Monthly Newsletter – June 2019

Changes are coming: The Washington State Legislature is changing the way in which real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated. REET are different from your annual property taxes; they are the tax that a seller pays when they sell their home, based on the sale price.

Currently, the Washington State excise tax is 1.28 percent. Local municipalities add their excise tax on top of the state tax, with most cities in our area adding 0.50 percent, to total 1.78 percent. Effective January 1, 2020, Washington State will begin calculating real estate excise taxes based on a tier system. Below are examples of how this change will affect the different price points.

The majority of sellers will enjoy a slight savings once the new tax structure starts in 2020, however, sellers whose homes are worth $1.5M or more should pay close attention as the tiered system will cost them more in 2020. If you own a high-end home and have been considering downsizing, doing so inside of 2019 may be a winning strategy.

If you or someone you know is curious about the value of your home or you have considered a move, please reach out. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On June 7th, my office spent our annual Community Service Day with the Snohomish Garden Club constructing trellises, weeding and staking beds and planting and labeling a half-acre of produce!

The Snohomish Garden Club will harvest this half-acre, which will yield close to 10,000 pounds of fresh produce to be donated to various food banks and senior centers in Snohomish County. The land for the garden is generously donated by the Bailey Family Farm.

For more information on how you can lend a hand, please visit: SnohomishGardenClub.com

Windermere’s Community Service Day was established in 1984 to offer agents and staff a chance to volunteer an entire workday to give back to the neighborhoods in which they live and work.

 

The longer days and warmer weather means that your favorite movie is no longer relegated only to a dark stuffy room. Grab the folding chairs, blankets and popcorn, and check out a few of these fun outdoor movies. You’ll find classics like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Princess Bride, as well as newer releases like Mary Poppins Returns and Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Most of them are free, and many locations also offer fun, family-friendly activities before the movie starts.

Posted on July 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, News You Can Use, Real Estate News

Cost vs Value: Front Door

I am commonly asked which improvements sellers should make to get the greatest return on their home sale.  Every year The Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) compiles all the information and analyzes the estimated percentage return on home improvements in each region.  Getting a home prepared for market requires a keen eye and great resources.  To access the entire Cost vs. Value report please visit www.costvsvalue.com and follow the steps to locate the Seattle area report.

Also, I have a great list of reputable contractors from HVAC to plumbing to roofing who are licensed and bonded in the State of Washington.  Please call on me whenever you need a solid recommendation.  I am happy to help whether you are getting your home ready for market or just want to find a good window washer now that the sun is starting to shine a little more.

Complete data from the Remodeling 2018 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com

© Hanley Wood Media Inc.

Posted on March 7, 2018 at 5:31 am
Jen Bowman | Category: Real Estate News

The Cost of Waiting – King County

Posted on March 7, 2018 at 5:24 am
Jen Bowman | Category: North King Co Quarterly Market Trends, Real Estate News, Seattle Metro Quarterly Market Trends

November 2017 eNewsletter

What Does Median Price Buy you in Each Area?
Most recently, the Seattle Times published an article about Seattle being the hottest real estate market in the country. This phenomenon has been taking place for over a year and experts don’t see this slowing down. According to the Case-Schiller Index, over the last 5 years since the market started to recover from the downturn, there has been an 80% increase in prices! I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the median price in each of our market areas to illustrate the price differentiation and affordability. If you are curious how this increase relates to your home, please contact me. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.
North Snohomish County
Sale Price:  $380,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms:  3/2
Square Footage:  1,551
Year over Year Appreciation:  13%
South Snohomish County
Sale Price:  $500,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 3/1.75
Square Footage:  1,784
Year over Year Appreciation:  14%
North King County
Sale Price:  $715,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms:  3/1.75
Square Footage:  1,980
Year over Year Appreciation:  14%
Seattle Metro
Sale Price:  $725,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms:  3/1.75
Square Footage:  1,780
Year over Year Appreciation:  14%
Eastside
Sale Price:  $855,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms:  4/2.5
Square Footage:  2,170
Year over Year Appreciation:  14%
South King County
Sale Price:  $400,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms:  3/3.75
Square Footage:  2,400
Year over Year Appreciation:  13%
Windermere Foundation Quarterly Update

I am excited to share the most recent update from the Windermere Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of Windermere agents and the community, the Windermere Foundation collected over $1,537,000 in donations through the third quarter of 2017. This is an increase of nine percent compared to this time last year! Individual contributions and fundraisers accounted for 62 percent of the donations, while 38 percent came from donations through Windermere agent commissions. So far, we have raised a total of $34,643,324 in donations since 1989.

