West Seattle Home News

Local W. Seattle real estate news, statistics, and insight.

Aug. 10, 2018

Four Questions to Ask About a New Neighborhood

 

After what might feel like an eternity searching, you’ve found the perfect house. Everything about it is tailor-made for your family—a generous layout, ample storage space, and just the right sized yard. Keep in mind, however, that you aren’t just moving into the house—you’re also moving into the neighborhood it’s situated in. So before you submit your offer, make sure you ask the following questions about your potential new neighborhood:

  1. Does it fit my lifestyle? Living in the suburbs has its perks, but what if you’re the sort of person that enjoys the nightlife? You won’t find much to do several miles from downtown, and you may not want to drive out of your way every time you want to grab a drink with friends. Conversely, a downtown home might not be near the ideal school district, which can be a huge factor if you’re raising young ones. Once you’ve figured out if the neighborhood you’re looking into reflects your lifestyle, take a look at its crime rates to make sure it’s safe.
  2. Is it convenient? Life isn’t all play. Keep in mind where your new home would be in relation to your daily commute, necessity stores, and services like banks or gas stations. You may be surprised how much a lack of convenience an affect your quality of life. No matter how good a home is, it won’t feel like a win if you’re spending so many extra hours tracking down a decent grocery store.
  3. How will it change? Neighborhoods aren’t static. With people moving in and out, businesses rising and falling, and the inevitable expansion and reorganization of urban areas, there are countless opportunities for any neighborhood to change. With a little research, you can find some of the changes that are coming to a specific neighborhood. Something as simple as a new stoplight can significantly alter traffic flow near your new home, which may be disruptive or unsafe for kids. On the flipside, a new shopping center nearby may alter some convenience issues the neighborhood currently faces. Take all the potentials into consideration before laying your money down.
  4. Are there regulations? Some areas have homeowners associations that limit aesthetic and functional changes to homes in the area, in order to preserve the overall real estate value and quality of life in the neighborhood. Make sure you’re aware of any regulations and are able to be compliant with them before committing to moving in.

 

Make sure your real estate agent knows what you’re looking for in a neighborhood. They can help narrow down the options to a home that works for you in an area that suits your lifestyle and specific needs.

Posted in Buying A Home
Aug. 10, 2018

Six Tips to Save Money When Moving

 

Moving is often a stressful process, not least of all because of the associated costs. Whether you’re a Seattle homeowner who’s made the big move before, or a new homeowner finally starting out on their own, there are several great ways to cut the costs of moving and make the whole process more bearable. Below are just some of the great ways to save a few dollars when moving.

  1. Ask for help: Moving is a great time to cash in on any favors you may have accumulated amongst friends, coworkers, or family members. For the low cost of free (or maybe some pizza when it’s all over), you’ll be surprised what all you can get accomplished. Assistance may come in the form of extra hands, free boxes, more vehicles, or a sitter for pets or kids that may get underfoot during the process. Make sure to remember your “thank you”s at the end!
  2. Toss what you can: Moving is a great time to downsize and consider what all you actually need. Go through your stuff as you pack and set aside anything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, or you forgot you had and really don’t need. It might surprise you how much stuff you’ve accumulated that you really don’t need. The less you have to move, the less time and effort you’ll spend getting everything relocated.
  3. Select a good “when”: Depending on your situation, you may want to select a weekday moving date, or a weekend one. A weekend date will cost more if you use a moving company, but for many people it won’t interfere with work schedules, and taking a day off to move may be an issue. On the other hand, you may be able to take the time off to move when it’s less hectic amongst other movers. There’s no perfect answer for the best moving day, so consider your own calendar before making a decision.
  4. Never pay for boxes: Between grocery stores, liquor shops, and many other retail locations, it’s very easy to receive free boxes rather than purchasing them from U-Haul. Besides free cardboard options, your house is probably filled with items that can be used as alternative packing supplies. Creatively utilize suitcases, drawers, trash cans, and baskets to move what you can. Additionally necessary fabrics can be used as cushioning for fragile materials—just remember that those items will be wrinkles and inconvenient when you get to the other end of the move!
  5. Consider tax deductions and job relocating: This point is primarily for those making a cross-country move. If you’re relocating for work, your new job may be willing to pay a portion of your moving expenses, so don’t be afraid to ask. Depending on your new job and housing situation, you may be eligible for tax deductions, so keep all receipts pertaining to the move and consult with a tax professional to check eligibility.
  6. Use mail wisely: You may want to consider using several mail-order systems for your move. Having food delivered to your new home come moving day will save you from buying takeout when your appliances aren’t ready to cook, and will mean one less headache when you get to your new home. Also, consider shipping your books and media to yourself. A 20-pound box of books costs around $12 to ship via USPS media mail, which may be cheaper than getting them professionally moved.
  7. Shop around: If you do need to use a professional moving company, check your options. Ask other movers if they’ll match a quoted price, request a fixed price instead of an estimate, and keep in mind what you can do for free (packing, for example) to give yourself a reduced cost for the rest of the process.

