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!

Late Summer Gains For Seattle Area Housing Market

neighborhoodThe S&P/Case-Shiller Index numbers for August were released yesterday, and after a July where we saw average home prices decrease by 0.1 percent in the Seattle Metro Area (King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties), prices bounced back and increased by 0.7 percent in August. On a yearly basis, prices in the area grew by 7.6 percent, coming in at number five on the list of cities with the highest yearly gains among the top 20 metro areas in the index.

Though prices in the Seattle are are still four percent below their peak, overall prices are showing steady growth and much of it is coming from a surprising sector of the housing market: condos. Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a statement that in the national market “…a good portion of the overall home price growth we’re seeing, especially in cities, has been driven by strong growth in condominium values, which are currently appreciating more quickly than single-family homes.” He cited condos’ popularity with younger buyers, many of whom live more urban lifestyles, are looking for more affordable housing options than single-family homes. This appears to be true in the Seattle market, as according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, median condo prices in King County were up 19 percent this August over August 2014. The median price for a condo in Seattle was up 32 percent over the same time period to $248,500.

Overall, it appears that the U.S. market is leveling out. Zillow’s Gudell says that “Annual U.S. home value appreciation has stabilized and settled into a nice groove over the past few months, and this relative stability should continue into the foreseeable future.”

If you’re interested in speaking with a real estate expert about Seattle’s market, contact your local agent today.

Real Estate Site Ranks Seattle No. 1 Housing Market

1150 17th Ave E-33. straightened smalljpgReal estate website auction.com has ranked the Seattle area the No. 1 housing market in the country for single-family homes, according to its analysis of home prices, sales data, demand, and economic factors. They point out the combination of strong price growth, at 10.9 percent over the year, and an equally strong increase in sales over the year, at 12.6 percent, as indicators of our market’s overall strength. The Seattle area’s solid job market keeps attracting new residents, and relative affordability compared to other tech hubs such as San Francisco, San Jose, and New York has seen demand continue unabated. Coupled with the fact that it is still 13 percent less expensive to buy rather than rent in Seattle means that everyone is trying to get their piece of the Seattle real estate pie.

Rounding out the top five behind Seattle are three areas in Florida – Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Palm Beach County – followed by our little sister to the south, Portland, where prices grew by 9.4 percent over the year.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in the Seattle area, 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.

Tips For Getting All You Can From An Open House Visit

Have you ever wondered what you’re supposed to do at an open house visit? Open Houses have been around for decades in the real estate business, and many buyers will go from open house to open house, not really sure of what they should be looking for. Here are a few tips for what you should be gaining after viewing a neighborhood home. open-house-illustration

Prospective buyers today have a number of resources at their fingertips to get a feel for the real estate market in their neighborhood. There are a number of mobile apps and online search tools that can give you a good idea of what pricing is like in the neighborhood, prior to committing to an area or agent. When you visit an open house, you do not necessarily have to sign in- many buyers fear that they will be overloaded with calls and messages once they hand over their contact information, but it is important to at least acknowledge the agent, and introduce yourself when arriving. They may have some information on the home that you didn’t already know from the listing information. If you’re an active buyer who is already working with an agent, do not be afraid to address the agent and give them your agent’s information, if your’e interested in the home. When the listing agents sits down to review the offers, they will then have a face to go along with your name. Look around at the other prospective buyers in the home – you can learn alot about the home’s activity just by looking around at your peers. If several people are walking in an out of the home, there could be some issues with the home. If buyers are sticking around, asking questions and consulting with their spouses, it could be a well priced listing, and you could be in for a bidding war. Open Houses are a great way to see what the agent is like in their element, before you decide on the right agent for you. Are they engaging with you? Are they engaging with others? Get to know the agent before get to decide on the right one for you. If you’d like to learn more about Seattle Real Estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Bellevue Real Estate Recap: January 2014

Inventory is still extremely low; in January 2013 compared to January 2014 there are approximately 70 less homes on the market in the Bellevue area.  Inventory that is available seems more likely to have not been updated or maintained as well.  With inventory low, buyers are more apt to overlook certain shortcomings in properties, especially if it is in a desired area or neighborhood. bellevue home

This is definitely still a sellers’ market in most of Bellevue.  Home values are rising and homeowners are getting excited to find out they have equity in their property again.  There are still some homeowners that bought at the height of the market on the last cycle that may benefit from holding off and waiting longer to sell.

Interest rates are still looking great, but rates could go up once people see rates start to rise, they will hurry and buy any kind of property and this could artificially increase market price for a short period of time.  For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Homes For Sale Increasing

Last months statistics are in, and August has shown a slight increase in homes hitting the market than there was noted in July. According to the Seattle Pi, in August Seattle had listed 1.6 months worth of homes for sale, up slightly from 1.5 months in July. King county listed 1.9 months of inventory last month, up from 1.7 months in July. Both of these numbers are down from a year ago, when there was over 2 months inventory listed, and are considerably lower than what is noted as a balanced market between supply and demand (between 4-6 months). west seattle homev

There is still high buyer demand for home in Seattle and the surrounding Puget Sound, and even though interest rates are slightly increasing and the average home sale is slightly higher in comparison to the rest of the country, Seattle home buyers are not put off. Home are still more affordable in the area than they have been in years. If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, contact your local real estate agent today.

Seattle Pi Features Blue Ridge Homes For Sale

blue ridgeHarvey Losh bought this Blue Ridge home back in 1949 when it wasn’t even considered to be in the Seattle city limits. Once considered the mayor of Blue Ridge due to his many terms as the local community club president, now the late Losh’s home is for sale in the neighborhood, and you can own a slice of the neighborhood, listed by Ewing & Clark for $749,000! Check out this and other Seattle homes today featured on the Seattle Pi.

Top Homeowner Regrets to Avoid

We’re already in the thick of Spring house hunting season, and as many have come to find out, this year’s search is especially narrowed, as inventory is at a 12 year low. Many buyers will have to move fast on a home, but when it comes to searching and purchasing a home, moving too quickly without weighing out the positive and negatives might come with regrets. This spring, Trulia surveyed 2,130 adults about their biggest housing regrets, and they found some interesting results. Here are 18 of the top homeowner regrets:

Pictured home is for Sale and Lease

Pictured home is for Sale and Lease

1) 17% of homeowners wished they had chosen a larger home

2) 14% wished they had done more remodeling when they bought the home

3) 11% wish they had more information about the home before they decided to purchase

4) 9% wished they had put more money down for the down payment

5) 8% wished they had been more financially secure before they decided

6) 8% wished they had chosen a neighborhood with a shorter commute to work

7) 7% wished they had more information about the neighborhood before they decided

8) 7% wished they had worked with a different real estate agent

9) 7% wished they had shopped around more for a better mortgage

10) 6% wished they had borrowed less against their home

11) 6% wished they had understood the cost of home ownership before taking the plunge

12) 6% wished they had chosen a smaller home

13) 5% wished they had chosen a neighborhood with less crime

14) 4% wished they had chosen a neighborhood with better schools

15) 3% wished they had rented instead of bought

16) 2% wished they had done less remodeling when they bought than they did

17) 2% wished they had put less money down for the down payment

18) 1% wished they had borrowed more against their home

Trulia also surveyed renters, who had similar regrets as the homeowners; many wished they had rented larger homes, with a shorter community to work, or lived in a neighborhood with less crime and better schools. The top regret though was wishing they had chosen to buy instead of rent, which 23% of renters expressed. If you’d like more information on selling or purchasing a home, contact your local real estate agent today.