Each Windermere office has its own Windermere Foundation fund account that they use to make donations to organizations in their communities. Year to date, a total of $1,179,202 has been disbursed to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S. Check out my office’s specific contributions below!

Through the Windermere Foundation, my office had the privilege to donate $13,360 this year to YMCA Camp Orkila and Colman; sending 40 kids to summer camp that would not have otherwise had the opportunity. This past spring, we also spent a full day helping the Snohomish Garden Club provide thousands of pounds of fresh produce to local food banks, and this holiday season we will be able to provide approximately 24 foster boys a plentiful Christmas morning and give full holiday dinners to families receiving aid from Pioneer Human Services. These are all causes that are close to my heart, and I am so glad to partner with an office that strives to make a difference.

If you would like to help give back to your community, you can do so through the Windermere Foundation here.

Happy Holidays!

Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on November 11, 2017 at 1:21 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Local Market Analysis, Real Estate News

October 2017 eNewsletter

As a member of Windermere Real Estate, the leading real estate company in the Western U.S., I have access to a vast array of resources and services that are designed to help you make well-informed decisions regarding your real estate needs. This includes access to the most relevant housing and economic data from Windermere’s Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner.

Matthew has been a real estate economist for more than 25 years in both the U.S. and U.K. He specializes in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. His study and interpretation of this economic data and its impact on the real estate market, gives us unique insights into short-term and long-term housing trends that are important to consider when buying or selling a home.

Every quarter Matthew compiles a detailed report that analyzes the Western Washington real estate market.  Read the full Third Quarter Gardner Report here.  If this is something you’d like to personally receive every quarter, please contact me and I will add you to my distribution list. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed, empower strong decisions and create exceptional results.

Windermere is very proud to be the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks for the second year running! This Sunday we’ll be doing our part to #tacklehomelessness with the help of the Hawks. For every Seahawks defensive tackle against Houston, Windermere will donate $100 to YouthCare, an organization that provides critical services to homeless youth. So far this season we’ve already raised $6,000!

As a part of Windermere’s #tacklehomelessnesscampaign with the Seahawks, we are also collecting new hats, scarves, gloves and warm socks for YouthCare. Donations can be dropped off at my office through November. Each night in the greater Seattle area, nearly 1,000 young people are homeless, and this time of year can be especially harsh. Together we can make a difference.

Newest Color Trends for 2018

Now that fall has set in and the rain has come, it is time to move your home improvement projects inside. If interior painting is on your list, check out the latest color trends for 2018.  Also note, if you are in need of a contractor of any kind, please contact me. I have a vetted list of preferred contractors that can help you get the job done.

Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on October 11, 2017 at 9:20 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News

September 2017 eNewsletter

Knowing the value of your home is helpful in many ways. It can help determine one’s net worth, help one decide if a home sale or purchase is a financially feasible move, determine the ability to get a loan – and it’s just nice to know where your largest investment stands. Consumers have the option to access several websites such as Zillow® to search the AVM or Zestimate® on their property.

A Zestimate is an AVM (Automated Valuation Model). The product of an automated valuation technology comes from analysis of public record data and computer decision logic combined to provide a calculated estimate of a probable selling price of a residential property. An AVM generally uses a combination of two types of evaluation, a hedonic model and a repeat sales index. The results of each are weighted, analyzed and then reported as a final estimate of value based on a requested date.

Often times when I am talking with potential sellers, their Zestimate (or other AVMs) come up in the overall conversation. I understand why, too. This is information that is relatively easy to access and gives the seller a starting point on the value of their home. Where an AVM can become dangerous is when a consumer thinks it’s accurate. Even worse, when a consumer makes a major financial decision solely based on this information. According to Zillow, less than half of all Zestimates in the Seattle metro area are even within 5.4% of the actual value, and they only give themselves a 2-star (fair) rating on their accuracy. In fact, they publish an accuracy report that you can access here.

