Tips For Getting Multiple Offers On Your Home

In regions with booming real estate markets, sellers may think getting multiple offers on their home is inevitable, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. The three must-haves for attracting multiple offers, according to Zillow, are location, price and presentation.


You’ve heard it time and again: location, location, location. Buyers often consider location before other factors such as price, number of bedrooms or home size, so a well-located home is a huge advantage. Homes on busy streets, near freeway on/off ramps, or in less-than-stellar school districts may not attract as much interest. Work with a real estate agent to price your home very carefully if it’s not in a prime location.

That brings us to the next factor: price. Zillow reports that homes priced 10 percent over their market value will not get noticed, so it’s important to be smart and realistic with your listing price. While you won’t truly know the market value of your home until a buyer closes on the sale, real estate agents can help you establish a value range based on factors such as whether you are in a buyers’ or sellers’ market, location, and how well your home shows. If you price your home at the lower end of that range, you can be pretty confident you’ll generate lots of interest.

While you can’t change your home’s location and prices can fluctuate based on any number of factors, presentation of your home is something you have more control over. In today’s online-focused market, photos are key, so make sure you put your home’s best foot forward before you have it photographed. Buyers want to make an emotional connection with a home, so removing your personal items, making cosmetic upgrades (if you can afford it), and staging will make a good first impression online and drive buyers to look at the home in person.

These factors, supplemented by the expertise of a local real estate agent who knows the other homes in the area and can help you make yours stand out, will give you an increased chance of getting what all sellers want – multiple offers. If you are interested in selling or buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

New Homes Big And Getting Bigger

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Bigger is not necessarily better, but new-home builders believe buyers are looking for more – more bedrooms, more bathrooms, more space. The average new home is now 2,679 square feet, up from 2,362 square feet in 2009, according to recently released Census Bureau data. Average sale prices have risen along with square footage, rising from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013.

Along with more bedrooms and full bathrooms, the increase in average home size is the result of builders adding amenities such as more garage space, walk-in closets and “great” rooms, according to a report from National Association of Home Builders. Other features builders are most likely to include are the ever-popular granite counter tops, double sink and central island in the kitchen, linen closet, high ceilings, and a front porch. Not so popular today are laminate counter tops, outdoor kitchens, and two-story foyers.

For more information about buying a home in the Seattle area, contact your local real estate agent today.

Sales Of New Homes On The Rise Nationally

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In some surprising and encouraging news for the national residential housing market, sales of new homes in January rose by 9.6 percent, the highest rate since July 2008, and it is predicted that the rate for both new and existing home sales will continue to rise in 2014.

Economists had predicted a drop in the rate for January, mostly due to winter storms across much of the country, but only the Midwestern market posted a decline in new-home sales for January, dropping 17 percent. Sales in the northeast rose by 74 percent, followed by the west at 11 percent, and the south by 10 percent. The median new-home price also rose 3.4 percent from a year ago to $260,100.

Despite the 30-year mortgage rate having just risen to 4.33 percent, signs are pointing to a healthy residential market in 2014 as a result of growing household incomes, and double-digit growth in residential construction over the past two years, which contributed to the nation’s overall economic growth.

30 Year Fixed Mortgage Rates on the Rise


For the 2nd week in a row the 30 year fixed mortgage rates rose from 4.24% to 4.28% quoted on Zillow marketplace. According to Zillow, the rates peaked at 4.42% last Thursday, and then hovered around 4.26-4.29% before dropping to the current rate. Rates are reported to have risen last Thursday, but Friday’s reports had erased any gains, leaving the week to remain largely unchanged. Today’s rates reflect 4.25% for the 30 year fixed, and on Tuesday, the 15 year mortgage rate was quoted at 3.29%. Where will the rate be at tomorrow? Check in with Zillow’s marketplace for up to date rate changes throughout the week.

The Housing Market is Heating Up and Many Homebuyers are Clueless

homesAccording to a study conducted by Zillow, when it comes to understanding mortgages, buyers answered basic questions about terms, lenders and financing wrong one third of the time. The study of over 1,000 prospective and current buyers, which was conducted in April found that 34% didn’t know the meaning of the term “annual percentage rate,” 31% of buyers didn’t think that they could get a mortgage for less than 5% down, and 1 in 4 were under the impression you should close with the lender who per-approves your mortgage. It’s important for buyers to shop around and compare rates  and reviews before finding the best loan for them. The results also showed that 34% of surveyors thought that lenders were required by law to charge the same fees to all clients for credit checks appraisals, etc, which is a false assumption. Fees will vary between bank to bank, and sometimes can be negotiated.

It can be difficult to choose which is the best deal for you, if you don’t understand what the various mortgage terms mean. The APR, or Annual Percentage Rate factors include fees, origination and underwriting fees, and other costs borrowers use to calculate the actual cost of loans. This lack of knowledge can really hurt your overall savings. Many buyers believe they need a down payment of 5% bare minimum, but loans given by the Federal Housing Administration can actually only require 3.5%. Many buyers also begin shopping around with financing in place so they’re able to move quickly on a home they really want, and according to the study, 26% of buyers believe once they’re pre-approved, they must honor that loan in closing, but that is far from the truth; there is really no obligation. If buyers see better loan terms available, they should take them! For more information for buyers and sellers, visit CNN Money.

FCPB Releases Simplified Mortgage Forms

If you currently have a mortgage, or have applied for one in the past, you know how difficult it can be to fully understand exactly what you’re signing up for. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released redesigned forms that prospective borrowers will receive after applying for a loan, prior to closing on their home. These forms will be made available to folks at least 3 days prior to closing, and will be much more transparent than past forms.

According to the Seattle Times, the proposal aims to prevent costly surprises, and help consumers understand the actual cost of obtaining a loan. It also aims to protects consumers who’re taking out  pricier mortgages. Most of the changes that were made to these documents were required by Congress under the 2010 financial overhaul law, which aimed to protect Americans from unaffordable mortgage loans, and any hidden costs. For over 30 years, federal law has required two sets of disclosure documents to be filled out by lenders, who could become confused when explaining them to borrowers because the documents were very similar in verbage, but needed to be filled out by two separate agencies. CFPB has tried to bridge that gap with the redesign of these new documents; one will describe the mortgage, and one will outline the costs of closing the mortgage. For the full article, please visit the Seattle Times.

Cleveland’s Passive House

An Ohio based museum is holding an exhibit of a model home that can cut energy costs by 90%, thanks to amped up insulation, albeit higher construction costs.  The home, which is considered a “passive house” has 1 foot thick walls, triple-paned windows and heavy duty doors.  The Cleveland Museum of Natural History built the house with a specially developed insulation system including ductless pumps that supply heating and cooling to the home.  Moreover, the home’s interior furnishes are made from all-recycled materials and windows are strategically placed to take advantage of the sun’s seasonal patterns.  Homes like this have been built in Germany, where a standard “energy metric” is in place and manufacturers are already developing the necessary parts.  The “passive house” was constructed using imported parts from Germany. 

Organizers plan to move the home to a neighborhood and sell it in the fall. 

For more information, please refer to the Seattle Times article.