Visit the Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Blog for interesting real estate commentary.
Brooks & Heinze Summer 2016 Newsletter (published June 10, 2016)
Seattle Market Update:
It is still a strong seller’s market. However, statistics point to gains in the volume of new listings during the last two months. Nonetheless, inventory remained well below the supply needed for a more balanced market, so buyers are still competing for homes and are having to make strong offers with few or no contingencies for a chance to secure a home especially in popular neighborhoods with good schools.
Low inventory and low interest rates are still putting upward pressure on prices. However, prices showed some signs of moderating. Given the lack of new home construction and the huge pent-up demand, the seller's market will likely continue though for some time.
There are growing signs "of buyers' fatigue” – some buyer’s deciding not to buy in a market that seems too aggressive and out of control.
We are also seeing some sellers being too optimistic and missing the mark as they price their property too high and then end up languishing on the market and in the end getting less than list price.
513 NW 197th St, Shoreline, WA 98177 - $635,000. Beautifully maintained, spacious Shoreline home close to Syre Elementary & Einstein Middle School. Enjoy the park-like backyard setting great for year-round entertaining. This home features 5 bedrooms plus bonus and rec room, 2.5 baths, and 2 car-garage with extra storage. For more information and pictures of this home, please go to Our Listings on our webpage.
87066 NE Old Cascade Hwy, Skykomish, WA – $70,000. Skykomish Off-Grid Cabin. Escape into the beautiful Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest on weekends or live off-grid year-round in this cozy 1 bedroom cabin off Hwy 2. Tucked away in the woods, yet easily accessible. Wood burning fireplace for heat and ambiance. Plumbed for propane. Wired for generator. Kitchen plumbed via cisterns. Propane and wood cooking stove in kitchen. Outhouse ready for portable sani-toilet. River frontage. Over an acre of land. Just a little over an hour from the city. 6 miles west of Stevens Pass.
We’d love to help you sell your home if you are thinking of selling. Did we mention that it is a seller's market?
Fun Things To Do This Summer
Seattle is a great city with lots of diverse indoor and outdoor events – take a look at the Seattle Events calendar to find out more about activities like beer tasting, dancing, carnivals, arts shows, car shows, parades, sports events and more.
Buying a Home is Better than Renting, right? (published Dec. 19, 2015)
The truth is, there’s no one right answer or one size fits all when it comes to determining whether to rent or buy a house. There are a number of considerations you must make when making this decision. Renting and buying both present a number of pros and cons, and your own financial situation and personal preference may be the biggest factor of all.
Pros & Cons of Renting: Despite the fact that you can’t build equity, renting offers you the most freedom and flexibility, especially if you are on a month-to-month lease.
Pros & Cons of Buying a Home: Homeownership is not for everyone, but there are some financial and emotional advantages that can be enticing.
Initially, renting is almost always cheaper than buying but in the long run (often after 3-5 years), buying is more affordable depending on your local market, income, tax situation and current financing costs.
If you want us to help you determine whether renting or buying is a better choice for you in the Greater Seattle Area, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Fall 2015 is a great time to sell - 5 Great Reasons to Sell Your House Today - published September 13, 2015
We are often asked “is now a good time to sell my home?” The answer to that question is based on what your family’s personal and investment goals are. If you have been thinking about selling, now definitely is a good time. Here are five reasons why:
Reason #1: Your House Will Get More Exposure Now in Late Summer and Fall Than the Winter
Housing sales usually are greatest in the spring, level off in the summer and then regain momentum in September and October before slowing down significantly between mid-November to the end of January.
Reason #2: It is a strong Seller’s Market in Seattle
Northwest MLS figures show only about 2.2 months of inventory, well below the 4-to-6 months that many analysts say constitute a balanced market. King County continues to have the tightest supply with less than 1.2 months of inventory. Several neighborhoods have less than a month of supply. Multiple offers are common in the Greater Seattle Area, especially in hot spots like Bellevue, downtown Woodinville, Greenlake, Phinney Ridge, but also suburbs with easy commutes to major employers and good schools, such as Shoreline.
