With the housing market heating up again it has become more competitive and lenders are demanding more documentation regarding the sale process which means that as a first time buyer you want to be prepared and not have anything that can snarl the process. The following 5 steps will help a first time home buyer prepare for their first home purchase.
1. Be sure to check your credit report. Make sure that there isn’t anything that shouldn’t be on there such as paid off balances, fraudulent charges or even family members’ credit. Your credit should be as clean as possible. Pay off any and all debt possible. If you feel the need to cancel any credit cards, do so strategically. If you decide to cancel multiple credit cards in a short time period be aware that can send out red flags to lenders. The best thing to do is to close the newest cards. Lenders like to see that you have a long standing relationship with credit companies as well as have more credit available a month than what you spend. It is also a good idea to have a savings account.
2. Create a monthly budget so that you know what to expect spending wise when you buy a home. Wright down all your finances and as you save money for your first home, live as if you are making a mortgage payment so that you will be prepared spend less money once the home is bought. Be sure to stick to your budget.
3. Be sure to find a good agent to help you in the search and buying process of your first home. Your agent should be showing you homes with in your price range, listen to your wants and needs pertaining to the house, help you become a strategic bidder, guide you through the process and they should be concerned about making you happy and not solely about their commission.
4. Find a good lender. It is important to find a lender that explains all aspects of the loan to you and one that is willing to look over your credit report with you and give advice as to what you can do to improve it. Be sure to interview several lenders before choosing one and wait until you find one you are happy with before having your credit checked. It will be another red flag and bump on your credit report if it shows your credit has been checked several times within a short time period. Do not settle for what may seem like the best deal such as settling with a lending company which you found and signed up with online. You may get a good rate but when the time comes to speak with an agent you may have difficulty getting a hold of one.
5. Keep a look out for properties and be ready to make an offer. The market has become competitive and you want to be quick at making a wise and competitive offer. Don’t make large purchases such as a new car which may lower your housing budget. When you find the house you are interested in, call utility providers and ask for usage history or contact the HOA so that you are aware of the average costs of living at a certain property and you don’t end up going over budget. Remember to continue to live and spend as if you are already making house payments so that you don’t end up under budget.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of all new listings take 90 days or more to sell, 22 percent take 6 to 12 months, and 9 percent take more than a year. It’s a seller’s market, so why are so many homes sitting on the market for so long? Jeff Dowler, an agent with Solution Real Estate in Carlsbad, California believes it most likely is because of the home owner.
Asking an unreasonably high price for the home obviously is not going to attract buyers. Limiting the hours and time on weekends or any day to allow the home to be shown also limits the number of potential buyers. It is best to have the house as available as possible to allow it to be viewed. Agents find it best that the seller is not home when it is being shown.
Other things that may sabotage selling your home and cause it to be kept on the market longer are:
Not having the home ready to be viewed at any time. An agent might call wanting to show the house to a potential buyer in an hour. If the house is dirty or messy, that can turn off anyone who might have been interested.
Smells in the house can be a turn-off as well. Musty, dirty smells will not give the house a “clean” feeling. Artificial smells from candles and deodorizers might make the interested buyer wonder what the owner is trying to cover up with the scent. If it is a nice day out, opening windows can help naturally freshen the air inside the home.
Not keeping the home maintained and fixing things. Most buyers may not be looking for a “fixer-upper” and may notice the little things that need to be replaced. They may see that as more work for them to have to do as well as more money they will need to spend and give the home a run down feel.
All you sellers out there who do not want to sabotage selling your house, be sure to be flexible with allowing it to be shown, keep the home clean and maintained and ask for a reasonable price for the home.
According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Central Community College is interested in moving into a portion of the vacant space in the old Historic PacMed Center in Beacon Hill; and they’re running out of time to do so. The college must gain support from the state in a deal to occupy nearly half of the landmark, but since Amazon moved out, the building hasn’t been successful in finding tenants large enough to fill the 205,000 sf space. Seattle Central is interested in moving its health training program into the building, if the Pacific Tower receives $27 million in renovations from the state, but the Senate and House must reach a deal for this to happen, but the legislative session will end on Sunday.
A budget approved by a state house committee earlier this month would give $20 million for preparing the Pacific Tower for “community college health career training programs, offices for the department of commerce or other appropriate state agencies, and other nonprofit community uses.” However, there is no set measure in place with the Senate. Nothing is set in stone for the building, but we might have a better idea after Sunday’s session. For more information PacMed, visit the landmark’s website.
