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!

Washington State Home Sales Soar Past Previous Highs

sold-sign2015 may have been an interesting year for many reasons, but in the world of Washington real estate, it sure felt like the good old days.

Not since the way-back-when of 2007 had so many homes and condominiums sold in the Evergreen State. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, 2015 saw a whopping 88,331 homes changed hands last year, about  14% more sales than in the previous year. Those who have done the math say that works out to about 75,975 single family homes and 12,356 condominiums, valued at  approximately $34 billion, about 23% more than the dollar volume sold the year before. Those impressive figures make 2015 one of the best years for Washington State real estate in recent memory.

The last time this state saw real estate figures like that was in 2007, before the bubble burst and sent the country into what is not-so-affectionately known as The Great Recession. Even in 2007, the figures only added up to about 82,197 sales valued at $32.3 billion, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Furthermore, despite a ‘lower inventory’, so to speak, prices and number of sales continue to grow. In King County, the median home price was $480,000 and more than 26,600 homes sold. Compare that to a median price of  $440,000 and 26,600 homes sold, in 2014 and you’ll notice a jump of close to 10%. Snohomish and Pierce counties can top those figures with growth figures for both median home price and number of homes sold over last year at nearly 16.80% ($355,000, up from $326,360 with 11,303 homes sold) and 17.39% ($249,950, up from 230,000 with more than 13,200 homes sold) respectively.

Overall, region-wide, the growth was about 8.8% from 2014, with a median price for single family homes and condominiums at about  $310,000, up from $285,000  last year.

Numbers like this are a positive and encouraging sign for the state of the  real estate market and the country’s economy as a whole. Let’s just hope nothing comes along and tries to ‘burst our bubble’ this time.

No Slowdown Predicted For Market During Holiday Season

As we head into the holidays, real estate experts in the area predict that the Puget Sound market will not see the typical slowdowns associated with the season. Listings often drop off during this time of year, as potential sellers are more focused on holiday events, but with sustained demand for homes in our region, the next few months are going to be a great time to sell a home. The area comprising King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish counties saw the highest number of pending sales in a decade in October, and those high sales volumes are predicted to continue.

Though median sales prices for single-family homes are down in King County on a monthly basis, from $490,250 in September to $480,000 in October, prices are up by 7 percent over the year, according to statistics from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Similarly, Seattle’s market saw prices dip slightly from $571,000 in September to $555,000 in October, but rose by almost 8 percent over October 2014. However, some neighborhoods within Seattle saw significant monthly gains, such as Queen Anne and Magnolia, where the median price rose from $699,950 in September to nearly $800,000 in October.

Inventory continues to slide, as there were 10 percent fewer homes on the market in King County in October than in September, and 32 percent fewer than this time last year. Since inventory historically drops anyway at this time of year, the supply of homes could become especially tight, likely prompting an increase in prices. Though well-priced homes are selling quickly, overpriced homes are seeing longer stints on the market, emphasizing the need for an experienced real estate agent who can establish a listing price that will garner your home the most attention possible.

These statistics were gathered from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, but were not compiled or published by that organization.

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!

Free Greenlake House! If You Can Move It

Build Urban is in the process of getting a lot prepared for new townhomes in Green Lake, and, they have a unique offering for anyone who can move it – a  2,190 sf 1914 built 5 bedroom home for FREE. That’s right- the Seattle Developer is offering a home, located at 6529 4th Ave NE absolutely free of charge to anyone who is able to move it, in hopes of saving it from demolition. greelake home

The new townhome project, Radius will feature 8 homes that have a contemporary edge, and each home will face the interior courtyard that winds through the site. This project is going to be designed for a Built Green 5 Star rating, and features could include in-floor radiant heating, fabricated metal railings, and a livable rooftop terrace equipped with sink and BBQ hookups. But if you’re interested in the home that is sitting on that lot now, contact Build Urban today to learn more details.

Make Financially Sound Housing Decisions

When it comes to managing finances, many people tend to make simple mistakes along the way that could have been easily avoided. Here are some useful tips to make financially sound decisions when getting your housing finances in order. Utilizing a money management tool such as mint.com allows users to track their income, set budgets, goals and track what is coming in, and what is going out. Users can stay easily organized while saving for housing projects, and can avoid spending more than is within your budget. roanoke

Another big financial mistake people tend to make around this time of year is failing to claim all of the housing tax breaks which can save quite alot in the scheme of things. For a list of tax breaks for homeowners, check out this collection of useful tips from Zillow. Also taking into account the little things you spend money on everyday, like a Starbucks latte for $4 can really make an impact on your home purchase- cutting back to drinking coffee at home and buying your beloved Starbucks latte just once a week can save you hundreds of dollars a year, and inch you one step closer to making a larger down payment than you’d expect, and could save you thousands on your mortgage – the small decisions you make, will add up to a big scale change! For more information on Seattle real estate, contact your local real estate agent today.

Make A Rental Feel Like Your Own Home

rentalJust because you live in a rental space doesn’t mean that you have to feel like you are living in someone else’s home. Adding a touch of “you” to the space will make it feel more special and like your own place. Before making changes be sure to talk with your landlord. Many landlords will be okay with certain changes if things are put back the way they were at the end of the lease or because those changes may make the space more desirable.

Sometimes you may have to negotiate certain changes such as painting walls. A new color on the walls could make the space feel more your style and the landlord may give the go ahead to paint in your choice of color as long as you repaint to the original color it was when you move out. You could also negotiate new appliances. If the landlord does not want to purchase new appliances, maybe if you offer to pay half the cost then they might be willing to do so.

Switching out light fixtures for more stylish ones such as hanging globes, chandeliers or sconces would be a great way to brighten the place up and add another touch of “you”. Either changing the cupboard doors in the kitchen or removing them entirely is another way to update the place or make it feel more cozy. Something as simple as replacing door knobs is another way to add character. Be sure to keep the original doors and knobs or anything else you might change so that you can put everything back the way it was before moving out. Things such as removing metal blinds and replacing them with ones made of fabric or putting up curtains are something that could be negotiated with the next tenants. They may want to purchase them from you instead of using the metal blinds which usually make a space feel darker and like a rental.

Little touches here and there and new furniture from retailers or flea markets can make a big difference in making your rental feel like home. Remember that when looking for a rental, keep an open mind and see the potential.

 

 

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.

Tips to Buy During the Holidays

While other prospective buyers are taking a break from the home search grind, you’re steadily on the prowl for the perfect home during the holiday season, most likely because you have a greater need to buy sooner rather than later. You might be relocating to the area due to work or family, or maybe your current living arrangement has been compromised – whatever your situation may be, there are some perks to buying a home this time of year. house with bow

For one, the competition is much less aggressive. We’re less likely to see bidding wars with less competition between buyers, which might ultimately mean a lower overall price for you. Just as searching for a home during the holidays makes you a dedicated buyer, dedicated sellers are also searching for a buyer during the holidays. Trying to sell at the end of the year isn’t convenient, meaning sellers trying to sell this time of year usually aren’t choosing to, they need to sell in a timely manner. This might mean less negotiating for you, and possibly a quicker acceptance of your offer. Historically, lenders are also less busy this time of year, so its possible you might get a faster mortgage approval. It also pays to shop around – don’t go with the first lender you meet, get quotes from several before you make any decisions. Home prices in Seattle are remaining high, but December is typically a lower month even for our city sales. If you want to take advantage of these low season perks, contact your local real estate agent today.