Real Estate Steps into the 21st Century with Cloud Based Apps

Seattle, known as a progressive leader in information and technology, houses established companies and growing start-ups alike. As Amazon expands, Facebook moves in, and numerous start-ups take up stake in Seattle’s burgeoning technology hub, it is evident the commercial real estate industry, a sector some would say is lagging on the technological front,  is a major player in assisting these innovative companies set up shop.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, in 2014, high-tech tenants accounted for 45 percent of leasing activity in Seattle. That’s a good chuck of business coming from a client base who appreciates system innovation – it would be wise if the real estate sector jumped aboard the techie train and geared their marketing strategy towards their forward thinking client base.

That is exactly what co-founder of Hightower, Brandon Weber and Floored CEO, Dave Eisenberg are monopolizing on. Seattle based, Hightower, takes commercial leasing to that magical place everyone seems to love – the cloud. Allowing for full business execution in the palm of your hand, Hightower allows commercial owners and brokers to manage their entire portfolio, leasing documents, and collaborate with their leasing team all in real time. Joining forces with New York City based company, Floored, a fully interactive 3D visual tool for the real estate industry, Weber and Eisenberg have created a full-bodied leasing platform like no other.

“Tenants struggle to visualize how space might look, landlords spend billions of dollars on speculative space construction,” Brandon Weber, explained to Commercial Observer. “Floored greatly reduces this need by delivering a virtual tour experience showing the tenant exactly how their space will look once built out. We believe this can save Landlords billions in spec build out costs.”

Between Hightower’s mobile app technology and Floored’s 3D visual sophistication, brokers and building owners have the ability to virtually walk clients through available properties that provide such robust example of what the space could look like, that the platform is unmatched with anything else out there. What a refreshing game changer – but it is changing the game?

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Weber says Hightower is tracking more than 10,000 vacant office spaces, and that figure is growing 20 percent a month. Hoping to streamline his business for bi-coastal clients, Weber is excited at the prospect of assisting a Los Angeles tenant find property in New York via the Hightower application.

Thanks to new kids on the block, infusing life into the real estate industry, like Hightower and Floored, maybe some of the biggest names in the business will step into the 21st century.

Downtown Seattle Steadily Attracting New Residents

downtown condo1The Downtown Seattle Association held its state of downtown economic forum yesterday, and one of the major takeaways of their economic report was that the state of the downtown housing market is strong. Not only are increasing numbers of people calling downtown home – 16 percent of Seattle’s total population growth between 2010 and 2014 happened downtown – but more and more of them have families, with the number of children living downtown having increased by 17 percent since 2010. Overall, downtown residents tend to be younger, more well-educated, and more likely to live in a single-person household than the rest of Seattle as a whole.

Though only two condominium projects are currently under construction downtown, 3,089 residential units (the majority of which are apartments) are set to be in the construction phase in 2015, with 2,642 more in the works for 2016. Currently, the majority of apartment units downtown are small – an average of 638 square feet – but with the influx of families we could see a trend toward larger two- and three-bedroom units.

Overall, it’s going to cost you more on average to rent downtown compared to other areas of the city. Average rent downtown in 2014 was $1,904 per month, whereas the average for Seattle as a whole was significantly lower at $1,485 per month. Similarly, the median price for condos downtown stood at $409,500, a staggering 40 percent higher than the $292,500 median price for condos in the city of Seattle as a whole. Despite the relatively high prices, the vacancy rate remains under 4 percent. Visit the DSA website to read the economic report in its entirety.

If you are interested in renting or buying a home in Downtown Seattle, contact your local real estate agent today!

Drones Approved For Real Estate Industry Use

DroneEvery realtor wants that spectacular overhead shot of their listing, and recently, the use of drones (or “unmanned aircraft systems”) for real estate photography purposes has become a hot-button issue in the industry. Despite privacy concerns from neighbors and aviation-safety concerns from the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA recently approved the use of drones by realtors – with a catch. Make that several catches.

First, you’ll need to get a private pilot’s license, unless you can manage to get an exemption from the FAA. Second, even if you get permission to use it there are several restrictions on when and where you can fly your drone. It must stay under 300 feet and within a 100-foot radius of the controller at all times; the drone must always be in direct sight of the operator; the operator must alert all airports within five miles and give an estimated flight time, elevation, etc.; and the drone cannot be operated over congested areas such as freeways. Your drone must meet the safety standards set by the FAA, so get ready to give them every last detail, including your equipment’s weight, number of propellers, and the details on what type of camera you’re using.

Even with the increasing use of technology, such as virtual tours and videos, in real estate marketing, drones’ capabilities allow agents to create dramatic presentations with views not otherwise available to prospective buyers. Now that they are approved for commercial purposes, there is likely to be a rush on licenses, but if you’re queuing up for one get ready for stacks of paperwork.

2015 Housing Market Off To A Good Start

Wash Park HomedHistorically, mid-winter has been a sluggish time for home-price growth for the national housing market, and while the median price for a single-family home did decline from December to January this year, it fell by a mere 1.2 percent, signaling a stronger than normal start to the new year for the housing market. As a comparison, in recent years month-to-month price declines from December to January have been recorded at 2.8 percent (2014) and 3.5 percent (2013). Redfin reports that the combination of an increase in listings and buyer demand has led to lots of activity, and prices are up 7.6 percent over the year.

Closer to home, supply is still low in the Seattle area, and prices continue to rise. The median price for a single-family home in King County this January was recorded at $441,500, up from $410,000 in January 2014. The city of Seattle saw the median price rise to $517,500, up 12.5 percent over the year. The Seattle Times reports that inventory in Northwest Seattle is down to a three-week supply, driving prices in that area up 19 percent over the year. In the Seattle market as a whole, inventory has been hovering around the two-month mark for several months. Generally, a four-to-six-month supply constitutes a healthy housing market.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tips to Help You Save For a Down Payment

Cutting back on that daily latte, or happy hour with coworkers might help you save a few bucks, but if you’re saving for a down payment, you’ll need to make some larger lifestyle changes in order to help you save the fund you need. The market is improving, and with fixed mortgage payments, buying a home is slowing becoming even more affordable than renting in some area of the US. Here are a few tips you can implement to help you successfully save for your new home.  Renter Postcard 6 mo

Automate your savings contributions. Contact your bank and auto-deposit a fixed amount into your savings every month. Most people can deposit 2% of their income without even noticing a significant difference, and it can accumulate a significant amount over time. Reduce your large expenses month to month. If you live in a two bedroom apartment, consider getting a roommate to cut your costs in half, or move to a cheaper area to reduce your monthly rent. Consider saving a large portion of your tax return. The average tax refund in 2014 was $3,116, and while it might be tempting to splurge and treat yourself, it might be beneficial to deposit a large chunk of that directly into your down payment savings. Making at least one or two of these changes could help you reach your savings goal, and for more information on the Seattle real estate market, contact your local real estate agent today!