Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Sept. 20, 2021

What is Multi-Generational Living?

We are back with another video, and today we're talking all about multi-generational living because it is something that's popular. Maybe it's not grandma and grandpa, but maybe you're living with your younger brother or sister or someone else in your family. Well, there are certain ways that you can do this to make sure that you all have equal ownership in the property.

One of those ways that we're going to talk about today is you can be tenants in common with rights of survivorship. Now, imagine you buy a house and maybe it has a attached dwelling unit in the basement. So a separate unit with a separate entrance. If you were three siblings and you all wanted to live there, you could be tenants in common with rights of survivorship. So let's say you're all three living there, and one of you unfortunately passes away or wants to sell your share in the home. The other two, if you get their permission, or if you pass away as one of the owners, will inherit those rights. So rights of survivorship means that they automatically will get those portions of the home, or can buy them out from the other person who no longer wants to be part of that home or be on the title of that home.

So when you're thinking about this, it can actually apply to a lot of different scenarios where maybe you're living with grandma and grandpa, or you have a sibling, or maybe you're three friends who all wanna buy a house together. But in multi-generational living this might be something that works for you because the power of three people buying, or more than two, or more than one actually, can be a lot greater, especially in an expensive market like Seattle.

So there you have it. A little bit about how you can hack the house hunting process a bit. And if you have needs of multi-generational living, this one might be for you. Thanks for tuning in. If you like videos like this, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can click it right there, and you'll be updated on all of our newest videos. We'd love to help you if you're thinking of buying or selling in Seattle. Don't hesitate to reach out. We're always here to help. If you wanna know the value of your home we're happy to provide a custom market analysis. And if you're thinking about buying, we're here to talk you through the right steps to get into that dream home. Thanks for tuning in. See you again next week.

Posted in Home Buying
Sept. 13, 2021

What you Need to Know Before Buying Vacant Land!

So you find that perfect piece of land and you say, oh my gosh, I'm going to buy that land and build my dream home, my dream shipping container home on this piece of land. I'll just fly that shipping container in and I'll plop it right down. Well, well, well you need to hold on a second and think about a few different things that come with vacant land.

The first thing is permitting. You're going to have to get permits from the city. Currently in Seattle that could take anywhere from six to 12 or more months. So you have to have permits. In order to get a permit, you're going to need an architect to draw up the plans for you. So you're going to have to hire an architect. The permitting and architecture fees alone are going to cost a lot of money for you. These would be those hidden costs that people might not talk about when they talk about building on vacant land.

Now, the other thing you need to think about is are water, sewer, electrical, are they all connected to the lot, or are you going to have to pay for the city to bring those utilities into the lot for you? Now, this can also be very expensive for you. You have to think about that. The last thing you need to think about is a lot of vacant lots are on very steep slopes. How are you going to build on that slope? This is really prevalent in a place like Seattle, where we have a lot of hills and vacant land might be on that hill and so it's not going to be easy for you to build. You're either going to have to excavate part of that lot because it's, you need to build into the hillside or you're going to have to put pipe piles down into the ground to hold up your home in a level position. So you do have a few things you need to consider before you go out and buy that land.

I know it looks cheap because it's just $80,000 or whatever the price is, but there are other costs you need to consider before you think about buying that land and building your dream home. If you have questions about how to buy vacant land or what you want to build in your dream home, don't hesitate to reach out. We'd love to help you with it. We will educate you about these hidden costs and others. Hey, if you like videos like this, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, like, comment and share this video with someone you know who wants to build on vacant land. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you again next week.

Posted in Home Buying
Sept. 6, 2021

What is a VA Loan?

Are you a veteran? If so, this video is for you because today we're covering just a brief bit about what is a VA loan. Now, there are a lot of different loan types out there that buyers can call qualify, but the VA loan is specifically for those veterans of our country. A VA loan is a loan that is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as opposed to being backed by a different type of investor in the secondary market. So the Department of Veterans Affairs is the ones who back the loan. Now, that means that they're basically taking on the risk of that loan for the customer or the client who's buying into the property and taking out that loan.

Now, the great thing about VA loans is that the veterans are able to put 0% down on their purchase, so they don't actually have to have any money down. So you as a veteran can actually purchase with 0% down. That said, sometimes there are still closing costs that you have to be aware of. In a buyer's market, you as a buyer may be able to get the seller to cover a portion of your closing costs so that you can get out of that loan or get into that loan, rather, with 0% down.

Now, we're in a more competitive market, like a seller's market, you may not be able to get the seller to cover those costs. So you have to be careful as a VA buyer to determine who's going to cover the closing costs because sometimes sellers will not cover your costs, so you have to be careful about how you negotiate that.

