Homeowners in many Washington Counties, including King and Snohomish, will be receiving their property tax bills around Valentine’s Day. Your reaction may be, “Whoa, this is high, how am I ever going to pay this bill!”
If you are 60 years or older or are unable to work due to a disability and have a household income of less than $45,000/year, there are programs to help you reduce your property tax burden. For more information or to find out if you qualify, call the Property Tax Exemption Program for your county: King County: (206) 263-2324 Snohomish County: (425) 388-3540
Or perhaps you’ve been thinking that it might be time to move, whether to a new community, a smaller home or condo, or even assisted living. I am available to help you figure out what the next steps might be. I can help you understand what your home is worth, and if it would make sense for you financially to sell. I can also help you with the “where do I move to if I sell” concern.
For further information or to discuss your real estate needs, please give me a call/text at (206) 790-0081 or email Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
It’s time for another story of downsizing, this time the story of Judith.
Judith and I met a couple years ago when she came to a class I was teaching at the Phinney Neighborhood Association. The class was on the steps and process of selling a home. She came up to me after the class to talk about her situation. She owned a one-bedroom home in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle which she purchased as a foreclosure in 1975 for around $12,000. She and her partner Kurt were wanting to sell this home and downsize into a condo with no steps involved. She mentioned that they had been looking at condos for around 15 years and hadn’t seen much that they liked. She was also concerned about the amount she would have to pay in capital gains taxes.
For the next year or two, we looked at a lot of condos, but given her budget and specific needs we weren’t finding anything she liked. This past February we did, and she submitted an offer on a Bitter Lake condo, but was outbid. We kept looking.
This summer she was encouraged to look at a lovely unit at the Sequoyah in Edmonds. She hadn’t wanted to leave Seattle but she was willing to look. While it was further away than she wanted, she had worked in Edmonds for many years so she was comfortable with the area. After seeing the condo and realizing it had everything she wanted and more, we submitted an offer and she got this unit.
She purchased the condo contingent on the sale of her house, so we had to immediately list. Many real estate brokers feel late August is not the time to bring a home on the market but we decided to do so anyway. Three days on the market and we had an offer significantly over list price.
The buyers of her home allowed for Judith to stay in the house for a couple months if needed. The condo she was buying would not be available until the end of September so Judith’s plan is to move in October. She was able to have her purchase funds sent directly from the first escrow company to the second escrow company. Judith has put aside enough funds to cover her estimated capital gains taxes.
For me as her real estate broker, I was so happy to help her move out of the house and into the condo. She loved her house and was sad to be leaving it but is very excited to be moving on with her life. These transactions involved of juggling, and that’s what I’m good at – I was able to ensure that both transactions closed without any issues.
Congratulations Judith and Kurt!
The transaction details.
House listed for sale August 24th for $590,000. 3 days on market. Sold for $617,000. Closed September 17th.
Condo purchase closed October 1st for $385,000.Condo purchase closed October 1st for $385,000.
What’s an SRES you may ask. It’s 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.
Pete and Jody contacted me early this summer about selling their family home on Phinney Ridge. I’ve known Pete and Jody for many years as we were former neighbors and they wanted to work with someone they knew.
When I say family home, I mean it. Pete’s parents had bought the house about 80 years ago, and approximately 40 years ago Pete bought it from his parents. Pete and Jody raised their family in this lovely craftsman. They had made many updates over the years, and had particularly loved designing the beautifully landscaped yard and the 2-car garage where in his free time Pete worked on his cars.
But it was time to downsize. The house had too many stairs and was too much work to maintain. The property tax bill had become too high for retirees on a fixed income and they no longer wanted to live in Seattle.
Pete and Jody went exploring where they wanted to live and found a 55+ community in Mount Vernon that met all their needs. It was quiet. It was new construction. It was all on one floor, no stairs to even get into the house. The yard allowed for Jody to continue her love of gardening but was not too large. The house they wanted was already completed, but they would need to sell their Phinney home before they could purchase in Mount Vernon. I was able to negotiate with the seller of the Mount Vernon home for a longer closing period, to give Jody and Pete time to sell their Seattle house.