Reason #3: Interest Rates are expected to go up
Small increases in interest rates do not seem to have had any noticeable impact on activity and the area is still experiencing multiple offers in most of our market areas, heavy open house traffic, and moderate to high appreciation in values, however, most analysts expect the Fed to increase rates in the fall of 2015, in conjunction with their September 16 – 17, 2015 committee meeting. If that occurs, we could see higher mortgage borrowing costs toward the end of this year and into 2016. This will reduce affordability and may cool off the market a bit. So, if you have been holding on to your property because you have enjoyed seeing the dramatic increases in values, we’d like to point out that although most analyst predict continued growth, the expected trend is a more moderate growth rate.
Reason #4: It is the Perfect Time to Move-Up
With prices where they are and interest rates at all time lows, there may have never been a better time to move-up into your dream home. If you move into a more desirable home now, you will be in position to gain larger equity as prices continue to appreciate. If you are worried about having to sell your current home first before being able to afford the next time, we are happy to educate you on how to make that transition happen. Rates are expected to go up so buying that new house now makes sense and allows you to locking in a good rate.
Reason #5: You Get to Move On with Your Life
If you have been thinking about selling for a reason, the most important reason to sell is so you can get on with your life. Tired of managing a rental property? Have you been wanting to downsize? Have you been thinking of moving closer to family? Take advantage of this great seller’s market.
Most want to invest when prices are low and sell when prices are high. Timing the exact point of the lowest low and the highest high is impossible. What we do know is that this is a strong seller’s market and prices are high.
We’d love to meet with you for a free, no-obligation consultation and if you are going to sell, we hope you choose to work with us. Feel free to email us with questions any time.
Kerstin G. Brooks
Brooks & Heinze Real Estate Team
Seattle Market Update: Expecting a Busy Fall! - published Sept. 11, 2015
The astronomical fall begins September 23 but emotionally for most of us fall begins after Labor Day. It’s Back-to-School for the kids and in a way for us adults, as well. We have taken some time off for vacations or enjoyed long, sunny weekends outside, bbq-ing, hiking and camping.
The real estate market usually slows down in the summer and is the busiest in the spring and fall. This July, however, pent-up demand continued to fuel home sales around Western Washington. First-time buyers entering the market, existing homeowners changing homes, and relocating workers moving to Seattle all vying for limited inventory.
In August, we did see a little of the typical summer slowdown but we are expecting a busy September and October before the market will likely move into a slowdown for winter.
It is STILL a seller’s market – the Seattle real estate market is still suffering from severe inventory shortages.
The Northwest Multiple Listing Service tracks sales stats for the Greater Seattle Area and it shows that supply is about 1.2 months in King County. Several neighborhoods near Seattle job centers have less than one month of supply. Six months of inventory supply is considered a balanced market – we are definitely in a seller’s market.
Aside from local demand and low inventory, international and national factors also have an effect on the Seattle market. Most analysts expect the Fed to increase mortgage rates in the fall of 2015, in conjunction with their September 16 – 17 committee meeting. If that occurs, we could see higher mortgage borrowing costs toward the end of this year and into 2016, affecting affordability for some borrowers and causing a slight cool down in some price ranges. The influx of foreign buyers, mostly Chinese cash buyers, has fueled the Seattle market for a few years now. As long as China is allowing Chinese people to invest outside of their country this trend should continue. The recent market turmoil in China may actually encourage the Chinese to move more money out of the country and invest it in real estate in the Puget Sound. Most Chinese buy high-end or view properties.
We currently have one new listing in Haller Lake: 13345 3rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125 for $425,000.
This great Mid-Century Rambler offers a bright, open layout on a quiet lane with easy access to I-5, Northgate and amenities. The kitchen updates include new cabinets, hardwoods, stainless range, and granite countertops. The original hardwoods in the bedrooms have been beautifully refinished. There are new windows & new paint throughout. The living room is huge and has been updated with new carpet and fixtures. The separate, formal dining room has beautiful built-ins. The large, level backyard with southern exposure is great for gardening and entertaining. This truly is a special, turn-key, nicely updated home with a great open & airy feel. One level living with a huge attached garage with work area and extra storage. Absolutely move-in ready.
