Seattle Just Keeps Growing

In spite of the building boom in downtown Seattle, there have been very limited options for buying a home, versus renting. Resembling giant glass Rubik’s cubes stacked 41 floors high, the Nexus Seattle condominiums will be taking ground at 1200 Howell Street in the Denny Triangle. The building will feature 382 units, varying in size and price, ranging from $300,000 to $3.5 million. Sections of the building are twisted to face different directions, views will vary depending which floor the home is located on.

According to the Nexus website, 80% of the units have already been reserved as of this past November (2016). Underscoring the market’s desire for permanent housing and the influx of people for high-paying tech jobs downtown, hundreds of buyers lined up to pay a $5,000 refundable deposit to be guaranteed a spot at a priority presales event on June 4th last year. Some people even camped out overnight to be first in line.

Burrand Group, the Canadian company that owns the site, plans to break ground this month to begin construction. The Nexus building will be within walking distance of at least two large-tech work campuses in the South Lake Union area. An article with Puget Sound Business Journal states a fitness center, common co-working space, the option of renting a guest room, and a rooftop terrace will be some of the amenities available.

As of October 2016, the median price for a downtown Seattle condo was $650,000. The median price for a 1-bedroom rental is currently $1,820 per month, reflecting the 40% hike in rent over the past 5 years. Seattle is now in the top ten of most expensive apartment markets in the United States, as of April 2016.

Sell Your Home This Spring With These Seven Tips

Spring has sprung in beautiful Seattle, and if you’re looking to sell your home, there may be no better time to do so. Think about it, what a lovely time to showcase your home and really put its best foot forward, so to speak? Here are some tips to get your home looking picture perfect for a Springtime sale.

  1. Spring Cleaning
    Nothing says Spring more than a good old fashioned Spring cleaning, and that may be just what your home needs (probably, even if you’re not going to sell it) to get it in tip top shape. Go through those boxes of STILL unpacked home goods, linens and clothes that have sat in a closet or attic since move-in day and get rid of whatever you don’t need or use anymore (trust me, charitable organizations are just as grateful for the donation this time of year as they are in winter).  Get the windows washed, floors scrubbed and everything looking clean and clutter-free. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of a much easier move after you sell, if there’s less stuff to pack!
  2. Get Your Garden On
    Spring is an excellent time to make your yard look its absolute best. Slip on some gardener’s gloves and pull a few weeds, plant new flowers, prune trees and bushes and make sure any leftover leaves from winter are raked up and the grass is mowed. Potential buyers are definitely going to check out your yard, and just like a delicious meal, presentation is everything. Do your best to seed patchy grass, lay down beauty bark or simply add rock edging to flower beds. Adding more colorful flowers can make a big difference in how appealing your home looks too. It’s the little touches that can make a big difference.

  3. Create A Patio Worth ‘Sitting A Spell’ On
    Once the yard is looking good, it’s time to turn your attention to any outdoor living space your home offers. Simple improvements like clean, well-kept patio furniture with bright and colorful pillows and a few nicely potted plants can create a lovely and inviting outdoor space as well as help to evoke images of enjoying the Summertime there, in a home-buyer’s mind. That’s the kind of image that may just get you an offer. Also, it’s a good idea to stage the patio area with a pitcher and glasses of a refreshing beverage on the patio table when showing the home, especially on a nice sunny day.
  4. De-Gunk the Driveway
    A very simple yet often overlooked way to add extra curb appeal and freshen your homes appearance is with a good power wash to the driveway and any sidewalks outside. Moss, oil stains and other undesirable things can collect on paved surfaces outside of your home and make it look neglected or just plain grungy. A nice power wash should do the trick and rid those surfaces of any ‘blemishes’, instantly boosting the overall ‘put-together’ look of your home.
  5. Let There Be Light
    We are blessed this time of year with much more abundant sunlight than just about any other time of year (save for summer, of course). Why not take advantage of it by opening your house up to more light? Weather permitting, open windows and patio doors to let in plenty of light, fresh air, and maybe even the oh-so-Springy scent of freshly cut grass and flowers.  Use light the way ladies use lipstick for a night out, as an easy finishing touch that adds immense appeal, quickly and easily.
  6. Make Sure Things Are Up to Snuff
    Hiring an inspector to give your place the old once over is usually a good idea, no matter how well maintained it may be. If you have even a tiny inclination that something may need to be fixed before it hits the market, you should have a pro take a peek. Plus, getting things fixed and in great condition can significantly drive up the selling price of your home, which is generally a good thing. Your realtor (or a potential realtor) should be able to help you find a professional in your area to conduct an inspection.

7. All The Home’s A Stage
Staging can play a BIG part in attracting a buyer. Just as garden improvements and      landscaping are hugely important for the outside of your home, staging is key for the inside of your home. Regardless of whether you’re currently living in the home, or moved into your new abode, you want to create a space that’s warm, inviting and, well, homey. People need to be able to picture themselves living their daily lives there, so making it feel like home is important. Add a vase of fresh flowers to the dining table, a basket of fresh apples to the kitchen counter, have art on the walls (but not too much, and try to minimize the presence of personal or family photos) and fun throw pillows/blankets on the couches. You can even add the scent of fresh laundry or freshly baked cookies (a scented candle should do the trick) to get an extra edge, as our sense of smell is most directly tied to memory and scents like that can ‘take you home’ in an instant.

