Category Archives: real estate

Market Update

September was an active month in the Western Washington real estate market, with year-over-year gains in pending sales, closed sales and prices, but it also showed an 18% drop in inventory compared to a year ago.

September’s activity had some areas up and others down. Pierce County prices rose more than 10% thanks to high demand and low inventory. Buyers being pushed out of the Seattle market are heading south. In Pierce County, the median sales price was $379,950, compared to $593,750 in King County. Snohomish County had a median sales price of $470,498.

King County prices were down slightly, 2.7%, while pending sales rose nearly 10%. This tells us that there is no shortage of buyers in the Seattle area. Home prices typically start to drop a little in the fall, so this isn’t a cause for concern.

In Pierce and Snohomish Counties in September, we saw inventory levels for single-family homes at 1.4 and 1.7 months, respectively. King County had 2.2 months. Historically, under 4 months of inventory is a seller’s market.

Overall, home prices have stabilized, creating great opportunities for buyers getting into the market. New jobs, lifestyle changes, and very low interest rates are driving the market and keeping our economy strong. My colleagues and I are seeing an increase in buyers at open houses, signifying that demand is still high.

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

Things are Changing – Real Estate Taxes

The Washington State Legislature is changing the way real estate excise taxes (REET) are calculated. This change may affect the amount of excise tax you pay depending on the sale price of your property. For sellers whose homes sell for less than $1.5 million, you will see a slight decrease in the amount of tax paid. For homes over $1.5 million or more, you will see an increase in taxes paid, and this may be a substantial increase.

Currently, the 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 tiered system:

  • Sales under $500,000: 1.1% tax rate (down from 1.28%)
  • Sales from $500,000 to $1.5 million: 1.28% tax rate (unchanged and 1.1% marginal rate on first $500k)
  • Sales from $1.5 million to $3 million: 2.75% tax rate (115% increase, but marginal rate increase means first $500k @1.1%, then $500k to $1.5M @ 1.28%)
  • Sales over $3 million: 3.0% tax rate (134% increase, marginal rates in effect)

If you are thinking of buying or selling soon, now would be a great time to contact us and find out how this new legislation will affect your transaction. Whether buying or selling, knowing the effect of this excise tax could save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The following graph shows you a comparison of taxes in 2019 (the gray) and after January 1st (the blue).

For more information on the real estate excise tax or on selling your home, please call me at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

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

Just Sold in Wallingford

I’m excited to share that my listing in Wallingford recently sold. I listed it on July 30th for $850,000. The seller received multiple offers and the home recently closed for $937,000.

The seller of this home had lived there for more than 40 years and decided it was time to downsize and move into senior living. I helped her prepare the home for market including arranging for:

  • a person to help with selling and donating furniture and household items
  • a pre-listing sewer scope
  • repairs of some items in the home
  • professional staging

In addition, I provided professional photographs and a video tour of the home.

If you would like to learn more about how I can help you sell your home, please give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

Get to Know Edmonds

For this week’s blog, I thought I’d share some information for you on one of my favorite Puget Sound neighborhoods, downtown Edmonds.

Edmonds is just north of Seattle, and is a lovely, waterfront community. It’s best known for the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, but it offers so much more including beaches, a Marsh, adorable restaurants and shops, and home prices more affordable than Seattle. Edmonds has numerous annual events including: Edmonds Arts Festival, monthly art walks, summer wine walks, Taste Edmonds, an Oktoberfest event (new this fall), and a classic car show, which is this Sunday, September 8th.

Looking at downtown Edmonds, you’ll find a lot of condos as well as single-family homes. I’m seeing that many recent buyers are moving to Edmonds from Seattle or they’re moving here from out of state to be near their grown children and grandchildren. These buyers are often looking to downsize to a condo.

For single family homes, from January through August 2019, 81 homes have sold with a median sales price of $932,500, a 13% increase in over the same period last year. For condos over that same period, 106 units have sold with a median sales price of $574,950, a 9.9% increase from 2018.

If you’d like to learn more about Edmonds or living here, give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

A Look Back

As you may have heard, some parts of the Puget Sound have seen home prices drop over the past year. Real estate is a long-term investment, so even if there’s been a price drop, you likely still have a great return on your investment.

This table shows the median sales price in Seattle over the last 10 years. As property values increase, so does the equity of your home. That means if you’re thinking of selling, your investment could pay out!

Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email if you’d like to learn more or would like to know how much your home has appreciated.

If a Home is Priced Properly…

It will still sell quickly. While the average days on market in Seattle for a single-family home in July was 26, my Wallingford listing just sold in 7 days with multiple offers.

As you work with your real estate broker to price your home, it’s important to find the sweet spot – that is, the spot that is likely to bring in the most buyers. The sweet spot means you’re in the market, not on the market.

For more information on selling your home or the real estate market, please call me at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.

I Love Working with Seniors and Downsizers

A large share of the sellers I work with are seniors and/or are downsizing. This is one of my favorite groups of clients to work with. (The other group is at the other end of the spectrum, first time home buyers.)

When working with seniors and downsizers, there’s often a lot of problem-solving involved. And I love to help people find solutions! Whether it’s figuring out where to move to or how to move out of a home you’ve lived in for 40 years, I excel at helping you figure out what steps are needed for your transition.

I am a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. As a SRES, I have received extensive education in working with people aged 50 and older in preparing and selling their home. I have the knowledge and expertise to counsel you through the major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in downsizing, relocating, and selling the home you have owned for decades. I offer you the opportunity to complete your real estate transaction with the patience, professionalism, and expertise you deserve.

For many people, they know it’s time to sell their home but the thought of moving and selling is overwhelming physically and emotionally. Here is where an SRES can step in and help. I have access to resources to help you with this major transition and will be there with you through all steps of the selling and moving process.

There are many reasons that you may be considering a move.

  • The cost of maintaining your home has become too high.
  • You want to be closer to your children and grandchildren.
  • Your home no longer meets your accessibility needs.
  • Your home is more home than you currently need.

Whether you’re looking to move to an active 55+ community, a senior-supported living situation, a smaller house, or a condo, I am here to help. I have worked with many sellers who have made such moves and understand how difficult this can be.

Give me a call at 206-790-0081 or email me at Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com and let’s talk about how I can be of help.

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.