Now, the other thing about VA loans that you have to be careful about is that the appraisals are a little bit trickier. So the appraisers for VA loans are a little bit more strict and they will look at the guidelines a bit more. They do not let homes be backed by a VA loan if they're not in good quality, good livable quality, where the home's going to last a long time. It's a little more stringent than those other types of loans we see.

Now, if you have other questions as a veteran about what kind of loan programs that are out there for you or how you can best use your VA loan, don't hesitate to reach out, we'd love to help you. You can call, text, direct message us, or email us, we're here to help. If you or anyone you know needs a VA loan, we'd love to help you buy or sell in the Seattle area. Don't forget to like comment and subscribe on this video and share this video with someone who you know could use a VA loan in their purchase this year. Thanks for tuning in, we'll see you again next week.

Posted in Home Buying
Aug. 30, 2021

How to Negotiate Seller Credit in a Competitive Market!

So what is a seller credit and how do you negotiate it in this really competitive market? Today I'm gonna tell you all about it. A seller credit is something that a buyer can negotiate from a seller in order to get some of their closing costs paid. When you get a seller credit, you can pay down some of your closing costs. You can use that credit as an interest buydown rate and apply it to other applicable fees that you have with your lender. Your lender is the best person to talk to about how you can use these credits to your best advantage.

We want you to make sure that you have enough credit to cover some of those costs, but there is such a thing as negotiating too much seller credit. So you don't wanna ask for too much credit, not being able to use it all. So you have to be a little bit careful about that. Make sure to talk to your lender.

Now, how do you negotiate credit in this market? Well, it's not common to negotiate a seller credit on a home that goes off the market or gets under contract within just a week. But for any homes that are sitting on the market longer than a week, and especially for townhomes and for condos, you can negotiate a seller credit. Now, the way you do this is is by identifying things that you need the credit for. So is there a broken faucet? Do you need a light bulb replaced? These are very simple examples, but these are things that you can use to justify why you as the buyer need to negotiate that credit, so you can cover some of your closing costs.

Now, when you get that credit, it doesn't come as a check in the mail. No, it actually is applied to those costs at closing. So you don't see that money come into your bank account. It's just that much less that you have to pay at closing. That's a little bit about seller credit.

If you wanna know more and how to negotiate best as a buyer or seller in this market, be sure to reach out to us. We're available via call, text, DM or email, and we'd love to help you with all of your home buying and selling needs. Hey, if you liked this video and wanna see other videos like this, be sure to like, comment and subscribe and be sure to share this video with someone you know, who's thinking about negotiating seller credit on their purchase in the Seattle market. Thanks for tuning...

Posted in Home Buying
Aug. 16, 2021

Should you Replace your Roof Before you Sell

So recently, we went through a process, a little lengthy process, where the seller decided that we weren't going to replace the roof before going to market. Now, the roof had never had any issues at all before we put the home on the market, so we didn't think it was really necessary to replace the roof. That said, there is one very, very specific scenario where you may need to replace the roof, and that was when we had a VA buyer come in.

Now, a VA buyer is a veteran buyer, who's using a specific type of loan where they can put 0% down to purchase a home. Now, in these loans, the appraiser who assesses the value of the property has very specific things that need to be met. In this case, it was the roof. The roof needed to be of great quality, and it needed to be able to have a certification meaning that it could last five years or more. Now, unfortunately, even though this roof had no problems at all, the roof needed to have a certification, and we couldn't get that from a roofing company without replacing the entire roof.

So this was definitely a learning lesson where having a VA buyer in combination with this older roof made the sale more difficult, and the roof actually had to be replaced before closing, leading to a longer closing timeline. Now, now that the roof is replaced, we have this sale ready, and it's going to be closed because there is a new roof in place. And the lender has satisfaction that that roof is going to be certified, or able to be used for the next five years, which is really what they're looking for. The lender is looking out for that buyer to make sure that they have that roof in place, and can be in the home without any issues. So it is important to think about who is your buyer for the property, and what repairs do you need to make in case you have a buyer with a different type of loan or an appraiser who has really high standards, which ultimately is better for the buyer in the long run.

If you have any questions about VA loans, appraisals, or what work you need to do before you list your home, don't hesitate to reach out, we're here to help. And we'd love to make sure that you're ready to take your home to market in the best way possible. Thanks for tuning in. If you liked this video, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you have questions, we're only a call, text, direct message, or email away. Don't hesitate to reach out. We'd love to help you with all of your Seattle real estate needs. See you next time.