 

Moving is a hassle no matter how much it costs, but many headaches can be relieved by taking out as many costs as possible. If you’re looking to move in Seattle, make sure you explore all your cost-cutting options. Who knows—you may find some tips not included here that can save you even more!

Aug. 9, 2018

West Seattle Home Sales for July 2018

How is the real estate market doing in West Seattle? Here is a chart of the active number of single family residence homes for sale per month over the last 15 months including the closed sales and and transactions pending closing for those same months.

West Seattle Homes Sold July 2018

 

In July 2018, 257 homes came available for purchase in West Seattle. This is 112 homes more than July 2017 or roughly a 77% increase in housing inventory. Closed home sales in the month of July 2018 were 153 compared to 196 during the same period the previous year.

West Seattle home inventory growth also existed in the months of May and June this year which is a reversal compared to the last few years as we saw inventory shrink creating one of the strongest seller's market in modern real estate history. 

So what is happening? Basically, the supply of homes in West Seattle is increasing at the same time demand is slightly slowing. A decrease in demand is normal in late summer as buyers start to focus on vacations and getting settled for "back-to-school" changes. If anything we are moving toward a more balanced market; supply matching demand. This is good shift for buyers. It is still much too early to determine if this "balancing" is temporary or the beginning of a cooling off period for the Seattle real estate market.

Posted in Sales Trends
Aug. 9, 2018

How Long Does It Take To Sell A Home?

When you’re ready to make a move, the last thing you want is a lengthy transition and the uncertainty that comes with it. While things rarely go perfectly, one of the biggest factors that determines a move is how long it takes for your current home to sell. This can affect the money available to buy a new home, the move-out date, and a whole host of other aspects of a move. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared for the time it will take for your home to sell. The question then becomes, how long will that be?

The short answer is, of course, that it depends. A house is sold based on more than just its price, or how big it is. Location, amenities, condition, and the relationship between the buyer and seller are all important factors when determining how quickly a home will sell. Overall, a home that is in good condition, in a good neighborhood, and priced fairly should sell quickly. Of course, that still doesn’t touch on how long it will actually take.

The current market is exceedingly favorable to sellers. July 2018 the average number of days a house spent on the market was only 20 days for the region of King, Snohomish an Pierce counties. This is a remarkably low number, and the average days on the market have been low (30 days, give or take) for some time now. Furthermore, the Seattle area is currently one of the most desirable locations for housing, so the time your property spends on the market may be much lower than the average. Therefore, if you’re selling a home in the near future, be prepared for a brisk change of hands.

Of course, the other factors still apply, and the amount of effort it will take to make your particular home sell best will add some time to the overall process. Regardless of the market, it’s important for your house to put its best foot forward, so to speak. Talk to your real estate professional about what will make your own home sell quickest, and be prepared for some surprises along the way.

If you’d like t know more about how your home would take to sell please contact me. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. 