In August, the average home price in the Seattle Metro area was $824,000. With less than half of all Zestimates within 5% of the actual value, that is a beginning margin of error of $41,200! Further, they claim that 72.3% of their Zestimates are within 10% of the actual value, which is a marked difference – up to $82,400. Where AVMs are incomplete is that the basis of their formula is tax records, which in my experience are often inaccurate. Also, and most importantly, an AVM does not take into consideration the condition of the home, the neighborhood and other environmental impacts such as school district, road noise and unsightly neighboring homes, to name a few.

At the end of the day, to give an accurate accounting of the value of a home in today’s market requires actually physically touring the home and the surrounding homes that compare. As well as considering current market conditions such as supply and demand and seasonality. An algorithm cannot accomplish this, but a real estate broker can.

So why does the Zestimate exist? Zillow is a publicly traded company (ZG) and their website is the vehicle to create profit. The Zestimate drives consumers to the website who are often dipping their toe in the pool to see what their home might be worth, or searching available homes for sale. When a consumer is searching on the website they are surrounded by real estate broker and mortgage broker ads on every page. These real estate brokers and mortgage brokers are paying for that advertising space, which is how Zillow makes its money and why there is a Zestimate. The Zestimate is not a public service, it is a widget to bring eyes to their advertising space which in turn, sells more ads.

Another important item to note is that Zillow does NOT have all available inventory in the Greater Seattle area on their website. In May, they cut off access to manually input listings, leaving some real estate firms unable to get their listings on the site any longer. Some firms just plainly chose not to syndicate to them. It is estimated that Zillow has between 70%-80% of the total available inventory on their site. In an inventory-tight market like the one we are in now, it is important for consumers to understand that if Zillow is the only source they are searching with, they may be missing out. Brokerage firm websites, such as Windermere.com have a direct IDX feed from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service which refreshes every 15 minutes, insuring the accuracy and completeness of all listing data.

The moral of the story is this: use Zillow as one of the many tools in your real estate evaluation and search toolbox. Zillow provides a great starting point and contains a ton of information to whet your palate when embarking on a real estate endeavor. However, we live in a time of information overload and we are overstimulated at best. Nothing beats the evaluation and discernment of a knowledgeable and experienced real estate broker to help you determine accuracy, which will lead to the empowerment of clarity.

If you are curious about the value of your home in today’s market, please contact me. I can provide an annual real estate review of all of your real estate holdings, and can even dive deep into a complete comparative market analysis if you would find that helpful. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.

Zillow® and Zestimate® are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.
Equifax Data Breach

If you have a credit report, there’s a good chance that you’re one of the 143 million American consumers whose sensitive personal information was exposed in the data breach at Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit agencies.

Here are the facts, according to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hackers accessed names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses and in some cases, driver’s licenses numbers and even credit card numbers.

There are steps you can take to help protect your information from being misused. Visit Equifax’s website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to find out if your information was exposed and set up protections. Click here to access the entire press release from the Federal Trade Commission that includes step by step instructions to help you navigate the website.

Nothing feels more like fall than pumpkin picking, hay rides and corn mazes. Get your latte in hand and head out to any one of these great, local farms to have some harvest fun and find that perfect jack-o-lantern to light up your porch.
Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on September 11, 2017 at 12:18 pm
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News

August 2017 eNewsletter

I get asked this question often, and I can understand why. With the 2008 Great Recession not too far back in our rear-view mirror it is understandable that folks don’t want history to repeat itself, as that was a very painful time for many. Also, price appreciation has been rapid across the country, but especially in our region. The large price gains might seem familiar to the gains of the previous up market of 2004-2007, but the environment is much different, and that is why we are not headed toward a housing collapse.

Lending Requirements
As the graph shows, lending requirements are much more stringent now than what they were prior to the fall of the housing market.

Previous lending practices allowed people to get into homes with risky debt-to-income ratios, low credit scores and undocumented incomes. They called this sub-prime lending. A large part of why the housing bubble burst 10 years ago was due to people getting into mortgages they were not equipped to handle, which lend to the eventual fall of sub-prime lending. Currently, the average credit score over the last 12 months according to Ellie Mae was 724. During the days of sub-prime lending people were funding loans with scores as low as 560! This, coupled with many zero-down loan programs and the risky terms mentioned above left many new homeowners with little to no equity. When you have little or no equity it is very easy to just walk away.

