One of the things I love most about my job is helping first-time home buyers find their dream home. Last week Sarah and Mike closed on their dream house, a rambler in Shoreline with mid-century features in the living room and an incredible backyard.
We looked at countless condos, townhomes, and single family homes. They lost out on 3 other offers. One of the things I do when I’m out with buyers is watch their non-verbal responses to a property. When Sarah and Mike walked into this one, I saw a response I hadn’t seen previously – of joy and relaxation – and I knew we had found the home for them.
This home did not have an offer review date and had only been on the market for 3 days. Time to move quickly. We wrote an offer above list price with an inspection contingency (which was great because they had already paid for a couple pre-inspections where they didn’t get the house). The lender quickly sent me a pre-approval letter. And voila, Sarah and Mike got the house.
Congratulations to the new homeowners! May you have years and years of joy in your new home.
As we begin this week where we celebrate America’s birthday, I thought I’d write about Home Ownership being part of the American Dream. For as long as I can remember, I have heard that phrase. But what does it mean.
From a CNN piece from last year: “While it has no official definition, the American Dream has always been the notion that citizens of the United States can better their lot in life through hard work.
That encompasses the idea that hard-working kids of hard-working parents would have a better life than the previous generation, and homeownership has generally been considered part of that.”
From 2006 to 2017 the national home ownership rate dropped from 69 to 64 percent. CNN states, “In a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 72% of renters said they would like to buy a house at some point. About two-thirds of renters in the same survey (65%) said they currently rent as a result of circumstances, compared with 32% who said they rent as a matter of choice. When asked about the specific reasons why they rent, a majority of renters, especially nonwhites, cited financial reasons.”
Here are historical home ownership rates from the US Census Bureau. As you can see, it appears the number is increasing in 2018, but the rate is still below that of the 1990’s.
If you’re currently a renter and would like to become a homeowner, let’s talk. There are loan programs available for people with limited cash down as well as downpayment assistance programs for those with lower incomes.
Hot off the press, here are some highlights of the May housing market:
- The median sales price for a single family home in Seattle in May was $802,000. For condos it was $529,500. Combined, we saw a 17.3% increase in the median sales price from May 2017.
- Inventory improved in May and for the first time in a long time, we have more than 1 months supply of housing (1.1 at the end of May). There’s still a long way to go to get this to the 4-6 months necessary for a balanced market.
The most impressive statistic for May is this one – 84% of properties sold at or above list price! (26% sold at list, 58% above.) That tells us that it is likely that 6 out of 10 listings received multiple offers.
If you’re a seller, it’s the time to sell. If inventory continues to increase, we may start seeing smaller increases in sales prices and less competition. If you’re a buyer, let’s get you into a home.
Give me a call/text at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com and let’s talk about your real estate needs.
If you’re thinking of buying a property, you should move forward with your plans now. According to one lender I work with, last week she saw an increase in interest rates every day. While most of us have been predicting that rates would hit 5% by the end of year, we have already reached (and exceeded) that percentage.
As interest rates increase, your buying power decreases. Let’s say your lender has qualified you for a home purchase of $700,000 with 20% down. A month ago your monthly payment would be around $2,837 with a 4.5% interest rate. At 5% that payment would be $3,006, or $169/month more. Your lender may no longer qualify you to purchase a $700,000 home but instead more likely around $675,000 to keep your payment around the $2,837/month. If we see a 7% (being conservative) increase in prices this year, your $700,000 home would sell around $750,000 by year end. By waiting, you are likely to decrease the amount you can pay for a home.
If you’re considering buying a property this year, the time to move is now. Give me a call at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com so we can talk about your plans and needs.
It’s a tough market out there for buyers. With demand for housing seriously outweighing supply, buyers are competing on most listings, and losing out on many.
The most offers I’ve had to write for a client was 2 years ago, when it took 8. I’ve heard of buyers who have submitted in the double digits.
