Seattle-area home market heats up yet again, leading the country for 17th straight month

Seattle kicked off 2018 the same way it spent the prior year and a half, as the hottest real-estate market in the country, with no slowing down.

The cost of the typical single-family house across the Seattle metro area grew 12.9 percent in January from a year prior, according to the monthly Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

It’s the 17th month in a row that Seattle has led the country in home-price increases. That’s a record for Seattle and the longest streak for any metro area since San Francisco’s 20-month run that ended in 2001.

Fastest-rising home prices compared with a year ago

1. Seattle +12.9 percent

2. Las Vegas +11.1 percent

3. San Francisco +10.2 percent

4. Denver +7.6 percent

5. Los Angeles +7.6 percent

Source: Case-Shiller home-price index

There is, yet again, no sign that Seattle’s seemingly never-ending market surge is letting up — just the opposite.

Driven by an uptick in cost for starter homes, price growth has started to accelerate slightly again after having stayed steady at 12.7 percent for the previous few months.

And compared to just a month ago, home values grew 0.7 percent. That’s tied for the most in the country, and the biggest month-over-month increase locally since last summer.

Prices don’t usually go up that much here in the winter. Adjusting for the season, the price growth over the last month was triple the U.S. average.

The biggest jump occurred in the cheapest homes in the area — those that are generally in the outlying areas of the region, and smaller, starter homes. Those houses cost 14.1 percent more than a year ago, the second-biggest increase in four years.

The local market has been getting more and more expensive for six straight years now. Over that span, prices have soared a total of 82 percent. Since the old bubble high a decade ago, prices are up 22 percent across the entire metro area, and much more in King County.

It’s a seller’s market in the rest of the country, as well.

Las Vegas and San Francisco rounded out the top three, as they did the month before. The 11.1 percent annual increase in Las Vegas was the same as the month before, after having surged up for the last several months. San Francisco’s growth of 10.2 percent is the highest in years for the city.

Nationally, prices were up 6.2 percent, down slightly from a multiyear high reached the previous month.

The current median price of a single-family house in Seattle is at an all-time high of $777,000, while on the Eastside, it’s a record $950,000. In Snohomish County, the typical house costs a record $485,000, and in Pierce County, homes are going for $325,000, also the most ever.

Prices continue to swell as the local population surges across the metro area while the number of homes for sale has slid to the lowest level in decades, creating feverish competition among homebuyers. Total for-sale inventory across the metro area is down 20 percent just in the past year, which is double the national decline, according to Zillow.

 With the spring homebuying season gearing up, there should be an uptick in new listings in the coming weeks, and with it, more buyers coming out of the woodwork. Prices typically rise in the spring, and brokers are expecting more of the same this year.

The only good news for buyers is that mortgage interest rates have started to level off after trending up in the previous couple of months. The average 30-year fixed rate in Seattle on Tuesday was 4.3 percent, the same as it was at the beginning of March.

But that’s still up from 3.8 percent at the start of the year and is the highest interest rate in four years. The higher rates have added $65,000 to the long-term cost of a mortgage loan on the typical Seattle house.

Rosenberg, Mike “Seattle-area home market heats up yet again, leading country for 17th straight month” Seattletimes.com, Seattle Times March 27, 2018 https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-area-home-market-heats-up-yet-again-leading-the-country-for-17th-straight-month/
Posted on March 28, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged , ,

House hunters, be wary: 7 seemingly small flaws may point to a money pit

Annemarie Kill and her husband, John Duffy, spent thousands of dollars trying to repair their Oak Park home’s wood-burning fireplace before abandoning the effort and installing a gas fireplace. In a former home, they’d been hit with thousands of dollars of unexpected repairs. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

When Annemarie Kill and her husband, John Duffy, bought their first house in Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood in 2003, the duo knew it needed some cosmetic work — in fact, they were excited to redo the bathrooms and kitchen to make the home their own.

Little did they realize that the back of the house had been sinking for the last 75 years, and they would spend hundreds of thousands on unexpected construction. Their inspector hadn’t uncovered the rotting wood posts supporting the back of the house; the couple had no idea they’d eventually have to pour in new concrete to fix the issue, or that they’d have to replace the posts and jack up the back of the house a bit each week, causing the new windows and tile floors they’d installed to crack.

