Category Archives: buying a home

Market Update

Our region’s real estate market picked up in October. Northwest Multiple Listing Service figures show system-wide gains in October’s pending sales (up nearly 5.6%), closed sales (up 4.1%) and prices (up nearly 7.7%) compared to a year ago. At the same time, compared to the same month a year ago, October’s supply of active listings declined by double-digits in 18 of the 23 counties in the NWMLS report. This means that less homes are coming on the market.

In Seattle, October prices rose 3.3% from a year ago, to $775,000 — the largest percentage increase in 12 months. In King County, there were 25.7% fewer homes on the market in October than a year previously. Snohomish and Pierce Counties saw similar dips, of 23.5% and 30.0%. However, pending sales are up, signaling that buyers haven’t given up on housing market after the slowdown at the end of 2018. That could be helped going forward by mortgage rates that continue to hover around historic lows.

Condo inventory is expected to increase in the coming year, as projects currently in the pipeline come online. Year-over-year, condominium prices in King County were down 3.75% overall, to $385,000, and nearly 7% in Seattle, to $460,000. That’s still the most condos have cost in Seattle since June, signaling strong demand for housing priced under the area median.

Live in a Treehouse in the Woods in Shoreline

My latest listing, a midcentury home in Shoreline, gives you the experience of living in a treehouse in the woods but yet you’re so close to the city.

This 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1,830 square foot home was built in 1969. It offers beautiful wood ceilings and and paneled walls, on a large lot full of trees, greenery, and privacy, creating the experience of being in the woods, yet close to future light rail, Seattle, and I-5.

The 3 bedrooms are all on the main floor. One is a master suite that includes a huge walk-in closet, a half-bath, and brand new flooring with radiant heat. One of the additional main floor bedrooms also have floor heat.

The lower level is a guest room or rec room. There is a half-bath downstairs as well as a large laundry room. Just add a shower and closet and you’ve got a master suite or potential MIL unit. The downstairs room opens to the large backyard, including a basketball court.

While you have the sense of living in the woods, you’re so close to the city – whether that city is Shoreline, Seattle, Lake Forest Park, or even Edmonds.

You’ll be just about a mile from the future light rail station at I-5 and N 185th St. Hop on the train and you’ll quickly be at the University of Washington, downtown Seattle, or even the airport. There’s also a Metro bus stop at the top of the street.

Lots of grocery stores and restaurants are nearby. Lake Forest Park Town Center and the King County Library are close-by, as is the Shoreline Library, the community center and pool, parks, and off-leash dog park. You’re in the Shoreline School District, with it’s highly regarded schools.

There are 3 upcoming open houses where you can tour the home or please contact me for a private tour:

  • Saturday, October 26, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Sunday, October 27, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Tuesday, October 29, 11:30am-1:30pm

Links:

Broadview Contemporary Home

We’re seeing a lot of new homes on the market this fall, including this Broadview home that I just brought on the market.

Broadview is in the northwest corner of Seattle, bordering the city of Shoreline. It covers a large area, from approximately 105th/Holman road to 145th, and from the Puget Sound to Greenwood Ave. The neighborhood is primarily residential, with some retail and restaurants along Greenwood Ave. While it is in the city, when you’re off the main streets, it feels like you’re in the suburbs. Broadview offers excellent bus service to downtown Seattle and has many community amenities including:

  • Broadview-Thompson K-8
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Bus route 28
  • Carkeek Park
  • Dunn Gardens
  • Easy access to the Shoreline Farmers Market
  • Shoreline Community College
  • Northacres Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Shoreview Off-Leash Dog Park

This wonderful, light-filled, spacious contemporary home offers you beautiful views of the Sound and Mountains from the dining and living rooms. There are three bedrooms upstairs. The basement has been converted in 2019 to a MIL space with kitchenette – here’s your opportunity for rental income. Or use the basement space for your media/rec room/person-cave. Master bath renovated in 2019. Metal roof with a lifetime warranty. New gas water heater. Fully fenced backyard. Bonus – there’s air conditioning! Listed for $900,000, it has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a 2 car garage, and is 2,370 square feet.