Right now I have 2 sets of buyers who are on the offer roller coaster. One set has submitted 4. The other 2 (and we’re waiting to hear on the 2nd). It’s frustrating. You find a house you love and want to buy, but end up competing with 26 other offers (yes, last week buyer set 1 was one of 27 offers). You move on, but then you go through it again. What to do? Here are some tips I offer to buyers:
- Know the numbers. You know what your maximum you can spend is. But also know the market numbers. If homes are selling 10-20% above list price, you should be looking at properties listed 10-20% below your maximum.
- Have your financing lined up, and make sure your lender has taken you all the way through underwriting (except for a property address). Have a local lender who is available on the weekends.
- Look at homes that have been on the market for more than 10 days. These are less likely to receive multiple offers. In this case, you might be able to look at homes at or slightly above your maximum as you might be able to get an offer accepted below list price.
- Think about what you can compromise on. Could you go a few miles farther out? Is having a garage more important than getting a house? Don’t restrict yourself to fenced yards, you could put a fence in yourself.
For more ideas on how to compete or to talk about the real estate market, please call/text me at 206-790-0081 or email me.
Spring is here and there are more homes coming on the market!!! While we did see an increase in listings in April over April 2017, we still have a severe shortage of properties for sale. If you’re considering selling, now is the time to talk. Give me a call/text at 206-790-0081 or email and find out what your home is worth today.
This Thursday, April 26th, Julia Eaton of Axia Home Loans, and I will be teaching a class on learning to buy a home. Topics include: steps in the home purchase process; understanding today’s real estate market; options for financing your purchase including how to obtain a mortgage; and why it might be in your best interest to buy sooner rather than later.
Thursday, April 26, 2018, 6:00-8:00pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Association, Blue Building, Room 3
To reserve your space or with questions, please email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com or call/text 206-790-0081.
I’m going to be putting together a handout on moving tips. There are so many steps to moving besides packing the boxes, from changes of address to preparing your new home for your pets.
This week I’m going to share the experience of a friend who moved recently. Don’t pack your important documents in a box – instead carry them with you!
This friend finished her move on a Saturday and then realized she was missing some boxes. She looked everywhere including driving back to her old place and could not find those boxes anywhere. The missing boxes included copies of her tax returns and boxes of checks, among other things. She was freaking out because if someone took her boxes, they might be able to steal her identity. Important documents such as credit cards, checks, financial records, passports, wills, etc. should be carried with you for the move, not placed in the truck.
My friend got lucky, someone found her boxes and put them in a safe place. She got them back unopened, after having a sleepless Saturday night.
Moral of the Story: Important documents such as credit cards, checks, financial records, passports, wills, etc. should be carried with you for the move, not placed in the truck. Also, inventory your boxes so you know how many went into the truck and how many came out.
Do you have a moving tip or story to share? Email it to Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com and it might make the Moving Tips Handout or show up on the Blog.
If you’re a buyer in our crazy, hot market, you may be wondering, how do I compete? While most properties are receiving multiple offers and bidding wars, it is very possible to be successful in our market.
I have an 8-step process for helping my buyers be successful. These steps begin with being pre-approved for a mortgage and knowing the maximum amount you can afford. I have a list of wonderful lenders who can help you with your pre-approval.
My 8-steps include recommendations on pricing and how to make your offer stronger. If you’d like to learn more about the 8-steps, please contact me.
Another option in our market is to look for homes that have been on the market for more than 2 weeks. It’s very possible these homes have been overpriced, so even if the list price is higher than your max budget, you may be able to negotiate to a price in your range.
Let’s talk about your home buying needs. Phone/text 206-790-0081 or email me.
In both Snohomish and King Counties we saw an increase in inventory in January, but not nearly enough to meet the demand. I know of a home in Everett that received 27 offers and one in Seattle (Fremont) that had 18. Looking at January 2018 inventory you can see that the numbers are continuing to decrease, year over year. In King County the number of active listings at month end is down 50% since 2016, 21% from 2017; in Snohomish County it is down 81% since 2016, 30% from last year.
This is the time to sell – let’s talk about your needs. Give me a call/text at 206-790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.