So when Kill and Duffy — along with their two children, now 11 and 14 — were house hunting in Oak Park in 2014, Kill said, they were determined not to land another money pit.

“We got our dream house,” said Kill, a divorce attorney. They got an inspector, too, but didn’t realize they should also consult someone who specialized in fireplace inspections. As it turned out, the lining inside their wood-burning fireplace was falling apart, as was the top of the chimney. If they lit a fire, they could get carbon monoxide poisoning.

A few months after buying the home — and $20,000 later — Kill, 48, and Duffy, 49, were forced to convert their wood-burning fireplace into a gas fireplace.

“It was just like dominoes falling,” Kill said of the fireplace issue.

It would be helpful to know about money pits well before you fall in love with a home, spend the money on an inspector — costs vary depending on the size and age of the home and the region, but a typical inspection can ring up between $300 and $500, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — and before you start to take on the major projects.

Regular people — that is, those who don’t know anything about construction or inspections — can spot a potential money pit the first time they tour a house. We spoke to realty agents, an inspector and a contractor who shared exactly what to look for.

“While many people tend to look at the pretty aspects of a house, there are many issues that can make it a money pit,” said Jerry Grodesky, managing broker at Farm and Lake Houses Real Estate in Loda, Ill.

Grodesky once looked at a 1960s brick home with a client who had already visited the house with another agent. “We got to see cracking foundation and a rusty electrical box, amongst other issues,” he said. “I sobered the buyer up that the pretty kitchen was not worth the price with all the potential issues that a home inspector might find.”

Experts suggest that buyers keep their eyes peeled for these flaws, which hint at more dire problems.

Doors that don’t close properly. This — or a crack in the foundation, or uneven steps leading into the home — can signal that the home has settled, and you have an uneven foundation, said Joe Taylor, contractor and owner of Chicago-based Taylor Construction. Most commonly, foundation problems can allow water to easily enter the home, leading to water damage. But an uneven foundation also could mean that the house will need to have concrete pumped into the slab (officially called concrete leveling or mudjacking) to bring the home back up to level and fix the water issues. Pipes also may need to be repaired, along with anything else that is altered during the settling or movement. “It’s a mess,” Taylor said. A cracked foundation could lead to damages that might cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $20,000, according to Taylor.

Discoloration. Water is your home’s No. 1 enemy, said Steve Nations, owner of Nations Home Inspections, based in Oak Park. “If you could keep your house dry, at least the parts that are supposed to be dry, then it’ll last for a long time,” Nations said. “If it gets wet, it’ll go downhill fast.” To easily spot water damage, Nations said to look at all the walls and ceilings, trying to spot any discoloration — yellow spots on a white wall — that might signal a water leak. In the basement, scan the bottoms of walls for any signs of water leaks. While you’re down there, take a deep breath. Do you smell any hint of mold or mustiness? That odor could point to a water problem, Nations said.

Bad water pressure. Run the water in every bathroom sink. “Or even better, run the water at the sink and at the tub or shower at the same time,” Nations said. “Is the water pressure good?” Plenty of older houses with old, galvanized steel water pipes have bad water pressure that can only be fixed with a costly upgrade to copper pipes.

Uneven stairs. Pay attention to these. In a flight of stairs, all the riser heights should be the same, as should all the tread depths. “In my experience, if the carpenter didn’t get the stairs right, then he probably messed up plenty of other things that are likely to come back to haunt you later,” Nations said.

Windows that don’t open. Very old double-hung windows are often hard to open, Nations said. And plenty of casement windows (the kind that are hinged on the side and have to be cranked open) that are only 15 to 20 years old have problems with the crank mechanism that makes them very hard to open and close, he added. Replacement windows can be pricey, costing up to $1,000 each.

Dead trees. If any of the trees on the property don’t have leaves in the spring, summer or fall, they may be dead. “Something as simple as a dead tree in a yard in the spring and summer months may not seem like a big deal, but the reason it died could tell another story,” said Kristin Trzoski, realty agent with Prime Real Estate, based in Northwest Indiana. Have beetles or ants taken over the tree? Those have plenty of strength in numbers, and they can put the integrity of the tree in danger, causing it to fall over and cause damage to the home. An arborist should be able to offer a free or low-cost inspection to let you know if the tree needs to go — and why. “Something as simple as knocking down a tree may be in order for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to prevent future mishaps,” Trzoski said. Also, making sure those insects haven’t infested the home is important, and isn’t always easy to know right away, she said.

