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Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – August 2018 Newsletter

 

Seattle Market Update

The current market condition can best be described as a major slowdown. Our roaring real estate market, fueled for years by the city's historic population growth and, at least to some degree, foreign investment, has slowed dramatically in July and August.

It looks like there is more inventory on the market which technically is true in that there are more homes sitting on the market at this time. However, the “increase” in inventory is a byproduct of homes taking longer to sell not an actual increase in selection for buyers.  August is often a slow month for new listings as Seattleites enjoy the summer and travels but this year it is combined with an overall slowdown in the market.

Exceptional homes in highly desirable neighborhoods are still selling quickly and we still see some competing offers.  However, sellers in less desirable neighborhoods with a home that’s outdated or with deferred maintenance have found that even significant price drops and seller concessions aren’t always enough to attract buyers in this new market.

We have seen downward price corrections in rural Snohomish County, South King County and the suburban condo market. Wondering what has happened to the value of your home as a result of this market slowdown? Contact us, we’d be happy to prepare an individualized report for your home.

 

Our Listings 

$309,900 - 34212 S 18th Place S, Federal Way 98003 – under contract.  

 

Did you know?

Homeownership remains below 2006 levels for all age groups. Homeownership rates were lower in 2017 than in 2006, the year before the Great Recession (2007-2009). The homeownership rate among the largest group of homeowners — those age 65 and over — has returned to within about 2 percentage points of 2006 levels. However, householders under age 35 and 35-44 years old had 2017 rates about 7 and 10 percentage points lower than in 2006. More information on this is available on the Census  Bureau website.

 

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time.

 

Thank you,

Kerstin

 

Brooks & Heinze Team

at Skyline Properties, Inc.

Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827

Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541

Email: info@propertyinseattle.com

Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – August 2018 Newsletter

Seattle Market Update

Here is what we are seeing in the real estate market: increased inventory, increased market time and price reductions. Multiple offers and offers over list price are rare now. What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Sellers need to price their property to match the new market conditions. If the property doesn’t sell in the first 2-3 weeks on the market, it is time for a price drop. Sellers should also be prepared to pay for buyer’s closing costs, especially if the buyer is an FHA or VA buyer and sellers should not be surprised if they have to pay for repairs on defects called out in the buyer’s inspection.

Buyers have more inventory to choose from and more time for due diligence to research the neighborhood (schools, crime statistics, etc.) and condition of the home (structural/pest/sewer inspection, etc.).

There is a lot of confusion and resistance to what’s going on. Sellers are reluctant to adjust and drop their asking price when the property doesn’t sell. Sellers who ignore the new market conditions will remain on the market longer and homes that are sitting on the market longer almost always get less than market value. It is important for sellers to act quickly on these new market conditions.

Buyers are afraid to commit to what they perceive might be the top of the market. The fear of overpaying keeps some on the sidelines as they want to just wait and see what happens. However, this might be the best time for buyers to negotiate as sellers figure out the new playing field and are desperate to get their home sold.

We do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict where prices are going and what market conditions will be like in the months to come. However, we suspect the market has cooled because it needed to. The frenzy of the last few years is simply not sustainable. We see this change as a good change that will keep the housing market strong and healthy which is a good thing for both buyers and sellers in the long run.

Rents have declined in our area due to increased available inventory as a result of an increase in apartment building construction. More supply with the same demand = declines in rent.

There might be a push for more condo construction or condo conversions (apartment buildings being converted to condos) to meet the demand for condos. In fact, one building downtown which was to be an apartment building will now be condos. Read more about the Spire Building here.

There is very little new construction in urban areas for condos and single-family homes and the demand for these properties has not declined so we do not see home prices dropping in the long term after everyone adjust to the current shift unless employment, wages or other factors change.

Our Listings

$326,000 - 34212 S 18th Place S, Federal Way 98003.Wonderful mid-century rambler set high above the street. Great room concept with spacious living room flowing into formal dining room. Updated kitchen and baths. Light-filled informal dining room off kitchen with sliding doors to level backyard perfect for outdoor summer fun and entertaining. 3 bedrooms on main floor plus a spacious lower level with bonus room. Enclosed carport offers additional storage or work / hobby space. Close to shops, restaurants and freeway access.Click herefor more info, pictures and a video.

