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!

Lake Union Floating Home Available For $1.7M

houseboat

This houseboat on Lake Union in the Eastlake marina has off street parking and is now listed for $1,795,000! With a scenic setting, this home offers fine design, amenities, convenience & a  once in a lifetime unique lifestyle opportunity. Solarium with garden space, dining room, living room and sauna. Features include a King size master bedroom with a five piece master bath that is finished with Carrera marble. Rooftop deck & largest floating deck in the complex, with city and Gas Works views, moorage, storage, air conditioning, 1 garage stall,  and one uncovered parking stall. For more information on this or other Seattle real estate listings, contact your local real estate agent today.

Status: For Sale
Bed//Bath: 3/1.75
Price: $1,795,000

Tips For Purchasing a Home in 2015

Many homeowners will tell you that they entered and exited the real estate market several times before making the final offer and closing on their home. As a buyer, you’re not always tied down to a time frame, priorities might shift and unexpected things happen that could delay purchasing a home. The beginning of a new year is a great time to review your goals and resolutions for the year ahead, so if you’ve been thinking about buying a home, and want 2015 to be the year you take the plunge, here are a few tips to help you stay afloat in today’s marketplace. 1910 NW 100th St-6

Prospective buyers are usually shopping online, and reviewing several of their dream listings at home, researching the mortgage process, and trying to grasp the local market. Serious buyers partner up with a real estate agent well versed in the neighborhoods, and can walk them through the home buying process. Agents have completed many transactions, and will have the knowledge and experience to put you one step ahead. It also helps to stop thinking that you’re going to get a great deal on your dream home. The great Seattle marketplace is competitive, with low inventory and a growing number of serious buyers, so if you’re truly interested in buying you might want to stop hunting for a bargain. Making a low ball offer on a home when you’re first entering the buying process might seem ideal to test the waters, but it might also sabotage your offer, and lose you a home. Your agent can help you determine a fair offer, and ultimately help you find listings that match your criteria. Every buyer has a unique set of goals and needs, so contact your local real estate agent today to get started on the home buying process.

Two Seattle High Rise Buildings Under Design Review

 

970 denny

Photo Courtesy of the Daily Journal of Commerce

Two new proposals for towers under review in Seattle’s downtown core. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, design review meetings have been set for the towers, the first a 39 story residential tower located at 1613 2nd Avenue, and the second a 40 story mixed-use building at 970 Denny Way. The Wood Partners are interested in building the 39 story tower on 2nd Ave, and have listed 1,000 planned sq ft of street level retail space, as well as parking designated for 140 stalls, four levels below ground, and 6 levels above ground. An early review meeting is scheduled for this project on January 20th at 7pm, in Seattle City Hall.

Holland Partner Group is also planning a 400 ft building at the intersection of Denny Way and Terry Avenue North. The design plans include 500 residential units, 17,000 sf of retail space and 450 parking stalls. For more information on Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Insurance Tips For First TIme Home Buyers

Searching for a home can be a job in and of itself, and home insurance often gets lost in translation of the to-do list for first time home buyers. There are so many factors to consider in the home search,  such as choosing the right mortgage company, and real estate agent. Finding the right home insurance, and factoring it into your home buying budget should also be a top priority. Our friends over at Zillow have put together great guidelines and insider insurance tips for first time home buyers. Here are some of the key take-aways: 1910 NW 100th St-6

Do your research, and shop around for the best rate between insurance carriers. You might be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars just by comparing a few different companies.

Your credit score matters – not just for your mortgage rate, but also for your insurance. Insurance companies utilize your credit report to determine the level of risk you’d be as a new policyholder. If you’re shopping for a home, you’re probably already making moves to improve your credit, but its important to know that your credit is also important in achieving an affordable insurance rate.

Consult with your current auto insurance or boat insurance company to discuss bundling options. You can often save on your premium by utilizing the same company for home and auto insurance.

Invest in substantial coverage plans. While you don’t want to overspend, home owner’s insurance is also something you don’t want to hold back on.  Be sure your policy covers your home from weather risks common to your area, and be sure your dwellings coverage is substantial enough to cover the structure of your home incase of serious damage or destruction. If you’re looking for a new home, and would like some inside knowledge on the Seattle real estate scene, contact your local real estate agent today.