The graph above shows the percentage of homes in our state with significant equity (20% or more) according to CoreLogic. Today many homeowners, especially in our region are making large down payments to begin with. Believe me, when reviewing multiple offers on a house, the size of down payment matters – hence many buyers landing homes are making large down payments. Unlike the market prior to the crash, when people have high equity levels they are not likely to abandon their home or miss payments.

Inventory Levels & Our Job Market
The biggest challenge in our market has been low inventory levels and high housing demand. It’s simply the concept of supply and demand. Our thriving job market has afforded folks already in our area the ability to make moves, and it is bringing people into our area from other parts of the country. Washington State’s net in-migration is 43% higher than it was 10 years ago. This has created increased demand, especially for homes closer to job centers resulting in shorter commutes. When you have increased demand and not enough homes to absorb the buyers, prices go up. Over the last three years we have easily seen a 10% increase in prices year-over-year. That is above the norm and should slow down as inventory increases. As inventory increases we anticipate a leveling out of appreciation rates to historical norms of 3-4% annually, but not decreasing home values like the 2008-2010 crash.

I understand that the recent increase in home prices has been big and that it might remind you of the previous up market before the crash. I hope that digging into the topics above has shed some light on how it is different. According to Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist and nationally sought after expert on all things real estate, buyers should not wait this market out, due to future price appreciation and today’s historically low interest rates. Check out his latest vlog (video blog) that addresses this topic.

As always, it is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions. Please let me know if I can answer any questions or help you or anyone you know with their real estate needs.

As a loyal 12, I am proud that Windermere is the Official Real Estate Company of the Seattle Seahawks. But I’m also proud of how this partnership is being used to help homeless youth in our community. For every Seahawks’ home game tackle, the Windermere Foundation donates $100 to YouthCare, which provides much-needed services to homeless youth.

Follow along as we #tacklehomelessness, cheer on the home team as only 12s can, and help make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

Download the 2017 Seahawks schedule here

Preseason
Sun, Aug 3: at LA Chargers @ 5:00 PM
Fri, Aug 8: Minnesota @ 7:00 PM
Fri, Aug 25: Kansas City @ 5:00 PM
Thu, Aug 31: at Oakland @ 7:00 PM

Regular
Sun, Sep 10: at Green Bay @ 1:25 PM
Sun, Sep 17: San Francisco @ 1:25 PM
Sun, Sep 24: at Tennessee @ 1:05 PM
Sun, Oct 1: Indianapolis @ 5:30 PM
Sun, Oct 8: at LA Rams @ 1:05 PM
BYE
Sun, Oct 22: at NY Giants @ 1:25 PM
Sun, Oct 29: Houston @ 1:05 PM
Sun, Nov 5: Washington @ 1:05 PM
Thu, Nov 9: at Arizona @ 5:25 PM
Mon, Nov 20: Atlanta @ 5:30 PM
Sun, Nov 26: at San Francisco @ 1:05 PM
Sun, Dec 3: Philadelphia @ 5:30 PM
Sun, Dec 10: at Jacksonville @ 10:00 AM
Sun, Dec 17: LA Rams @ 1:05 PM
Sun, Dec 24: at Dallas @ 1:25 PM
Sun, Dec 31: Arizona @ 1:25 PM

Home games are in bold. All times PST. Due to flexible scheduling, the kickoff times of games in the latter part of the season are subject to change.

As summer comes to a close, it is a great time to make a list of home maintenance items that are best accomplished before the weather turns colder. Inspecting some of the major systems in your house such as heating, gutters, roof, windows and insulation to name a few, will insure not being left in the cold should something suddenly break come winter.  Click here for a complete list of end of summer maintenance items. Routine maintenance and professional awareness of the major systems in your home can help keep you ahead of sudden breaks, which lowers your stress level and saves you money. If you are ever in need of a contractor contact, please reach out! I have a list of reputable service providers on my preferred contractors list that I’d be happy to share.
Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on August 11, 2017 at 8:17 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News

July 2017 eNewsletter

What you need to know about the Condo Market
Over the last two years, the affordability of Greater Seattle area real estate has become a rising concern. Many buyers have decided to move a bit more north or south of major job centers to find the price point that works for them, or have foregone a single family residence (SFR)and turned to a condominium (condo) as an alternative. Because of this, along with many more baby boomers moving to a more right-size home for their lifestyle, demand for condos have been on the rise.