Did you know?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of their data points, which has changed dramatically, is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving.

Over the last twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2014, that average is almost ten years.

The main factor for this change is the fall in home prices during the housing crisis which left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy during that time made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

It will be interesting to see how this number changes as a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstance such as baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple living in a tiny urban one-bedroom condo planning to start a family.

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time.

Thank you,

Krisanne and Kerstin

Brooks & Heinze Team
at Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541
Email: info@propertyinseattle.com
Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

                                                                                   

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – July 2018 Newsletter

Seattle Market Update

Last month we told you there might be a shift in the air? We reported on an increase in inventory for the first time in years. Well, we can now confirm that the market has changed.  It is still a seller’s market but we are seeing signs of a more balanced market. There are fewer bidding wars and more homes are selling for asking price rather than well above list price.

Gone are the days where sellers could overprice, especially homes in less desirable neighborhoods or in poor condition; factors that seemed not to matter a couple of months ago. 

Buyers still have to make strong offers, especially on the better homes, but competitive conditions have eased a little.

Rents Continue Decline

After years of steep increases, Seattle rents are seeing a decline, and those declining returns could persuade some landlords to sell their property. Many rentals are multi-family properties but one in six single-family houses across the Seattle metro area is actually rented out rather than owner occupied.  If some of those landlords decide to sell, it could add more inventory to the home-buying market.

The real big change in availability and reduction in rent is happening in new/newer apartments downtown/SLU/Belltown where vacancy rates hit their highest levels since the recession; one-fourth of all apartments there are now sitting empty and move-in specials (one-month free rent, gift cards, free parking, etc.) have become commonplace.

Are you thinking of selling your rental investment property? Let us know.

Median Rent price was Down YoY 3.7%:

May 2017: $2,700

May 2018: $2,600

Average Rent Price was Down YoY 3.23%

May 2017: $2,877

May 2018: $2,784

 

Our Listings

$326,000 - 34212 S 18th Place S, Federal Way 98003NEW ON MARKET. Wonderful mid-century rambler set high above the street. Great room concept with spacious living room flowing into formal dining room. Updated kitchen and baths. Light-filled informal dining room off kitchen with sliding doors to level backyard perfect for outdoor summer fun and entertaining. 3 bedrooms on main floor plus a spacious lower level with bonus room. Enclosed carport offers additional storage or work / hobby space. Close to shops, restaurants and freeway access. Click here for more info, pictures and a video. Open House: Saturday, July 7 from noon to 3pm and Sunday, July 8 from 11am – 2pm.

Did you know?

Together with your income and assets, your credit score is an essential part of your loan application. However, credit scoring methods for mortgages are different than for credit cards and other consumer accounts.FICO® stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, the inventor of the analytics software that produces most credit scores. A person has three FICO® scores, one for each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.  Many consumers are led to believe that they only have one FICO® score, but this isn’t true. Currently, 55 different FICO® scoring models are in use. Many are industry-specific and not available to the public. If you recently purchased your FICO® score online, it may be vastly different than your FICO® score used for mortgage loan qualification. To learn more about this speak with your mortgage lender.

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time.

Thank you,

Krisanne and Kerstin

Brooks & Heinze Team
at Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541
Email: info@propertyinseattle.com
Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 

 

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – June 2018 Newsletter
 
Seattle Market Update
Is there a shift in the air? We are seeing some changes BUT it is too early to say there is a real change. For the last few years we have been telling you about how record low inventory mixed with high demand have fueled steady property value increases.  Last month, we saw an increase in inventory! According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, local agents added “14,524 new listings during May, the first time that volume topped 14,000 since May 2008.” There are also fewer cash sales involving Chinese nationals as China is making it more difficult for people to take cash out of their home country.
It is still a strong sellers’ market in most of Seattle but instead of homes seeing 10 or more offers, there are now about half as many offers on each home and outside of Seattle the buyer competition has slowed, too.
For our buyers, the recent uptick in new listings hitting the market might be a slight relief. However, for our sellers, increased competition from other sellers and less demand might mean it is time to lower expectations on how fast and for how much their property will sell for. Despite these changes, prices were still trending up.
Again, we are not sure this is a new trend in the market but we have our eyes peeled for potential long-term shifts in the market.
 
