Home Price Surge to Ease in 2014 but Interest Rates May Rise

housing marketMany buyers took their time searching for a new home in 2013. Prices and mortgage rates were low but took an unexpected jump in late May which forced home buyers to have to make a decision whether to buy then and which home to buy. Due to a shortage of houses on the market potential buyers found themselves caught in bidding wars and many ended up paying well over the asking price. It became a seller’s market.

Experts believe that in 2014 prospective buyers will not be able to afford the homes they would normally be able to due to interest rates rising which will make it more difficult to fund the purchase. There will be more homes available on the market because the rise in home prices have caused the value of homes to rise up above owners’ mortgage debt.

Experts also say that if the tech industry continues to boom as it has in the past couple of years, there will be a higher demand for housing. If tech stocks suffer, it could cause a problem around the Puget Sound. If Boeing decides to build its 777X outside the state of Washington, its widebody plant in Everett would shrink dramatically, effecting its 40,000 employees. Those employees may decide to sell their homes instead of wait for prices to fall which would greatly impact the market.

Overall, it will be easier to find a home to buy but may be more difficult to get the funding to do so. If people are not able to afford to buys homes in 2014, it is likely home prices might fall a bit to accommodate to buyers as a whole.

Sell Your Home Quickly With These 5 Helpful Tips

HouseMany homes sit on the market for months and even years. Owners think that lowering the asking price will entice buyers but it only sends red flags and creates the idea that there is something wrong with the house that is causing it to not sell. Owners become frustrated and not sure what to do. If you follow the 5 tips below, you won’t have to worry as these tips will help your home sell quickly.

1.   Price it Low:   Many owners are hesitant to set an asking price lower than the estimated value of their home but it helps sell the house quickly. Most want to ask more than the value to give room to drop the price during negotiations but by asking a lower price, more buyers become interested and compete for the home which often results in a selling price that is higher than the value of the home and a much shorter time spent on the market. A real estate agent in Northern California listed a house for $535,000 even though it had been appraised at $560,000. The house had multiple bidders and sold for $575,000 within weeks.

2.   Try a New Sales Approach:   If your house is not selling and nobody is looking, try a new approach to advertising your home. Put out a larger ad that gives little, but important, information. The info should catch the buyer’s interest and lure them in. Use a photo that shows nice curb appeal and descriptive words. Be sure to keep the house clean so that buyers will be intrigued with what they see.

3.   Do Not Try to Fight the Market:   If in general houses are just not selling, don’t try too hard to get exactly what you want for your home. In a not-so-great market, many people have a hard time getting financed or can’t buy a new home until theirs sells. You may not get the price you hoped for but by accepting a lower offer you will be done with the deal and less stressed.

4.   Renovations Don’t Guarantee a Sale:   Although a new coat of paint or new carpet may make your home look nicer and allow the asking price to go up a little, spending a ton of money on renovations will not necessarily sell your home or at least not for the price you would hope for. A lot of sellers spend thousands of dollars making changes hoping that they can sell their home for a higher price and earn their money back that was spent on the renovations. Some changes are good but for the most part the price is based on appraisals of the surrounding houses. If you ask $100,000 more than what the houses in your neighborhood are worth because you remodeled the kitchen and put in new floors, buyers will find your home to be over priced and walk away.

5.   Advertise Your Home Online:   In this day and age everyone is doing everything online. There are more people searching for homes online than there are circling ads in the paper. Post an ad online using attractive and good quality pictures to advertise your home. Use social media to get the word out that you are selling. People aren’t walking into real estate offices asking “find me something” as often as they used to. They are now coming in with a list of homes they found advertised online.

Bonus Tip:   Find a good realtor. Interview at least 3 real estate agents before choosing one. Be sure to trust them and their methods. Selling houses is what they do for a living and they know what they are doing.

Mobile Becoming Dominant Platform For Home Shoppers

Cap Hill housingHave you searched the real estate market using your mobile phone or ipad? According to Zillow, in 2012 more than half of all their traffic was using their search capabilities through mobile, and now as 2013 comes to a close, they’ve estimated that over 60% of their users are mobile users, hitting 70% mobile users on the weekends. Because mobile is clearly becoming the dominant platform to use in your home search, Zillow has put together a list of interesting highlights from mobile users in 2013. According to Zillow, mobile users spent over 5 billion minutes on the Zillow app, which averages about 16 minutes per person in the US. Shoppers views homes over 2.5 billion times, which is up 150% percent from this time last year. Almost 100 million gps-tracking searches were used nationwide on Zillow’s mobile app this year, and over 4.7 million loan requests were submitted through mobile users, which increased nearly 72% from this time last year. For more information about the mobile home search, contact your local real estate broker today.