I recommended some minor repairs to their Seattle home before listing and we had the house staged. Jody and Pete worked hard at packing up 40 years of life, giving many items away, and having a mega-garage sale. It was hard work, but they had the house ready almost a week before our target list date. Jody and Pete’s Phinney home came on the market on August 5, and by August 11 we had two offers.
Both homes closed last week, Phinney on Thursday and Mount Vernon on Friday. Pete and Jody will be moving into their new home over the next few weeks. It was such a joy to call Jody and Pete on Friday and tell them that they were the owners of the home in Mount Vernon. Congratulations!!! May you have many, many years of love and laughter in your new home.
Phinney home, listed for $895,000, sold for $890,000, 6 days on market
Mount Vernon home, listed and sold for $459,900, 79 days on market
Thinking of moving to a smaller space or even a tiny home? While it is true that by liberating ourselves of extra space can open the door to lower costs (mortgage, utilities, property taxes, and repairs), for many the thought of having to downsize their belongings in order to fit in more closed-quarters is prohibitive. If you have been thinking about downsizing, here are some ways you can get the ball rolling without it seeming overwhelming:
Lifestyle Analysis – First review how your life is going to change after you downsize. If you are retiring, there may be many work-related items that no longer need to clutter your closet! Suits, jackets, shoes, purses, etc., that served you in a professional capacity may be the first to go into the donate and sell If you are moving to a warmer climate, perhaps you should rethink your winter wardrobe. Moving to a condo and don’t plan on utilizing your green thumb? Consider your garden and lawn tools and supplies. Entire categories of things can be the first to go.
Space Analysis – Think about the space and functionality of the rooms you are moving to. If you don’t have a guestroom at your new place, then perhaps you don’t shouldn’t bring that entire room of items. If you are downsizing your kitchen to half of what you have now, then half of what you currently have will need to find another home. Think about your largest furniture pieces as well. Do you have room for a pool table? Also consider scale of furniture – sectionals and large dining room tables may be just too large proportionally for the rooms you will have.
Functionality Analysis – How many pans do you really cook with on a regular basis? How many mixing bowls do you really need at once? How many pairs of socks? So often we keep something around because we perceive that we need it, but you likely only use a few items in your home on a regular basis. When was the last time you made pasta from scratch or used all your towels? Downsizing means choosing, so choose wisely!
Memorabilia Analysis – This is a tough one because it means choosing among things that are cherished. Yearbooks, photos, letters, keepsakes, children’s artwork, etc., all fall into this category. As we get older, this problem becomes more pronounced as we inherit and become stewards of other people’s items. One idea is to digitize items – as files on a computer you still have the items but they take up less physical space. This category of items is just too painful for some people to have to go through and make choices for fear of making a mistake. If this sounds like you, then perhaps your best bet is to get a storage unit and put those items in there. I do recommend that you let someone else know about the unit in the event something happens to you so that these items stay in the family.
Are you overwhelmed by the thought of downsizing? Let’s talk! I would be happy to help get the ball rolling and I also have professional organizers I can call upon to help. (206) 790-0081 or email: Jamie@JamieFlaxman.com.
Last week I was in Arizona on vacation. I was with a group of 22 other people from all over the country, a number of them from Michigan, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts. It was interesting to talk with them about real estate. While the real estate market is now hot in most parts of the country, there are still some areas where it is a buyers market (unlike Seattle’s and most of the country’s sellers market). As I shared our average sales prices and stories of multiple offers, many of these folks were amazed at what our homes are selling for.
We also talked about downsizing as adult kids move out and on with their lives. I happened to attend a discussion the week before my vacation on downsizing and rightsizing. I was able to share some tips with my new friends. As most people are overwhelmed by this task, you can break downsizing down into manageable chunks; for example, most of us have way more coffee mugs than we’ll ever need or use. Spread them all out on the kitchen table and choose the ones you really need and want. I’m working on putting together a booklet on rightsizing/downsizing and will share when it’s finished.
Please give me a call or email if you’d like to learn more.