How to Buy a Home in Seattle: A Survival Guide
In May, Mike Rosenberg who is a real estate reporter at the Seattle Times, wrote an excellent article on what buyers are currently facing in the market. Mike comprehensively writes about all the aspects that have to be in place for a buyer to be competitive aside from just offering the highest amount and buying the house as is. He also explains why it is important to work with an experienced team (real estate agent, lender and inspector, etc.) to protect you and secure the home you want in this highly competitive market. To read the article, follow this link.
 
What’s happening to Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates are on the rise because of a stronger economy. According to the latest data released by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average climbed to 4.66 percent. It was 3.95 percent a year ago. The 15-year fixed-rate average jumped to 4.15 percent. It was 3.19 percent a year ago. Rates are still historically low. With ARMs (Adjustable-rate Mortgages), the interest rate increases or decreases at a set time, depending on what is happening with market interest rates. As a result, your monthly mortgage payments may go up or down. If you have an ARM, your monthly payments have or likely will go up.
 
Did you Know?
Did you know, Father's Day was not celebrated in the US, until the 20th century. As a civic celebration in the US, it was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother's Day by celebrating fathers and male parenting. Father’s Day this year is on June 17.
 
We'd love to hear from you
Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you … and if you are a seller, it is your market, give us a call. We’d love to provide you with a free pricing analysis on your home and offer you proven strategies on how to get the most money for your home.
Thank you,
Krisanne and Kerstin
 
Brooks & Heinze Team
at Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541

 

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – May 2018 Newsletter

Seattle Market Update

Spring Frenzy is in full swing! There has been an uptick in inventory which jumped 14% in April when compared to March. However, it is still a strong seller’s market with an area-wide 1.3 months of supply which is still well below what would be considered a balanced market of 5 months of inventory. Why is there more inventory now? Homes show better in the spring then at any other time of the year. Longer days with more sun and the much of the are in full bloom. Also, a lot of families like to move toward the end of the school year rather than in the middle of the year. Homes hitting the market now will close right as school gets out for most kids.

Home prices are still trending up. The median home price in Seattle is $820k; in King County it is $725k.

Where are people moving from/to?

According to Realtor.com, the 10 most popular states that people are moving to are: Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Tennessee, Alaska, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, Alabama and Rhode Island. However, in some states people seem to want to flee their home, those states are Illinois, West Virginia, Nebraska, South Dakota, Hawaii, Indiana, Delaware, New York, Louisiana and Kansas. Job opportunity (or lack thereof) is the driving factor for people either moving into an area or out of, especially younger people. The second most common reason for moving is cost of living, especially for baby boomers entering retirement.

Criminal Conviction Not a Reason to Deny Housing

Important reminder for landlords, The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance enacted last year makes former convicts akin to a protected class. Landlords cannot deny someone tenancy because of a criminal conviction. The ordinance offers property owners little flexibility, even on grave offenses. So, whether the ex-con forged a prescription or butchered a spouse, it matters not (the only exception is sex offenders).

Did you know?

Did you ever notice that a lot of homeowners have a red front door? In Feng Shui, it invites welcoming energy; in some religious groups, it offers protection; in Scotland, it means the mortgage has been paid off. Also, a red door adds a lot of fun color, don’t you think? What color is your front door?

Congratulations

Congratulations to our clients! Matt found a home in Bothell and Jennifer and Kevin found a home in Phinney. All will be closing on their purchase this month. 

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you … and if you are a seller, it is your market, give us a call. We’d love to provide you with a free pricing analysis on your home and offer you proven strategies on how to get the most money for your home in this hot seller’s market.