Posted in Home Selling
Aug. 9, 2021

How to Get your Offer Accepted Before the Offer Review Date!

So you're out thinking about buying a house, but all of them have offer review dates. And you wonder how the heck do I get my offer accepted before the review date, so I don't have to compete against other buyers? Well, that's a very important question.

Now, the first thing you need to consider with your agent as a buyer is, is the seller even willing to accept an early offer? So that's the first thing you have to find out. Some sellers are not willing to accept early offers and will wait until the review date. Now, if you get an indication that the seller might accept something early, that's when you can go to work with your agent and submit an early offer.

Now, when you're submitting an early offer, remember, you're not competing, or hopefully you're not competing against any other buyers. Yet, your offer has to still be compelling enough, read, high enough in price to persuade the seller to take their home off the market before the offer review date. So while you're not competing against other buyers, you still need to make a very competitive offer in terms of price, and you need to remove as many contingencies as possible, because that seller is not going to be tempted to take your offer early if the offer is not almost perfect.

So that means you need to work closely with your real estate agent to really make sure that you have everything dialed in on your offer, and make it something that will tempt the seller to take that before the review date. Because in the seller's mind, they can always say, "Well, if we wait just a couple more days until the review date, we'll probably have multiple buyers competing for this home, and we may not need to take something early, because we're not in a rush". So first, work with your agent to find out if the seller is even willing to accept an early offer, and second, dial your offer in, and make sure that everything is perfect enough to tempt that seller to take it off the market early.

Now, if you're a buyer out there trying to compete, and you want to know how we do it and work with us, we're more than happy to guide you through the process. For you sellers, if you're thinking about listing, we're here to help. Thanks for tuning in, and reach out to us if you have any questions. Hey there, thanks for tuning into the video. If you like videos like this and more educational content, be sure to hit our subscribe button right there, so that you can get notified as soon as more like this are posted. If you liked this video, be sure to like, comment and subscribe, and share this with someone who you know has been beaten out by an early offer, and didn't get to compete for the dream home that they really wanted. Thanks for tuning in, we'll see you again next week.

Posted in Home Buying
Aug. 2, 2021

What is an Offer Review Date

What the heck is an offer review date? Well, today we're gonna talk all about the offer review date. Now, this is really important for sellers and buyers, so stay tuned. If you're a seller, an offer review date is really important for you because it's a tactic you can use to get all of the buyers who are interested in your home to submit their offers on the same exact day and therefore compete for your home.

Now, as a seller, when you're doing this, you don't wanna price your home at the top of the market. It's better to price your home slightly below the market value so that you actually have a good chance of buyers coming in and saying, "Wow, I would pay more for this home. "I really like it." That's what happens on an offer review date, and that's why homes sell far above the listing price is because all of these buyers are coming in and submitting their offer on the same exact date, therefore competing against each other to win your home as the seller.

Now, as a buyer, why is the offer review date important? Well, it's important because as a buyer, you need to make sure all of your homework on that property is complete by that offer review date so that you can be as competitive as you want to be when you submit your offer on that day and beat out the competition. So, you have to have your complete offer ready, you have to have everything ready to go, and you have to have done your homework on the home so that you can compete to the best of your ability on the review date and knock out the competition so you can win that home of your dreams.

Now, if you have questions about the offer review date, how to compete with it, or how to be strategic about setting one as a seller, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help, and we'd love to guide you through this process, both on the selling and buying side. Thanks for tuning in. We'll see you again next week. Hey, if you like videos like this, please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Make sure to like, comment, and subscribe. And if you know someone who might be using this video or find it useful, then you should forward it along to them. Thanks for tuning in.

July 26, 2021

Why you Shouldn't Sell your Home Off Market

So as a seller, why might you wanna rethink selling your home off market in our current market? Sure the advantage of selling your home off market as a seller is that you may save by not hiring a real estate agent, and if the buyer doesn't have a real estate agent, you may save by not hiring that buyer's agent as well. That can save you a big percentage, obviously because real estate agents do cost money to hire, to get your home sold.

That said, you may wanna rethink about this because by not hiring a real estate agent and not having your home exposed to the market, you're essentially saying that you're going to only expose your home to a limited audience, who will get your home basically by way of you telling them. And therefore you may not get as high of a price.

When homes are exposed to the market, meaning a real estate agent goes about, and if they do their job correctly, they're marketing that home to everyone possible to try to get as many buyers through as possible. When that happens, the price goes up because those buyers are being exposed to the home and seeing it in comparison to other homes on the market. And they're potentially competing for your home and bidding the price up.