 

David Warren

Metropolist - Managing Broker

 

425-760-8285 / david@metropolistgroup.com

 

Aug. 3, 2018

8 Things Every Seattle Home Buyer Should Consider

 

 

Buying a home in Seattle is mostly the same as buying a home anywhere else in the country, but there are a couple quirks that make the process in the Seattle area unique. That being said, here is a list of eight things every buyer should think about when shopping for a Seattle home:

 

  1. Finances First: Resist the urge to place bids before you have everything in order financially. Get your credit and loan opportunities figured out in advance, and make sure you’re looking into smart money and not just easy money. Getting pre-approved and having your financial situation under control at the start of the process will allow you to make smarter decisions and save you from money problems later on.
  2. The Inventory Issue: A recent report from real estate information company Trulia states inventory in the Seattle area has declined by 66% in the last five years. Demand, however, is not declining, so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get into the Seattle market. That’s not to say it’s impossible. However, be prepared to face stiff competition in the market, and expect some surprises to come your way.
  3. Shop for the Future: When looking for your dream home, consider where you might be in five years, if not longer. Do you plan on getting married or having children? Does wanderlust keep you eager to change locations? Do you want a forever home now, or do you see yourself trading up a few times? The perfect home for today may not be the perfect home for your future life, so keep that in mind when deciding what home to buy and how much to pay for it.
  4. Location, Location, Location: You’ve heard that repetition a hundred times, but it can’t be stressed enough how valuable a good location is for a home. School districts, proximity to entertainment or necessities, and neighborhoods are all huge things to think about before making a purchase. On a smaller scale, don’t ignore the very land your potential home sits on. A great yard can make for a much more pleasant living experience, so give the greenery a good once-over before you buy.
  5. Be Serious About Inspections: It’s vital to get as much information as you can about the house you are going to purchase, and a lot of that will come from thorough inspections from reputable inspectors. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper in the inspection process. Knowing more about the flaws of the home may give you some leverage in the negotiation process, or you may uncover a deal-breaker that will save you from major headaches down the line had it gone unnoticed. 
  6. Take It Slow: While the actual transaction of buying a home can feel like it’s moving at a breakneck pace, it’s important not to rush into buying a home you’re not confident in. Take your time when shopping to find something that really feels right for you, both personally and emotionally. When the time finally does come to finalize the purchase, the extra time you spent making the right choice will really pay off.
  7. Negotiate Well: Having a great real estate agent on your side will make all the difference when getting down to business in the buying phase. With the decreased inventory in the Seattle housing market causing unexpected changes and competition, expect plenty of curveballs and surprises to show up along the way to your dream home. You may need to make some creative decisions with your bidding and negotiations. Being light on your feet and willing to roll with the punches will allow you to weather the storm of the Seattle housing market and come out with a great home at a reasonable price.
  8. Don’t Forget the Fees: Buying a home isn’t as simple as just providing a down payment and paying the monthly mortgage. Be prepared for taxes, insurance, fees associated with buying, maintenance and repairs, and a whole host of other costs, both seen and unforeseen. Make no mistake—buying and owning a home is not cheap. But preparing yourself beforehand will go a long way to making home ownership feel manageable.

 

With these tips in mind, buying a home in Seattle should feel a lot less intimidating. There will still be plenty of challenges on the road to home ownership, but a level head filled with the right information, plus a great real estate agent and a little luck, will ensure you’ll get the house you’ve always wanted, at the right price.

 

If you have a question about purchasing a home please ask. I’m always happy to help in any way that I can.

 

David Warren

Managing Broker | Realtor

Metropolist

 

425-760-8285 / david@metropolistgroup.com

 

Posted in Buying A Home
Aug. 1, 2018

How to Price Your Home

It should go without saying, but the price of a home is one of the most important factors in determining its salability. Regardless of location, condition, or size, the price is how a customer decides what pros and cons are the most important. The price will be the deciding factor on what a customer can live without, and what they absolutely need. So, naturally, determining a fair price is important. As the owner, however, you don’t want to undercut your own profit. Pricing is an important and tricky topic, but hopefully these thinking points will give you a foundation to build off.