An uneven floor. Many older homes have uneven floors, which could point to settlement or other issues — even termites, Grodesky said. Typical home inspectors won’t be able to determine the exact cause of the uneven floors. Potential buyers should seek out a structural engineer before purchasing, Grodesky said — that’s the only way to know for certain if there are big problems in store.

Braff, Danielle “House Hounters, be wary: 7 seemingly smh flaws may point to a money pit” ChicagoTribune.com, Chicago Tribune March 7, 2018 http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-0311-money-pits-20180307-story.html

Posted on March 8, 2018 at 1:28 am
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged ,

Home prices surge 6.3% in December amid critical housing shortage

Sky-high demand and record-low supply continued to push home prices higher in December, far faster than income growth.

U.S. home prices increased 6.3 percent compared with December 2016, according to the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home prices index. That is an increase from 6.1 percent annual growth in the previous month.

The index measuring the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan markets rose 6.3 percent year over year, a slight decline from the 6.4 percent annual gain in November.

“The rise in home prices should be causing the same nervous wonder aimed at the stock market after its recent bout of volatility,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Across the 20 cities covered by S&P Corelogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices, the average increase from the financial crisis low is 62 percent; over the same period, inflation was 12.4 percent. Even considering the recovery from the financial crisis, we are experiencing a boom in home prices.”

The boom is strongest in Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco, which reported the highest gains. Chicago, Cleveland and Washington, D.C., saw the smallest gains. None of the top 20 markets saw an annual price decline.

This index is drawn from a three-month running average of repeat-sale closings ended in December, so it represents deals made last fall. Mortgage rates began rising at the start of 2018, which could put downward pressure on home prices, although strong demand heading into the spring will be a formidable force.

“While the price increases do not suggest any weakening of demand, mortgage rates rose from 4 percent to 4.4 percent since the start of the year,” added Blitzer. “It is too early to tell if the housing recovery is slowing. If it is, some moderation in price gains could be seen later this year.”

Sales of both newly built and existing homes fell in January, although home prices were still higher. Prices usually lag sales, but, again, the historic home shortage could upend normal trends.

Click, Diana “Home prices surge 6.3% in December amid critical housing shortage” CNBC.com, CNBC 27, Feb.2018 https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/27/home-prices-surge-amid-critical-housing-shortage.html

Posted on March 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged , , ,

U.S. mortgage applications fall as home loan rates hit four-year high: MBA

FILE PHOTO: A ‘House For Sale’ sign is seen outside a single family house in Uniondale, New York, U.S., May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

 

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. mortgage application activity fell to its lowest in five weeks as interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate home loans jumped to their highest in four years, the Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday.

The Washington-based industry group’s index on mortgage request volume fell 4.1 percent to 399.4 in the week Feb. 9. This was the lowest reading since 390.2 in the Jan. 5 week.

Average interest rates on 30-year conforming mortgages, or loans whose balances are $453,100 or less, rose to 4.57 percent, up 7 basis points from the previous week. This was highest since January 2014.

Other 30-year mortgage rates on average were up 7 basis points to 8 basis points on the week, while average 15-year mortgage rates reached 4.00 percent, the highest since April 2011.

Home loan rates have increased in line with U.S. bond yields on concerns about rising inflation and reduced stimulus from central banks amid an improving global economy.

On Monday, benchmark 10-year Treasury yield <US10YT=RR> hit a four-year peak at 2.902 percent, Reuters data showed.

MBA’s mortgage purchase index, seen as a proxy on future home sales, fell to 240.4 last week, down 5.9 percent, which marked its steepest weekly decline in more than three months.

The group’s barometer on refinancing applications fell 1.9 percent to 1,274.