Is SLU Too Expensive For Seattle Startups?

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Chris DeVore of Techstars and Founder Co-op predicts that South Lake Union is becoming too expensive for Seattle startups. Startups innately need inexpensive office space to get their company up and running, and the combination of the new Amazon towers and other large scale office buildings in South Lake Union are beginning to push startups out. So where will these new businesses flock? DeVore predicts the University District is the next big up and coming neighborhood to become popular for startups, and he is so confident that he’s moving both of his businesses in at the end of the year.

Photo by Wikimedia

                   Photo by Wikimedia

He lists several strong points – the light rail will soon service the area, and it would be convenient to have all that tech talent from the University right outside your office doorstep. The City of Seattle is also planning on updating the U District’s zoning regulations to allow taller buildings, an enhancement that would likely attract larger office tenants. If you’re office is looking for new scenery, contact your local commercial real estate office today.

Home Buying Credit Options

homeBuying a home is exciting and stressful especially if you are a first time home buyer. Finding the right home can be challenging but the biggest challenge is financing it. You need to have enough money in the bank to convince the lender you can make monthly payments on top of having enough to cover the costs of closing the loan in order to obtain a mortgage loan. Some home buyers search for available home buyer credits to help fund the purchasing process. Here are a few options available:

Mortgage Credit Certificate: MCC is available for first time home buyers in certain states and provides up to $8,000 in tax credits for those who have not owned a home in the previous three years, meet certain income criteria and will be using the new home as their permanent residence.

Good Neighbor Next Door Program: This program makes homes available for up to 50 percent off the listing price as long as the buyer agrees to live in the home for at least three years. HUD offers credits to school teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians who purchase single-family homes in areas targeted for revitalization.

Credits for Native American Buyers: HUD provides two programs for Native Americans who wish to buy a home. Native Americans are given access to sources to private mortgage financing to buy homes in Indian or Alaskan Native areas through the Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program. Members of Indian tribes who cannot qualify for mortgages through other sources can be guaranteed a loan through The Tribal Housing Activities Loan Guarantee Program.

The Federal Housing Authority has several other options to help reduce the burden of financing a home for first time home buyers, single parents, minorities and people with moderate-low income.

Two Men Shot in Pioneer Square

Police are investigating a shooting which happened around 2:00am this morning near Occidental Ave. S. and S. Washington St. Police responded to a call of shots being fired and found the two men who had been shot while sitting in a car. The men were treated for their injuries and transported to Harborview Medical Center. The suspected shooter could not be located. Anyone with any information regarding the incident should contact the Seattle Police Department.

Tight Inventory Might Drive More Holiday Home Buyers

snowy house

It has been brought to our attention that low inventory in Seattle paired with rising interest rates, might drive more interest for home buyers during the holidays than in years past. The housing market is still showing signs of stability when we typically experience a slow down in November and December. According to the NWMLS November’s new listings were up from a year ago and pending sales were also up, but tight inventory has continued to fuel home sales. Several Seattle neighborhoods are experiencing high demand for more listings, with many listings receiving several offers due to high demand, and bidding wars still present during the once seasonal slow. There are many  advantages to selling this time of year, including typically only serious buyers are out shopping this time of year, and you can expect a slower closing process. If you’re interested in selling or embarking on the home search this holiday season, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Home Prices Slowly Rising

housing marketWith prices rising 2013 has turned out to be a good year for real estate. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, single-family homes in King County rose 7.5 percent compared to last year. November was the 20th consecutive month of a higher year-over-year median price. In November, the median price for a single-family home in King County was $414,000.

There is still a shortage of homes in the market. People are ready to buy but are not finding their dream homes due to a lack of inventory. 3,820 houses were listed for sale in the month of November which is 2.7 percent more than last year. This is considered a two-month supply. A four to six-month supply would be considered a balanced market. The market activity is mainly being driven by job growth and foreign buyers.