The median price for a condo in King County in June was $385,000 compared to the median price of a SFR of $660,000, which is a 71% difference! In Snohomish County, the median price for a condo in June was $295,000 compared to the median price of a SFR of $450,000, which is a 53% difference! Condos are providing a substantial cost savings if the condo lifestyle works for a buyer.

The condo lifestyle can be wonderful! Imagine not having to do yard work and living space-efficiently. There are many condo buildings that cater to the more simplified life that baby boomers are craving, featuring secured parking, elevator access, high-end features, great walk scores and possible views.

Much like the SFR market, the condo market has experienced high demand resulting in low inventory. Our thriving job market and rising rents have drawn folks to condos as well. Many of the job transferees coming into the area due to the tech industry are younger, unattached and without children, making a condo a natural fit and in some cases, less expensive than rent. In fact, condo inventory currently sits at 0.5 months of inventory based on pending sales in King County, and 0.6 months in Snohomish County. Theoretically, this means that if no new condos came to market we would be sold out in two weeks. That is quick!

While inventory has decreased, sales have slightly increased! Pending sales have almost mirrored new listings over the last 12 months, resulting in 1% more sales in King County and 5% more in Snohomish County. There were 4% less new listing in King County year-over-year, yet Snohomish County posted a 6% increase in new listings. This is due to some new condo developments to the north and more and more re-sale owners regaining their equity position and making moves.

Prices are on the rise too! An important aspect to measure in regards to condos is price per square foot. In King County the price per square foot is up 15% complete year-over-year and up 12% in Snohomish County, which is a big jump. This is on top of double-digit price growth the year prior. The average cost per square foot in King County in June was $404 per square foot, and $240 in Snohomish County. This illustrates the affordability difference between both counties, which is why the increase in sales in Snohomish County is markedly up. Condos provide a more affordable option for buyers, and if one is looking to land in Snohomish County, condos can be the most affordable housing purchase option available, while still being close to job centers.

The good news for condo sellers is that days on market are down by 11% in King County, and 31% in Snohomish County. In June, the average days on market was 16 days in King County and 10 days in Snohomish County.  Also, in June the average list-to-sale price ratio in King County was 105% and 103% in Snohomish County.

So, what does all of this mean? The condo market is much like the SFR market in regards to demand, price appreciation and the affordability divide between King and Snohomish Counties. It is a great market for sellers to realize a positive return, and buyers who can’t afford or don’t want the maintenance of a SFR can find opportunity with a condo. If you or anyone you know would like more information on the Greater Seattle condo market, please contact me. It is my goal to help keep you informed and empower strong decisions.

Windermere Foundation Quarterly Update
Thanks to all of you, the Windermere Foundation collected over $903,500 in donations through the second quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 10 percent compared to this time last year! Individual contributions and fundraisers accounted for 62 percent of the donations, while 38 percent came from donations through Windermere agent commissions. So far, we have raised a total of $34,009,527 in donations since 1989.

Each Windermere office has its own Windermere Foundation fund account that they use to make donations to organizations in their communities. Year to date, a total of $979,486 has been disbursed to non-profit organizations dedicated to providing services to low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S.

Click here to learn more about the Windermere Foundation.

The first day of school sneaks up so fast… summer is here and then gone in a flash! Use these helpful tips to start getting settled into a new routine for fall:

  • Talk to your child about their feelings and concerns about the new year.
  • Talk to your child about their day-to-day routine once school starts.
  • For small children, tour the school and show them where each of their classes will be, along with the cafeteria and restrooms.
  • Determine how your child will get to school, and practice the route.
  • Find a walking/bus buddy for younger children.
  • Arrange a carpool if needed.
  • Establish a time for homework and dinner.
  • Obtain an alarm clock for your child and discuss the best time for which to set it.
  • Establish a school-night bedtime, and stick to it.
  • Read the school handbook with your child and discuss any concerns.
  • Find out when parent-teacher night is and mark it on your calendar.
  • Find out the school lunch schedule and how much lunch costs.
  • Create a contact list of other parents who are able to pick up your child in case of an emergency. Be sure to share it with the school.
  • Arrange child care/or after school activities.
  • Set rules for activities such as TV/video games, tablets, playtime and the completion of long-term school projects.
  • Stay involved with your child, their school and their daily routine!
Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on July 11, 2017 at 11:15 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News