Long, Richard “U.S. mortgage application fall as home loan rates hit four-year high:MBA” Reuters, Reuters 14, Feb. 2018 https://flipboard.com/topic/realestate/u.s.-mortgage-applications-fall-as-home-loan-rates-hit-four-year-high%3A-mba/a-KeU7NomFREWUGKQwJaygRQ%3Aa%3A3197430-4af3108714%2Freuters.com

Posted on February 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged ,

Valentine’s Day Dinner in Seattle: 2017 Edition

Kusshi oysters hix5b1

Heartwood Provisions: all the oysters

IMAGE: SUZI PRATT

Under $50

Southpaw

An all-day classic rom-com screening complete with spicy southpaw pizza for $22 each

Big Mario’s

The New York–style pizzeria will deliver a heart-shaped pizza-gram and a red rose to that special someone upon request

$50 to $75

Young American Ale House

$50 for three courses of Maria Hines’s American classics with a twist—a rabbit turnover or slow-roasted beef check, for instance—with optional wine and beer pairings

Bitter/Raw

John Sundstrom’s casual bar offers an alternative dining experience for the holiday: a communal meal for $55 and naturally, bitters-based cocktails available to order

Bramling Cross

A $55 meal with a choice of dynamite chicken or gulf prawns

Luc
A three-course meal for $60, with an optional wine pairing. And on the sharable menu: côte de boeuf with pommes soufflé and potato gratin for $110

Ray’s Boathouse

Against an Olympic mountain backdrop, Ray’s serves three courses for $60, along with its regular menu

Cafe Presse

A three-course, preorder meal for two (and a chance to avoid the crowds) for $63, with optional additions: a bottle of wine and a bag of housemade butter caramels

Artusi

Cascina Spinasse’s sister aperitivo bar offers four courses for $65, and an optional wine pairing

Fresh Bistro
$65, four-courses, and a glass of Jané Ventura sparkling cava for pairing

Piatti

A $65 three-course, take-home meal and seasonal specials offered in-house

Urbane

A four-course meal for $65, concluding with a slice of champagne cheesecake

Raccolto

$70 for three courses, including enticing sharables of squid ink risotto and seared hamachi

Agrodolce
A sharable three-course menu of Southern Italian fare (with a four-course vegetarian option) for $75

Cafe Flora

Four courses of enticing vegetarian specials (like chickpea socca fritters) for $75

Mamnoon
$75 per person for a Middle Eastern feast served family style, and an optional wine pairing

Vendemmia
The $75 three-course meal commences with shared plates of foie gras torchon and sunchoke soup

$80 to $100

Loulay

An $85 four-course meal elevated by French delicacies of caviar and foie gras

Tilth

Four courses of organic Northwest ingredients—in a smoked heirloom bean cassoulet, for instance—for $85, with an optional wine pairing

Lots of Ethan Stowell Restaurants 
$85 dinners at Marine Hardware, Anchovies and Olives, How to Cook a Wolf, Mkt., Red Cow, Rione XIII, Staple and Fancy, and both Travolàta locations

Mbar

Your choice of five courses of globally tweaked specials, plus soaring views for $90

Copperleaf Restaurant
$95 for a romantic, Northwest-inspired six-course meal, with optional wine pairings

Heartwood Provisions

To celebrate Valentine’s Day (and its one-year anniversary), Heartwood Provisions offers five courses of kusshi oysters and filet mignon for $95

Miller’s Guild

A $95 five-course meal of wood-grilled specialties and a glass of sparkling wine

Volunteer Park Café

An intimate dinner of luxe treats for $95, with an optional wine pairing

$100 and Up

Cascina Spinasse

Six courses of hearty Italian fare—braised rabbit tortellini, for instance—for $100

Circadia
Four courses for $100 including “50 shades of Beef” (butter-braised short rib), and an optional wine pairing

Hitchcock

Bainbridge Island’s locavorian eatery offers a $100 eight-course array of meat and seafood: island-raised pork, spiced squab, and Mediterranean mussels

RN74

A $105 tasting menu, with optional bubbles for pairing and elevations of foie gras and shaved black truffle

Eden Hill

$115 for five courses of enticingly novel Valentine’s Day fare; enjoy a date of wild boar rack in fermented pomme fondant, or nibble on the mignardises-candied flower bouquet

Lark

Four-courses (your choice) for $115, topped off with Oaxacan chocolate churros

Le Petit Cochon
A five-course meal of creative aphrodisiacs starting with an oyster amuse bouche for $120, and an optional libations pairing

The Herbfarm

The 9-course feast comprises Northwest-inspired fare and paired wines for $225–$285 per person

Kidder, Jane “Valentine’s Day Dinner in Seattle : 2017 Edition – De Oliveira Group” Seattle Met, Seattle Met Magazine 30 Jan. 2017 https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2017/1/30/valentine-s-day-dinner-in-seattle-2017-edition

Posted on February 8, 2018 at 5:04 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Western Washington Real Estate Market Update

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The Washington State economy added 104,600 new jobs over the past 12 months. This impressive growth rate of 3.1% is well above the national rate of 1.4%. Interestingly, the slowdown we saw through most of the second half of the year reversed in the fall, and we actually saw more robust employment growth.