Now without that marketing and that push behind the home to really expose it to as many people as possible, you as the seller, may be walking away from money left on the table. So even though you might save a percentage in not hiring a real estate agent, are you actually gaining enough money to save that percentage by selling it yourself? Typically, the answer is no. You're going to actually net more money as a seller by hiring a real estate agent, as long as they're good and getting your home on the market.

If you have questions about selling your home and how to go about it the right way, the best strategy in our market, we're here to help. And we can always consult you with a free home selling consultation. So don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help, and we'd love to be of assistance to you. Thanks for tuning in. Be sure to hit subscribe and don't forget to like, comment and follow us. And send this video to someone who you think might find it useful. Maybe they're thinking about selling their home off market, and maybe they'll rethink that decision. Thanks for tuning in. See you again next week.

Posted in Home Selling
July 19, 2021

One Indication that the Market is Cooling!

So, wanna know one indicator of a slowing market that we have not talked about? It is, dah, dah, dah, dah, drum roll, please, mortgage applications. So, one thing that the mortgage industry tracks is the number of new mortgage applications for financing the purchase or refinance applications. And it just so happens that on the week, reported June 30th of 2021, it was down 6.9% from one week earlier in terms of new mortgage applications, meaning buyers who are applying for a new mortgage.

Now that was reported as the lowest level of new mortgage application volume in over a year and a half. So this is for new mortgages and refinance applications. Now that is really important to know because this could be one of the first indicators that our market is cooling in addition to what we see happening in the marketplace because these new mortgage applications often mean new buyers who are entering the market.

Now with the interest rate steadily increasing over time, that also causes mortgage applications to go down, new mortgage applications to go down. So this is one factor that we need to take into consideration and continue to watch as we look at what's going to happen in the coming months of the market.

Now this could change. This is just one week and it's the lowest level in a year and a half, but this could change in another week. So it's really an important statistic for us to watch week over week to see what could be happening in the marketplace.

Now typically, a mortgage application will last for about 120 days because they do have to pull your credit as a buyer and your credit lasts 120 days, so people could reapply, or if they're refinancing, they're probably staying in their home so that rate does not impact the market of buying or selling as much, but again, something that we're really interested in watching to see how this plays out in our marketplace.

Now it still is true that in the Seattle market if a home is very compelling and has a great layout and has all of the work done so that buyers can move right in, it is selling and selling for top dollar. Where we see the market softening is really in those homes that need work, are not move-in ready, or do not have the perfect layout.

So keep that in mind as you're searching and be strategic about how you sell or buy. We're here to help if you need some guidance on your buying and selling ventures. Thanks for tuning in. If you like videos like this and want to learn more, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and don't forget to share this video with someone who you think might find it useful who loves to learn about the mortgage application rate and how it applies to the market. We'll see you again next week.

Posted in Market Updates
July 12, 2021

What does Homeowner's Insurance Cover?

Today we're talking all about homeowners insurance. So recently I got a call from a client who had a leak and was wondering, how do I go about utilizing my homeowners insurance for this leak? To give you a little background, every homeowner has to have homeowners insurance in order to close the loan on their home and take possession of the home. So it is something that all homeowners have. And you pay different amounts based on how much liability you are to that insurance company. It works a little bit like car insurance.

That said, when you have something go wrong to your home, there are a few things you need to think about with homeowners insurance. First, what is your deductible? So for example, if you need to replace a window that was damaged for $300, and your deductible is $1,000, then you may not want to use your insurance and open a claim for that specific item. If something is very expensive and going to cost you a lot of money, that is when you might wanna utilize your homeowners insurance, if it's higher than your deductible.

That said, you do need to be careful when something goes wrong. The first thing you should do is call your insurance agent to determine together what you should do, if you should utilize your insurance or pay out of pocket. Because when you open a claim, your insurance premium is going to go up the next time, similar to car insurance.

And last but not least, one other thing you need to think about is that if you, as a homeowner, have three claims in seven years, you may become more difficult to insure in the future or more difficult to find a plan for. So you need to be careful about when you do and do not utilize your homeowners insurance.

Again, it's most important to talk to your insurance agent before you decide what to do, and before you decide if you're going to open that claim or not. There you have it, a little bit about homeowners insurance. I recently learned that and wanted you to learn it too. If you have any questions about home buying or selling or insurance, let us know. We have great partners in the field that can also help you out. And as always, if you know someone who likes this video or who could use it, please send it on to them. And all of your likes, comments and subscriptions are much appreciated. Thanks for tuning in. See you again next time.

Posted in Home Buying