June 2017 eNewsletter

Buyers: Keep Your Head Down, This May be Your Time
The first five months of 2017 have been a grind for buyers in our area. Inventory has been quite limited and demand has been off the charts. However, in the month of May we started to see things loosen up, with the highest rate of new listings coming to market in some time. Above are two market samplings from the Greater Seattle area: north King County and south Snohomish County which are reflective of our entire market.
South Snohomish County:
In May we saw just over 1,000 new listings come to market in south Snohomish County; the highest inventory push in one given month in over five years! In fact, it was a 46% increase over the previous month, and a 17% increase from the same month a year ago. This is good news for buyers, finally! One should note, however, that pending sales nearly mirrored the number of new listings, illustrating that demand is still very strong.
I think we will see that opportunities have loosened up for buyers in the list-to-sale price ratios that will post in June closings (May pendings). My prediction is that they will have tempered a bit from the 103% posting in May, purely based on buyers having more selection.
Demand surely met the new surge of inventory, but from what I am observing in the market, not all homes are getting multiple offers. When there are multiple offers, smaller groups of buyers may be vying for one house. We have even seen more price reductions in May with overzealous sellers not paying close attention these slight shifts in the market.
Don’t get me wrong, the good houses that are well-priced and looking good are seeing great price escalation and competition, but some are simply selling with a one-buyer audience. There are just more opportunities when there is more inventory, and this is good news for all of us as tempered price growth is needed after a 51% increase in median price over the last four years.
North King County:
In May, we saw just over 800 new listings come to market in north King County; the highest inventory push in one given month in over three years! In fact, it was a 33% increase over the previous month and a 9% increase from the same month a year ago. Pending sales also met demand here, but more buyers were able to land a home, which is good news. List-to-sale price ratios recorded at an average of 107% in this area, so definitely a needed tempering as we head into June.
When you are closer to jobs centers demand is higher, so the in-city market will continue to present a hustle for buyers, but more listings will equal a better chance of landing a house close to work. Prices in this area have increased 60% over the last four years.
Interest Rates: 
Currently, interest rates are a buyer’s dream come true! We started the year at 4.25%, bumped up to 4.375% in early spring, and we have inched down to 4% most recently. This reduction in rate is saving buyers thousands of dollars over the course of their mortgage on their monthly payments, somewhat offsetting the increase in prices since the first of the year. This is something to pay attention to, and could not come at a better time as it is coupled with more inventory. Inventory in June and July should continue to be strong as the long winter delayed folks getting to market, and many sellers are taking advantage of the prices.If you have thought about making a move or even your first purchase, now may be the time to not just dip your toe in the pool, but to jump in. It is summer and who doesn’t like a nice swim? Especially if that pool has more homes than we’ve seen in some time and cheap money. If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about our market please contact me, as it is my goal to keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.

Community Service Day 2017:
How Does Your Garden Grow?

Windermere’s Community Service Day was established in 1984 to offer agents and staff a chance to volunteer an entire workday to give back to the neighborhoods in which they live and work.

On June 9th, my office spent the day with the Snohomish Garden Club constructing trellises, staking beds, planting, weeding, labeling and sprucing everything up.

The Snohomish Garden Club provided 8,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Snohomish and Maltby Food Banks last year. The land for the garden is generously donated by the Bailey Family Farm.

For more information on these great organizations and how you can lend a hand, please visit:
SnohomishGardenClub.org
MaltbyFoodBank.org/wordpress
SnohomishFoodBank.org

Your go-to guide for things to do this summer around the beautiful Pacific Northwest! Click herefor a printable pdf of this list. And for locations and listings of outdoor movies this summer click here.

June

July

August

Happy Summer!

Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on June 11, 2017 at 9:15 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News

May 2017 eNewsletter

You’d Like to Sell Your Home, but Where to Next, and How?
Homeowners across our region are enjoying very healthy equity levels due to an upswing in the real estate market over the last five years. In fact, the median price in King County is up 50% over the last five years and up 47% in Snohomish County. This growth in equity has given homeowners the exciting option to sell their home for a high price and move on to their next chapter, such as a move-up, down-size or second home. This price growth is great news and provides many opportunities, however we have also faced some challenges in how to make these transitions.