Growth continues to be broad-based, with expansion in all major job sectors other than aerospace due to a slowdown at Boeing.

With job creation, the state unemployment rate stands at 4.5%, essentially indicating that the state is close to full employment. Additionally, all counties contained within this report show unemployment rates below where they were a year ago.

I expect continued economic expansion in Washington State in 2018; however, we are likely to see a modest slowdown, which is to be expected at this stage in the business cycle.

HOME SALES ACTIVITY

  • There were 22,325 home sales during the final quarter of 2017. This is an increase of 3.7% over the same period in 2016.
  • Jefferson County saw sales rise the fastest relative to fourth quarter of 2016, with an impressive increase of 22.8%. Six other counties saw double-digit gains in sales. A lack of listings impacted King and Skagit Counties, where sales fell.
  • Housing inventory was down by 16.2% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, and down by 17.3% from last quarter. This isn’t terribly surprising since we typically see a slowdown as we enter the winter months. Pending home sales rose by 4.1% over the third quarter of 2017, suggesting that closings in the first quarter of 2018 should be robust.
  • The takeaway from this data is that listings remain at very low levels and, unfortunately, I don’t expect to see substantial increases in 2018. The region is likely to remain somewhat starved for inventory for the foreseeable future.

HOME PRICES

  • Because of low inventory in the fall of 2017, price growth was well above long-term averages across Western Washington. Year-over-year, average prices rose 12% to $466,726.
  • Economic vitality in the region is leading to a demand for housing that far exceeds supply. Given the relative lack of newly constructed homes—something that is unlikely to change any time soon—there will continue to be pressure on the resale market. This means home prices will rise at above-average rates in 2018.
  • Compared to the same period a year ago, price growth was most pronounced in Lewis County, where home prices were 18.8% higher than a year ago. Eleven additional counties experienced double-digit price growth as well.
  • Mortgage rates in the fourth quarter rose very modestly, but remained below the four percent barrier. Although I anticipate rates will rise in 2018, the pace will be modest. My current forecast predicts an average 30-year rate of 4.4% in 2018—still remarkably low when compared to historic averages.

DAYS ON MARKET

  • The average number of days it took to sell a home in the fourth quarter dropped by eight days, compared to the same quarter of 2016.
  • King County continues to be the tightest market in Western Washington, with homes taking an average of 21 days to sell. Every county in the region saw the length of time it took to sell a home either drop or remain static relative to the same period a year ago.
  •  Last quarter, it took an average of 50 days to sell a home. This is down from 58 days in the fourth quarter of 2016, but up by 7 days from the third quarter of 2017.
  • As mentioned earlier in this report, I expect inventory levels to rise modestly, which should lead to an increase in the average time it takes to sell a house. That said, with homes selling in less than two months on average, the market is nowhere near balanced.

CONCLUSIONS

This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. For the fourth quarter of 2017, I have left the needle at the same point as third quarter. Price growth remains robust even as sales activity slowed. 2018 is setting itself up to be another very good year for housing.

Gardner, Matthew “Western Washington Real Estate Update” Windermere Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate 29 Jan. 2018 https://www.windermere.com/blogs/windermere/categories/western-washington-real-estate-market-update/posts/western-washington-real-estate-market-update–13

Posted on January 31, 2018 at 10:32 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged , , ,

7 Small Home Flaws That Can Be Big Deals for Buyers

After living in the same home for a while, it’s amazing what you can get used to. A creaky floorboard, for instance. A chipped tile that you’ve been meaning to replace but haven’t gotten around to. A doorknob that needs a little coaxing to turn. No big deal, right?

Well, these small flaws can be huge deal breakers when you decide to sell your home.