Next week, R.C Hedreen Co.’s 43 story convention hotel project will receive it’s first design review board meeting at the Seattle City Hall. The site has plans for a 1,550 room hotel, 150 low-income housing units, 150,000 sf of meeting space, 45,000 sf of retail space. Underground parking for 700 stalls is also in the plan.
The site is planned to be along 8th & 9th avenues, and Howell and Stewart streets, and they preferably have the Hotel side along Howell street, and the convention meeting space and retail in a six story podium. Construction could begin as early as next Spring, with the hotel scheduled to open late 2016 to early 2017. The project had originally planned for two towers, but plans changed last month due to simplifying the permit process. For more information on the complex visit R.C Hedreen, Co.
Competition in the housing market has been creating bidding wars. Many offers are being countered by rival bids. Homes are selling for well over asking price. Sellers are holding out for better deals which lessens the amount of homes available to buy while buyers are wanting to purchase homes before prices and mortgage rates begin to rise.
Some buyers are having problems purchasing a home due to constantly being out bid buy other buyers. A couple in Florida offered $5,000 over asking price for a home only to lose to a counter offer of $55,000 over asking price. They tried offering $10,000 over a $600,000 asking price and lost to a higher bidder. That house was a short sale had been on the market for only two days. They became frustrated after putting offers on homes and never hearing back only to find that the houses they had bid on were sold to a much higher bidder. They finally were able to work with an agent who was working for both the buyer and seller which would earn her double the commission. She was able to help them make an offer and purchase a home for $30,000 less than the asking price.
The National Association of Realtors reported a 19.2% decline in inventory. It is expected that homes sales will grow with the Spring selling season but availability will remain low. The balance between buyers and sellers has been thrown off balance. Sellers are being more cautious while buyers are on the hunt.
The music lineup for the Capitol Hill Block Party has been announced as well as who is to headline it. Many will be excited to hear that the Flaming Lips have been chosen to headline the event. Though the the Capitol Hill Block Party isn’t until July, three-day festival passes are being sold at a discount price now through this Saturday for only $75. The price will then go up to $95. Those who buy the passes early receive free tickets to see Pickwick and Radiation City tonight at Neumos.
The festival takes place on Capitol Hill July 26th-28th. Street closures are Broadway to 12th and Pine to Union. This is the area that the festival will be held and you will need a ticket to enter. Businesses in the gated area will only be accessable to those with tickets.
There will be pleanty of vendors, independant booths and food trucks available. Many of the businesses around the area offer special deals during the festival. For the full music lineup go to Capitolhillblockparty.com/lineup.
Downtown, First Hill and Chinatown International District are Seattle’s top 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.
After an unofficial vote, it seems that building 24-story towers near South Lake Union may not happen. The majority of the vote agreed that 160 feet or 16-story towers would be more sufficient for the area and not shadow Lake Union park as a taller building would.
It is still being debated whether or not to tweak the incentive-zoning policy which allows developers additional height by paying a certain amount of money that go towards benefiting the public. Vulcan owns the property and pitched the idea of 24-story towers along with Mayor Mike McGinn. Vulcan is evaluating the options and deciding whether or not to agree to the 16-story towers.
An official vote from the council on whether to rezone Lake Union or not will take place April 22. The deciding vote will determine if 24-story towers will be allowed or not.
Some motorcycles are too small or not heavy enough to trigger sensors for traffic light signals. A bill has passed the Senate and is now being heard in the House. SB 5141 would allow motorcycles to cautiously run red lights after coming to a complete stop and waiting at an intersection for a full light cycle. If the light does not change green after a full cycle, the motorcycle would then be allowed to drive through the red light or make a left turn. This would only be allowed at certain intersection as not all signal lights are sensored.
64 high school teams will be competing in the Seattle Regional FIRST Robotics Competition March 28-30th. Students are challenged to design and build remote controlled robots. They had six weeks come up with and create their idea with the help of professional mentors and engineers. The theme of this year’s competition is Ultimate Ascent. The robots will have to attempt throwing Frisbees into goals within a certain time period and climb pyramids. The teams are competing for awards and a chance to go to the FIRST National Championship which will be held in St. Louis, MO. April 24-27th.
The competition is sponsored by FIRST, a non-for profit organization which is dedicated to inspiring young people to pursue opportunities in math, science, technology and engineering. It will be held at CenturyLink Field Event Center. Admission is free. The public is invited to to come and watch the excitement. Opening ceremonies begin at 8:30am on both Friday and Saturday mornings.