Our biggest challenge in the marketplace right now is inventory levels; sometimes requiring a buyer to compete in multiple offers for their next home. Currently King County sits at 0.7 months of inventory and 0.8 in Snohomish. Historically, buyers that are also sellers would commonly secure a new home contingent on the sale of their current home. Meaning the seller of the new home they are buying would give them a month or so to get their current house sold in order to buy theirs. Well in this market, that is only rarely an option. So, the million-dollar question is this: how does one who has gained so much equity, now itching to get that bigger house, different location, or perfect rambler for settling into retirement, make this transition without having to move twice? We need to get creative and have a strategy. Two options that I have recently proved to be successful, are negotiating a rent-back for my sellers or using the Windermere Bridge Loan program.

First, negotiating a rent-back has become a great option for someone who needs to first sell their current home in order to buy. The way it works is we put their home on the market, price it competitively to create demand, and ask for a rent-back as one of the preferred terms. If this rent-back is successfully negotiated, then the seller closes on their home and collects their funds, but gets to stay in the house anywhere from 30-60 days. This enables the seller, who is now a buyer, to have their cash in-hand, time to find a new house, get it under contract and close the sale when their rent-back is ending. This eliminates the need to move twice. There is a bit of calculated risk in this plan, but I’ve seen it work several times, always with a plan B ready just in case. Rarely has plan B needed to be executed, and often times we’ve even been able to pay little to no rent during this time.

The second option is the Windermere Bridge Loan program. This is an amazing tool for homeowners that own their homes free and clear, or have paid down their debt quite a bit. This is a low-cost alternative to pull the equity out of one’s house prior to selling it in order to make a non-contingent offer. The way it works is we take the market value of the house the homeowner current lives in, established by a comparative market analysis that I complete and is signed off by my broker. We then take 65% of that value and subtract any debt owed, and that is the maximum amount the homeowner can borrow for their next down payment. They can then make a non-contingent offer on a new home. What is really great about this, is that it doesn’t require an appraisal (like a HELOC does), and these can easily be turned around in 3-5 business days. This tool provides the opportunity to quickly and inexpensively pull your equity out, be competitive, and eliminates the double move.

The fees associated with this program are a 1% loan fee on the equity that is pulled, a title report, and interest that is incurred between the loan funding and being paid off once the subject home is sold. That interest is conveniently wrapped up in the closing costs when they close the sale of their home, eliminating the need to make monthly interest payments. In a strategy that is somewhat mind blowing- we can sometimes use these bridge loans and never have to actually fund them. For example, if we secure a property non-contingent with the bridge loan and immediately get the subject home on the market, we can often secure a sale with a simultaneous closing, and never have to fund the loan. This eliminates the loan fee, interest, and the need to carry two mortgages.

If you are excited about equity levels and today’s low interest rates and have thought about making that move you’ve been waiting for, but have been fearful of how to do it all – I can help. These two options, along with great attention to detail, hand-holding, and careful planning have helped many people make these exciting transitions. It is my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions. Please contact me if you would like further information on how this might work for you or someone you know.

Are you curious how the different areas of Western Washington are thriving in today’s real estate market?  From San Juan County to Snohomish County, this report has it all! Including reports on pricing, sales rates and employment levels, Matthew Gardner, Windermere’s Chief Economist and nationally sought-after expert in real estate, shares his quarterly findings on the Western Washington real estate market. Read the full report here.
Find a Farmers Market
When you shop at a local Farmers Market, you’re buying outstanding freshness, quality and flavor. Knowing exactly where your food comes from and how it was grown provides peace of mind for your family. Plus, you’re supporting a sustainable regional food system that helps small family farms stay in business; protects land from development, and provides the community with fresh, healthy food. Find one near you!
Thank you for another successful shred day!

Two full truckloads of paper were safely shredded and recycled.

We love providing this service for our clients, friends and neighbors, but what we’re really excited about is how you all gave back to the community. Your donations provided 585 pounds of food and $543 to benefit Concern for Neighbors food bank.  Thank you!

Do you want to be “In the Know” in your neighborhood? Sign up for a monthly overview of what’s happening in the zip code(s) of your choice. Neighborhood News is a great tool to stay informed about the home values and activity in your own backyard or to study a new market you may be interested in. Click here to sign up on my website.
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Posted on May 11, 2017 at 9:12 am
Jen Bowman | Category: eNewsletter, Real Estate News