“Prospective buyers are going to add all the ‘flaws’ they find to the price of the property, and that’s when they start trying to discount the price,” cautions Jane Peters, a real estate broker and owner of Home Jane Realty in Los Angeles.

Posted on January 17, 2018 at 6:01 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged , , , , ,

10 hottest housing markets in America to watch in 2018

bellevue seattle washington homeSeattle’s real estate market is still going strong. Artazum/Shutterstock

The US housing market has regained its momentum.

About half of all homes in the country are worth as much or more than they were in April 2007, during America’s most recent housing boom, according to data from Zillow.

But some real estate markets are really on fire, with quickly rising home values and rental prices, increasing populations, low unemployment rates, steady income growth, and strong job opportunities, according to Zillow’s latest housing report.

Below, check out the top 10 hottest real estate markets in America for 2018, along with median home values and rent prices, median household income, and projected year-over-year growth.

 

10. Dallas, Texas

10. Dallas, Texas

Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Median household income: $63,812

Median home value: $218,300

Median rent: $1,621

Real estate market growth forecast: 4.7%

9. Portland, Oregon

9. Portland, Oregon

Robert Crum/Shutterstock

Median household income: $68,676

Median home value: $370,700

Median rent: $1,902

Real estate market growth forecast: 3.7%

 

8. Nashville, Tennessee

8. Nashville, Tennessee

James R. Martin/Shutterstock

Median household income: $60,030

Median home value: $228,900

Median rent: $1,498

Real estate market growth forecast: 3.8%

 

7. Denver, Colorado

7. Denver, Colorado

EdgeOfReason/Shutterstock

Median household income: $71,926

Median home value: $376,500

Median rent: $2,056

Real estate market growth forecast: 3%

 

6. Austin, Texas

6. Austin, Texas

SoleilC/Shutterstock

Median household income: $71,000

Median home value: $277,600

Median rent: $1,713

Real estate market growth forecast: 3.3%

 

5. San Francisco, California

Median household income: $96,677

Median home value: $893,100

Median rent: $3,413

Real estate market growth forecast: 3.8%

 

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

4. Charlotte, North Carolina

Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Median household income: $59,979

Median home value: $181,600

Median rent: $1,300

Real estate market growth forecast: 4%

 

3. Seattle, Washington

3. Seattle, Washington

Artazum/Shutterstock

Median household income: $78,612

Median home value: $463,800

Median rent: $2,243

Real estate market growth forecast: 5.4%

 

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

2. Raleigh, North Carolina

AlexLinck/Shutterstock

Median household income: $71,685

Median home value: $233,900

Median rent: $1,441

Real estate market growth forecast: 3.7%

 

1. San Jose, California

1. San Jose, California

Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Median household income: $110,040

Median home value: $1,128,300

Median rent: $3,514

Real estate market growth forecast: 8.9%

-Loudenback, Tanza “These are the 10 hottest housing markets in America to watch in 2018” Business Insider, Business Insider, 10 Jan. 2018 http://www.businessinsider.com/zillow-hottest-real-estate-markets-in-america-2018-1/#10-dallas-texas-1

Posted on January 10, 2018 at 9:12 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Real Estate News | Tagged , ,

Should you Stage your home when Selling?

I recently shared an article taken from the Colombian stating that staging a home can often raise the sales price of a listing. After reading the article, I wanted to do a little more research in order to figure out the true pros and cons of home staging. Being a realtor I have heard the argument both ways, some stating that home staging that is done correctly can be very effective versus some saying comparables have a much higher influence on the price of a home. After hearing both sides and taking on some research of my own, I’ve come to the following conclusion. I believe home staging can be an effective tool when selling a home, but believe there is a long list of variables to consider before making a decision either way. In this piece I will try to touch on a few of those variables and give my opinion to the value of staging.

The first and most important variable to consider when deciding to stage a home is the state of the market that the particular residence resides in. For example, both Normandy Park are West Seattle housing markets are extremely hot with properties moving in a matter of days. For homes priced in an average range in markets like West Seattle or Normandy Park I believe that staging will have a minimal effect. Most homes that are priced properly in line with comparables are going to get multiple offers whether they are staged or not. However if you were selling your home in an area with a high amount of inventory then staging might give the owner the added advantage to selling their home quicker.