Lots of open houses this weekend so that you can check the home:

Friday, October 11: 5:00-7:00pm

Saturday, October 12: 1:00-4:00pm

Sunday, October 13: 1:00-4:00pm

Feel free to contact me at 206-790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com with any questions or for a private showing.

Download a flyer.

Home Buying Myths

Buying a home can seem like a huge undertaking. You don’t need to be a first time home buyer to find the process overwhelming. There is so much information available, how can you tell what’s true and what’s a myth? Understanding the difference can help you make the best decision for you and your family goals.

Top Home Buying Myths – And the Truth

  • The First Step is finding the Right House – Before you head out shopping, speak with a lender to understand your financial options and how much house you can afford.
  • You Can’t Buy a Home Without Perfect Credit – The truth is there are many loans available which still offer good interest rates for those without that perfect score.
  • You Need 20% Down Payment – There are several loan programs out there that allow only 1-3% down. In addition, there are down payment assistance programs available.
  • You Don’t Need an Agent – An agent not only knows the market and can help you with value, but also customary charges, negotiations, and solutions to common hiccups.
  • Schools Don’t Matter if you don’t have Kids – The neighborhood is always important to home values, regardless of whether you yourself have children.
  • New Homes Don’t Need a Home Inspection – Every home should have a home inspection by a licensed inspector to check for existing or potential problems.

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’re likely to make in your lifetime. Take the time you need to understand the process and learn from the professionals; don’t assume that everything you read is true.

Please give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com if you like more information on buying a home.

Adorable Home in Edmonds

A couple weeks ago I wrote about Edmonds, sharing what a lovely community this is. And now I present to you my latest listing, a charming bungalow just blocks to downtown Edmonds.

Built in 1953, this 1,660 square foot home offers 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, plus a bonus space downstairs that could be a home office, rec room, media room, or potentially another bedroom.

Entering through the covered front porch, you’ll find a bright and light-filled home with views of the Sound and mountains and fabulous sunsets. The seller has made many updates, including new electrical, a remodeled full bathroom with custom tile work, and school house lighting. There’s also an oversized one-car attached garage.

This location provides easy access to all that Edmonds offers, including:

  • Delicious dining at restaurants such as Salt and Iron, Las Brisas, Anthony’s, and Top Pot Doughnuts
  • Shopping at PCC, QFC, and many local small businesses
  • Near the Kingston ferry, Sounder train, and bus route 116
  • Summer Farmer’s Market
  • Community organizations such as Edmonds Library, Boys & Girls Club, and Frances Anderson Center
  • Yost Park and the summer outdoor pool
Watch the video!

I hope that you will stop by one of our upcoming open houses or please contact me for a private showing, 206-790-0081 or Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Wednesday, September 25: 11:30-1:30

Friday, September 25: 5:00-7:30

Saturday, September 26: 1:00-4:00

Sunday, September 27: 11:00-2:00

Low Mortgage Rates = Buying Power

Mortgage rates are at their lowest since late 2016, last week nationwide around 3.6%. This is driving homeowners and buyers to their mortgage lenders, for both refinances and new home purchases.

As the chart below shows, just a one-half percent difference in your interest rate makes a huge difference in your monthly payment. For example, when purchasing an $800,000 home with 20% down, a half-point difference is $181/monthly, $2,172/annually, or $65,160 over the course of a 30-year loan.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a homebuyer, this is the time to get into the real estate market. With interest rates this low, you may be able to purchase more than you think.

If you’re a homeowner and considering a move, whether downsizing or to a new neighborhood or larger home, this is the time to do so. With interest rates so low, you’ll likely be able to afford more than you think.

If you’re a homeowner with no plans of selling in the next couple years and your interest rate is in the upper 4’s or higher, it might be worth talking to a lender about refinancing.

I have several excellent lenders that can help you determine what would be best in your situation, a refinance or a move. I would love to sit down and talk with you about your needs. Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me to schedule a time to chat.

Just Listed – Wallingford

I’m excited to announce my latest listing in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. This home, built in 1941, has 3 bedrooms and 2 1/4 bathrooms and is move-in ready. It is listed for $850,000. Check out the video or the detailed listing.