More information and pictures are available at http://www.propertyinseattle.com/listings.html.
Did we mention it is a seller’s market? We are ready to list your home – let us know if you are thinking of selling.
Our summer photo contest was a hit! So, we thought we’d do it again this fall. Join our “fall colors and decorations” photo contest. Submit a picture from your house, balcony or yard that shows how you decorate or what art projects you like. It can be a picture of pumpkins you carved, fall foliage in your yard, Halloween decorations, etc. – surprise us! Rules: Only one picture – must be submitted by November 1, 2015. Submit to us via email or on our facebook page. The winner will get a $30 gift card, the 2nd and 3rd prize will be a $10 gift card to a venue/store of the winner’s choice.
We’d love to hear from you
Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you.
We hope you enjoy the fall colors.
*** Kerstin & Krisanne ***
Brooks & Heinze Real Estate Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks – 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze – 206.920.2541
Risks of Overpricing - June 2, 2015
The news of low inventory and many properties selling above asking price in multiple offers in hot neighborhoods makes many sellers eager to price their home high because they want to make sure they get the highest price possible.
Pricing the home correctly is really, really important. Of course, you don’t want to underprice the home and give it away and leave any potential funds on the table. In the current market place, where inventory is low, pricing a home slightly under value will create a feeding frenzy as buyers will be excited about a potential deal and the final sales price will actually be bid up to or just above market value. So, underpricing actually poses a relatively low risk of not getting at least market value for your home.
However, overpricing your house in the belief that you can make sure that you do not leave any money on the table and that you can reduce the price back later if you don’t find a buyer at the asking price is a strategy that can backfire terribly.
Most of the traffic to your home, will happen during the first two weeks, particularly the first two weekends on the market. You are most likely to get a full price offer during this time. In the Greater Seattle area, no offers within a 30-day period (10-day period in urban or hot neighborhoods) or little to no traffic at the first open house means the price is too high. Every day the home sits on the market makes it less valuable in the minds of buyers, and today’s buyers are completely value driven. By the time you reduce your price, you have most likely missed out on a surge of interest in properties like yours.
Also, when the price is lowered, buyers may wonder if there’s something wrong with the property that kept other buyers away. So to keep from selling your property at below market value and from wasting valuable time, don’t fall into the overpricing trap.
Not only do overpriced properties not sell at the inflated market price but they often sell well below actual market value when they do sell because most buyers will have lost interest or are afraid of paying full price for a property nobody else wanted.
Ultimately, buyers determine the right price for a property, not sellers. The market price for a home is determined by what an able and willing buyer ultimately pays for it. There are certainly things that homeowners can do to influence buyers’ perceptions of their home’s value and hence increase the price buyers are willing to pay for it. But, ultimately, the buyers will set the price.
A dedicated and experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the market in your area can help you price your home correctly, help you market your property effectively and make suggestions what you can do to get the highest return on your home.
Prequalification vs. Preapproval - what's the difference? - March 6, 2015
Prequalification vs. Preapproval: These terms are often used interchangeably — but there are big differences between the two.
With a prequalification, the lender is performing a few checks on the prospective borrower’s finances to determine the home loan amount they may qualify for. A prequalification letter tells you how much the client will probably be able to borrow from the lender, if further examination supports the preliminary findings.
For a preapproval, however, the mortgage lender examines and verifies the client’s debt, income, savings, assets and credit report. The information must satisfy the lender’s underwriters that this client is a low risk and a good prospect for repaying the loan. Preapproval is more vigorous vetting and a lengthier process than prequalification; buyers who submit to the process and are approved are serious buyers.
As a preapproved home buyer you will know which homes you can actually afford and what your loan options are.
As a home seller you will want to make sure to only accept offers from a buyer who is preapproved vs. just prequalified for a loan.
At the Brooks & Heinze Team, we are happy to work with any lender you choose, however, if you need a referral to one of our trusted lenders we can put you in touch with an exceptional mortgage broker. Finding a good lender can be confusing. There is a ton of information on the web but sifting through it all and understanding it can be overwhelming. Let us help you.