The next factor to consider would be the actual selling price of the residence. If the owner is listing their property for 1 million or higher then the home should be staged. The biggest reason is because once a seller enters a marketplace where the price of goods is going to be very high, it is important to note that the amount of people that could purchase said good will drop dramatically. In that sort of competitive environment it is important to gain every possible advantage. Staging might give the seller that additional edge needed to convince a buyer that this is the home for them.

The last factor I wanted to touch on, although it may be a bit obvious, is the actual state of property being listed for sale. If the residence being listed is going to be an investment property that is going to be remodeled, staging probably wouldn’t be the best use of the seller’s funds. The main reason behind this is most of the potential buyers are going to be investors who already have an idea what they are going to use the property for so staging is unlikely to sway them either way.

This is my opinion on some of the factors to consider when deciding to stage a home. I am sure that some realtors will see it this way, while others may disagree. However I hope this piece is helpful for you sellers out there looking to list your home and considering staging as an option!

Posted on June 11, 2015 at 10:43 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Avoid Overvaluing Your Home!

What are exact reasons an owner would overvalue their home and how important is it to arrive at a realistic market price?

The reasons an individual might overvalue his or her home are numerous, but I just wanted to touch on a few. The main, and probably most obvious reason for a high valuation of one’s home is because the owner has become emotionally attached to the property. Becoming emotionally invested in a home is completely understandable, perhaps it was a couple’s first home after they were married or possibly it’s the home parents have raised a family in. Whatever the reason is, it is important for the owner to know that these reasons don’t usually add any value to a prospective buyer. There is an old poker adage that says, “ never fall in love with your hand.” What this basically means is the more attached you are to a hand, the harder it will be to fold such hand, even when you know you should. The same rule applies for a house, as an owner it is paramount to look at facts when valuing your home rather than sentimental value. Regardless of which brokerage / agent you decide on, please keep that old poker adage in mind.

The second biggest reason owners will tend to overvalue is because they know the exact cost of every repair and upgrade they put into the home. History shows that it is often difficult to recover all of the money spent on costly renovations. While aforementioned remodels will help add value, owners will often think they can get back the total cost of the renovations plus some on top. Sadly, it is rarely the case that owners can recover the entire cost of a renovation. Keep in mind that the above statement pertains to owners who are planning to actually live in the home. These factors do not include professional “home flippers” who buy a run-down property for cheap, quickly drop in some remodels and place it back on the market. It’s important to note that these professionals are highly experienced at flipping homes, can do work in a very cost effective / efficient manner, and can turn properties around extremely fast. It is unrealistic for most homeowners to think they can do the same.

Arriving at a realistic market price is probably the single most important part of selling a home, slightly edging out how a property is marketed. As stated earlier it is important to only consider factors that are going to be relevant to prospective buyers, things like location, bedrooms, square footage and prices of local comparables are all important factors to take into account. When using the proper items correctly a homeowner will usually arrive at a correct market price and the home should sell. However, if an owner arrives at a high valuation based on factors that aren’t relevant to the buyer, the home may end up not selling at all. The failure to sell a home, especially in a hot market like West Seattle or Normandy Park, is an absolute tragedy. West Seattle and Normandy Park are markets where homes tend to move very quickly, unless they are hugely overpriced. In a previous post we did write that currently in the West Seattle and Normandy Park markets owners could look to price on the aggressive side, but please note that aggressive and overpriced are not the same thing. Overpriced homes (Prices significantly higher than market price) will tend to sit on the market a very long time and will usually sell for less than if the owner had sold it at a competitive price in the first place. The reason being that the best window to sell a home is up 0-14 days after a home hits the market, afterwards buyers and agents begin to overlook the residence. Additionally, any offer received will likely be lower due in part to buyers possessing more leverage because there will usually be more pressure on the seller to accept an offer.   Aggressively priced homes (Prices only slightly higher than market price) will still tend to move in hot markets, with all other factors being equal.

Those who decide to utilize an agent would be well served to find a very experienced and local agent who will give an owner an honest and accurate opinion for the fair market value of a home. Those who decide to go the for sale by owner route, which can usually prove to be extremely difficult but not impossible, be sure to consider tangible factors to give yourself the best shot to sell a home.

We hope this helps you owners out there looking to sell!

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 7:11 pm
Emerson DeOliveira | Category: Normandy Park | Tagged , ,