Thank you,

Krisanne and Kerstin

Brooks & Heinze Team at Skyline Properties, Inc.

Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827 & Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541

Email: info@propertyinseattle.com

Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – April 2018 Newsletter

Seattle Market Update

There is, yet again, no sign that Seattle’s seemingly never-ending market surge is letting up … quite the contrary. The local market has been getting increasingly more expensive for six straight years now and has soared a total of 82 percent during that time. In Seattle, the number of available homes for sale dropped 21% from last year. Seattle’s median home sale price climbed to $819,500 in March, gaining $43,000 in value over the last month.

High demand from buyers, coupled with rapidly decreasing inventory makes securing a house for most buyers a miracle. If you are a buyer in today’s market, be prepared to not only waive all contingencies that were traditionally used to protect the buyer but also pay $30k to 80k in Earnest Money, pay cash or have 30%+ down if financing the purchase and extra funds available to cure a low appraisal.  Even with all that, it may not be enough to get that home you fell in love with. It is not uncommon for buyers to make 15 offers before they secure a home. Some buyers actually just give up and stay in their current home or keep renting because it is such an exhausting and frustrating journey at the moment.

Rents have cooled somewhat as a result of thousands of new units hitting the market.

Affordability of  Housing Here vs. Elsewhere

The affordability index for homeownership is based on three factors: median single-family home price, 30-year monthly mortgage rates, and estimated median household income. The historic standard for “affordable” housing is that monthly housing costs do not exceed 30% of one’s income. So, affordability is a relative concept in housing. Markets that seem affordable, because their median home price is lower than other areas, may actually be unaffordable for people who live there local wages don’t keep up.  The following 3 markets were the most affordable among the 50 largest metro areas at the end of 2017: Oklahoma City, OK, Pittsburgh, PA and Indianapolis, IN. The three least affordable metro areas were San Jose, CA, Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA.  Here is a complete list of the 10 most and least affordable metro areas: https://www.zillow.com/research/most-affordable-markets-homes-18906/ . Ready to move to Oklahoma City? We are happy to refer you to an agent elsewhere and will prescreen them for you to make sure they are the right fit for you. Just let us know.

Did you know?

You can save money and reduce water and pesticide use by applying wood-based mulch or compost to your garden beds this spring. Natural mulch materials suppress weeds, hold water and promote plant growth by providing nutrients as they decompose. So, get out there during the brief moments of sunshine we have this time of the year to soak in the sun and prep your beds for this summer.

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you … and if you are a seller, it is your market, give us a call. We’d love to provide you with a free pricing analysis on your home and offer you proven strategies on how to get the most money for your home in this hot seller’s market.  It might not be what you would think …

Thank you,

Krisanne and Kerstin

 

Brooks & Heinze Team

at Skyline Properties, Inc.

Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827

Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541

Email: info@propertyinseattle.com

Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 

Brooks & Heinze Seattle Real Estate Team – March 2018 Newsletter

 

In Seattle, year-over-year prices jumped 17.6 percent, from $625,000 to $735,000. On the Eastside, the median price for a single-family home rose 10 percent from a year ago, increasing from $768,000 to $845,000.

Where are prices headed or which factors will dictate market conditions and pricing in the future? For the immediate future, it is our assessment that home values are continuing to increase because the low supply cannot fill the high demand of housing.

For those who are worried that lending standards are again becoming too lenient and fueling the demand, we do not believe that’s the case. We also do not think that there is blind faith or irrational speculation causing extra demand on housing. Plain simple, for now, the continued increases in prices follow the theory of supply and demand.

Whenever there is a limited supply of an item that is in high demand, prices increase.  In real estate, it takes a six-month supply of existing salable inventory to maintain pricing stability. In most housing markets, anything less than six months will cause home values to appreciate and anything more than seven months will cause prices to depreciate. In King County, the supply is less than a month!

We are not sure how buyers and sellers feel about the announcement of a provision in a GOP tax proposal to cap the mortgage interest deduction and how it might affect seller’s decision on selling their property or affect affordability for buyers. According to the proposal, if you purchase a new home (new to you), and your mortgage is greater than $500,000, your interest deduction is being capped.  The current mortgage interest deduction cap is 1 million dollars.