 

  1. Local market: Take a look at how homes in your area have sold over the last three months, as well as active sales. Keep the search within about a half-mile radius of your own home, and pay attention to any location changes that may affect value—proximity to busy roads, view, school district divisions, and any other variables that can help explain price discrepancies. When you have an idea about recent comps (comparable properties), check to see how their listing prices differed from their final selling prices. This will help gauge the demand for your area, as well as suggest whether homes were valued properly or not.
  2. Size matters: It’s real easy to compare your home to a similar home that just sold and assume that if it sold for X then you should be able to sell your home for X as well. The biggest pricing mistake sellers make is not taking into consideration total square footage when comparing homes. If the average comparable home is selling for $300/SQFT and the comparable home you are using is 200 SQFT larger than yours, then its realistic to assume your home could be valued $60,000 less. 
  3. Condition and age: Be honest about your home’s condition. It’s naive to think buyers will not notice. Either correct the material defects before listing the home for sale or make an adjustment to your list price to reflect the homes true state. The age of a home’s main features like the kitchen and bathroom finishes should factor in as well. Appraisers consider home finishes older than 10 years dated and of less value than a newly remodeled home. 
  4. Marketable colors: It’s very common for some homeowners to make a home uniquely theirs with colorful paint and carpet choices and flashy backsplash tiles, but when it comes time to sell, your desire for the dramatic may work against you. The majority of buyers prefer neutral, modern colors and the few that like strong, bold color choices will probably want something that is unique to their personality. To a buyer there is a huge psychological difference between having to make color changes and wanting to make changes. If neutralizing your home color palette is not an option make a list price adjustment to reflect the estimated costs a buyer might have to incur to make the changes after closing.   
  5. Learn from others’ mistakes: During your research, you will probably come across several red flags from other sales. Pay attention to homes that did not sell, and consider what factors may have been involved in this result. Additionally, look at how the prices of other sales changed over time. While cutting the price is not in itself a bad thing, it’s telling if a house went through several markdowns before finally selling.
  6. Consider the number: Retailers have learned that a product for sale at $1.99 has a much greater psychological appeal than then same product priced at $2.00. Store owners know that consumers have a tendency to mentally drop off the .99 cents when they make quick decisions on price. This type of psychological pricing does work, but I advise against it when pricing a home. There is another major factor to consider when setting a price especially if you are valued near a major price milestone. Buyers generally search for homes within a set ideal price range and may easily miss your home when searching. For example, if your home is valued roughly around $525,000 consider listing at $525,000 rather than $524,950. This way you will also get the attention of buyers starting their search at $525,000 and looking upward and not just the ones maxing out at $525,000. 
  7. Don’t be afraid of change: If you find that, after all your research, you’re still not getting any bites, don’t worry. Correcting the price may be necessary due to some factor you didn’t consider. Of course, your real estate professional will help guide you if this is the case, and with the market being as seller-friendly as it is, a change in price will probably not be necessary if you prepared correctly. Furthermore, when the purchase offers come in, try to not be intimidated. Lean on your real estate professional and consider their advice. After all, they’re paid to help you make the best sale possible!
  8. Professional opinions: Some homes are just hard to find comparable homes when trying to establish a value. Using the services of a professional real estate broker or local appraiser may be the best option. You can have a seasoned pro take a look at your home at whatever stage you’re ready to bring them in. A real estate broker’ services are generally free to a seller if the seller uses them to list the property for sale. A professional appraiser may charge up to $1,000 for their professional appraisal report. This might a viable option if you tend to sell the home on your own without the help of a professional real estate broker. The cost of an appraisal may be much less that the unwitting loss of grossly under valuing your property when you list it for sale.

 

Pricing a home is part art, part science. While you can do all the research in the world, a proper sale will also take some finesse and creativity. If you'd like the opinion of a professional Seattle real estate broker to help you determine the value and marketability of your home please contact me any time. I'm always happy to help.

