Staging Your Home for a Winter Sale

winterSpring is a popular time for home sales and easier to make the home appear more desirable when flowers are blooming and the weather is brighter and warmer. Below are a few tips to help make your home more desirable during the winter months.

Be sure to keep walkways to your home safe and clear. Shovel away any snow and put a little sand down if it seems icy so no one falls. Be sure to sweep away loose leaves. If it is rainy and wet, put down a mat for dirty shoes and a place to put wet umbrellas.

Open all blinds and pull back all drapes, except those that would show an undesirable view, to let light in. Make your home as bright as possible especially if there aren’t many windows letting in natural light. Turn on all lights in the house including those in closets and pantries.

Keep your home warm and cozy. You want to make potential buyers stick around and really think about living there. Turn the thermostat up a couple degrees above normal. The house will stay warmer and by doing so, the furnace will not kick on while people are tour your home. You don’t want them to hear your noisy furnace. Keep a small fire going in the fireplace for warmth and to make the home feel more comfortable.

Have framed photos of your yard and flower garden in full bloom set out to show what it will look like in the Spring and Summer.

Many people are allergic to candles and scented sprays. To make your home smell good without it smelling like you are trying to mask an odor, bake cookies or a pie before an open house or simmer a cinnamon stick in a pot of water for a few minutes. Your house will have a more comforting and welcoming smell which many people are familiar with and like.

Following these simple tips can help you create a more appealing image of your home in a more dreary and gloomy time of year.

Home Price Surge to Ease in 2014 but Interest Rates May Rise

housing marketMany buyers took their time searching for a new home in 2013. Prices and mortgage rates were low but took an unexpected jump in late May which forced home buyers to have to make a decision whether to buy then and which home to buy. Due to a shortage of houses on the market potential buyers found themselves caught in bidding wars and many ended up paying well over the asking price. It became a seller’s market.

Experts believe that in 2014 prospective buyers will not be able to afford the homes they would normally be able to due to interest rates rising which will make it more difficult to fund the purchase. There will be more homes available on the market because the rise in home prices have caused the value of homes to rise up above owners’ mortgage debt.

Experts also say that if the tech industry continues to boom as it has in the past couple of years, there will be a higher demand for housing. If tech stocks suffer, it could cause a problem around the Puget Sound. If Boeing decides to build its 777X outside the state of Washington, its widebody plant in Everett would shrink dramatically, effecting its 40,000 employees. Those employees may decide to sell their homes instead of wait for prices to fall which would greatly impact the market.

Overall, it will be easier to find a home to buy but may be more difficult to get the funding to do so. If people are not able to afford to buys homes in 2014, it is likely home prices might fall a bit to accommodate to buyers as a whole.

Luxury Condos at Bellevue Towers Finally Almost Sold Out


Almost all the condos in Bellevue Towers have been sold. A sign posted in the lobby announced that 95 percent of the 539 condos had been sold. In reality, less than 19 are left available. By now, it’s most likely that there are even fewer available. There are several orders pending. 16 condos sold in May and 21 closed in April.

The towers were completed and ready for occupants in 2009. 230 future owners had put down a deposit but soon after the stock market lost half its value, only 35 units closed. In January of 2011 prices were lowered by around 30 percent and units began to slowly sell. Units have been selling quickly the past 3 months. Why? With home prices on the rise, a decision was made not to raise unit prices to meet the rest of the housing market.

It is expected that the Bellevue Towers will completely sell out within the next month or two. A few larger units with at least 1,900 sf remain and range in price from $895,000 to $6.5 million. The towers offer more than a few amenities such as a 24/7 concierge, entertaining/board room, half acre garden, work out rooms, spa areas and a theater room with big cushy chairs to relax in.

May Stats Regarding Increasing Inventory and Sales

housing statsBased on King and Snohomish County public records, foreclosures are   slowly decreasing to normal levels while inventory rose for the second month in a row. Measured by the number of “Warranty Deeds” filed with King County, sales rose 15% from March to April and were up 28% year-over-year. In Snohomish County, sales rose 8% month-over-month and 26% from May of last year.

Foreclosures in King County fell again but were just above last year’s level. Although Snohomish County increased in foreclosures, they are still at their second-lowest level in the last 11 months.

Buyers will be happy to hear that inventory in King County rose 15.6% this year compared to 2.3% between April and May of last year. Listing fell 3.1% last year in Snohomish County. This year they were up 6.0%.

Prices of Seattle Homes up in the Past Year

housing price

Compared to cities tracked in a national index, Seattle home prices rose  faster between February and March than 18 of the 19 other cities that were tracked. The 12 month rise was still within the national average. According the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price index, Seattle prices rose 3.0 percent for the month and 10.6 percent for the year.

Compared to a year ago, U.S. home prices jumped 10.9 percent in March which was the most since April 2006. More buyers are bidding on a small supply which is driving prices higher, making the market more competitive as well as improving the housing market. Phoenix had the highest annual gain with 22.5 percent followed by San Francisco with 22.2 percent and Las Vegas with 20.6 percent. New York had the smallest annual increase with only 2.6 percent.

Although the market is seeing higher gains, many home owners are not putting their homes on the market which is contributing to home prices rising and encouraging builders to heighten construction. Applications for building permits rose in April making it the highest level in close to 5 years.

Annual U.S. Home Value Appreciation Up for 6 Straight Months

Madrona Home KL

Madrona Home For Sale

According to the April Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, U.S. home value continues to climb. April was the sixth consecutive month that home values exceeded a 5 percent climb. This is the largest streak since 2006. The streak should not be expected to last. As more inventory is offered in the market some home prices will have to fall to level out with the rest. The Zillow Home Value Forecast predicts a 4 percent climb in the next year although most markets have already hit bottom.

National rents declined 2 percent in April compared to March. Demand for rental properties is still strong. Many investors are buying homes, fixing them up and turning them into rental units. Because of this, many markets are seeing less inventory and sharp home value appreciation brought on by the investors. Over the past month there has been a slight increase in inventory in some markets as more housing is constructed as well as more sellers enter the market.