 

 

Our Listings

 

13343 3rd Ave NE, Seattle 98125 - 4bd/2.5bth, 2-car carport: Spacious Haller Lake Home - $650,000 - One owner only! Lovingly maintained home. Spacious & updated kitchen. Huge dining area. Hardwoods throughout upper/main floor (under carpet). 3 bedrooms/1.5 baths on one level. Possible MIL/Airbnb with separate walk-in entrance w/ one bed/full bath downstairs. Lovely deck off the kitchen and beautiful mature landscaping. New furnace, newer roof, exterior paint, newer interior doors, new water line. Lots of upgrades. Quiet neighborhood w/ easy access to I-5 & 99 & upcoming Northgate Lightrail. Click here for more information and pictures.

 

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.

 

Quick Winter Tip for Homeowners

 

Cold weather is here, please remember to disconnect your garden hoses from the house, this is the number one cause of frozen pipes. Cover exterior faucets to insulate them and keep them from freezing.

 

We'd love to hear from you

Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Happy Winter,

Krisanne and Kerstin

 

Brooks & Heinze Team

at Skyline Properties, Inc.

Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827

Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541

Email: info@propertyinseattle.com

Web: www.propertyinseattle.com

 

 

Seattle Market Update – it is a seller’s market / prices are up / inventory is low:
(published 09/10/2017) 
 
Seattle continues to “lead the nation in home-price growth”, no city has seen this kind of growth we have here for the last year; except for San Francisco three years ago. Our current year-to-date price increase is double the national average.
 
Working with buyers this year has proved difficult as prices kept rising every week and competition has been fierce. The emotional toll was all too real and raw for some of our clients but most persisted and moved into their new home. Some of our sellers, of course, were delighted with the gains.
 
It isn’t just buyers and sellers feeling the real estate roller-coaster and soaring property values. Rents are up, too, especially in urban centers with easy commutes and availability of rentals is a problem, as well.
 
Have you checked your property tax assessment? The tax rate has gone up and your property value has gone up, so you are paying considerably higher property taxes now than a few years ago.
 
Where are prices headed? Amazon and other employers have attracted talent to the city and played a major role in its economic growth, the rise in rents and home prices; but now that Amazon has announced plans to open a second, “equal” headquarters somewhere else, Seattle’s housing prices, rents and development boom might slow a little, especially in the core of the city. Time will tell.
 
Our Listings
 
None at this time. 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.
 
Quick Tips for Sellers
 
1, Make sure your home is properly priced. Pricing too low or too high can result in a lower sales price.
2, Create curb appeal. Many potential buyers assume a house that shows poorly on the outside will show poorly on the inside, as well.
3, Make sure everything is in good working order. Even smaller defects like a drippy faucet can raise concerns about the overall condition of the home for a potential buyer.
4, Clean and paint. A house that shines and feels clean will sell faster and for more money.
5, Consider staging your home. It will help potential buyers envision themselves in your home.
 
We'd love to hear from you
Any questions, comments, or feedback? Contact us any time, we’d love to hear from you.
 
Happy Autumn,
Krisanne and Kerstin
 
 
Brooks & Heinze Team
at Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks: 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze: 206.920.2541
 

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.

 

Our Listings

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.

prosconsrenting

Pros & Cons of Buying a Home: Homeownership is not for everyone, but there are some financial and emotional advantages that can be enticing.

proconsowning

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
Cell: 206.276.5827
Email: info@propertyinseattle.com
Web:
http://www.propertyinseattle.com/listings.html 

  

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.

Our Listings

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.

Fall Contest

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.

Happy Fall!

 *** Kerstin & Krisanne ***

Brooks & Heinze Real Estate Team
Skyline Properties, Inc.
Kerstin Brooks – 206.276.5827
Krisanne Heinze – 206.920.2541
Email:
info@propertyinseattle.com
www.propertyinseattle.com 

 

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.