 

David Warren

Managing Broker | METROPOLIST 

425-760-8285

david@metropolistgroup.com

 

July 20, 2016

Seattle Building Boom

New construction is everywhere in Seattle! From giant office complexes and new hotels to single family residences and multifamily condominiums construction cranes can be seen from just about any street corner.
So far this year, 700 residences have been built around the city. There are 8,600 more residential units scheduled to be built through 2017 and 20,000 more currently being considered for future development.
Here is the crazy part - these construction numbers still don't solve our housing availability problem let alone the affordability aspect of it.
Posted in Sales Trends
July 19, 2016

The Booming Rental Market

 

Is the next great real estate opportunity investing in rental properties?

 

Harvard University recently published a report of the rental market in the United States. This study included rental-market trends over the last decade and predictions for the next ten years. One of the most surprising facts from the study is that renting a home has become a more common option for almost all types of Americans.

 

Is the next great real estate opportunity investing in rental properties? Harvard University recently published a report of the rental market in the United States. This study included rental-market trends over the last decade and predictions for the next ten years. One of the most surprising facts from the study is that renting a home has become a more common option for almost all types of Americans.

 

These are some of the results found in the report:

 

  • The number of renters increased for people with all levels of household incomes.
  • The number of renters increased for since people, couples, and parents with children.
  • The number of single-family houses that have been converted to rental units also increased.

 

Rising Rent Costs in Most Cities

This housing study also looked at America’s largest rental markets. Three out of four of the biggest population centers had vacancy rates of less than five percent. Typically, 95 percent occupancy is considered full occupancy by property management professionals. Only one out of the 75 biggest markets had a vacancy rate that was over 7 percent.

 

Because vacancy rates are low and demand is high, property owners have been steadily increasing rents. While renting has become popular with people in different economic classes, it may be the only choice for people with modest incomes. The main concern of the study was not that landlords would have trouble finding people to lease properties but that people with lower incomes would be unable to find affordable housing in many parts of the county.

 

Will the Rental Boom Continue?

The study predicted an even greater demand for rental apartments and houses in the next decade. The baby boomer generation is now aging into senior citizens. The authors of the study believed that many seniors would choose to sell their houses in order to cash out their home equity and enjoy the simplicity of renting.

 

If the predictions in this study are correct, many of those sold homes will get converted to rentals. This is because upcoming generations don’t seem as eager to buy a house as their parents or grandparents once were. The study cited higher levels of student loan debt and tighter qualification rules for mortgages as some possible reasons.  

 

Even though both small and large investors have been supplying more inventory to satis the needs of all kinds of renters, the supply is not keeping up with the demand in some places. The next great real estate opportunity in the United States might be an investment in rental property. Vacancies are very low and rental prices are rising. Of course, markets differ across the country and even in different parts of the same city, so wise investors should do their research.

 

July 18, 2016

Seattle Urban Villages are the New Planned Communities

Planning on selling your rural McMansion to finance your retirement? You might want to rethink that plan. Your home may not be as valuable as you hope when the time comes.
More than half of Americans would be willing to pay more for a home closer to the city and mass transit than one further out. The Millennial generation is definitely making their interest to live an auto-free life known. They are much less willing to put up with traffic congestion than Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers. Nearly 70 percent of Millennials want to live near an easy access transit line into major employment and entertainments areas, such as downtown Seattle.
Developers have been aware of this shift in housing interest for some time and have been focusing on building Transit Orientated Developments (TODs). These urban villages are generally mixed use developments that include apartment or condo style housing and retail spaces for restaurants, shopping and personal services.
Fifty-Five percent of Americans favor changes to land use zoning to allow for more urban villages built along transit access lines. The trick purchasing might be to figure out where mass transit is going to be in the future and invest there before it becomes popular.
Posted in Buying A Home
July 8, 2016

How to Buy A Home in a Hot Seller's Market

Posted in Buying A Home