Gardeners will love the yard (seller is a member of the Garden Club). Wonderful bonus space in the basement  – a perfect spot for the weekly poker game or movie night. Space for a huge wine cellar as well. Home is seismic retrofitted and has lots of storage.

Backyard

The location is phenomenal, just blocks to all that Wallingford offers, including:

  • Dining at places such as Pablo y Pablo, Bizarro’s, Dick’s Burgers, Tutta Bella, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, and many local breweries
  • Near bus  routes 26, 31, 32, 44, and 62
  • Summer Farmers Market at Meridian Park
  • Community organizations such as Seattle Public Library, Wallingford Boys & Girls Club, Wallingford Senior Center, and the Good Neighbor Center
  • Schools nearby include Hamilton Middle School, Lincoln High School, BF Day Elementary, John Stanford International School, and Meridian School
  • Wallingford Park with tennis courts, playground, and wading pool across the street
Wallingford Park across the street

Please stop by an open house to check out the home:

  • Wednesday, July 31, 11am-1pm
  • Saturday, August 3, Noon-3pm
  • Sunday, August 4: 1pm-4pm

For more information, give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Appraisals Explained

Appraisals are one of the most confusing aspects of buying or selling real estate. When a buyer and seller agree on a sales price, it can be frustrating to hear that the appraisal came in with a value too low. It’s not enough for the buyer and seller to agree to the price, the appraisal is the lender’s way to ensure they are not loaning money over the actual market value of the property.

The appraised value is reached by a licensed professional who looks at the real estate market in which the target property is located. They start with the target property and then look for recent sales in the area of comparable properties. These comparable properties will be located within a short distance of the target home. They should also be of comparable size and often fall within the same housing development.

Once these homes are identified, the appraiser will adjust for the specific differences. For instance, does the target home have an upgraded kitchen or swimming pool? They add or subtract value based on such things as location, view, lot size, upgrades, additions, condition, and many other factors. They can then arrive at a valuation for the target home.

Once the appraisal has been completed, the lender is notified of the value. At this point, the loan amount is either confirmed or declined. If the appraisal comes in too low, the buyer and seller can choose to make up the difference in the sales price, lower the sales price, or cancel the transaction.

An experienced real estate broker will help you manage the appraisal process. By learning about recent sales in your area ahead of time, you can price your home appropriately up front; then the appraisal should come back as expected.

Seattle Q2 Market Update

Several things stand out when looking at market statistics for the 2nd quarter of 2019.

  • There are a lot more condos and single family homes for sale.
  • For both condos and single family homes, prices are still down from the peak of 2018.
  • Days on Market is down for condos and relatively stable for single family homes.

It is important to note that we hit the peak of the market in May/June 2018. We have had a market adjustment since then, primarily driven by increased inventory. However, for single family homes, we have around 2 months of inventory, meaning we are still in a market that favors the seller.

This increased inventory is great news for buyers who have more choice in finding a home. We have seen some return to multiple offers but not at the pace we saw over the past few years.

With condos, in June we had just over 3 months inventory. The condo market is being driven by more condo projects under construction and being announced, meaning that the inventory level for condos should continue to rise. The increase in the number of available condos is great for buyers and home affordability—condos usually allow for buyers to get into the market at a lower price than for single family homes. In fact, my first purchase of a residential property to live in was a condo as that was what I could afford back in 1995.

The best news for both buyers and sellers is that we’re at a 12 month low for interest rates which are under 4%.

For more information on buying or selling, please reach out to me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com or (206) 790-0081.

Why You Should Buy a House (or Condo) NOW!

I’m not a fan of Fox News, but this story sums up why you should buy NOW!

Mortgage rates have steadily declined with the 30-year fixed-rate bottoming out to 3.82 percent, its lowest level since September 2017, according to the latest figures from Freddie Mac.

Interest rates are about a one percentage point less than it was this time last year … that’s a 10 percent savings on a 30-year mortgage a month.

Lower interest rates, coupled with more inventory in the market, makes the time to buy NOW.

If you’re considering buying a property, let’s talk; give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.