With these tips, the task of readying your home for sale should be a little bit easier. Remember to take it easy though. Don’t try to bite off more than you can chew and do it all in one weekend. Home buying and selling can take time, and you should take the time needed to get all your ducks in a row before you put that sign out in the yard. Preparing your home for the market can be a breeze if you just take it one step at a time to get your home looking it’s best, and, with any luck, it will be someone else’s home in no time!

Site Near Pike Place Sells For $16 Million, 400-ft Tower Planned

construction

The Seattle skyline is about to welcome its newest addition – a 400-foot residential tower that is planned for the development site at 2nd Avenue and Virginia Street that Bellevue’s Continental Properties bought for $16 million on Thursday.

According to an article in the Puget Sound Business Journal, it is unknown whether the 324 residential units will be condos or apartments, and there is no definite timeline for construction, yet. Continental Properties also built the Metropolitan Tower Apartments at Seventh and Westlake, and the Cosmopolitan Tower Condominiums at Ninth Avenue and Virginia. According to the PSBJ article, the site, which is one block east of Pike Place Market and is at the highest point in Belltown, is one of the last prime development sites downtown.

Buying A Home In Seattle 34% Cheaper Than Renting

Wash Park Homed

High rent and high home prices in Seattle can often make it feel like the decision between buying and renting isn’t so cut and dry – either way you’re paying a premium for housing. But a new report from Trulia makes a strong case for home ownership, reporting that it is 34% cheaper to own a home than to rent in Seattle at today’s 4.5% mortgage rate. According to the report, mortgage rates would have to hit 9.3% before renting would be cheaper than buying in Seattle.

Nationally, home ownership is 38% cheaper than renting in all of the 100 largest metro areas, but in some extreme markets small changes in mortgage rates could tip the scales in favor of renting. For example, in Honolulu, a mortgage rate of 5% would make renting a better value, and a rate of 5.8% would make renting cheaper than owning in San Francisco.

Try Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy calculator to see how the numbers work out for you. If you’re interested in buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent.

 

 

 

 

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.

Best and Worst Seattle Neighborhoods Rated for Green Commuting

Downtown, First Hill and Chinatown International District are Seattle’s topbike three neighborhoods for green commuting. At least 75% or more of the residents in each neighborhood use another form of transportation for commuting other than single person vehicles such as taking the bus, carpooling, walking or riding a bike. The three neighborhoods are up there in ratings along with New York City which has the nation’s highest rating for green communiting for large cities. around 47% of all Seattle residents choose a form of green commuting.

Magnolia has the worst rating of all Seattle neighborhoods with only 25% of its residence participating in green commuting which is about the same as the nation’s overall rating. It looks as though the south end of Seattle has lower ratings as does the top of the North end.

Possibility of Streetcars returning to Seattle

It has been over 70 years since Seattle has had streetcars. Once people began moving out of the city and into suburbs and cars became more popular and convenient, there wasn’t as much of a need for them. The railTrolleys were removed and paved streets took their place. But now, as more and more people begin moving back into the city the idea of bringing back functioning streetcars has emerged.

One idea is to have the streetcar run down 4th and 5th which would serve mostly commuters and may not have as much use on the weekends as the more favored idea of having the streetcar run down 1st Avenue would. Although having it run on 4th and 5th would be almost $50 million cheaper, being on 1st, the streetcar would run past bars, new restaurants, shops and places that are more popular to tourists all days of the week including weekends. Tom Graff of Ewing and Clark, Inc. agrees that running down 1st is the better option. It would help boost business and attract more to the area.

Some business owners are concerned that if the project does move forward, construction may cause problems by limiting parking spaces and obstructing accessibility to their businesses. They realize that they will benefit from it being on 1st and accept the idea if construction can be controlled. The City of Seattle held an open house Wednesday evening for those who wanted to learn more and discuss the topic as well as to kick off the                                         Center City Connector Project which will explore transit options for downtown.

Seattle Commercial Property Market Improving

This past week, Seattle and the surrounding region has seen an improvement in the commercial real estate market, with the sales of three big properties.

First, Continental Properties, Inc. sold 131 apartment units at the Aqua View and Carillon Heights apartment complexes to Archstone. It sold for $47.46 million.

Arden Realty LP sold West Willows Technology Center to Griffin Capital New Lease REIT Inc. for $40 million. The office park is over 155,000 sq. ft and is located at 14500 and NE 87th St. in Redmond. AT&T is the current tenant and uses the space for network operation and R&D.

Finally, Redhill Realty Investments sold the Kent-located Hampton Bay Apartments to Hampton Bay located in Vancouver, WA. The 304 apartment units sold for  $31.4 million.

For more information, please read the original PSBJ article.

Seattle Home Prices Up 32% Since 2000

According to the Case-Schiller home-price index posted in the Seattle Times, home prices in Seattle are up 32% since 2000. However, the home prices are the lowest since 2004. The strongest price decline this year occurred in November, most likely due to sales of foreclosed homes. For more details, please visit the Seattle Times article.

Seattle Roosevelt Neighborhood Will See Higher Buildings

Last month, I wrote about the Roosevelt neighborhood potentially seeing a commercial rezone. On Monday, the full Seattle City Council approved six-story building heights in the Roosevelt commercial area. According to the Seattle Times article, it spans about 40 blocks of the commercial core. The 85-feet high buildings are designed to add density. However, the buildings around Roosevelt High School are restricted to a 40-foot height restriction, so as to preserve views of the school. Final projects are still subject to the design review board. For more information, please visit the Seattle Times article.