scarier than that free home hair cut on picture day!

All joking aside, your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. A mistake in selling your home could cost you far more than hiring a professional will ever cost.

A few points to consider:

o Liability- We live in a culture where people bring law suits at the drop of a hat...can you afford to take on that possibility? A misunderstood statement or a problem not disclosed can lead to big problems. Not only do you open yourself up to litigation, agents do not want to bring their buyers to you. Why? Because you are a liability to them and their clients.

o Safety- Do you want to open your house up to just anyone? Agents track who is in your home, when, and for how long. They vet potential buyers before those clients enter your house.

o Cost- By the time you spend your money advertising and sell your home you may have incurred more cost than an agent's fee. A couple of balloons, an ad in the paper, and some free punch and cookies is NOT going to get it done.

o Exposure- An agent can reach far more people than you can. The networks available to an agent are tremendous. Not being listed in MLS shrinks the pool of potential buyers by several orders of magnitude.

o Time on the Market- If your agent is honest with you on price and how to prep your home, it will sit on the market for a fraction of the time it will take you to sell your home. Next time watch how long the home without an agent sits on the market vs a house that has Real Estate Agent representation. Also consider that a home that is on the market too long is generally perceived to have something wrong with it.

o Correct Pricing- Can you really separate your emotions and price your house properly? Do you think you can price your home not to cheat yourself or drive away prospects? The amount Mr. Johnson across the street sold his house for does not necessarily mean that you will get the same price...and who is to say that he told you the actual selling price? Even worse, sites like zillow.com can often estimate wildly inaccurate prices for homes.

o Ability- Do you have the ability and time to answer every phone call and every knock on the door? Can you leave work to show your home to an out of town buyer at 10:30 am on a Tuesday?

o Hassle- You will have to deal with the questions, the knocks on the door, the phone calls, and people wanting to walk through your home. You will have to deal with the termite inspector, the mortgage evaluator, the home inspector, the people buying your home... and that is not even counting your part of the move!

o Negotiations- Do you have enough emotional control to know how best to evaluate a buyers offer and then respond to buyer contingencies, timetables for appraisals, inspections, financing and much more? Will you be able to diplomatically ask for money if an offer is too low, without alienating a potential buyer?

o Buyers- The majority of motivated buyers use an agent. They are looking to make a quick transaction and they are not going to waste time driving around looking for a "For Sale by Owner" sign. And let's face it, agents are not going to show your house, either. You are on your own.

o Tribal knowledge- Do you know who the honest lawyers are? How about the home inspector? Do you know what their rates are for their services? Can they be trusted, and will they perform for you? You probably don't know the answers... and guess what... they know you don't, too! Many will offer services at a low quality standard and then charge you at higher than normal rates. They know you won't be back.

o Peace of Mind- Do you really know all the forms, inspections, regulations, and laws concerning property transactions in your area? How about tax liabilities? Are you using a FSBO website as a reference? Your buddy that got lucky selling his house? What if you miss something? Are they coming to your aid when it all goes wrong?

When considering the idea of selling your own home, seriously ask yourself if you are willing to deal with all of the points that I have made, because as a "For Sale by Owner" you will have to deal with all of it. Why not hire a professional to help? Why not call me today: Anya Myer 360.870.5191.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Today I Will Make A Difference

Unfortunately, a dear friend and client recently lost her father.  At his service, this message was delivered and I continue to read it regularly.  I hope you will be touched by these words by Max Lucado:

Today I will make a difference. I will begin by controlling my thoughts. A person is the product of his thoughts. I want to be happy and hopeful. Therefore, I will have thoughts that are happy and hopeful.

I refuse to be victimized by my circumstances. I will not let petty inconveniences such as stoplights, long lines, and traffic jams be my masters. I will avoid negativism and gossip. Optimism will be my companion, and victory will be my hallmark. Today I will make a difference.

I will be grateful for the twenty-four hours that are before me. Time is a precious commodity. I refuse to allow what little time I have to be contaminated by self-pity, anxiety, or boredom.

I will face this day with the joy of a child and the courage of a giant. I will drink each minute as though it is my last. When tomorrow comes, today will be gone forever. While it is here, I will use it for loving and giving. Today I will make a difference.

I will not let past failures haunt me. Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failures. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on. Victoriously. No failure is fatal. It's OK to stumble... . I will get up. It's OK to fail... I will rise again. Today I will make a difference.

I will spend time with those I love. My spouse, my children, my family. A man can own the world but be poor for the lack of love. A man can own nothing and yet be wealthy in relationships. Today I will spend at least five minutes with the significant people in my world. Five quality minutes of talking or hugging or thanking or listening. Five undiluted minutes with my mate, children, and friends.

Today I will make a difference.

Even though my life is scarred with mistakes, I refuse to rummage through my trash heap of failure. I will admit them. I will correct them. I will press on.