Tis the Season: Top Reasons to Buy During the Holidays

Although sales are historically down during the last few months of every year, there are certainly some noteworthy perks to the home search during the holiday season. Here are a few reasons a new home should be on your wish list for Santa this year. 812 W Galer

Did you know home prices are generally listed lower in December, than they are throughout the rest of the year? There are several reasons for home affordability increasing this month, and low mortgage rates is another factor in your favor. Mortgage rates are around or just under 4%, and according to Zillow estimates, are expected to jump to 5% by this time next year. If you wait just one more year to purchase the same home, your monthly mortgage payment could increase significantly. This isn’t to say that you should buy a home now if you’re not ready; buying a home is a huge commitment, and  knowing when you’re ready and able to purchase is essential. It is also worth noting that if Seller’s are listing their home during the holidays, they are usually very serious about selling their home. Maybe they recently received a new job and need to relocate before the end of the year. Their lack of time is your gain – and you can also lower your tax bill for the year if you close on your new home by Dec 31st. For more information on homes for sale in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Condo Prices Still Below Market Peak

Seattle condo prices are taking their time to bounce back from the housing bubble in comparison to single family home prices. With condo prices down, the market has presented a unique opportunity for renters who haven’t been able to save for a down-payment to purchase a single family home. In some of the suburbs around Seattle, condo listing prices are still well below recovery prices, and low prices paired with low interest rates means more and more renters have the opportunity to be new homeowners. pioneer square

According to the Seattle Times, out of the 30 suburbs throughout King County listed by the NWMLS, all but 3 (Bellevue, Kirkland, and downtown Seattle) have not seen the median home price surpass the 2007 market peak. In 19 of the 36 markets listed in King and Snohomish County, median home prices are still 20% below the market peak. Seattle has seen the cost in rent and single family homes continuously rise, while condo prices have stayed consistent, or even dropped in some areas. While there are a number of reasons that a condo market can suffer during a market recession, many singles, small families and people looking to downsize are turning to condos for an affordable option towards homeownership. If you’re interested in learning more about the Seattle condo market, contact your local real estate agent today.

Bertha Under Repair – Viaduct Status Update

99 tunnel access pit

Photo Courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

The 99 tunnel-boring machine dubbed big “Bertha” has experienced a few set backs since getting stuck last winter, but the WSDOT wants Seattle to know that work is still underway on the project. According to the Daily Journal of Commerce, Bertha may be out of commission until March, but over 230 construction workers are currently on site near the South end of the tunnel, and 58 of those workers are busily working to repair Bertha.

Seattle Tunnel Partners are working around schedules to ensure as much work as possible is getting completed while the machine is under repair, and noted that new infrastructure is getting built much sooner than originally scheduled. Electrical and fire suppression systems are being installed at this time, and the roadway South of the tunnel is also underway. The benefits of completing work before Bertha is ready will be evident when Seattle Tunnel Partners make up for the significant time lost while Bertha has been under repair. There has been a lot of negative coverage on the status of this project and seemingly lack of progression, but WSDOT would like tax payers to know construction is moving forward, and progression is evident. For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today!

Preparing for Homeownership Expenses

With bidding wars, and low inventory causing housing prices to continually rise in the Seattle marketplace, unexpected financial burdens can arise. Purchasing a home is an exciting time, especially for first time home buyers, so to avoid any unplanned surprises, it is wise to prepare and save for the unexpected. There are expenses you know to prepare for such as standard mortgage, tax and insurance calculations that come with closing, but other costs build up after it is all said and done such as decorating, seasonal updates to the home, roofing expenses, and landscaping. While it may be easy enough to come up with a budget for weekly or monthly expenses, looking at the bigger picture and figuring out the larger projects to spread out throughout the year will help you get a better idea for an estimated budget for home improvement expenses. Ongoing expenses like utilities, and garbage/recycling can also be more expensive when you own a home, so be prepared for a significant increase when comparing to what you’d paid previously as a renter. broadview homeww

Renters do not typically have to pay for services such as hiring a plumber, fixing a garbage disposal, or updating a patio deck. These expenses add up quickly, so make sure you have saved enough to provide a nice cushion for first year homeowner expenses. We suggest you continue to save and put money aside every month for ongoing expenses that may arise with owning a new home, that way you’ll always be somewhat prepared for the unexpected. If you’re interested in Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate expert today!

30 -Year Fixed Mortgage Rate in Washington Below National Rate

Borrowers were quoted just below 4% last week for 30-year fixed mortgage rates Nationally, which is down from 4.08%, where the rate had been previously hanging for weeks. According to Zillow, mortgage rates in Washington State stayed at 3.99% last week, but have since increased to 4.05% this week after the long weekend. Today other state mortgage rates have ranged from a low of 3.94% in South Dakota, to a high of 4.17% in Wyoming and West Virginia.

Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage

Photo Courtesy of Zillow Mortgage

While the rate has risen, Zillow experts predict the rates will remain low this short work week, as breaks in our domestic economic data will be overshadowed by concerns over the European economy. News of a plausible European Central Bank plan to instill a stimulus program similar to the Federal Reserve’s is one reason the rates in the US remained low last week, and are predicted to remain in this range for weeks to come. If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.